Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

by Sean Howe

HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS | October 1, 2012 | Hardcover

5 out of 5 rating. 1 Reviews

An unvarnished, unauthorized, behind-the-scenes account of one of the most dominant pop cultural forces in contemporary America.

Operating out of a tiny office on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s, a struggling company called Marvel Comics presented a cast of brightly costumed characters distinguished by smart banter and compellingly human flaws. Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, the Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, Daredevil-these superheroes quickly won children''s hearts and sparked the imaginations of pop artists, public intellectuals, and campus radicals. Over the course of a half century, Marvel''s epic universe would become the most elaborate fictional narrative in history and serve as a modern American mythology for millions of readers.

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, twenty 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 one hundred 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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 Pages, 6.3 × 9.45 × 1.57 in

Published: October 1, 2012

Publisher: HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0061992100

ISBN - 13: 9780061992100

Found in: Business Reference

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– More About This Product –

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

by Sean Howe

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 Pages, 6.3 × 9.45 × 1.57 in

Published: October 1, 2012

Publisher: HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0061992100

ISBN - 13: 9780061992100

About the Book

The Marvel characters have been passed along among generations of brilliant editors, artists, and writers who struggled with commercialism and a fickle audience. Written by Howe, former comic book reviewer and editor at "Entertainment Weekly," here is a gripping narrative of one of the most extraordinary, beloved, and beleaguered pop cultural entities in America's history.

From the Publisher

An unvarnished, unauthorized, behind-the-scenes account of one of the most dominant pop cultural forces in contemporary America.

Operating out of a tiny office on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s, a struggling company called Marvel Comics presented a cast of brightly costumed characters distinguished by smart banter and compellingly human flaws. Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, the Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, Daredevil-these superheroes quickly won children''s hearts and sparked the imaginations of pop artists, public intellectuals, and campus radicals. Over the course of a half century, Marvel''s epic universe would become the most elaborate fictional narrative in history and serve as a modern American mythology for millions of readers.

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, twenty 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 one hundred 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.

About the Author

SEAN HOWE is the editor of Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers!: Writers on Comics. He is a former editor and critic at Entertainment Weekly, and his writing has appeared in New York, the Los Angeles Times, Spin, and The Village Voice. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Editorial Reviews

?Marvel Comics is a meticulous chronicle of the real secret origins of the superhero, a tragic love story about the relationship between a long parade of passionate, talented superhero devotees and the company that didn?t love them back.? (The Los Angeles Times)
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