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Aug. 20th, 2017


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Title: Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel
Author: Bob Batchelor
Format: Epub
Rating: 4/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: August 8, 2017 to August 20, 2017
Book Summary: The Amazing Spider-Man. The Incredible Hulk. The Invincible Iron Man. These are just a few of the iconic superheroes to emerge from the mind of Stan Lee. From the mean streets of Depression-era New York City to recipient of the National Medal of Arts, Lee's life has been almost as remarkable as the thrilling adventures he spun for decades. From millions of comic books fans of the 1960s through billions of moviegoers around the globe, Stan Lee has touched more people than almost any person in the history of popular culture. In Stan Lee, The Man behind Marvel Comics, Bob Batchelor offers an eye-opening look at this iconic visionary, a man who created (with talented artists) many of history's most legendary characters. In this energetic and entertaining biography, Batchelor explores how Lee capitalized on natural talent and hard work to become the editor of Marvel Comics as a teenager. After toiling in the industry for decades, Lee threw caution to the wind and went for broke, co-creating the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and others in a creative flurry that revolutionized comic books for generations of readers. Marvel superheroes became a central part of pop culture, from collecting comics to innovative merchandising, from superhero action figures to the ever-present Spider-Man lunchbox. Batchelor examines many of Lee's most beloved works, including the 1960s comics that transformed Marvel from a second-rate company to a legendary publisher. This book reveals the risks Lee took to bring the characters to life and Lee's tireless efforts to make comic books and superheroes part of mainstream culture for more than fifty years. Stan Lee: The Man behind Marvel Comics not only reveals why Lee developed into such a central figure in American entertainment history, but brings to life the cultural significance of comic books and how the superhero genre reflects ideas central to the American experience. Candid, authoritative, and utterly absorbing, this is a biography of a man who dreamed of one day writing the Great American Novel, but ended up doing so much more - changing American culture by creating new worlds and heroes that have entertained generations of readers.
Book Review: I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

One of the more prolific people in comics, Stan Lee has created a smorgasbord of iconic heroes in the Marvel Universe.

Born Stanley Lieber in 1922, he was the first child to immigrant parents, Jack and Celia Lieber. Stan was born during a time of a Great War that would spiral into the Great Depression sending the entire American economy into chaos. During this time, his father worked sporadically and his parents fought constantly over money.

While growing up, Stan Lee enjoyed writing and hoped to one day write that one great novel. He found inspiration in books and movies, particular ones with Errol Flynn, where he always played the hero. During his teenage years, he took up part-time jobs writing obituaries for a news service, press releases for National Tuberculosis Center, sandwich runs for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rockefeller Center, ushering for Rivoli Theater on Broadway.

When he turned 16 in 1939, he graduated high school early and joined WPA Federal Theatre Project. It is during this year that his Uncle Robbie helped him get a job with Timely Comics. Most of his work at this time were simply replenishing the ink wells, picking up lunch, proofreading, erasing pencil markings from the finished pages. He would graduate from this to actually becoming part of the team. His first superhero was Destroyer in Mystic Comics #6. After the departure of Simon and his creative partner Jack Kirby after a disagreement with Goodman, Stan was installed as interim editor. He would later become editor-in-chief.

In 1942, Lee signed up to join the Army and served in the Signal Corps where he repaired telegraph poles and communication equipment. He would later be transferred to Training Film Division where he would work on manuals, films, etc.

When the war ended, Lee returned to the one place he loved - comics books. It was at this time he would come to create the most loved characters in Marvel history such as the Hulk, X-Men, Avengers, etc.

This was a fascinating look at Stan Lee's life. This was a person who had come from a home where his parents fought constantly but he continued to hold onto his dream. It may not have been exactly the dream of writing that "great novel" but it was the next best thing - characters that people could either relate to or simply enjoy reading around the world. His comics pulled us in to the point where we felt we were these characters.

Batcherlor put together a wondeful biography filled with information that not everyone. He also provided information on how comic books became a staple during a time when the world was descending into strife and chaos. Even now comic books remain a stable during good and bad times.

If you are looking for a book that will pull you in and take into a larger than life character named Stan Lee.