Throughout this decades-long journey to becoming a multibillion-dollar enterprise, Marvel's identity has continually shifted, careening between scrappy underdog and corporate behemoth. As the company has weathered Wall Street machinations, Hollywood failures, and the collapse of the comic book market, its characters have been passed along among generations of editors, artists, and writers - also known as the celebrated Marvel "Bullpen". Entrusted to carry on tradition, Marvel's contributors - impoverished child prodigies, hallucinating peaceniks, and mercenary careerists among them - struggled with commercial mandates, a fickle audience, and, over matters of credit and control, one another.
For the first time, Marvel Comics reveals the outsized personalities behind the scenes, including 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 World War II veteran who'd co-created Captain America in 1940 and, 20 years later, developed with Lee the bulk of the company's marquee characters in a three-year frenzy of creativity that would be the grounds for future legal battles and endless debates.
Drawing on more than 100 original interviews with Marvel insiders then and now, Marvel Comics is a story of fertile imaginations, lifelong friendships, action-packed fistfights, reformed criminals, unlikely alliances, and third-act betrayals - a narrative of one of the most extraordinary, beloved, and beleaguered pop-cultural entities in America's history.
©2012 Sean Howe (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
This is a very informative and fascinating history for longtime readers of Marvel Comics. From the editorial and publishing side, it explains a lot. As a reader who was often baffled at publishing decisions, I now know why.
Unfortunately, the focus on writers and artists extends to only a handful of the most influential people through the 1960's to the 1980's. Some of the more prominent writers in the last 20 years are hardly mentioned at all. Perhaps that would require a second book devoted to the creators rather than the company.
If you are a Marvel enthusiast, this is well worth your time.
When I selected this book I thought I was getting a creative tales of amazing writers and artist creating some of the most fantastic fictional characters ever. Instead, it was a story of a rainy day that lasted from 1939 to the present. It is a chronological story of each writer and artist coming to Marvel comics with hope of a promising career only to be overworked, underpaid, an told by money hungry corporate owners how to steer their art. Spoiler alert: eventually, almost every artist that started at Marvel ends up at DC. It's a fascinating story, but as a comic book lover, I feel nothing but pity for most of the creators I admire. I recommend it, but not if you are looking for a pick-me-up! This is simply a story of human nature and the terrible things we do to each other for money.
Great info, doesn't seem to take sides, and gives a seemingly straight forward account of the history of Marvel Comics. I would have liked a bit more on the Golden Age era of the company but ultimately was fascinated by every bit of info on publisher Martin Goodman, and early creators like Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Carl Burgos, Bill Everett, and a young Stan Lee. The depth of information about the silver and modern ages is staggering and seems to mention every prominent creator to step through Marvel's doors. The narrator of the book was terrific and well suited for the material. A must listen for ANY Comic book fan.
I didn't know what to expect with this audiobook, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a very well written history of Marvel, even though the arguments appear to be quite one-sided. I am a comic book fan, and though the author did not seem to be fond of many of the Marvel "higher-ups", the history of Marvel is well explained, and I learned a great deal about the Marvel writers, artists and editors.
The narrator was wonderful, and added a great deal to the storytelling aspect if the book.
My expectations were exceeded!!
If you are a fan of Marvel Comics or the Marvel movies and want to know their unbiased history, the good and the bad, then you should definitely check this out!
I was curious to learn about the history of Marvel comics. Like millions, I grew up with comics books and reading them was a joy of childhood. The book gives a very in depth account of the history. Great read no matter where your life intersected the storyline.
A great overview of the history of Marvel! At times, I felt the author was a little heavy handed when trying to sway the reader's opinion about people or situations and it was off-putting.
It's been a while since I've been drawn so completely in to a work of non-fiction. "MCTUS" was a wonderful, informative read, and ultimately, for me, a bit of a sad one.
It's difficult for me to gague how much appeal this book will have for people who aren't comics fans or interested in publishing. It's well-written, and moves quickly, but the repeated rises and falls of a pop-culture phenomenon might not thrill casual observers.
But this book meant the world to me. I grew up reading Marvel Comics, and so many of the characters and creaters seemed almost like old friends to me. I was suprirsed at how much I didn't know about the behind-the-scenes maneurvering, marketing-driven titles, and revolving editorial mandates.
This book is a rich tapestry of Marvel history, from its derivative, pulp beginnings just before WWII to the mega-movie franchises of today.
I was enthralled from the start, and my excitement grew as the story approached when i first started collecting comics (1988 for TMNT, 1990 for Marvel).
I stopped reading in 1994, and have recently returned. This book has filled in the gaps. How clouded my perception was. It has inspired me to hunt down more books like this.
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