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Stan Lee's How to Write Comics: From the Legendary Co-Creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Iron Man Paperback – October 11, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stan Lee is a legendary American comics writer, editor and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics. He has conceived more billion dollar franchises than any other creator. He is the writer of the Amazing Spider-Man syndicated newspaper strip which appears in more than 500 newspapers worldwide. More than two billion comic books based on his creations have been published in 75 countries and 25 languages.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823000842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823000845
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.6 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Denny O'Neil's book was far better.
Tim Lasiuta
And this book is the guide by Stan The Man Lee himself about how to write in this medium.
E. Joseph Delaney
This is a very good book for the person that is looking to start drawing comics.
T. Funk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lasiuta on October 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The mystique of Stan Lee continues. From Watson Guptil, Stan wrote about drawing comics, and now he gives us "How To Write Comics". Speaking truthfully, this book is better than the previous volume, as Stan has been a writer first and foremost, but it could be better.

Stan covers the full gamut of topics.
Preface
Origins
The Tools
The Basics
Genres
Script Types
Creating the Characters
Storytelling
Subplots
Formats
Preparing the Script
Continuity
The Finished Script
What editors Want
Professionalism
About the Author
Resources

Stan and his 'team' of interviewees cover nearly every topic that writers are involved in. This overview of the process is valuable, but at times it seems rushed and incomplete. Stan writes about continuity, but this tome lacks it at times. This is an intangible, but it is not there. I appreciated the other viewpoints but feel the best section is when the Editors speak about what they want from stories and writers.

In terms of artwork that graces these pages, the variety suffers. The artwork does indeed focus on Dynamite too much of the time. Vampirela, the Lone Ranger, Project Superpowers, the Black Terror, Green Hornet, Sherlock Holmes and the new Alice in Wonderland are TOO prevalent. Few examples from Stan's best work is included. If I were to guess, there was either copyright issues, or Stan did not pick our much of the art.

Either way, this is almost a take it or leave it kinda book. I expected more from the 'man who knows it all!'

Denny O'Neil's book was far better.

Tim Lasiuta
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By goldenrulecomics on May 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
The title of this book is a bit of misnomer, because it's not really a straight how-to manual. Instead, it's a wide-ranging discussion, led by Lee, of how he and various other writers and artists (including Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Roy Thomas, Jerry Ordway and many others) have created comic books over the years. If you approach the book from that angle it's a really wonderful insight to how the industry works.

Lee gives his opinions on such aspects as pacing, splash panels, continuity etc., injecting many anecdotes from his long, long career. He also culls interviews from many veterans of the industry about how they approach their work as well.

In one of the more interesting debates, Lee and the others discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the Marvel method of writing, where the writer gives the artist a summary of the story and the artist works off that instead of a full detailed script. Lee said he was able to do that because he was working with veterans like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, whom he knew he could trust. Some modern writers including Neil Gaiman say they are much more hesitant to do that.

There's lots of comic-book tidbits and stories about how comics are created, enough that those alone would be worth the price of the book. I knocked off one star from the rating because so much of the artwork is focused on Dynamite Comics and adds little to the discussion. The book would have been much stronger if more relevant artwork was included. For instance, there's an anecdote about some Dr. Doom panel's from the Fantastic Four annual that featured the wedding of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl. But those panels aren't shown.

I would say anybody interested in comic books should get this book. It's a fun and interesting read.

For more of my comic book reviews please search for goldenrulecomics on squidoo.com.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Merlin63 on November 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
Stan Lee's How to write comics is a fair to middling book at best. If your seeking a creative writing book that inspires and gives you practical techniques and exercises, there are far better books out there. Any decent script writing book, will cover most of the basics. Comics being a unique medium with different strengths and weaknesses to film, has of necessity, it's own story telling techniques, and here, to his credit, Stan Lee pretty much covers them all. But honestly, you can learn all that with one Will Eisner and one Scott McCloud book. In far greater detail.

But the book has charm, and is not without merit. It's chock full of interviews from working professionals; mostly quotes really, culled from other sources and used to illustrate various points throughout the book. Some sources are wrangled specifically for the book (Roy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein and the last two chapters, where he interviews current editors about what they look for in a script and what they want from their writers). It's also full of personal anecdotes from his days of writing comics, which stretches from the 40's to the 70's and gives a good overview of the history of comics, and how the medium has changed. That's the fun part. The "he was there for most of it" part. The man has seen, and even helped develop many of the working methods (writing the plot driven outline and scripting later) and techniques used in comics today. What he didn't have a hand in directly, he was at least in the near periphery to observe. And, to be honest, there is a strong and even pleasant "geek factor" as he goes down memory lane that makes the experience of reading the book a pleasure, even while hoping for something more substantive in its analysis of various techniques for story telling.
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Stan Lee's How to Write Comics: From the Legendary Co-Creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Iron Man
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