cover image The Spider-Man Handbook: The Ultimate Traning Manual

The Spider-Man Handbook: The Ultimate Traning Manual

Seth Grahame-Smith. Quirk Books, $15.95 (176pp) ISBN 978-1-59474-125-8

Why do we like Spidey? According to Spider-Man creator Lee in this volume, the latest so-you-want-to-be-a-superhero guide from the publisher of The Batman Handbook and The Superman Handbook, it's because he's ""a guy who's not that different from you."" If Peter Parker can do it, the idea goes, so can anyone; as such, this entry is more practical than its predecessors, but still ""a work of fiction"" that warns readers up front, ""don't try this at home."" But with clever comic-book illustrations from Barberi, a wry, self-referential sense of humor and a real commitment to the material, this is a great addition to any fan's library. Amid fanciful strategies for ""How to Escape When You're a Prisoner in the Enemy's Secret Headquarters"" (""he'll leave you with the dimmest guard on the payroll"" soon enough) and ""How to Tell the Clone from the Original"" (""examine their teeth""), there's Worst Case Scenario-type entries like ""How to Withstand a Savage Beating"" and The Incredibles-style concern over the minutiae of the superhero lifestyle (costumes ""fall short in the pockets department,"" so ""a compartmentalized belt or vest is a must""). In addition, Grahame-Smith doesn't skimp on historical trivia, detailing ""The Many Looks of Spider-Man,"" profiling enemies and highlighting his career-making moments in comics. Illustrations.