Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book [NOOK Book]

Overview

Based on interviews with Stan Lee and dozens of his colleagues and contemporaries, as well as extensive archival research, this book provides a professional history, an appreciation, and a critical exploration of the face of Marvel Comics. Recognized as a dazzling writer, a skilled editor, a relentless self-promoter, a credit hog, and a huckster, Stan Lee rose from his humble beginnings to ride the wave of the 1940s comic books boom and witness the current motion picture madness and comic industry woes. Included ...
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Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book

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Overview

Based on interviews with Stan Lee and dozens of his colleagues and contemporaries, as well as extensive archival research, this book provides a professional history, an appreciation, and a critical exploration of the face of Marvel Comics. Recognized as a dazzling writer, a skilled editor, a relentless self-promoter, a credit hog, and a huckster, Stan Lee rose from his humble beginnings to ride the wave of the 1940s comic books boom and witness the current motion picture madness and comic industry woes. Included is a complete examination of the rise of Marvel Comics, Lee's work in the years of postwar prosperity, and his efforts in the 1960s to revitalize the medium after it had grown stale.
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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Well-researched biography.
Book Sense 76
The story of a poor young kid who reinvented himself to become the cultural hero of two generations.
The Bloomsbury Review
We are given the anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories about Lee's working relationships with artists like Jack Kirby.
The Miami Herald
Presents an absorbing portrait of a man and an industry.
Movie Poop Shoot
Well researched . . . A valuable resource.
Silver Bullet Comic Books
Aims to set the record straight.
Comic Book Galaxy
An in-depth, journalistic look at the life and career of Stan Lee.
National Post
[A] nearly perfect new biography.
Bookpage
[The authors] cover the huckster and the creator in this interesting story of a man who changed American culture.
The Greeman Review
an excellent job of presenting a cohesive, coherent narrative covering the career of Stan Lee.
The Republican
The beauty of this book is that it puts Stan's life into sequence and tries to make sense of the man.
Copley News Service
Eminently readable, a valuable history of Stan Lee in particular, as well as the entire comic book industry.
Rain Taxi
Tucked in these chapters you'll find concise essays on all sorts of colorful topics.
Book News
Raphael and Spurgeon trace how Lee revamped an outdated genre.
The Plain Dealer
An honest look at a man who changed the course of comics.
Publishers Weekly
Stan Lee, the cocreator of pop cultural icons like Spider-Man, the Hulk and the X-Men, has long been the subject of debate within the comics community, and Raphael and Spurgeon aim to set the record straight in this well-researched and entertaining book. In the late 1960s, Lee elevated himself into the public eye as the face of Marvel Comics, adopting a colorful persona along the way. Left behind were his c-creators, artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, who never received the credit they deserved. At age 17, in 19TK, Lee (n Stanley Lieber) took a job as an all-purpose assistant at his cousin Martin Goodman's comic book company, Timely. A frustrated novelist, Lee remained at Timely, shielded by Goodman from the industry's mid-century tumults, and eventually he transformed the company into Marvel Comics, steering it and himself into pop culture history. The authors portray Lee as a constantly enthusiastic, slightly daffy figure who turned a Depression-era work ethic and real bursts of creativity into something special. For all of his faults, the authors give Lee proper credit for being a fast and exciting creatorwho gave superheroes real-world problems and anxieties and used this realism for its maximum potential. Raphael and Spurgeon also chronicle Lee's decades in the wilderness of Hollywood, trying and failing to get decent films made from Marvel properties. Writer Raphael and cartoonist Spurgeon have put together a solid narrative well interwoven with the history of comics. As they demonstrate well, Lee's story is the story of mainstream comic books and one that is important reading. 12 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
