Friday, January 25, 2008


Issue #1

Issue #2

Issue #3

Issue #4

AUTHOR: C.B. Cebulski (1-4), David Sexton (1), Mindy Owens (4)
PENCILS: Ricardo Tercio (1), Niko Henrichon (2), Kei Kobayashi (3), Nick Dragotta (4)
INKS: Niko Henrichon (2), Kei Kobayashi (3), Michael Allred (4)
COLORS: Niko Henrichon (2), Christina Strain (3), Laura Allred (4)
LETTERING: Artmonkey Studios (1), Dave Sharpe (3), Dave Lanphear (4)
COVER ART: Ricardo Tercio (1), Niko Henrichon (2), Kei Kobayashi (3), Nick Dragotta (#4)
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
GENRE: Fairy Tales and Superheroes
FORMAT: Monthly comic
ISSUES: 1-4 (of 4)
PAGES: 32 pages each
COLOR: Full color

From the Marvel website …

#1 (of 4): In the tradition of X-Men Fairy Tales, Marvel makes its move on melding more modern myths, starting with Spider-Man! Our friendly neighborhood becomes a quaint village and Mary Jane fills the shoes of another famous red-head in this premiere issue as the tale of Little Red Riding Hood is retold with super hero sensibilities! Will Spider-Man be able to save her on her way to Aunt May's house? And just who is our Big Bad Wolf? Find out just how fun fairy tales can be... Marvel style!

#2 (of 4): The legend of Kwaku Anansi, the First Spider, melds with the Marvel Universe as Anansi learns a valuable lesson about power and responsibility. On his quest for the legendary Spider-Orchid, Anansi is challenged by four elemental beings who seek to stop him from reaching his goal. Will Anansi be able to overcome the villainous forces of air, water, sand and fire to complete his journey and take his next steps in life?

#3 (of 4): Spider-Man Fairy Tales continues with a retelling of Spider-Man's origin, fusing one of Marvel's most classic stories with a number of popular Japanese ghost stories and legends! After the death of his parents, a young Buddhist monk is taken in by his elderly aunt and uncle and has since enjoyed a peaceful life away from further pain and suffering in a secluded temple. But when an evil "tsuchigumo," or spider spirit, attacks and bites the young boy, he finds he's gained tremendous abilities, which he must now use to save his temple from six sinister ghostly invaders who have come for his blood.

#4 (of 4): You've never seen a Cinderella story like this one! In search of a husband for Princess Gwendolyn, a costume ball is thrown for the suitable young men of the Kingdom, but when the mysterious Spider Prince arrives, that's when the trouble begins. Who is this noble knight no one has ever heard of? What grudge do the soldiers in the Goblin Brigade hold against him? And just why does this dashing Spider Prince need to depart before midnight? Will he fall victim to a pumpkin bomb?

How do you tell old stories to a new and young audience without boring the kids to death? Marvel’s recipe mixes four cups of traditional fairy tales with 1 pound of ground superhero. Mix thoroughly with hands, place in four different dishes and bake until nicely browned and solid to the touch.

Each story is seasoned separately creating four distinct and creative dishes. Some work well and others seem a bit forced, but the outcome is interesting, energetic and fun. The first three issues are excellent. Those three stories fit their own fairy tale very well, yet they manage to maintain a strong Spider-Man flavor, delicious dishes all, whereas issue number four – the Cinderella story – was more like a dish of Brussels sprouts and beet soup served lukewarm. One poor dish, among three great ones, is a percentage I am willing to accept. I think kids will too. In fact, I think kids will devour these modern superhero fairy tales and ask for seconds.

The art review is similar to the story review in that the first three issues were expertly crafted. The art is stylized and varied; it is not the traditional comic fare. Each issue has its own feel, which is characteristic of the story. Issue 4 is drawn with a more conservative and traditional eye, which is fine, but not really fitting for the subject. I would have liked to seen the artist take a risk more in line with issues 1-3.

My Rating: Ages 9 and older
Publisher’s Rating: “A” (ages 9 and older)

Fairy tales have monsters and death and scary things. Marvel’s SPIDER-MAN FAIRY TALES is no different.

Kids frequently study fairy tales and so these have an automatic place in the classroom: elementary, middle and even high school. These tales are rooted in different cultures giving the teacher a chance to easily and seamlessly incorporate a multicultural discussion without forcing the issue into the curriculum or being forced to talk only during specific ethnic monthly holidays or celebrations. If there is a better way to incorporate cultural education, I do not know about it.

Another similar title is X-MEN FAIRY TALES issues 1-4. It is rumored that Marvel will also publish an AVENGERS FAIRY TALES series. The individual SPIDER-MAN FAIRY TALES (and the X-MEN series too) are available in a trade paperback.

Allowing kids to explore the fairy tale in new and exciting ways helps them appreciate traditional literature and also expands their knowledge and ability to see the connections between old and new. Not only is this series fun, it is educational and practical.

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