It’s taken me a while but I’ve finally tracked down a copy of the third and final Piccolo Spider-Man pop-up book, “The Schemer Strikes!”. (Apparently, even in my forties, the completist comic book collector in me is still very much alive and kicking).
Published in 1982 by Piccolo Books The Amazing Spider-Man: “The Schemer Strikes!” was the third, and last pop-up book to feature Marvel’s popular superhero..
Similar to the two previous books in this series (Spider-Man and “Attack of the Tarantula!”) this edition featured a short story depicting Spidey in battle with a super-villain, this time it’s The Schemer (actually the son of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin) who gets on the wrong side of the web-slinger.
The book was published in hardback, measured 5.5 x 6 inches and ran to 14 pages. The UK edition sold for £1.50, or £4.50 when adjusted for inflation — pretty steep for such a small book. Collectors can find second-hand copies on Amazon and ebay for between £15-25.
The story (such as it is) is enhanced by simple pop-ups that, thanks to the book’s diminutive size, don’t really do much– they certainly don’t ‘pop’. Unlike the first book (which measured a generous 8 x 11 inches) the smaller size of this book really doesn’t do it any favours and the pop-ups are more like ‘fold-outs’.
“The Schemer Strikes!” was produced with the help of several Marvel regulars, including John Romita, Herb Trimpe, Mike Esposito and Marie Severin. The pop-ups were engineered by Guillermo Rozo, who also worked on a couple of other Piccolo/Marvel pop-up books.
The story ends with Spidey using his web-shooters to escape from The Schemer’s laser cage…
… before handing the villain over to the police and swinging away.
Pop-up books have come a long way in the last few decades and “The Schemer Strikes!” looks pretty crude in comparison. It still has a certain charm though even if it doesn’t really work as a pop-up book.
As well as the three pop-up books starring Spider-Man, Piccolo also published three editions featuring The Hulk — The Incredible Hulk, “Trapped!” and “Circus of Crime!” – click on the links to see more.