Comics : Amazing Spider-Man: This Is Spider-Man
This is a "World of Reading (Level 1)" book from Marvel Press. It's one of several such books that Marvel has produced since they came under the Disney mantle.
The book is 6" x 9", glossy square-bound cover, 32 glossy color pages. It features original text and original artwork.
Amazing Spider-Man: This Is Spider-Man
Apr 2012 : SM Title
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Summary: World of Reading (Level 1)
Each page of the book features an attractive color illustration on a, with a simple text sentence. Page one begins "This is Peter", with an illustration of a gawky looking American kid.
The next illustration is a full-color two-page spread which depicts an urban street scene as it informs us that "Peter lives in Queens. Queens is in New York City."
For ten more pages we meet Peter at school, being bullied by Flash Thompson. But then we get "Peter has a super secret." Subsequent pages then let us know that "He has a costume," and "He has web-shooters."
The story breaks into the occasional double-illustration per page as we learn that Peter is Spider-Man. We see Spider-Man fighting crime at night in the city, then we see an exhausted Peter Parker return home, and make his way back to school the next morning.
"At school, the kids learn about Spider-Man." "They like Spider-Man." "They do not like Peter."
But of course, they don't know that Peter is Spider-Man.
I like the way that this book sets out to do one specific job. Despite being released only a month or two before the 2012 film, it doesn't attempt to link with the movie in any way at all.
Instead it identifies one very specific element of the Spider-Man story — the contrast between Spider-Man the powerful and respected super-hero, and Peter Parker the meek and un-admired school kid.
In doing so, it aims to appeal to the 90% of kids who feel they are unpopular at school, while also helping them to learn to read.
This book doesn't achieve any particular greatness. But by focussing on a particular element of the Spider-Man mythos, it does manage to do one thing well. That is supported by text which is clear and unambiguous, and illustrations that are equally clear and appealing.
That has to be worth an above-par three-and-a-half webs.