Saturday, June 4, 2022

Book Review: Stan Lee - A Life

The definitive biography of Marvel legend Stan Lee, celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth. Stan Lee’s extraordinary life was as epic as the superheroes he co-created, from the Amazing Spider-Man to the Mighty Avengers. His ideas and voice are at the heart of global culture, loved by millions of superhero fans around the world.

In Stan Lee: A Life, award-winning cultural historian Bob Batchelor offers an in-depth and complete look at this iconic visionary. Born in the Roaring Twenties, growing up in the Great Depression, living and thriving through the American Century, and dying in the twenty-first century, Stan Lee’s life is a unique representation of recent American history. Batchelor examines Lee’s fascinating American life by drawing out all its complexity, drama, heartache, and humor, revealing how Lee introduced the world to heroes that were just as fallible and complex as their creator—and just like all of us.

An up-close look at a legendary figure, this centennial edition includes completely new material to give the full measure of a man whose genius continues to mesmerize audiences worldwide. Candid, authoritative, and absorbing, this is the biography of a man who dreamed of one day writing the Great American Novel, but ended up doing so much more—revolutionizing culture by creating new worlds and heroes that have entertained generations.

On October 15, 2022, Stan Lee: A Life will hit stands. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers provided an early galley in exchange for this review.

As a lifelong comic book reader, I've always been interested in Stan Lee and his important place in that genre's history. I have even read a few biographies on him in the past as well as the history of Marvel Comics in general. However, I had not read Batchelor's earlier work Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel from 2017 of which this new one is an expansion (this one has an additional sixty pages to it).

Given what I knew already, quite a bit of Batchelor's upcoming book was fairly common knowledge for me. There were a few spots that expanded upon things for me, especially in the area of some of the projects from the 70's like the Fireside Book collections, the creation of Crazy magazine and the daily newspaper strips.

As with most nonfiction books and biographies, it is important when the author has done their research. As the references section at the end of the book shows, Batchelor indeed do his homework on his subject. As a librarian, I appreciate that as well.

If you are new to Stan Lee's life, this is certainly a volume that will cover all the general bases for you.

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