Book Review: Stan Lee: A Life in Comics by Liel Leibovitz

September 7, 2020

Stan Lee: A Life in Comics by Liel Leibovitz is a short biography of one of the icons of American mythology. This book is part of the award winning Jewish Lives series.

Book Review: Stan Lee: A Life in Comics by Liel Leibovitz
My rating for Stan Lee: A Life in Comics4
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This is a short biography on one of the most influential men in American pop-culture, and a true American success story. The book tries to tie Stan Lee’s stories and ideas to Jewish culture and Jewish religious book, some of the passages are a stretch, but all of them are interesting and show an understanding of the author of the characters he created.

Stan Lee: A Life in Comics by Liel Leibovitz tells of how a poor Jewish kid from The Bronx transformed himself to be the face of geek culture. As his fame grew, Stan Lee found himself being distanced further and further from the creative work which he found so fulfilling, ending up being a Marvel spokesman with very little control over the creative efforts.

Stan Lee loved being a spokesman, he loved interacting with his audience and went on a college tour. He hung out with his fans and tried to implement their ideas, and wishes, when he got back to Marvel’s creative team.

The book follows Stan Lee throughout his career, focusing on some of the biggest characters he created and how his and Jack Kirby’s poor background, and Jewish heritage might have influenced their inception. It’s important to note that this is all conjuncture by the author, Stan Lee have always been purposely ambiguous about these issues, mainly because he wanted fans to have their own ideas. I remember seeing him retelling the origin of Spiderman, ending it with “I told this story so often, one day it might actually be true”; telling the frustrated host “you want the truth or a good story?”
We all want a good story.

Some of the chapters tell of Stan Lee’s contribution to the character Captain American (a Jack Kirby creation) and his own creations of the Fantastic Four – Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), the Invisible Woman (Susan “Sue” Storm), the Human Torch (Johnny Storm),and the Thing (Ben Grimm) – the original X-Men with the civil rights counterparts (Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X), and Spiderman which, at the time, was the antithesis to everything which screamed “comic book hero”.

Marvel has been in decline (as a former share owner, I can still see my shares disappear), but when Disney bought the company it has a revival with Iron-Man (a second rate character in the comics), and the Marvel Cinematic Universe became one of the biggest grossing, if not the biggest, franchise in movie history. Stan Lee, of course, has become the cameo king of the movie world.

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Zohar – Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book for free
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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