Great things tend to come from small beginnings, and that can certainly be said of Stan “The Man” Lee, the most legendary name in comic book history. In this graphic novel-styled memoir illustrated by acclaimed artist Colleen Doran, Stan himself tells the story of his life, from his impoverished upbringing in New York to his early days writing comics, followed by writing military training films during World War II, through the rise of the Marvel empire in the ‘60s, to his current resurgence in movies. We also learn about his early life in the depression era, how he met his wife, and the ups and downs alongside his career in "funny books".
This is essentially the story of a man that wanted to escape into an adventure world and entertain everyone, and he certainly did it the best way he could through his amazing stories. His life plays out almost like one of his works; the story of a person destined to do great things and inspire people. That is one of the things this memoir brilliantly captures and it gets right to the heart of what makes Stan Lee the man he is, delving into his mind-set and discovering what drives his ambitions and ideas. As Lee is explaining his story, he tells it using the same inimitable wit, energy and offbeat spirit he had and what he ended up bringing to the world of comics.
When you read the book, you can imagine Stan Lee reading those words out loud, making it feel as if you are spending a day with him. It’s very charming, witty, exciting, yet very honest and heartfelt with the more serious personal moments adding real emotional impact. The artwork really brings those words to life and Colleen Doran’s art is simply sublime, really embodying the classic timeless feel of ‘60s Marvel Comics. The fact that the memoir is done in the style of a graphic novel makes it very accessible for a mainstream audience, and Doran’s artwork makes you all that more invested in Lee’s story.
This memoir is a true testament to Stan the Man; a good-natured, winningly self-critical, utterly riveting portrait of a man who has made a massive impact on the comic book/superhero genre. He put the human in superhuman, creating iconic characters that have gone on to dominate our screens in both cinema and TV, and still continues to survive in the comic world even now. As evident in the memoir, he puts his own heart and soul into everything he creates, and that, even now to this day, he still connects with his fans and cares about them. There’s even a real strong moral to Stan’s story: even though there can be inevitable changes and unfortunate downsides, no matter how successful your life and career can be, there’s always a next adventure waiting around the corner. In that sense, Amazing Fantastic Incredible is an extraordinary read and a further demonstration of how much a superhero Stan is.
AMAZING FANTASTIC INCREDIBLE: A MARVELLOUS MEMOIR / WRITER: STAN LEE / ARTIST: COLEEN DORAN / PUBLISHER: SIMON & SCHUSTER LTD / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 3RD