The life of a genius who created some of the world’s most iconic superheroes can now be read as a graphic memoir
An illustration from the book that shows Stan Lee’s enthusiasm when he created Spiderman. Excerpted with permissions from Simon & Schuster India
Stan Lee begins narrating his story in his usual pumped up style, starting with his birth in New York in 1922. Lee (his real name is Stanley Lieber) belonged to a poor family of four that like many others was under the weather due to The Great Depression. Lee was an avid reader. When he had nothing to read, he would read labels of ketchup bottles. He lists some of his favourite writers on this page — George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Conan Doyle, Victor Hugo and HG Wells. Excerpts with permissions from Simon & Schuster India Stan Lee attends the Los Angeles premiere of Captain America: The First Avenger at Hollywood in 2011.
Stan Lee attends the Los Angeles premiere of Captain America: The First Avenger at Hollywood in 2011. Pic/AFP
The book offers a background account of the birth of his famous characters, too. Lee has been known to challenge norms; either by having underdogs as superheroes (Spiderman) or a filthy rich capitalist like Iron Man who saves the day. Lee pushed for the character while citizens all over America were protesting against the Vietnam War.
Throughout the book, Lee introduces readers to geniuses he has worked with. Seen here is his brother Larry Lieber. In the book, Lee writes, “I sometimes feel, in an effort to be extremely fair, I’ve been bent over backward not to favour him over any other artists or writers because he’s my brother”.
Be it comic conventions today or colleges then, Lee has always been a popular public speaker. He narrates one of his experiences, where he was fully suited for a lecture at Bard College, and stood out among a sea of hippies. He was next invited to Princeton. Lee landed in hippie attire, and to his horror, everyone was suited. Often, Lee was confused with the publisher of Superman.
Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir, Stan Lee, Peter David and Colleen Doran, Simon & Schuster, `899. Available at bookstores, online and as an e-book.