Here's a little gem for the dedicated collector. From 1982, this is a small-format popup kids book. It's the kind of one-off find which, for me, really defines the whole joyous business of pop-culture collectables.
This book isn't ultra-rare, it isn't massively expensive, but there's just a huge level of satisfaction and sheer collecting pleasure from stumbling across this and adding it to your bookshelf.
What's more, with recent power problems on the East Coast, the theme of this store is just far too resonant to put aside! Make way, as... "The Schemer Strikes!"
I bought this book on the net, and didn't realise that it was teeny - only 5 inches wide by 6 inches high. It contains six double-spread pages, each with in-yer-face popup action! The story is credited to Herb Trimpe, Mike Esposito, David Kraft, John Romita, Marie Severin, and Ken Feduniewicz. Paper engineering courtesy of Guillermo Rozo.
Unsurprisingly, this story concerns the Schemer. Now, you and I know that the Schemer was secretly Richard Fisk, son of the Kingpin, who was attempting to set up his own gangland empire so as to overthrow his father, out of disgust for his father's own criminal past. Naturally, becoming what you intend to destroy has its own inherent dangers.
But put that aside, because for the purposes of this far-from-epic tale, the Schemer is just a bad guy who has caused a blackout in New York City, and he shouts, expositionally, from a convenient rooftop, that this power outage is just a taste of what the Mayor can expect if the Schemer's (unspecified) demands are not met!
Meanwhile, on an adjacent rooftop. Peter Parker is conveniently the only person who seems to have heard. He springs into action, pulling off his shirt, in a popup which does little more than sit out from the page a bit.
But next panel, Spidey has tracked the Schemer to his secret hideout... and our wall-crawler sits nicely off the wall, as he makes his way to a window, with a thick wooden frame which lifts off the opposite page. Nice popup...
...but not as nice as this next one! This is the masterwork popup. Open this page slowly, and you'll see Spidey push off the (just smashed) window, lift right off the page, and descend on top of the Schemer, bringing a smashing elbow down onto the villain. The Schemer himself is pushing forward over his master console. This is one awesome popop. My congratulations to Mr. Rozo!
Page four, and the Schemer has Spidey trapped. Spidey is an a plain block popup which lifts off one page, while the Schemer's desk lifts off the other page. The Schemer himself also lifts off the page in a clean die-cut profile. Not a high-action popup, but tons of depth between the three parts.
But never fear, though Spidey is trapped in an energy-bar cage, he has a plan, which he expounds to the Schemer as he executes it. Using his webbing, Spidey short-circuits the controls. Both Spidey and the schemer are just flat-lifted off the page, in a stylish die-cut outline. Average popup.
Page six, Spidey's work is done! Leaving the Schemer webbed up for the Boys in Blue to collect, Spidey swings away, with his feet on the page, and the rest of his body coming towards you off the page, giving a nice piece of perspective. This is just a simple one-piece popup, but the colors are great, and the outline is clean. Nice way to finish.
Ya gotta love it! If you collect Spidey books, then you have to get this one! Go on... treat yourself!
I really can't say that this deserves a maximum five-web rating, since the story is non-existant. But with a clear conscience, I think I can give it 4.5 webs, for being one of the highlights of my Spidey book collection!