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Excelsior!: The Amazing Life of Stan Lee Paperback – May 7, 2002
How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales | Learn more
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The focus of the book is on the narrative recollections of Lee and if you have ever had an opportunity to hear Stan "The Man" Lee do a lecture or speak at a convention, then you are familiar with his conversational style (I liked it when Stan would pretend to be Clark Kent, take off his glasses and have people wondering where Clark went--plus, the man's autograph is always legible). One thing that struck me was how much Lee was affected by the Great Depression, especially since he often laments over the value of the comic books he created but never bothered to collect. Yet it is also clear that Lee is not driven by money but more by love of family and work, two subjects he talks about with equal passion. He does take pains to try and address the issues of his infamous rifts with artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, and whether you believe his side of the story or not he certainly bears no animosity towards either man.Read more ›
I am one of those people who loved the Marvel Age of Comics. While many people say they read Spider-Man, the Hulk or the Fantastic Four, even as a kid in the sixties, I would say I read Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko...and a few others. When they left, I left.
Though the years I had heard about and read about many behind the scenes stories about Marvel. It was hard to give credence to many of them and I always wanted to find out Stan Lee's story. Here it is.
Here Stan Lee tells his story. And what an enjoyable story it is. Mr. Lee tells of his early years, his years in the service during WW2, how he meet his wife and how he started working for Martin Goodman, owner of Timely (later Marvel) Comics.
The major part of the story is the creation of the Marvel Age of Comics.
Stan Lee, born Stan Lieber, describes how he almost left the occupation of writing comic books. An occupation that was not well respected. But Stan stayed and broke the conventions of book characters. Stan discusses such stories, how he "snuck" his first Spider-Man story into Amazing Fantasy #15 after the publisher turned it down. We learn what was in his mind when he created the Fantastic Four, Hulk, and Thor.
For me the most important parts involved the Marvel Method of creating comics and his relationships with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. For years I have heard stories that, frankly, cast Mr. Lee in a bad light. Here, Stan Lee describes how he came up with the character of Spider-man and, at first, gave it to Jack Kirby to draw. Dissatisfied with Kirby's take, Stan turned it over to Steve Ditko. Stan goes out of his way to give co-creative credit to the artist.Read more ›
"Excelsior!" is peppered with Stan's trademark wit as he relates humorous stories and anecdotes from his life, such as the way he single-handedly won World War II. Sandwiched inbetween are factual paragraphs by George Mair, professional biographer. Mair is quick and to the point, knowing that what readers really want is more of Stan (it's almost impossible to refer to him by his last name), so he gets the facts out there and then he gets out of the way as fast as he can. Very professional.
This is a must-read for any comic book fan, anyone who wants to see how a "bio-autography" (as Stan calls them) should be written, or for anyone who's just looking for an amusing tale of a creative genius's life.
Here we get Lee's perspective on 80 years(!) of his life: from 1922-2002. Amazing indeed. Stan's writing, with the help of George Mair, is entertaining, personal & filled with details.
His formula for successful comicbook writing as printed in 1947's Writer's Digest: have a provocative beginning; use smooth continuity from panel to panel; concentrate on realistic dialogue which leads to good characterization; maintain suspense throughout; and provide a satisfying ending. This certainly sounds good to me.
Marvel in the 60's is easily a highlight here. Topics include: Lee's longtime relationship with Martin Goodman; Fantastic Four & Hulk by Lee & Kirby; Spider-Man by Lee & Ditko; Thor; Daredevil; X-Men; Avengers; the Marvel Method; MMMS; No-Prizes, and much, much more. These elements are explained from Lee's viewpoint. Kirby & Ditko fans will probably feel Stan needed to say more here about these phenomenal artists, but he does give us significant information about these relationships, and this *is* primarily Stan Lee's life story. And he does say nice things about all the creative talent he worked with.
Whether anyone feels Lee received too much credit for Marvel's success or not, it's nice in my eyes to be able to read his side of the tale. Why rely on secondhand information?
As a Lee & Kirby fan, I also recommend: Kirby: King of Comics, and Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby. Lee & Kirby made a truly amazing team.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Got for my son in London who loves all the super heros and he enjoyed it !Published 3 months ago by bailey
Among the few individuals who deserve immortality. Me, you, and we owe a hell lot to this guy's creativity!Published 6 months ago by Richard Sexton
Good for kids who love their comics. My son was 14 when I bought it and he is in love with Stan Lee. Not too many pages but for th price it I worth it I think. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Gabrielle A
If you are interested in the Marvel universe or comic publication in general, this is a must read. Entertaining, easy to read, full of amusing comments by Stan Lee and insight... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Fast Reader in CA
This book is made of photocopies of a previous book. The print is really bad as you can see a grey halo around the text. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
A gift for my granddaughter. If it made her happy, it is fine with me.Published 16 months ago by Shirley A. Yant