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King of Crooks

King of Crooks

Words by Jerry Siegel, Ted Cowan - Art by Reg Bunn - Published by Titan Books - First published 2005 - Originally published in Lion
King of Crooks

While Marvel Comics were busy churning out Spider-Man comics in the US, the UK had its own web-slinging human arachnid. Dubbed The Spider, also living in New York and also capable of shooting webs to help him defy gravity, there are many similarities between the two characters. But the British version appeared in a boys weekly anthology comic called Lion, and instead of fighting crime, was responsible for it.

This collection pulls together the first three story arcs printed from 1965 to 1966, along with a story from 1969's Lion annual.

King of Crooks

More of a nostalgia trip for those who were there than anything, the series shows its age. Reg Bunn's black and white artwork is undeniably detailed, if sometimes a bit wobbly when it comes to characters, but has the style of its time shining through. Creator Ted Cowan's scripts offer some interesting enough escapades and The Spider's criminal ego is certainly of interest. But moving into the scripting of Jerry Siegel (more famous as being the co-creator of Superman) in the latter pages of this book, we start to see the clichés forming, especially with regard to the unsatisfactory resolutions of the previous episode's cliff-hangers.

Undoubtedly influential to many of the British creators working in comics today, The Spider certainly has a place in the history archives, and it's good to see it restored and back in print in a sturdier format than the original comics. But this is no Citizen Kane-like classic that needs to be revered and referred back to, and even those who remember it fondly might find the harsh reality to be a little more simplistic than their boyhood imaginations might care to remember.

If you like this graphic novel, why not try...
Charley's War 1, 2
Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future
Story:2 stars
Art:3 stars
Overall:3 stars
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