A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee

STAN LEE, MICKEY MOUSE (Disney/Image Group LA)

Danny Fingeroth, an award-winning Marvel Comics writer and editor, gives us a beautifully written biography in A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee.

Spider-Man. The Fantastic FourX-Men. The Avengers.  The list goes on and on when it comes to the many comic books co-created by Stan Lee and the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.

A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee by Danny Fingeroth
A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee by Danny Fingeroth (St. Martin’s Press)

There are the people who came to know Stan Lee by way of his many cameos in the Marvel films based on his characters.  In other instances, there those who were there at the start of the Marvel Age of comics.  No matter the case, Fingeroth’s book offers an insightful look at Lee’s lifetime from beginning to end.  When he died, a world of people offered tributes and essays.  Myself included.

Because Fingeroth worked with him at the Marvel offices, he’s privy to his own share of stories.  As such, there are times where he takes off his author’s hat and interjects where needed.  This book benefits from Fingeroth’s interviews with colleagues, family, friends, and the Wyoming archives.  Not to mention the man himself.  There’s material in this book that none of us have ever even seen before!

When it comes to the creation of the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee just happened to be at the right place at the right time.  Here’s a man who was working in comics and all he wanted to do was write the Great American Novel.  As any working writer would want to do, of course.  Lee’s cousin, Martin Goodman, owned then-Timely Comics and the company almost ceased to exist.  Suddenly, things started to change as the saw what National Comics was doing with DC: the formation of the Justice League.  This led to Lee and Kirby creating the Fantastic Four.  The rest is history.

If there’s an area in which A Marvelous Life goes in-depth on, it’s the relationship with Jack Kirby and to an extent, Steve Ditko.  When it comes to comics, Lee and Kirby are the equivalent of The Beatles.  There’s no other way to say this.  Their relationship isn’t the easiest to describe.  The two co-created a lot of characters during their time together at Marvel.  Sometimes–as Danny Fingeroth reminded me–the media did get it wrong when it came to interviews and left out some of the pertinent information.

A Marvelous Life takes us behind the scenes and tells us the amazing story of Stan Lee’s life.

A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee is available in bookstores.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.