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Excelsior: Amazing Life of Stan Lee [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Stan Lee , George Mair

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21. Juni 2002
Stan Lee is the man who through Marvel Comics created "Spider-Man", "The X-Men", and "The Incredible Hulk" among others and has been in the business for over 40 years. This memoir traces Lee's life from grwing up in a modest Jewish family in New York, getting his first story published in a magazine aged 17, his first job as a gofer at Timely Comics where he worked with Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. He was made creative director aged 18 when they left, enlisted when the war broke out and was one of only 8 U.S. Army playwrights alongside such luminaries as Frank Capra. Lee went back to comics after the war as the creative force behind Marvel, selling over two billion comics to young, and not so the young, the world over. This book is packed with never-before-seen photos and artwork from Lee's personal archive and should be of interest to all Marvel fans.

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The excitement generated by Excelsior!, the long-awaited autobiography of an icon of the comic world that coincides with the release of the spring’s most keenly anticipated blockbuster, Spider-Man, may not equal the frenzy the movie is creating, but many have been eagerly awaiting Stan Lee’s revelations on how he created such immortal superheroes as the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, the X-Men and--oh, yes--Spider-Man. Lee is Marvel Comics veteran writer and creative director who almost single-handedly made comics hip--thanks to his innovations, campuses all over the US and the UK began to find comics de rigueur reading. The urbane, immensely likeable Lee has been in the comics business for over 40 years, and has long been its most articulate voice. This fascinating, handsomely illustrated memoir details the writer’s life from childhood in a modest Jewish family in New York to getting his first story published in a magazine at seventeen, and his break into comics as jack-of-all trades at Timely Comics (Marvel's predecessor) where he met legendary artist Jack Kirby (his co-creator of most of the great Marvel superheroes). His talents didn’t go unrecognised for long: he became creative director at 18. Lee enlisted when the war broke out and was one of only eight US Army playwrights alongside such stellar names as Frank Capra. Lee went back to comics after the war as the driving force behind Marvel, selling over two billion comics to readers of all ages throughout the world. Lee’s memoir is always candid about such things as the shabby treatment he received at the hands of incompetent or avaricious bosses, and refreshingly up front about his bitter break with the two key illustrators who worked with him, Jack Kirby and Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko. The tone of voice here will be very familiar to those raised on Marvel Comics: it’s a good-natured, winningly self-critical, utterly riveting read, and an essential curtain raiser for the Spider-Man movie.--Barry Forshaw


