Review: Stan Lee

Title: Stan Lee
Author: Bob Batchelor
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: September 15, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Amazing Spider-Man. The Incredible Hulk. The Invincible Iron Man. These are just a few of the iconic superheroes to emerge from the mind of Stan Lee. From the mean streets of Depression-era New York City to recipient of the National Medal of Arts, Lee’s life has been almost as remarkable as the thrilling adventures he spun for decades. From millions of comic books fans of the 1960s through billions of moviegoers around the globe, Stan Lee has touched more people than almost any person in the history of popular culture. In Stan Lee, The Man behind Marvel Comics, Bob Batchelor offers an eye-opening look at this iconic visionary, a man who created (with talented artists) many of history’s most legendary characters. In this energetic and entertaining biography, Batchelor explores how Lee capitalized on natural talent and hard work to become the editor of Marvel Comics as a teenager. After toiling in the industry for decades, Lee threw caution to the wind and went for broke, co-creating the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and others in a creative flurry that revolutionized comic books for generations of readers. Marvel superheroes became a central part of pop culture, from collecting comics to innovative merchandising, from superhero action figures to the ever-present Spider-Man lunchbox. Batchelor examines many of Lee’s most beloved works, including the 1960s comics that transformed Marvel from a second-rate company to a legendary publisher. This book reveals the risks Lee took to bring the characters to life and Lee’s tireless efforts to make comic books and superheroes part of mainstream culture for more than fifty years. Stan Lee: The Man behind Marvel Comics not only reveals why Lee developed into such a central figure in American entertainment history, but brings to life the cultural significance of comic books and how the superhero genre reflects ideas central to the American experience. Candid, authoritative, and utterly absorbing, this is a biography of a man who dreamed of one day writing the Great American Novel, but ended up doing so much more – changing American culture by creating new worlds and heroes that have entertained generations of readers.


I just started reading superhero comics in the last couple of years. I find the history of comics fascinating! They were always considered a lower type of book, but now they can be high literature.

This book wasn’t as much about Stan Lee, but about Marvel and the comic book industry at the time. There were still great stories about Stan’s innovations in comics. I loved the story in the prologue where his wife convinced him to try and write what he wanted for a change, since he had nothing to lose. The result of that was the Fantastic Four.

I loved the stories about how Stan Lee developed some of today’s most beloved superheroes. His boss didn’t approve of Spider-Man but he published it anyways, and the rest is history. I also love his special touch on comics, where he places himself in the stories. He still does it today when he makes cameos in all the Marvel movies.

I really enjoyed this book! It’s a great history of Stan Lee’s career and influence on Marvel comics.

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