Spider-Man Magazine #1

Background

This is a magazine-sized periodical that was targeted for kids (Think Nickelodeon Magazine). It contained two six-page comic strips (One staring Spider-Man and the second another Marvel hero or group - usually the X-Men). It also fan art, puzzles, word searches, jokes, and kid-target features (on nature, etc.), as well as bios of Spidey, and other Marvel characters. Some issues contained Marvel trading cards bound inside. All done in that jokey, Marvel Bullpen style. The Mag was packaged by an outside firm, and distributed by Marvel.

Story 'Circus of Crime'

The first Spidey comic had Peter Parker taking photos at a new incarnation of the Ringmaster's circus of crime. This incarnation featured weirdly-mutated animals (a tiger with the head of an alligator, a giraffe with the head of an elephant, a kangaroo with the head of a lion, etc.). Peter overhears that the Ringmaster has stolen the animals from an experimental lab and decides to do something about it when two of the Ringmaster's henchmen realize that Peter has been eavesdropping and try to capture them. Peter escapes, changes into Spidey and goes after the Ringmaster and his crew.

Right about then, the animals are frightened by the circus' cannon, and charge the audience. Spidey must now stop the animals as well as capture the Ringmaster and his malevolent circus, which he does.

General Comments

Keeping in mind that this is targeted for kids, it plays out fine (if you go for that kind of thing-my son seemed to like it when he was younger). It really isn't an item that most Spidey fans will want to seek out and actively collect, but if they stumbled across it, it is kind of fun to have.

Overall Rating

The comic stories are simplistic and probably don't fit into any actual continuity. Plus the feature articles are all one-two pages long. The jokes are cute, but if the comic was owned by a kid, they probably have completed all of the puzzles, thus bringing down any real (or imagined) value of the book as far as hard-core collectors are concerned.

Footnote

This issue contains eight trading cards (two uncut sheets of four) bound into the mag; four Fleer's First Edition (Doc Ock, Vulture, Venom, Spider-Man); and four '94 Fleer Ultra (Rogue, Wolverine vs. Spider-Man, Apocalypse, Jubilee).

The second story spotlights Jubliee of The X-Men (along with some of her teammates) and is essentially about how she learns the valuable lesson in teamwork.