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Books

Stan Lee: The Man behind Marvel

Thursday 17/January/2019 - 09:16 AM
Book Cover
Book Cover
Edited by: Yara Sameh
The Amazing Spider-Man. The Incredible Hulk. The Invincible Iron Man. Black Panther. 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، 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 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.

Paperback: 264 pages
Author: Bob Batchelor
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; Reprint edition (December 15، 2018)
Language: English
Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches

About the Author
Bob Batchelor is a cultural historian who has written or edited more than two dozen books on popular culture and American literature، including books about John Updike، The Great Gatsby، and Mad Men. Batchelor lives in Oxford، Ohio and teaches at Miami University.


Editorial Reviews
Meet Stanley Lieber: movie fan، adventure-story fan، budding writer. Young Stanley started in the comic book business as an assistant to Timely Comics’ head writer، Joe Simon، and to artist Jack Kirby. Along the way، as he graduated from assistant to writer، he became known as Stan Lee and wound up revolutionizing the comic-book business: in partnership with some of the great artists (Kirby and the legendary Steve Ditko، among others)، he created Spider-Man، the Hulk، the Fantastic Four، Iron Man، and other familiar superheroes. What made Lee’s creations special was his insistence on giving them recognizable human traits and flaws; these weren’t idealized superheroes but real people with special abilities. This is a solidly researched and written biography of Lee (who is in his mid-nineties now).... [Lee] is a hugely entertaining story، and the author tells it well. (Booklist)

This unauthorized biography by cultural historian Batchelor (Mad Men: A Cultural History) is as much a history of Marvel Comics and the comic book industry as it is of Stan Lee، the man largely credited with transforming the comic book industry into a pop culture colossus. Batchelor begins with Lee’s childhood in New York City during the Great Depression، to which he attributes Lee’s strong work ethic and ambition. A workaholic from an early age، Lee joined the comic book industry at its infancy، learning the ropes from writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby، who were his mentors at Timely Comics (later renamed Marvel Comics). By age 19، Lee had already taken over as editor-in-chief. Aside from the first chapter on his childhood، the book mainly glosses over Lee’s personal life، focusing primarily on his career. Batchelor shows how Lee led his team of writers and illustrators with a can-do spirit، working with his staff in employing snappy dialogue and colorful graphics to concoct a dynamic new medium. Introducing racial diversity، serial storytelling، current events، and emotional conflict، the boastful Lee and his team devised a marvelous universe of new characters، who connected strongly with readers by displaying emotional weaknesses that equaled their physical strengths.... Batchelor successfully shows how this dreamer and risk-taker perfectly captured the cultural zeitgeist and assisted in creating 'fairy tales for grown-ups.' (Publishers Weekly)

[Stan Lee:] The Man Behind Marvel is a thorough primer for the newcomer to the tale of Lee’s legendary 1960s rise. Batchelor delves into not only how Lee worked as an editor — the creative freedom he gave many artists worked to his advantage، too — but also how he built himself into a celebrity brand synonymous with the Marvel name. (The Washington Post)

Bob Batchelor's bio of Stan Lee is not only thorough and accurate، it's also extremely well written. If you enjoy reading Stan's stories، you'll enjoy the story of Stan just as much. (Steve Englehart، novelist and comic book writer (The Avengers، Captain America))

An insightful and candid look at one of the twentieth century's greatest myth-makers. (Mark Waid، writer (Daredevil، The Fantastic Four، Kingdom Come))

Bob Batchelor's book takes us on a journey into the life and imagination of Stan Lee، whose collaborations with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko laid the foundation of the Marvel Universe and unleashed a creative explosion that continues to impact--and transform--all of popular culture. (J. M. DeMatteis، writer (The Amazing Spider-Man، Silver Surfer))

In this smartly written، deeply researched biography، Bob Batchelor cuts through the hype and hyperbole to reveal the secret origins of Stan Lee's thoroughly mythic life and art. It's one for both the casual and hardcore fans. (Brian Jay Jones، author of George Lucas: A Life)

Stan Lee is must reading for comics fans and anyone interested in the creative process. A great book about a great man. (Arthur Asa Berger، author of The Comic-Stripped American)

Impressively informed and informative، exceptionally well written، organized and presented، Stan Lee: The Man behind Marvel is an extraordinary biographer that is a 'must read' for the legions of Stan Lee fans. Absolutely certain to be an enduringly popular addition to both community and academic library Contemporary American Biography collections.... (Midwest Book Review)

Readers will love this book even if they know the outcome of Stan’s story. The thrill of this biography is not in Lee’s triumphs but in following the Voice of Marvel through decades of doubts، frustrations، and professional dissatisfaction before he achieved his status as an American icon. Batchelor took readers back in time with a highly descriptive style that would be at home in a novel. A meticulously researched and fact-filled account accompanied Batchelor’s breezy writing to analyze comic’s greatest bard…. Batchelor went on to fill in the blanks of history in an approachable and informative manner. It was clear he put a great effort into acquiring the multiple sources he cited regularly in the Chicago style. Moreover، this book would be a blessing for anyone seeking a secondary academic source on comics or the history of Stan Lee…. Whether a reader is a comic historian or just a big fan، Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel is chock-full of a thrilling narrative، stories، and little-known trivia in the life of Stan Lee….Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel is available on Amazon in paperback or e-book and is a must-read for comic readers and historians. Pick it up today! (Geeks Worldwide)

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