"My Adventures with Spider-Man" is a personalized story book. You simply go online and enter your child's name, date of birth, address, and the names of a few friends. Click a button, pay your twenty bucks, and wait for your one-off printed book to arrive.
The book itself is 6.4" x 8.75". Square-bound glossy card cover holding 32 pages of clean, high-grade paper stock. Full color illustrations throughout with commercial printing quality.
The story is purpose-written for this book. It opens with [your child's name] receiving a letter. They have won the Daily Bugle amateur photo competition and the prize is a trip to New York for the child and three friends. Strangely enough, my four children were considered old enough to travel alone. Dad was not invited.
On arrival in New York, my jet-lagged four year old is welcomed to the Daily Bugle and introduced to Peter Parker and Jonah Jameson, while the other children are taken on a tour of the city. Peter and Jasper later head out to look for excitement on the streets.
It doesn't take long - Doctor Octopus is robbing a bank. Yep. Otto Octavius, whose patent on his mechanical arms would be worth several billion dollars, is smashing holes in walls for a bag full of dirty bank notes.
Peter quickly disappears, leaving a four-year old alone in a combat zone. Spider-Man and Doc Ock then engage in a running battle, which sees [your child's name] play a critical role in Spidey's eventual victory. Naturally, [your child's name] also takes a great photo for the Daily Bugle front page.
The next day, [your child] also receives a gold medal for services to New York in a public ceremony. It's a very special day, as it is also [your child]'s birthday!
Is there anything in life more cringe-inducing than these facile, pandering vanity products?
Reading these books is a painful experience. To see these classic characters and plots contrived so forcefully into awkward, unnatural shapes just to pretend that your child is special... is truly tragic.
I had hoped that a certain well-meaning charm might pervade, and imbue these stories with an ironic appeal. But no, there's nothing clever or subtle here. This has all the dignity of a home-made Olympic Bronze medal for "Middle-Distance Indoor Onanism".
The text and characters have been subjugated to a lower purpose. Even the illustrations are a confused mix of gritty colours and overly attentive layout. Like an expensive dominatrix dealing with a geriatric senator, nobody involved in this arrangement will escape with their dignity intact.
The product is professionally designed, accurately printed, and was shipped carefully and in a timely fashion.
Also, it is awful. Half a web.
This book is also available in a "Photo Cover" version from "Cute Kid Creations" for an extra ten bucks.