This UK kids Magazine is produced by Panini, and it's a companion to the Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) produced by the same guys.
The new "Spider-Man & Friends" range is based around Spider-Man, his cousin Spider-Girl, plus Hulk and Wolverine, though there's plenty of guest appearances. You should be able to find plenty of Spider-Man & Friends toys still in the shops, the style is a western/manga cross, and the target group is the 3-9 year old market.
Published every four or five weeks, this UK magazine features a toy taped to the front of each issue. Inside you'll find a four page Spidey & Friends story with three panels per page, captions of 8-20 words per panel. Then there's some nice simple kids puzzles, some coloring, a couple of competitions, and a page or two of Spidey merchandise. Essentially, it's the same format as the older kids magazine, just with a much younger target market.
FEE FI FO FUM!
It's the end of the day at Spider-Man's school. The teacher is reading a super story to the class about a scary giant. Everyone enjoys story time!
Today, the story seems to be going on forever. The Lizard raises his hand so that he can ask a question. "Can we go home yet?" he asks.
Well, it's past home time. Something is going on... no end of school bell! And so begins this issue's 4-page story in Spider-Man & Friends (UK Magazine) #7.
Looking around the class room, I see (apart from the teacher)... kiddie versions of Storm, Lizard, Beast, Spider-Man, Spider-Girl, Cyclops, Hulk, Rhino, and Thor. Wow... that's quite a collection of super-school-kids!
Well, Spidey's spider-sense is telling him there's something wrong, so the teacher sends them all out to look for the school bell. Hulk helps lift the furniture so Cyclops can look undernearth. Wolvie uses his hyper-acute sense of smell to check out the school canteen (Ewwww... boiled cabbage is bad enough without super-smell!). Thor helps Wolvie, but gets distracted by vegetables. Hmm... I would have figured Hulk would be good in the canteen. HULK MASH!
Captain America and Storm check out the playground. Spider-Girl and Rhino stop to play on the swings. Hey, they're not helping look! Doc Ock is on the play gym and Lizard likes the slide.
Silver Surfer and Thing are in the library when Spidey goes to look. Thing is reading a book on Pirates. Silver Surfer is reading about dinosaurs. But still no bell. Where else can they look. The principal's office!
Yeah, the head-man has the bell. It's broken. The string that attaches the donger is broken. Oh no! Who can save the day?!?! Of course, Spider-Man can use his webbing! DING DING! Now everybody can go home!
Muahahaha! This stuff is sublime. Perfect illustrations accompany this lovely little story. The rest of the comic is full of spot-the-difference, tell-the-time, coloring, rhyming pairs, trace-the-letters, mazes, cut-and-paste on a background scene, a comprehension-quiz on the story, fan letters and photos, a competition, and one single page of advertising for Spidey toys (all sold by Big Red Warehouse).
It all adds up to a fantastic package for pre-schoolers and early school kids. At one pound seventy-five pence, it's a steal. Seriously, if you're in the UK and you've got a 3-9 year old SpiderFan in your family, you should subscribe to this magazine, it rocks!
A splendid four webs.