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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Just Finished Reading…Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir by Stan Lee, Peter David And Colleen Doran


Stan Lee, born Stanley Leiber, started life in a very poor Jewish family in New York and ended it hugely famous, a major part of the comics and comic films industry. He did a cameo in every film, right to the end. He even made a brief appearance in an episode of Agent Carter, a TV show about Peggy Carter, a British- born agent working in the US after losing her beloved Steve Rogers (aka Captain America). Lee was in one scene where he was at a shoe shine stand and asked for a newspaper. 

I discovered this book at my local library and couldn’t resist. And very good it was, too, artwork by Colleen Doran and co-written with Peter David. Peter David started as a novelist, and I have read  two of his fantasy books. He went on to write an early episode of Babylon 5 and many comics. This is very suitable for the memoir of a comic book writer, and the book is, also appropriately, in the form of a graphic novel, and I have to say the artwork by Colleen Doreen is great, reflecting the humour of the story.

And what a delightful graphic novel it is! It’s presented as a talk by Stan Lee to a crowded auditorium, in which he shows his life as a sort of PowerPoint, from his childhood through his first job writing comics and the war years when his writing skills were used for army films warning about VD, his first meeting with his beloved wife(love at first site - he was supposed to go on a blind date with someone else!) and his career that followed. The book was written just about the time when The Avengers: Age Of Ultron was about to be released. 

At one point he visits his child self to inform him that he will never achieve his dream of becoming President…

My favourite scene was when his daughter and a friend are passing his study where he is dramatising a scene from a comic aloud. The friend asks what’s going on. The daughter says that’s her Daddy and he is working. The friend says her father is an accountant and much quieter! 

I’m guessing this is written for younger readers as he has written a regular memoir. That’s fine with me! 

It’s available, along with many of his other books and comics, in all the usual places. It’s even available in audiobook. 


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - I love how you introduce me to books I'd never consider reading, or knew about. Wonderful comment about the differences of the two fathers. Fascinating - cheers and thanks - Hilary

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Sounds good! Stan Lee was amazingly creative and a real self-promoter. He definitely overshadowed other creatives at Marvel and has been criticized for that and perhaps more underhanded things, but who knows? He certainly lived to see his superhero empire hit the Big Time in the movies! Must have been very gratifying.

I was just reading that the copyright on many of Marvel's earliest (and most popular) superheroes is about to expire and Marvel is trying to come up with some legal manoeuvres to prevent that or to extend copyright somehow. Sounds like the Marvel money-making machine may be about to end.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Hilary! Glad you enjoyed it! I was glad I studied English literature at uni, because I read a lot of books Inwould never have got around to, on my own.

Hi Debra! I think Lee and others truly deserved their fame. And they really seem to have enjoyed the work. I do know there were some issues between the creatives, which is sad. But on th3 other hand, they all did better than those two young men who created Superman and sold the rights cheaply!

I hadn’t heard that about the copyright, must look it up. I do know there are now some issues about the rights to Spiderman, hope they settle it!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The Spider-Man copyright issue pertained to movie rights. Originally, Marvel sold the movie rights to the Spider-Man character to Sony, who made the first set of Spider-Man movies with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. That's why Marvel itself couldn't make Spider-Man movies when Marvel first got into the movie biz. But within the last few years, they have reached some sort of copyright sharing deal with Sony (which undoubtedly cost them bigga bigga bucks), so Marvel is now able to also use the Spider-Man character in its movies (with Tom Holland).

AJ Blythe said...

That sounds like a fun read. I always looked out for his cameo's - some were just weird, lol.