Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

The Untold Story

Book - 2012
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The defining, behind-the-scenes chronicle of one of the most extraordinary, beloved, and dominant pop cultural entities in America's history -- Marvel Comics - and the outsized personalities who made Marvel including Martin Goodman, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby.

"Sean Howe's history of Marvel makes a compulsively readable, riotous and heartbreaking version of my favorite story, that of how a bunch of weirdoes changed the world...That it's all true is just frosting on the cake."

--Jonathan Lethem

For the first time, Marvel Comics tells the stories of the men who made Marvel: Martin Goodman, the self-made publisher who forayed into comics after a get-rich-quick tip in 1939, Stan Lee, the energetic editor who would shepherd the company through thick and thin for decades and Jack Kirby, the WWII veteran who would co-create Captain America in 1940 and, twenty years later, developed with Lee the bulk of the company's marquee characters in a three-year frenzy. Incorporating more than one hundred original interviews with those who worked behind the scenes at Marvel over a seventy-year-span, Marvel Comics packs anecdotes and analysis into a gripping narrative of how a small group of people on the cusp of failure created one of the most enduring pop cultural forces in contemporary America.

Publisher: New York : Harper, c2012.
ISBN: 9780061992100
Characteristics: 485 p. ;,24 cm.

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lcarver2084 Jul 07, 2019

Howe's book strikes a balance between scholarly account and tell-all tabloid. This makes it approachable for both the comics super-fan and the curious passerby. It's an exhaustive history of how Marvel went from newsstand footnote to one of the most lucrative intellectual properties in the world. Howe is careful to not fall into the trap of romanticizing the figures that make up Marvel's history, and tells us who they really were. Stan Lee, the failed novelist, whose carnival barker prose and cockroach-like persistence won him a spot in the hearts of many. Jack Kirby, the cosmic savant of the number two pencil whose endless imagination built the foundation of the House of Marvel. Jim Shooter, the maverick editor-in-chief whose incendiary ambitions made him public enemy #1. Howe excels at shedding light on the revolving bullpen, whose constant additions to the growing universe made Marvel what it is today.

ChristchurchLib Mar 18, 2013

Marvel Comics originated in 1939, when publisher Marvin Goodman reluctantly expanded his pulp magazine business into the new field of comic books. But the brand didn't really take off until 1961, when writer Stan Lee and artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko helped create Marvel's most well-known characters. In this in-depth, meticulously researched, and "scintillating history" (Publishers Weekly), Entertainment Weekly editor Sean Howe delves into the tangled and contentious personal relationships among Marvel's talented stable of editors, writers, and artists; also taking center stage are their creations, like golden-boy Captain America and lovable (if nerdy) Spiderman. Fans who can't get enough may also want to try Blake Bell's equally dishy The Secret History of Marvel Comics.

Popular Culture newsletter March 2013.

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ErnieK
Feb 18, 2013

I have no illusions as a comic book reader about how the sausage is made, or how the business has changed, but after a couple hundred pages of this book, I just could not care anymore. The revolving door to Marvel's "bullpen" and the endless divisiveness just keeps on keepin' on, with the same people having the same arguments over the same issues. leaving in a huff and coming back to repeat the story, decade after decade.

Howe does a good enough job with mind numbing material. I would have liked a few more date references and a little more clarification as to who was where doing what to whom, but it's a confusing and repetitive saga to tell.

w
writer13
Feb 13, 2013

A wonderful peak behind the curtain of the house of ideas that shines a light on what a nest of vipers it really was. The divisive attitudes that were apparently prevalent in Marvel's heyday provide allusions to the atmosphere of modern investment banking. A terrific history of the company that is largely responsible for our modern mythos.

b
bvonschlosser
Aug 02, 2012

incorrect title listed. the book will now be published as "MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY"

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