Amazing Fantastic Incredible:

A Marvelous Memoir

 

by Stan Lee, Peter David, & Colleen Doran

 

Touchstone

 

Reader Appeal: All Ages

 

Genre: Graphic Novel

 

PopFam Rating: A

 

If you don’t know who Stan Lee is, then you’ve been living in an alternate universe for much too long. The creator of comicbook heroes such as Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and the Incredible Hulk, Lee’s not only a Marvel Comics legend, but also a genuine pop culture phenomenon. It’s fitting, then, that he’s partnered with noted novelist/comicbook scripter, Peter David, to release a “graphic memoir” of his life story.

 

Beginning with a humble upbringing in Depression-era New York City, this memoir follows Lee through his apprenticeship at Timely Comics, his service in WWII, his post-war collaborations with comicbook giants Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko (among others), and into his current role as elder statesman of super-heroic pop culture.

 

Peter David, acting as Stan Lee's biographer, does a fine job of capturing his subject's bombastic magnetism in a bullet-points overview of the history. Particularly fascinating are the retelling of Stan's memories from his early associations with Jack Kirby (cigar smoke abounds!), and of his marriage to lifelong wife, Joani. She was in the process of divorcing another man when Stan wooed her. Eventually Stan and Joani walked directly from divorce court minutes after it was finalized, and into another courtroom where a justice of the peace promptly married the two of them. Additionally, Stan's animated pitches for the Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk comic book inspirations is a delight, along with stories of Stan and his fans and the highlights and lowlights in his career.

 

Bonus! Click here to read an interview with

 

Stan Lee biographer, Peter David

 

Still, it’s illustrator Colleen Doran who makes Stan The Man's superlative life an adventure to read. Expertly employing varied perspectives and unexpected layouts, she turns what could be a “talking heads” book into an exciting journey through time. Her illustrations alone would be a fine teaching tool for aspiring comic book artists in your family.

 

Overall, Amazing Fantastic Incredible is the perfect showcase for the larger-than-life persona of Stan Lee—a man whose superpower was the ability to ignite the imagination of generations. Enjoy it together—and talk about it afterward.

 

Let’s Talk About It

 

If your family members are interested in this book, then encourage discussion about it afterward. You can use these questions to get started:

 

• What's your impression of Stan Lee after reading this graphic memoir? Explain.

 

• What's your favorite Stan Lee story or comic book character? Why?

 

• Imagine Peter David was your biographer. How do you think your story would go so far? How would you like it to go in the future? Tell it to us!

 

--MN

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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