- Posted by Johanna on December 7, 2011 at 8:28 am
- Category: Books and Prose, KC
- CREDITS: edited by Danny Fingeroth and Roy Thomas
- PUBLISHER: TwoMorrows; $26.99 (softcover), $39.95 (hardcover)
Review by KC Carlson
Out this week from TwoMorrows is The Stan Lee Universe, a new 176-page book about the most identifiable legend in comics — Stan “The Man” Lee. Accept no substitutes. Seriously, if you don’t know who Stan Lee is, then why are you reading a blog about comic books?
Part scrapbook, part memoir, part how-to book, part testimonial, The Stan Lee Universe is probably one of the most unique books that TwoMorrows has ever published. Edited and compiled by former Marvel editors Danny Fingeroth and Roy Thomas, the book sheds new light on just how widespread and beloved Stan is by family, friends, co-workers, and the occasional guy-on-the-street. Stan’s friends include giants in film (James Cameron! Oliver Stone!), comics (Will Eisner, Al Jaffee), rock (Country Joe and the Fish!), and more.
Long-time fans will appreciate the emphasis on Stan’s prime years at Marvel in the 1960s and early 70s, when he and his artistic collaborators (Jack Kirby! Steve Ditko! More!) created possibly the most popular characters in the world. (Spider-Man, the X-Men, Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, the Fantastic Four, and dozens more!) Much of the book has that same feeling that you got from reading Stan’s classic Bullpen Bulletin pages — and even follows up on some of the people, places, and things that were discussed there.
A lot of the features in this book come from Stan’s personal archives, including such amazing items as long-lost (and recently transcribed) radio interviews, as well as timely interviews from many different points in Stan’s career. There’s an in-depth look at Stan’s first major Marvel work (Fantastic Four #1) as well as one of his last (the 1978 Silver Surfer Graphic Novel), both done with Jack “King” Kirby. There’s even more Kirby, as Jack joins Stan in a rare radio interview from the Marvel era.
Plus, there’s a history of the Bullpen Bulletins and Stan’s Soapbox, testimonials from dozens of Marvel staffers and creators, looks at Stan’s post-Marvel work, and my favorite piece — a 1968 “debate” with Hilde Mosse, a colleague of Dr. Frederic Wertham, that took place 14 years after the publication of Seduction of the Innocent.
The Stan Lee Universe is available in both softcover and hardcover. The softcover includes 16 full color pages, and the hardcover doubles that with 16 additional exclusive color pages. Digital copies are also available at www.twomorrows.com.
Stan Lee changed comics and pop culture. What the editors say in their forward is true — “It’s Stan Lee’s Universe. We just dream in it.” If, somehow, you’ve managed to avoid knowing Stan Lee all these years, you’ll know pretty much everything you need after reading this book. (The publisher provided a review copy.)