For all you masochists out there, if you're looking for a really crappy Spider-Man coloring book, the most reliable source is non-licensed Chinese products imported illegally. There's a whole heap of those listed on SpiderFan over in our Spider-Man Color/Activity (China) title.
But every now and again the Brits like to remind you that they also have a long and proud history of licensed Spider-Man rubbish, such as this "Play Pack".
Inside the cellophane top-hanging bag is a "colouring pad", a "mini colouring pad", and four pencils.
Let's start with the masterwork – the main colouring pad. It's 8.25" x 10.75", top-stapled, cardboard covered, containing 16 pages of cheap off-white newsprint with black and white artwork. The front page gets off to a sad start contracting the front page and insisting that it is a "Colouring Book" not a "Colouring Pad". But who cares about such details, clearly not the product designer!
Slightly more embarrassingly, the company name is misspelled. It's written as both "Copwrite" and "Copywrite" – one of those must be wrong. I'm assuming "Copywrite" is correct.
To be fair, the artwork rendering is slightly superior to Chinese-designed content. Here at least the lines are clean and solid, the pages also have backgrounds. But the variety is still very limited, it's 95% Spidey alone in various stock poses. But one of the images features White Tiger to keep Spider-Man company, and Iron Fist appears on the back cover. There are no spelling errors, and the images are generally rotated in sensible directions.
So that's the "good". The "bad" is the cheap, slightly-transparent paper and the absolutely stingy page count.
Let's check out the mini-pad. It's 5.5" x 8.2" and contains 16 pages, and some crazy bastard cut the corner off mine!
Hang on a moment. It's the same on the other copy I have here. There's a jagged die-cut line lopping-off some 1/8th of the book. What the Sam Spade were those guys smoking when they thought that was a good idea? I can imagine the marketing guy now...
Ya see (goes the concept pitch for this product), kids today have no patience in colouring. So let's reduce the page count down to match their attention spans, and chop off the corner of the book so there's even less for them to bother with. Right, go print it!
I knew it. Millennials are killing colouring books!
I think the Brits never really got over rationing. It's most unusual to see a UK-produced colouring book which appears "generous" with page count or page thickness.
I mean, honestly. A 16 page colouring pad? At that stage, why even bother publishing anything?
I've used luxury toilet paper with a bigger ply-count than this mini colouring pad.
They cheaped-out on the page count. I'm gonna be equally as stingy with the rating!