Marvel Secret Wars "Crime Of Centuries" Coloring Book

Background

This coloring and activity book was a tie-in to the Marvel Secret Wars mega-crossover back in 1984.

Story Details

The book is 8" x 10.8" with 32 pages of black and white printed newsprint. Staple bound. Rather than being a random collection of coloring pages, the book tells a purpose-written story written by David Anthony Kraft, which goes something like this.

The first few pages introduce Spider-Man, Wolverine, Doctor Octopus, and Kang. Kang has a time-machine, and a giant travelling ferris wheel named the "Doom Roller". Kang also has a tower named "The Tower of Doom".

Doctor Octopus has some metal arms. But honestly, Kang has all the best toys here, even though he seems to have stolen the "Doom" theme from Doctor Doom.

Anyhow, Kang's plan is simple. Kidnap all the "Great Men" from history and brainwash them.

Note that in 1984, history did not have any "Great Women".

On Kang's victim list is the U.S. president of 1984 (Ronald Reagan, not explicitly named). He's having a parade on the day when Kang's arrives. Now, this is kind of odd. Page 3 shows Kang's time machine... a flying thing with a giant pointy nose. But when Kang travels to 1984, he turns up in his Doom Roller, not the time-machine. Definitely some confusion there too.

Fortunately, Spider-Man's shield gives him a warning by shouting:

Warning! Warning! Kang is coming!

That is not a typo. Yes, Spider-Man is carrying his well-known psychic, talking shield.

Doom and Octopus do a general rampage, yelling out their secret plans to everybody who cares to listen.

Soon you men of the past will do everything we say, because your brains will belong to us!

Kang™ and his best friend Doctor Octopus™ head back through a time portal. The only thing that can catch them is Wolverine's Turbo Cycle™. Will Wolverine™ (and his side-car passenger Spider-Man™) make it through time to the Tower of Doom™? Will they defeat Kang and Ock and return the Great Men™ back to their rightful place in history?

Yes. They even dump Kang and Ock back into pre-history to teach them a lesson.

General Comments

Various mazes and word-scrambling puzzles are interspersed within the story. Even a join-the-dots page.

At the back of the book is a 15" x 19" fold-out full-color poster.

Overall Rating

Spider-Man has a talking, intelligent shield?

I knew that "Secret Wars" crossover was the first of the great, shameless mega-marketing cross-overs. That was the point at which Marvel said "How about we start telling stories that will sell more toys."

But I honestly had not realized just how bad it was. But yeah, a quick internet search shows that the Secret Wars toy line included a Doom Roller, a Turbo Cycle, a Doom Cycle, a Doom Chopper, a complete range of figures, and a giant plastic Tower of Doom.

What a shocking, utter, utter sell-out. Oh Blessed Saints how I want to own them all.

NO! MUST FIGHT TEMPTATION! BAD STORY! DUMB STORY! ONE WEB!

Footnote

Check out the front cover, and you'll see that the guy driving Kang's Doom Roller is Magneto!

I guess the cover artist didn't quite get the message that the villain had been changed? Clearly the Doctor Doom vs. Kang vs. Magneto super-villain confused the heck out of everybody involved. The toy guys went with the "Doom" theme, the writer was working with "Kang", and the cover artist split the difference and went for "Magneto".

Speaks volumes, really.