Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and the American Comic Book Revolution

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Tales to Astonish relates the spectacular life and times of Jack Kirby, the legendary forefather of American comic books. In the 1960's, Kirby joined with Stan Lee to develop many of our best-known and most beloved superheroes, including the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, the Avengers, and the Silver Surfer. Ronin Ro chronicles Kirby's poverty-stricken origins in New York's Lower East Side, his early commercial triumphs and failures, his renowned partnership with Lee, and his ...

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2004 Hardcover Good Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not ... include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority! Read more Show Less

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New York 2004 Hardbound First American Edition Very Good Octavo in dust jacket, 298 pp. The Golden Age of Comics was a very Jewish product. What was most interesting about ... comics in the 50s was Jewish although the profits were elsewhere. In the 60s and 70s Lee and Kirby rejuvenated the idea of Superheroes. In the 1970s the Kirby went his separate way creating his underappreciated "New Gods" series. Ronin Ro tries to give a fuller picture of Kirby's career, and insights into a personal life which seems to have rarely strayed far from the demands of his drawing board. Churning out 15 pages a week is considered superhuman in the world of the superhero comics, but Kirby kept to a regime like that for decades, working late hours and sleeping until noon, ultimately producing an estimated 25, 000 pages in his lifetime. Read more Show Less

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2004-07-02 Hardcover UsedGood Good Condition item. We strive to provide the best shopping experience with every item we sell. Satisfaction guaranteed! ! Ships from US. Please ... allow 1-3 weeks for delivery outside US. Read more Show Less

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Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and the American Comic Book Revolution

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Overview

Tales to Astonish relates the spectacular life and times of Jack Kirby, the legendary forefather of American comic books. In the 1960's, Kirby joined with Stan Lee to develop many of our best-known and most beloved superheroes, including the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, Thor, Iron Man, the Avengers, and the Silver Surfer. Ronin Ro chronicles Kirby's poverty-stricken origins in New York's Lower East Side, his early commercial triumphs and failures, his renowned partnership with Lee, and his revolutionary artistic innovations, tracing the comic book industry from its inauspicious beginnings to its sensational successes.

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Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
"Compellingly depicts the codependent relationship between the charismatic Lee and the rough-edged Kirby…The story packs as much pathos as any of the duo's signature supersagas."
The Onion
"Ro cleanly lays out Kirby's story…He does well by the facts."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Ro deftly handles Kirby's relationships…Tales to Astonish celebrates the stubbornness that kept Kirby, a superhero of comic books in his own right, creative as if against his will."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582343457
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 7/2/2004
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronin Ro lives in New York City and is the author of Gangsta: Merchandising the Rhymes of Violence, the award-winning international bestseller Have Gun Will Travel, and the novel Street Sweeper. He has written for Vanity Fair, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Herald, Rolling Stone, and Spin.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2008

    A true history of how Stan Lee used & buried Jack Kirby!

    A fanatastic book that gives great insights to the greed of the comic publishers and how they used great men like Kirby, Ditko and others. Sad but true Kirby and others really created 90% of the story line and imput but Lee took all the alocades and money. I understand that he now gives the late Kirby more credit but I really wonder how he can look at himself in the mirror every morning. Much appreciation to the wandering sumerai Ro who had the guts to tell the true story. A must for every silver age reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2005

    All hail King Kirby!

    As a lifelong fan of Jack Kirby¿s work, I was anxious to read Ronin Ro¿s biography of the great, tragic master artist. I wasn¿t disappointed. Tales to Astonish is a fascinating look at Kirby¿s life, from his early days as Jacob Kurtzberg in Manhattan, to his early art days, his days in the army during WWII it¿s easy to see how these dramatic and occasionally traumatic events provided the fuel and pathos for Kirby to co-create the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Thor, the X-Men, the Avengers, and countless other characters for Marvel. Though this book goes in depth into Jack Kirby and Stan Lee¿s always dynamic, often dysfunctional relationship, it does try to present a balanced view by also quoting Stan and letting the reader draw their own conclusions. After the break with Marvel, it recounts the creation of Kirby¿s Fourth World at DC (my favorite era) and follows him through until the bittersweet end. Not only is it Kirby¿s story, but many other creators are featured, such as Stan Lee, John Romita, Joe Simon, Mark Evanier, and many more. Roz Kirby, the Queen mother of comicdom also has her tale told. This is not only an invaluable lesson in comic history, but in the human condition. It¿s the story of one man¿s life that is more extraordinary than any of the characters he created. It should not only be read by every comic book fan, but every student of pop culture, and every artist who even thinks about working freelance. Highly recommended to all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2004

    Unforgettable and haunting

    Ronin Ro has written a masterpiece. Kirby's life and times are presented with the sweeping literary tone of an epic novel. Tales to Astonish does for comics what Sea Biscuit did for horse racing--takes readers back to an earlier age and restores the glory to a forgotten champion, his generation, and what they spent their lives trying to accomplish. This is a classic that has more to do with life, war, marriage, adult decisions, and friendship than it does with men in tights and four color comic books (although the author competently covers those topics as well with an incredible mix of research and original interviews).

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