This UK kids magazine is one of two regular Spidey magazine offerings from Panini. Spider-Man & Friends targets the 4-10 year old market, while sister publication Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) aims at the pre-teen and teen crowd.
Spider-Man & Friends features a distinctively drawn semi-Manga style kiddie Spider-Man, his cousin Spider-Girl, plus early school versions of Hulk, Wolverine, Beast, Storm and Captain America along with guest appearances from many other big name Marvel heroes and villains. Toy tie-ins are also available.
Published every four or five weeks, this UK magazine features a toy taped to the front of each issue. Inside you'll find a four page Spidey & Friends story with three panels per page, captions of 8-20 words per panel. Then there's some nice simple kids puzzles, some coloring, a couple of competitions, and a page or two of Spidey merchandise. Essentially, it's the same format as the older kids magazine, just reworked for a much younger target audience.
Spider-Man is supposed to meet Spider-Girl at the club house. But Spider-Girl is not there. She is at the riding club watching horses. They are very pretty.
And again, without warning, we are swept away into another mind-bending Spider-Man & Friends surreal-o-epic adventure! Actually, maybe we did have a little warning... like the fact that we opened the cover and decided to read the first page. But still, it always comes as a bit of a surprise. No, honestly.
For example... I bet you never guessed that Thor was about to turn up. But he does! While Spider-Man is warning Spider-Girl that horses are a lot of work, the Norse God flaps in from the East and wants to know what's going on. "Horses" is the answer. "Pah! I have Horses!" or something to that effect. And before ya know it the Godly-one is waving his hammer 'cos it gives him the power to "Go to different planets" (end quote).
Well, Asgard isn't exactly a planet. But Thor twirls his hammer and the Deity and the two Spider-Cousins are off to see his horses. But of course (and here's the clever bit) they're actually magical goats! Spider-Girl feeds the goats sugar lumps. What a treat for them!
Ah, this is just lovely. I pity the kindergarten teacher who has to explain this to a bunch of four year olds. But I can't argue with the concept. Let's see more paganism in schools! For years, we've been told that schooling should be more embracing of alternate, non-scientific world-views. I say "Hear Hear!".
This kind of dodgy-acid mind-trip is a total blast. When I see Thor bursting with pride as he presents his goats, I can't imagine offering anything less than five webs.
Next issue... the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Have you been touched by his noodley appendage?