The Amazing Spider-Man Coloring and Activity Book (Bendon)

 Posted: Jan 2012
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)


This coloring and activity book was, as far as I can tell, the first of the fifteen or so various Bendon activity books published between 2006 and 2009.

Story Details

  The Amazing Spider-Man Coloring and Activity Book (Bendon)
Summary: Coloring pages, games, four crayons attached to cover
Publisher: Bendon Publishing

This book is 8" x 10.5", roughly magazine sized. It features a soft card cover with a staple binding, rather than a higher-quality glued square binding. Inside are 48 black and white newsprint pages.

The material is similar to the other Bendon books of that time. There is a mix of puzzles and coloring. The puzzles include: findaword, word scramble, follow the letters, tic-tac-toe grids, find-the-missing-piece, odd-one-out, mazes, and suchlike.

The art work is a bit of a mix. A few pages feature clean, fresh line artwork which looks to have been custom drawn for this book. However, most of the pictures seem to have been lifted from various different comic books, and then "cleaned up" by removing the original coloring to leave a rough imitation of the inked outlines.

This has been done to varying degrees of success. Some of the linework is too dark, leaving not much space to color. Other linework is too thin, making it pretty challenging to draw exactly to the lines. Every now and again, a good balance has been struck.

General Comments

To my mind, there are really three factors by which a coloring book can be judged.

One is value, how does the production quality compare against the price?

The second is the art work. How is the quality and variety? Is the art work attractive, and is it suitable for coloring with crayon or pencil by a semi-skilled hand?

Finally, there's the rather intangible question of "love" or "effort". Does it feel like the puzzles and content have been carefully constructed? Or has the creator simply put together a few different formulas and then mechanically recycled them throughout the book, and/or the series of books?

Overall Rating

The production value is reasonable. The binding is stapled and the pages are cheap newsprint. But there are four nice crayons on the front cover. I'm not sure what color should be used for the "Black Cat" or the "Rhino". Red, Blue, Yellow or Green? None seems to fit particularly well.

The artwork is generally adequate, perhaps on the mediocre side at times.

The content is competent, but uninspired, and the anonymous writer demonstrates no real affinity with the Marvel characters beyond the superficial.

While disappointing to a Marvel fan like myself, "competent but uninspired" seems to be the benchmark for modern Marvel coloring and activity books.

Two and a half webs, with negative outlook.

 Posted: Jan 2012
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)