In these days of Playstations and PC's, something like a pop-up book probably fails to grab the attention of your average child. That's a shame, pop-up books are a sadly-overlooked form of craft with a long and proud history. We've previously reviewed the miniature sized popup book Amazing Spider-Man Pop-Up Book "The Schemer Strikes" from 1982, and here from the same era is a Piccolo Pop-Up book dated 1980. This one is a full-sized hardback.
There are six double-page scenes in this book, each one a pop-up creation. That doesn't give much room for a story, and indeed the plot is rather thin. Peter and MJ go to the carnival. MJ drops through a trapdoor in the fun house, and becomes captured by the Green Goblin (who has a couple of other prisoners who I didn't recognise). Peter changes to Spidey and saves her, defeating Gobby in the process.
It's not clear at all if the Goblin is Norman, Harry, or whoever. It's also not clear if Peter knows the Goblin's identity, or vice versa. Is the selection of MJ as victim deliberate or accidental? Ah, it doesn't matter. The story is there for nothing more than as an excuse for the pop-ups. And oh, what lovely pop-ups.
The first spread is a simple 3D, with MJ movable as the page opens and closes, showing her dropping down into the trapdoor. The second page has a flip-flap showing Peter changing into Spidey, but then also shows Spidey hanging from a thread in a deep 3D in-yer-face popout! Spidey is actually on a cotton thread, hanging out from the book. This is excellent!
In the next page, Spidey swings from side to side (as the page opens), and also slams down to deliver a kick to the Goblin (on a pull-tab). The page after that has Spidey slinging, and the Goblin sitting right out from the book at 90 degrees. Unfortunately, I think they try to do too much, and the scene there is cluttered by a popput pumpkin bomb, and some dust from an explosion.
On the penultimate page, pull a tab to move the webbing to wrap up the Goblin, and another tab to toss the Goblin down a garbage chute of some kind. Hmm... where would a chute go, underground? Oh well. The last popup is a static carnival scene (it's hard to do too much on the first and last pages, since the pages are glued to the hardback cover.
MJ has emerged, to tell Peter that he missed all the excitement. Rather than call the police, or going home, Peter and MJ wander off to enjoy the rest of the carnival. Heh, she's hard, that girl!
An absolute gem. This is destined to be one of the books that I pull out and (very carefully) show people when they drop round for dinner. It's classic Spider-Man, and pleases on so many levels. It's far too fragile to put in the hands of children, but that's alright. This is a book for middle-aged Spidey fans to cherish and love.
If you want a copy, you'll probably need to ship it over from the UK, but hey, it's worth the hassle. This is a beautiful collectors piece. How could I give it anything less than five perfect, tacky, cliched, and thoroughly enjoyable webs.