Marvel Play Time (2015) from Panini Publishing in the UK is a kids magazine-format tie-in which more or less replaces their Spider-Man & Friends (UK Magazine) that they canned back in 2011.
It's hard to judge the exact target market for this new product. The earlier "Spider-Man & Friends" magazine had a real kindergarten feel to it, I could imagine teachers using it with a five-year-old class and reading it aloud. This replacement aims maybe a little higher, perhaps for 7 or 8 year-old self-readers?
Disney no longer lets Panini create original stories in the UK, but they're allowed to draw on existing material. The main Spider-Man story herein (such as it is) hastily re-tells the events of Ultimate Spider-Man TV (2012) - Season 1, Episode 1 cartoon episode.
|Adaptation Of:||Ultimate Spider-Man TV (2012) - Season 1, Episode 1|
The magazine is 8.6" x 11.8" UK magazine size, which makes it just slightly too large to fit on my shelf, and definitely too tall to fit a standard collector's magazine bag or backing board.
Like all Panini magazines, this one was sold through magazine shops, with toys taped to the cover, ensuring that you'll never find a truly mint copy, as they're all spine-bent by sloppy handling and ruined by tape that can't be removed without tearing the paper.
There are 32 pages, plus the cover. Everything is brightly-colored, and features the character versions from that Ultimate Spider-Man TV show, including Spidey's friends Nova, White Tiger, Power Man, and Iron Fist, along with Nick Fury, and all the villains such as the TV-show version of the Frightful Four. The little baby Spidey also appears throughout, along with the Spider-Bike and all the other collateral.
The re-telling of the "Great Power" TV show story takes up four pages. Each page features four screen-grabs from the show, each with a one-or-two sentence caption. e.g.:
"My name is Nick Fury. I want to help you to become a better Super Hero."
But wait, there's more! Another four pages feature a similar treatment of the Avengers Assemble! (2013) cartoon show, specifically Season 1, Episode 3 "Ghost of a Chance".
The rest of the magazine (24 pages worth) features puzzles, profiles, games, and activities to draw/colour/cut-out. Spider-Man gets most of the love, but there are many pages featuring Avengers characters instead. The Spider-Man pages and the Avengers pages are kept separate, there's no overlap between the two.
The magazine is bright but stops just short of being garish. The page count is decent, and there's no advertising. For £2.99 this feels like a fair deal.
It's a magazine for young kids, and there's nothing creative or new. But it's still a solid, utterly harmless bit of fun for pre-teens. It gets Three Webs from me.
There's a sticker sheet stapled inside the centrefold. Many of the stickers tie-in with the puzzles and games inside the magazine.