After twenty years of collecting Spider-Man colouring and activity books, it's very easy to think that I've seen all the different colouring book formats and technologies that the world has to offer. And then, along comes something perfectly obvious that I've never encountered before.
Here's one of those times.
This book is a top-stapled pad, 6" x 8", twelve single-sided sheets of paper.
Each page is a simple Spider-Man picture with a logo or some other kind of basic decoration. Nothing particularly exciting about that so far. The clever bit is that each page comes complete with its own set of paints.
Yep. Paints on every page. Have a look at the image and note the six bright colour blocks at the bottom of the sheet. Each one is a rectangle of dried-on paint, just waiting to be watered and used. All you need is a wet cotton-bud or perhaps even a wet brush. Apply water/brush/cotton-tip to the dried paint and it will dissolve and become usable. Then apply to the picture.
Ain't that clever? And obvious, when you think about it — just like all the best ideas!
Unfortunately the pictures themselves aren't particularly impressive. Spider-Man is the only character to appear in any of them, which kind of leaves me wondering what the purple and green paints are really going to be used for.
Also, the "illustration" part only covers the middle of the page, the rest of the surrounding area is just blank. Why no Green Goblin, Hulk, Scorpion? Why no skyscrapers? Why no battle scenes, helicopters, trees or any other sort of scenery?
It seems such a shame to have come up with such a wonderful technical concept, but then given up so easily when it came to applying some of the same effort into the creativity or variety of the art.
With just a little more work, this could have been a five-webs painting book. Unfortunately, despite the originality and cool-factor of the gimmick, the sheer laziness of the design drags this book down to a very middle-of-the-road three webs.