Comics : Spider-Man: The Legend Begins
This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club
This review was first published on: May 2010.
Fun Works produced a good handful of Spider-Man books in the mid 1990's. As far as I can tell, this is the first in the series. It's hardback, 9.25" x 9.25". The cover is embossed, giving a deluxe look to the book which matches nicely with the glossy color and thick card. It's a good start.
Spider-Man: The Legend Begins
May 1995 : SM Title
Find ISBN 1570822476
Inside, the story is 28 pages, all full glossy color. Each page features a two-page spread edge-to-edge illustration, with an inset box containing two or three paragraphs of simple text - e.g. (from a page nearer the start of the story "The Amazing Spider-Man was an instant sensation and appeared on all the TV talk shows and magazines. Everyone wanted to be his friend, but Peter remembered when nobody liked him."
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Peter is a solidly built, handsome teenager. He lives with his Aunt and Uncle, who dote on him. Uncle Ben pats Peter on the head while Aunt May cooks wheatcakes, etc. At school, Peter is shunned by his classmates, and attends the science exhibit alone. Radioactive Spider-Bite, leap to avoid car and stick on wall, make costume and webshooters, appear on TV (no wrestling in this version), decide to be famous, refuse to stop burglar, Ben is shot, head to warehouse, web up burglar, march off into the shadows mumbling about power and responsibility.
"And that was the day a crime-fighting legend began!"
Well, there's nothing to object to here. Unsurprisingly, the art owes more to the 1990's TV show and an airbrush than it does to Steve Ditko. Still, the adaptation is faithful, the illustrations are solid, and the text is perfectly adequate.
Sure, this book does nothing but rip-off and re-tell Spider-Man's origin. There's nothing of note in that, except that so many other kid's book retellings manage to make a complete hash of things in the process. This one is exceptional in being perfectly adequate. I think that deserves due recognition, and a perfectly adequate solid three web rating.