Comics : Spider-Man & Friends: Loyalty and Respect

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club

This review was first published on: May 2010.

Background...

Bendon Publishing produced this series of four books, each extolling various "virtues". The books themselves are thick card cover and pages, suitable for pre-schoolers. They are 9.5" tall, about 6" across, but cut with a wavy outline to make them more "interesting".

Each book in the series competes with the others to promote the most insipid of candyfloss qualities. This one is entitled "Loyalty and Respect". Each contains five double pages and all follow the same pattern, as follows:

The first four double pages in each book feature Spider-Man on the first double spread, and then another one or two stars on the second and third double-spread. The fourth spread features one minor star on each page. All of these characters are accompanied by one or two paragraphs describing the character and their ideal qualities.

The fifth and final spread features a more detailed scene with several characters. The text on this page relates to the specific virtues and describes how perfectly our heroes epitomize this virtue.

In Detail...

Spider-Man & Friends: Loyalty and Respect
Year 2008 : SM Title
Publisher:  Bendon Publishing International, Inc.
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Stars: Spider-Man, Thor, Storm, then Rhino & Beast together.

Final text to accompany the playground scene: "Always careful to obey their parents and do well at school, Peter and the others share a friendship built not only on fun and adventure, but on loyalty and respect for all."

In General...

Loyalty and Respect? Well, nobody can deny that these are superb character attributes for a human (or Super-Human) to possess. But there's just something creepy about the "mom and apple pie" which makes the phrase in this context seem to owe more to George Orwell's 1984, or perhaps a Brown Shirt training manual.

Overall Rating...

This one scores "Orange" on my "disturbing mindless obedience of authority" scale. I give it one nervous web.