Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The World According to Wolverine & Spider-Man, by Matthew K. Manning & Daniel Wallace (Bantam)

Two interesting diversions for fans of the characters


Writer: Matthew K. Manning | Illustrations: Stephen Mooney

In The World According to Wolverine, Marvel Comics’ favorite stoic loner finally opens up on a range of topics that are close to his mutant heart. With helpful tips on everything from clawed combat to outdoor survival and dealing with the agony of adamantium implantation, this book will delight fans who want to learn how to be just like the headstrong hero. Also featuring Logan’s ruminations on an extremely long and checkered life, his global travels, and the art of picking the perfect partner, The World According to Wolverine will offer unparalleled insight into one of the most fascinating and mysterious characters in the Marvel Comics universe. The book will also come with a number of removable items, including a postcard from Madripoor, snapshots of Wolverine’s lost loves, a wanted poster for Dog Logan, an exclusive Wolverine poster, and much, much more.


Writer: Daniel Wallace | Illustrations: Mirco Pierfederici

It’s not easy being a Super Hero when you’ve got a steady job to hold down and girlfriend problems to deal with. Somehow, Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) manages to do it while regularly saving New York City from a rogues’ gallery of super villains. In The World According to Spider-Man, the wisecracking hero spills the beans on how he balances his two lives and manages to keep his trademark sense of humor, even while he’s tangling with Doc Ock or the Green Goblin. The book comes with a wealth of incredible inserts, including clippings from the Daily Bugle, snapshots taken by Spidey on his adventures, a letter from Oscorp, a note from Mary Jane Watson, a page from Uncle Ben’s diary, schematics showing how the web-shooters work, and much, much more.

I hadn’t heard of these two books before they arrived in the mail. As a fan of both of these characters, but also one who hasn’t read as widely as I might of their varied exploits, these books proved rather fun and informative. They’re also pretty funny, and I think both Manning, Wallace and their illustrators have done a great job.

I’ve been trying to figure out for whom these books would be best suited. And I’m finding it a little difficult to identify the best audience clearly. Dedicated and long-term followers of Wolverine and Spider-Man will most likely know a lot of the information contained within, so they will be unlikely to be confronted by surprises. At the same time, new converts will likely miss a fair number of the inside jokes and references in these books. Of these two groups, the dedicated would probably enjoy them more, while the newcomer would find them good reference texts.

Each of the books is filled with lots of details on each of these characters, their closest comrades and respective rogues’ galleries. We get their origin stories, presented with original material from the comics, and also details of their evolutions and different aspects over their long, illustrious careers. Also included are amusing bits of ‘pull-out’ material. For example, in the Spider-Man volume, we have Peter Parker’s dismissal letter from J. Jonah Jameson, Jr. (“Parker, this is a difficult letter for me to write, since I’d much rather be delivering it in person so I could throttle your skinny little neck…”), Spider-Man’s New York Driving Licence, and also Spidey-related headlines. In the Wolverine book, we have a Wanted poster, a Canadian Central Railroad ticket from 1909, Logan’s CIA identity card, and also an email from Tony Stark (asking Logan to keep scarce because he doesn’t want his Iron Man suit from being scuffed or damaged – signing off, “xoxo… P.S. In all seriousness, please don’t stab me”).

There’s good strain of humour running through both of the books – clearly, the authors are big fans of their respective subjects, and while they are perfectly capable of seeing the absurdities of each, they present it with an obvious fondness and love for Logan and Peter, their legacies and quirks.

If you are a fan of either of these characters, then I strongly recommend you check these two books out. They aren’t long reads, but they offer some great background and source material, tinged with an air of nostalgia that should appeal to comic fans, young and old.

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