People around the world instantly recognize Stan Lee based on his famous cameo appearances in dozens of Marvel films. While these glimpses are fan favorites, many fans do not know much about Lee or his amazing personification of the American Dream.
In Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), cultural historian and biographer Bob Batchelor takes readers deep into Lee’s life and amazing career. The book examines Lee’s critical role in comic book history and how he led Marvel from a knockoff, second-rate comic book publisher to global multimedia powerhouse.
“Stan Lee is one of the most important creative icons of the Twentieth Century,” Batchelor explains. “Lee gave superheroes human traits, so people could relate to the heroics and foibles of characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and the Avengers. That superhero with human traits narrative now dominates contemporary American and global culture.”
Renowned comic book writer (The Avengers, Captain America) and novelist Steve Englehart says, “Bob Batchelor’s bio of Stan Lee is not only thorough and accurate, it’s extremely well-written. If you enjoy reading Stan’s stories, you’ll enjoy the story of Stan just as much.”
Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel examines Lee’s career, including the frustration that led to the creation of the Fantastic Four with Jack Kirby and his little known early life and Army career. Covering Lee’s life to date – he will be 95 years old at the end of 2017 – Stan Lee is based on extensive archival research, including the Stan Lee Archives in the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming and other repositories.
Brian Jay Jones, biographer of George Lucas, says: “In this smartly-written, deeply researched biography, Bob Batchelor cuts through the hype and hyperbole to reveal the secret origins of Stan Lee’s thoroughly mythic life and art. It’s the one bio for both casual and hardcore fans.”
Stan Lee: The Man behind Marvel 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.
Bob Batchelor (www.bobbatchelor.com), who teaches in the Media, Journalism & Film Department at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is the author or editor of more than 25 books, including Mad Men: A Cultural History, John Updike: A Critical Biography, and Gatsby: The Cultural History of the Great American Novel, among others. He is a noted popular culture commentator.
Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017) Adult trade, retail $22.95. www.rowman.com