Somebody in the UK seems to manage to throw out a Movie Tie-In "Annual" for each of the modern films. Here's number three in the series, preceded by Spider-Man (The Movie) 2003 Official Annual and Spider-Man 2 (The Movie) Official Annual.
If you're in the U.S. then maybe you're not familiar with this format, but to the Brits an "annual" is a hardback format. This one is 8 5/8" x 12" in size, the same size as the second movie annual, and a little taller than the first one.
The first was produced by Egmont Books, the second by Alligator Books, and this third one has been picked up by Panini, which seems to be the European book and magazine publishing arm of Marvel (as well as making trading cards and stickers, I believe).
The front cover is nice and glossy with a dark, modern look - it's a great start. Flipping the cover we get a slick-looking table of contents for this 64 page compendium. So let's see what we get in here.
First up, a two-page spread Spidey profile. A brief history (movie-oriented), and a list of his key powers. Then a two-page profile for Sandman, and final two-pager for the New Goblin. The profiles are illustrated with movie art, and the layout and graphics work is slick without being overwhelming. All good.
Then we're into the reprint of Spider-Man: The Official Movie Adaptation. The third movie didn't get a comic adaptation, so I guess they had to go back and reprint the adaptation of the first film. We gave the first film adaptation a slightly sub-par 2.5 webs - it was passable, but hardly a real substitute for the film.
Midway through the comic, we break out again for a two-page Black Suited Spider-Man profile. Sexy! Then there's a Venom profile spread, before we get to... Spider-Quiz Time! An 11-question spider-quiz, and a web-word puzzle. But we're going to skip the puzzle and finish reading the movie adaptation... which brings us to the end of the book. Awwww... all finished.
Some good points here. The graphic layout work was far superior to the preceding annual for the second film. But the content was pretty damn skimpy! Five character profiles, and a dozen quiz questions? I can't remember what I paid for this, but it was somewhere around eight pounds - I'm guessing that's close on US$15 at current rates.
For that you get a nice hardback cover, a five year old reprint of a barely adequate adaptation, and a dozen or so pages of original material. Hmmm... that's not enough to satisfy me.
The new stuff is good, but there's not enough of it. I can't give more than two and a half webs for this one.
The annual is marked as the "2008 Annual". I purchased it in August 2007, and it covers a film released in early 2007 and reprints an adaptation of a 2002 movie. I have no idea where the 2008 comes into the matter.