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Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir


Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir

Are you a fan of superheroes? Have you ever been thrilled by the action in a comic book? Did you ever imagine yourself a hero with special powers and super strength? Have you ever heard of Spider-Man or The Incredible Hulk? If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, then your life has been influenced by the work of comic book legend Stan Lee.

Entering the world of comics in 1939, Lee (born Lieber in New York City in 1922) took on more creative responsibilities over the years, especially after teaming up with Jack Kirby. So much of American pop culture has been touched by Lee's pen, and his influence extends well beyond the pages of the comics for which he is known. From book and film adaptations to Halloween costumes and more, the superheroes and supergroups Lee created or co-created, not to mention his signature storytelling style, are now an intrinsic part of the American cultural landscape. In AMAZING FANTASTIC INCREDIBLE, Lee tells the story of his career and life in a comic book memoir. Written with Peter David and with lead artist Colleen Doran, this “marvelous memoir” is full of energy, vibrant color and all the excitement you'd expect from a Stan Lee comic creation.

"...a colorful, fun and often touching memoir in the format best suited for recounting Lee's life."

Lee's early years in New York were marked by his family's poverty, the confidence instilled by his mother's love and attention and especially his love of reading. He was particularly drawn to adventure tales. A smart kid and a hard worker, Lee skipped grades but was often bored and limited by his family’s financial restraints. The gift of a bicycle on his 12th birthday opened up a world of physical imagination as he pretended to be the dashing hero of his favorite movies.

After a series of odd jobs, Lee was hired by the publishing company where his uncle worked. There he met Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, creators of Captain America, who soon let him write his own story, “Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge,” under his new pen name. When Simon and Kirby left that publishing house, it fell to Lee to take over the comic division. A stint in the army during World War II took him away from comics (though he met many interesting writers and artists), but he returned to work in 1947, the year he met his wife, Joan.

Happily married and enjoying his career, things were not always easy. In 1954, a Senate subcommittee on juvenile delinquency pointed the finger at comic books as a cause. For many years to come, comic books were subject to near censorship by the Comics Code Authority. And while Lee and Joan became parents to their daughter, Joan Celia, their second daughter, Jan, died in infancy. Still, Lee's work carried on, and his characters and stories quickly became classics. Turning to Norse mythology, he reimagined Thor, a character and storyline on which he collaborated with his younger brother, Larry Lieber. From Iron Man to the X-Men, Lee's heroes and villains have enthralled, enchanted and entertained readers for decades.

AMAZING FANTASTIC INCREDIBLE provides insight into not only comic book rivalries such as DC vs. Marvel, but also Lee's varied roles as a writer, publisher, editor and entertainment magnate, not to mention devoted family man. Especially interesting is the inside scoop on the inspiration for and development of so many beloved characters. This is a colorful, fun and often touching memoir in the format best suited for recounting Lee's life.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on November 6, 2015

Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir
by Stan Lee, Peter David, and Colleen Doran

  • Publication Date: November 3, 2015
  • Genres: Graphic Novel, Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • ISBN-10: 1501107720
  • ISBN-13: 9781501107726