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
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.
I never understood Reed Richard's hair . . . a few years ago I woke up and realized I had it.
If you get that joke . . . or if you are/were a Marvel comic book junkie, born between about 1958-78 (I was born in '68) I think you'd enjoy this book in some way, with the particular type of joy dependent on your personality.
For me, it was a bit like reading about a childhood hero ("Say it ain't so, Marvel") who you later found out was an alcoholic, misogynistic, criminal bastard in their day-to-day life.
I usually can't stomach gossip, or seedy insinuation---I could never read "The Comics Journal" back in the day----but somehow this book manages to cover the history of Marvel and such topics in all their tawdry glory without making you feel like you hate humanity in general.
A disclaimer: I probably represent about the most interested possible audience for this book. As a young artist I came very close to working for the major companies (the Shooter/DeFalco regimes) before I became a mainstream commercial illustrator (Briefly, I did later work for Eclipse and Dark Horse) and so almost every name mentioned brought forth from memory a face and a conversation at a convention, but I think even if you were just interested in the 1980's comics as a reader this would still be a fascinating peek behind the scenes.
Beyond all of the above, this book is also an almost accidental testimony to the oblivious evils of corporate greed and what happens when it collides with a creator's idealistic artistic passion. (Creators lose the battle, but have a lot more fun and fewer regrets on their deathbed.)
Excelsior . . .
I must confess before you start reading this that I'm a comic book fan. I always have been and I'd image I always will be. I learned to read with comics when I was 4 years old and what I read was Marvel.
The construction of the story was extremely interesting, hearing the origin of how all of the heroes, villains, and stories came to life.
Behind the scenes at Marvel seemed to be as colorful and exciting as the characters they worked on.
The story tracks from before Marvel truly existed all the way through to its sale to Disney.
This is a fascinating story of the ups and downs of the comic book industry told from the perspective of those who lived it.
If you are or were a fan of Marvel comics you'll find this book engaging and hard to stop listening to.
This is well worth taking the time to hear.
"few inaccuratecies about Marville"
could have done with more background on the none big characters and seemed to miss the whole Marvel Japan and Marvel UK and hardly mentioned Alan Moore or the massive effect of Watchmen and adult comics like American Splender or love and rockets on the comic market or any mention of Sam Raimi's first Marvel Comic film Darkman or emergence of hero films due to the Matrix film or any mention of the 90's hero films like the rocketeer Dick Tracy the shadow or the phantom or any mention of how batman and robin nearly killed hero films and worst for me no real mention of the computer games made with marvel character, it's an ok book it could have been better if sliced in to 4 books covering the 4 ages of comics
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