Around the time that the first Spider-Man movie came out, naturally there were a few folks trying to figure out how to make a quick buck off the back of it. Mr. Gross and the guys from Hyperion were among them.
Actually, saying Unauthorized and Confidential on the title is clearly trying to imply that this book contains some spicy inside information that you won't find anywhere else! In fact, the exact opposite is true. But go ahead, read the review anyhow...
This is a soft-cover book with a shiny foil cover. Size around 7.25" x 9", running to 270 pages or so. The interior is black/white with some B&W photos, but not many. The book is unauthorised.
Spiderman Confidential is basically "all the stuff we could find about Spider-Man". There's a mix of written material and some space-filling lists. For example, 60 pages (over 20% of the book) is filled with a list of the story titles and creator credits for Amazing Spider-Man and Marvel Team-Up. No Spectacular, or Web, or such. Just ASM and MTU. I mean, fine, but this info is available for free on the 'Net on at least six different web-sites... with cover scans! There's no cover scans in this book, just dry old lists.
There's also lists from various TV shows, which is a bit more interesting, but actually, I have strong reason to believe that they just ripped this stuff off the Internet too. Why? Well, because the "The Electric Company" episode descriptions are taken from SpiderFan.Org!
Yep, that's right, these guys just ripped info off my site, without permission, and stuck it in the book. Of course, the joke is on them, since the list on this site is incomplete and inaccurate. Hah! Still, that marks the writers of Spider-Man Confidential as a bunch of thieving scum-bags in my humble opinion.
There's a pretty lame "Rogue's Gallery", with no real info and no pictures. The DK "Ultimate Spider-Man" book or the "Spider-Man Encyclopedia" are both infinitely better than the lame-ass attempt in Spider-Man Confidential. The only thing that is even vaguely interesting is the time-line summary of the major events of the movie creation. Admittedly it's just a summary of the big stories from the news wires, but at least it's something I haven't seen elsewhere. There's also a verbatim transcript of a news conference given by the cast.
In summary, there's almost nothing new here. Plus, the writers used our site as a reference for at least one section of the book. At least they had the decency to edit the words, but even so, it's pretty blatant.
At a $17 price tag, you'd have to be mad to buy this book for full price. Then again, it's probably selling for $3 in remainder bins all over the place. At that price it would merely be expensive, rather than an complete and utter rip-off.