Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse: The Official Movie Special is an upcoming magazine based on the titular Marvel movie. What this special lacks in design and editorial craftsmanship, it makes up for in behind-the-scenes artwork.
Titan Books has made several “Official Movie Specials” for Marvel. They have worked on projects including, but not limited to, Eternals, Loki, WandaVision, and Thor: Ragnarok. These books are filled with concept art, official stills, and interviews with the cast and crew.
SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE: THE OFFICIAL MOVIE SPECIAL OFFERS AN EXPANDED LOOK AT THE FILM
For hardcore fans of the Marvel Universe, books like these provide a must-see look into the greater workings of their favorite films and television shows. Titan Books lent their creative expertise to one of the most beloved animated superhero stories in recent history – Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse.
Starring Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfield, Across The Spider-Verse is the epic story of Miles Morales as he reunites with Spider-Woman (Gwen Stacy) over a year after the events of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. The sequel, which was released earlier this year and very recently arrived on Netflix, boasted a bigger, bolder, and brighter story.
Through Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse: The Official Movie Special, readers can take a deeper dive into the incredible world of Miles Morales. But what exactly does this magazine special have to offer fans of the Spider-Man universe?
Opening with a quote from Justin K. Thompson, (one of the three directors) about the humanity and relatability of Spider-Man starts the magazine off on the right foot. He speaks about how Spider-Man is an everyman. The quote in question is just as applicable to Miles Morales as it is to Peter Parker. The idea of Spider-Man is greater than either of those individuals, even though this is Miles’ story.
Next is an interview with the producing/writing team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The subheading for this section refers to the duo as “The Academy Award Producers Of Into The Spider-Verse”, which doesn’t quite read right. Are Lord and Miller Academy Award nominees, winners, or are they producers of the Academy Awards? That might sound like a nitpick, and the special does clarify that descriptor shortly thereafter, but this is the introduction to the magazine. Clear wording matters, especially at the beginning of any story.
The interview is engaging and thought out, but the layout certainly has room for improvement. A brief biographical look into the careers of Lord and Miller cuts the interview in half. Personally, I would have preferred to read the interview and then the bio, or vice versa. Obviously, readers have free will and can still make that choice, but the magazine designer wanted this segment to flow from questions, to bios, and back to questions. This stylistic choice is repeated throughout Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse: The Official Movie Special.
The next section focuses on Shameik Moore, the voice actor behind the webhead. This section was, to be frank, extremely disappointing. Unlike the segments with the writers, directors, producers, and other crew, the cast is not interviewed. They are instead given a bio and a couple of short blurbs about the characters they play. The artwork complementing this part is far more engaging than the half-baked prose.
The Hailee Steinfeld section suffers from the same problem. Furthermore, the subheading refers to Gwen Stacy as “the hero formerly known as Spider-Gwen and Ghost Spider”. Gwen Stacy’s time in the spandex has not been the cleanest from a name/branding perspective, historically speaking. But those issues are in the past. Gwen Stacy IS Spider-Woman, and this magazine should respect that title enough to use it properly.
Before singing the indelible praises of the concept art and pre-renders featured throughout Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse: The Official Movie Special, a few more bones need to be picked. A few erroneous claims are made which, while not massively important, aren’t very professional. For example, this issue claims that Into The Spider-Verse achieved an “unheard of” 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. While certainly a hit with critics, that film is certainly not the only movie to hit 100 on the Tomatometer.
Titan Books also claim that producer Avi Arad has a track record that is “nothing short of spectacular”. While Arad’s name is on many fantastic Marvel offerings, it is on just as many disappointing adaptations, if not more. Now, all in all, do these issues drag this special down? Not in a big way, but the aforementioned headscratchers might result in readers skimming the interviews.
The good news is that the artwork is absolutely incredible and worth every penny. There is concept art of Gwen Stacy rocking a stunning ballet look. The Spot and Miles Morales have a few hilarious battles in the film, and now you can see the earliest drawings that laid the groundwork.
One of the highlights of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse: The Official Movie Special is the interview with production designer Patrick O’Keefe. The questions asked are inspired, and his responses are fascinating. But the real treat is the inside look at how Nueva York (the world of Spider-Man 2099) was brought to life. Fans of Miguel O’Hara, this book is in no short supply of delightful drawings and early compositions.
The end of this special issue is jam-packed with production designs for Ben Reilly, The Vulture, Pavitr Prabhakar, Jessica Drew, and other fan-favorite characters. The poster gallery and the concept art make this magazine a must-have for Spider-Verse fans, even if the editorial design leaves something to be desired. You won’t be able to find these official visuals & interviews anywhere else, and you don’t want to miss them.
Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse: The Official Movie Special will be released on December 19, 2023. Have you pre-ordered your copy of the magazine yet? Let us know your thoughts on the upcoming issue on social media, and thanks for reading!