One of the architects of the modern superhero comic, Lee was head writer and editor at Marvel Comics from 1945 to 1972 and has served as a public frontman for the company ever since. This book, detailing Marvel's history and Lee's work inside and outside of the company, acts as a companion to Lee's 2002 autobiography, Excelsior! (and sports a similar cover). Lee is known largely as the creator of many of Marvel's famous characters, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Hulk. But Raphael and Spurgeon (along with many others) argue that the creative contributions of the artists Lee collaborated with were as important as Lee's own, and the two instead locate Lee's greatest contributions in his dialog writing and his excellent work as editor. The authors expose a few factual inaccuracies that Lee has promulgated about himself over the years and recount the sometimes harsh criticism of Lee as a glory-hog from some artists and industry pundits, but they also show affection for their subject. (Their contention that comics are now a marginal art form, however, is insupportable given the current interest in and success of graphic novels.) Recommended for all libraries. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Raphael and Spurgeon march readers through Lee's first 80 years, taking many compelling byroads along the way to observe the history of American comic-book development, distribution, and readership. Lee created a dynamic and somewhat charismatic persona for himself early in life, and was able to move from technical grunt work to a certain level of co-creativity with more sophisticated artists, and from errand boy to publisher to media mogul. He is, indeed, a part of popular culture with high name recognition. The authors use a variety of resources, including interviews with field specialists and unpublished writings, to substantiate their views of both the man and the medium's evolution. While there are source notes for each chapter, they appear in alphabetical order, making it impossible to find the specific reference to which some controversial declarations are attributed. This will frustrate those doing higher-level research but won't impede casual readers' enjoyment of a colorful man's story told through well-described vignettes.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Evenhanded and readable biography of comic maestro Lee and, through him, a history of the genre. In 1940, 18-year-old Stanley Lieber—smart, ambitious, raised in poverty—went to work at cousin Martin Goodman’s Timely (later, Marvel) Publishing. Goodman had moderate success imitating the pulps and comics of market leaders, and Lieber, now Stan Lee, was soon running the comics division. An accomplished and well-liked hack, his hucksterish self-promotion was smiled at until characters like Spiderman and the Fantastic Four became hugely popular in the early ’60s. Working with now-legendary artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Lee revived the anemic superhero genre using the "Marvel Method": he supplied outlines instead of detailed scripts, and the artists freely changed plots and characters, leaving Lee to write in dialogue afterward. Everything appeared under the rubric "Stan Lee Presents," and Lee often took credit no matter who thought of what; in the small world of comics, years of controversy ensued. As the Marvel Universe became a money-making machine, Lee wrote less and promoted more. Company policy made him its sole public representative; he was management, the artists were freelancers, so it was in Marvel’s copyright interest to have all characters credited to Lee. Spurgeon and Raphael fondly but firmly supply all the details, correcting some of Lee’s own accounts and assigning credit to others where due. (Non-fanatics will find this occasionally lends a—possibly unavoidable—tempest-in-a-teapot tone.) On Lee’s watch, the comics gained a self-aware sense of humor, and superheroes revealed feet of clay, but seen here in context, he was more manager than creator ofthese genuine innovations, more huckster than genius. Alternative comics are shortchanged, European and Japanese comics don’t even exist in this Marvel-centric account, but it will probably stand as the definitive history of this particular slice of American popular culture.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613742921
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 374,218
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Jordan Raphael has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Globe and Mail. He lives in Los Angeles. Tom Spurgeon edited The Comics Journal and has written for Seattle's The Stranger. His syndicated newspaper comic strip, Wildwood, appeared in more than 12 million homes daily. He lives in Silver City, New Mexico.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2012

    Good read if not a little one dimensonal

    Filled with info and facts about the great stan lee the leader of marvel comics and who some people incorrectly think of as the creator of such characters as spider man the fantastic four and countless others when in faxt he was the cocreator.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2014

    Me eather(l wish)

    Spider man spider man spins a web..

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Needs moe depth

    Not what I thought it would be. I wanted something that was about the creative process that birthed the Marvel Universe. This book was more about Stan as Marvel's frontman and left a lot of unanswered questions.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2011

    #1

    Ya right it stinks (p.s. i hadnt read this book.)















    Lol

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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