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The Spider-Man Handbook

01/10/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy The Spider-Man Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual in the USA - or Buy The Spider-Man Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual in the UK

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The Spider-Man Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual by Seth Grahame-Smith. pub: Quirk Books. 173 page small illustrated softcover. Price: $15.95 (US), GBP 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-59474-125-8.

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Rather oddly, compared to the previous Quirk handbooks, I’ve been reading last month, ‘The Spider-Man Handbook’ pointedly reminds its readers not to copy the examples in this book. Once you start reading, you will realise that this one does not teach you how to be a good and caring citizen but shows you what to do if you suddenly become a human spider like a certain high school student called Peter Parker did.

Author Seth Grahame-Smith points out the dangers and what to do if you’ve been bitten by a spider and the real dangers from radioactivity before thinking you’ve gained super-powers. However, he does tend to miss out on the point that although Parker was aware that he was bitten, he didn’t get any side-effects until he’d gotten him and had a rough night sleeping. Even then, it was only jumping out of the way of a lorry and sticking to a wall that he discovered he was different. If that is the case, the bitten but not the wall-climbing, then his and my recommendation is get to a hospital and get yourself checked over. Of course, if you wake up fine then put it down to something you ate than a bite.

I’m at a loss why Grahame-Smith thinks that without his web-spinners, Spider-Man is just a strong man when he can still climb walls and has his spider-sense. The one stumbling block to becoming another Spider-Man is Parker’s knowledge in creating his web. Unlike the recent films, Spidey still uses his mechanical aids but I suppose we should be grateful that he didn’t copy real spiders and have web coming out of his bum. Now that would make for an interesting take in another film or even in the comicbooks unless you know of any spiders that excrete web from their legs.

The examination of how Spider-Man builds up momentum swinging from buildings is interesting but neglects to point out that most artistic interpretations of Spidey has him in mid-flight and he swings down from them as opposed to starting off at ground level.

There’s a lot of good advice how to protect yourself in a fight although when it comes to glass, Grahame-Smith neglects to point out windows are not made of sugar glass and unless you’re capable of throwing a couple mini-cooper cars, you shouldn’t attempt to smash through skyscraper panes. Even Spider-Man is only barely capable of doing that let alone taking a jump of that magnitude.

This book does a thorough job looking at all the problem areas Spider-Man can have as well as some of the better stuff. You’re even told how to get a decent photo. Lots of useful information as well as noting things that even Peter Parker has to do amongst his normal chores. I was really impressed, especially when it reminded me why I needed to defrost my fridge. Now, find me a radioactive spider.

GF Willmetts

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