This long-awaited autobiography of an icon of the comic world coincides with the release of the spring's most eagerly anticipated blockbuster, Spider-Man. Stan Lee is the Marvel Comics supremo who created Spider-Man, X-Men and The Incredible Hulk. This fascinating memoir traces Lee's life from growing up in a modest New York Jewish family, and his first job as a gofer at Timely Comics. He was made creative director, enlisted when the war broke out, and was one of only eight US Army playwrights alongside such luminaries as Frank Capra. Lee went back to comics after the war as the creative force behind Marvel, selling over two billion comics the world over. Packed with previously unseen photos and artwork from Lee's personal archive, this will be essential reading for students of popular culture.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  31 Rezensionen
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4.0 von 5 Sternen The Way It Began 15. Mai 2002
Von Barry Pearl - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
4.5 stars, really, I wish there were more examples of his work.
I am one of those people who loved the Marvel Age of Comics. While many people say they read Spider-Man, the Hulk or the Fantastic Four, even as a kid in the sixties, I would say I read Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko...and a few others. When they left, I left.
Though the years I had heard about and read about many behind the scenes stories about Marvel. It was hard to give credence to many of them and I always wanted to find out Stan Lee's story. Here it is.
Here Stan Lee tells his story. And what an enjoyable story it is. Mr. Lee tells of his early years, his years in the service during WW2, how he meet his wife and how he started working for Martin Goodman, owner of Timely (later Marvel) Comics.
The major part of the story is the creation of the Marvel Age of Comics.
Stan Lee, born Stan Lieber, describes how he almost left the occupation of writing comic books. An occupation that was not well respected. But Stan stayed and broke the conventions of book characters. Stan discusses such stories, how he "snuck" his first Spider-Man story into Amazing Fantasy #15 after the publisher turned it down. We learn what was in his mind when he created the Fantastic Four, Hulk, and Thor.
For me the most important parts involved the Marvel Method of creating comics and his relationships with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. For years I have heard stories that, frankly, cast Mr. Lee in a bad light. Here, Stan Lee describes how he came up with the character of Spider-man and, at first, gave it to Jack Kirby to draw. Dissatisfied with Kirby's take, Stan turned it over to Steve Ditko. Stan goes out of his way to give co-creative credit to the artist. But Ditko though that Stan just came up with an idea and that he, Ditko, came up with project. I also learned that Jack Kirby was offered administrative positions at Marvel, but turned it down.
A reality to me is that nothing Lee, Kirby and Ditko produced separately equals what they did in partnership for those ten years.
If you are a fan of the Marvel age, this book is a must read. I couldn't put it down. The parts that are not about Marvel are still entertaining and Mr. Lee does not dwell on anything for too long a time.
`Nuff said
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Stan "the Man" Lee takes time to tell the story of his life 29. September 2002
Von Lawrance M. Bernabo - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
"Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee" has a cover with Lee surrounded by some of his famous Marvel comics creations (or co-creations depending on where you stand on the whole Lee/Kirby debate), but you may be surprised and/or dismayed to find that only six of the twenty-one chapters are devoted to the glory years at Marvel. Much of what is contained within Lee has talked about before, which means that by now the stories of how the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the X-Men and the rest came to be born have been refined and polished to the point you really wish he would provide more of the details. "Excelsior!" starts from Lee's childhood in Manhattan to those early days when he stumbled into writing comic books, his work as a "playwright" in World War II, and then through the rise of the Marvel empire and beyond.
The focus of the book is on the narrative recollections of Lee and if you have ever had an opportunity to hear Stan "The Man" Lee do a lecture or speak at a convention, then you are familiar with his conversational style (I liked it when Stan would pretend to be Clark Kent, take off his glasses and have people wondering where Clark went--plus, the man's autograph is always legible). One thing that struck me was how much Lee was affected by the Great Depression, especially since he often laments over the value of the comic books he created but never bothered to collect. Yet it is also clear that Lee is not driven by money but more by love of family and work, two subjects he talks about with equal passion. He does take pains to try and address the issues of his infamous rifts with artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, and whether you believe his side of the story or not he certainly bears no animosity towards either man. There is no denying that Lee was a self-promoter of the first order, but he certainly tried to take along everybody else in the Marvel Bullpen and it is equally clear that Kirby and Ditko were not especially outgoing types.
George Mair provides a more objective view of Lee's life with historical facts and critical insights in his portions of "Excelsior!" which frame the lengthier excerpts from Lee. Mair is especially good when he points out how some example from the early year's of Lee's career translated into a principle he applied while running Marvel. Ultimately, Mair makes the case that Lee "created a new mythology for the twentieth century" by putting "the human in the superhuman." I rather like this approach, which allows a subject to tell their story in their own words and also provides a way for biographical assessments by another party. The book is illustrated with mostly family photographs, although rather sparsely at times, especially during the Marvel days.
I do not know if readers of Marvel Comics who came to Spider-Man and the rest after Lee's tenure as writer/editor will be as interested in this as us old-timers, but I would think Lee's stories about how comics changed would be worth reading. His chapter on "Seduction of the Gullible," dealing with the efforts of Dr. Frederic Wertham that resulted in the creation of the Comics Code, provides a much different perspective on those times than you get from reading Bill Gaines's thoughts on it all. This is by no means a major look at the life and work of Stan Lee, but it does have its shares of worthwhile insights. `Nuff Said.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A frequently hilarious look at the life of a creative titan. 9. Mai 2002
Von Thanos6 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Stan Lee, the world's most well-known comic book writer, is truly one of the most inventive minds of the 20th century (and shows every sign of being so in the 21st!). And now, at last, we get a look into what shaped that inventive mind into the force it is today.
"Excelsior!" is peppered with Stan's trademark wit as he relates humorous stories and anecdotes from his life, such as the way he single-handedly won World War II. Sandwiched inbetween are factual paragraphs by George Mair, professional biographer. Mair is quick and to the point, knowing that what readers really want is more of Stan (it's almost impossible to refer to him by his last name), so he gets the facts out there and then he gets out of the way as fast as he can. Very professional.
This is a must-read for any comic book fan, anyone who wants to see how a "bio-autography" (as Stan calls them) should be written, or for anyone who's just looking for an amusing tale of a creative genius's life.
Highly recommended!
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Stan the Man, but I've heard/read most of it before... 26. September 2010
Von H. Thomas - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
This book was an interesting read, not controversial, and personable in a way that I suspect mirrors Stan's real life persona. All good, but as a comics fan for 40 years, I knew most of Stan's history already. I guess I should've expected that I wouldn't come across any new juicy nuggets. I'm pretty sure I knew Stan's life story (to that point) back in the 1970s when I think he was the main feature story of an issue of Marvel's FOOM magazine.

Stan's certainly been portrayed as the creative mastermind behind many of Marvel's best characters, and he's been the figurehead that's represented the entire comics genre even as it's expanded into other media ventures. Stan is generally complimentary to all of the talented writers and artists that he's worked with through the years. His histories with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko are documented, and I would imagine more complicated than he suggests in this book. Seems Stan's willing to look past these issues, but Ditko and Kirby weren't.

Overall a nice, casual read, and with a good deal of appeal for a comics fan, particularly one interested in Marvel's history. It's a decent account of Stan's life, and I must admit he's appealing to most comics fans, as I always enjoy his interludes on DVDs of Marvel's animated series and motion pictures. I even enjoy his movie cameos. I just wish the book had a little more substance.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Firsthand 27. Februar 2011
Von "extreme_dig_cm" - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
4-1/2 stars. With all that's said about Stan Lee, it's nice to see his personal perspective in print.

Here we get Lee's perspective on 80 years(!) of his life: from 1922-2002. Amazing indeed. Stan's writing, with the help of George Mair, is entertaining, personal & filled with details.

His formula for successful comicbook writing as printed in 1947's Writer's Digest: have a provocative beginning; use smooth continuity from panel to panel; concentrate on realistic dialogue which leads to good characterization; maintain suspense throughout; and provide a satisfying ending. This certainly sounds good to me.

Marvel in the 60's is easily a highlight here. Topics include: Lee's longtime relationship with Martin Goodman; Fantastic Four & Hulk by Lee & Kirby; Spider-Man by Lee & Ditko; Thor; Daredevil; X-Men; Avengers; the Marvel Method; MMMS; No-Prizes, and much, much more. These elements are explained from Lee's viewpoint. Kirby & Ditko fans will probably feel Stan needed to say more here about these phenomenal artists, but he does give us significant information about these relationships, and this *is* primarily Stan Lee's life story. And he does say nice things about all the creative talent he worked with.

Whether anyone feels Lee received too much credit for Marvel's success or not, it's nice in my eyes to be able to read his side of the tale. Why rely on secondhand information?

As a Lee & Kirby fan, I also recommend: Kirby: King of Comics, and Marvel Visionaries: Jack Kirby. Lee & Kirby made a truly amazing team.
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