Since 2012, the UK publishing house "Parragon Publishing" (along with their publishing friends Scholastic in the Australia/NZ region) has been mixing and matching material from their pool of Spider-Man artwork to produce dozens of different colouring and activity books.
This book from December 2014 marks a turning-point, as it introduces new branding, and (more importantly) an entirely new set of artistic material, all now based on the hugely popular Ultimate Spider-Man TV (2012) cartoon series.
Fresh artwork aside, the content and format is the same decent-quality stuff for which Parragon has acquired a reputation. The book is the standard 8.5" x 10.6" with 48 full-colour pages in a square-bound glossy cardboard cover.
Pretty much every Parragon activity book has a "gimmick" attached, and this one is no exception. There's a plastic shell-case inserted into the cover which contains ten little white plastic spiders (each about 1" in width) which (wonder of wonders) will "glow in the dark". Incredible!
The actual activities themselves are well varied, carefully constructed, and attractively designed. There are mazes, puzzles, quizzes, drawing, colouring, games, spot the difference, creative writing prompts, mixed in with a few "fact files".
But more importantly, it's just fantastic to see the variety of material here. So many publishers will just past together some black and white colouring pages and slap in a few "tic tac toe" grids. But the Parragon team seem to be willing to put some serious effort into creating original and innovative material.
All the artwork and the characters tie back nicely to the 2012 TV series, giving the book a great sense of internal consistency between the different activities. Production quality and design work is all of the highest quality.
This book is a master class on how to create a modern, high-quality Spider-Man coloring book at a fair price (list price is £4.99).
Sure, it's still nothing more than a shameless example of a capitalistic cash-in of a current pop culture icon. But it's a really nice example with it. Four-and-a-Half Webs.