THE STAN LEE STORY / AUTHOR: ROY THOMAS / PUBLISHER: TASCHEN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
When Stan ‘The Man’ Lee left us last November, the world became a darker place, but there was such a legacy to celebrate that he will never truly be gone. What better way to prove that than to learn more about the man behind the legend in a massive big book?
With this behemoth of a tome, author Roy Thomas relates Stan’s life from beginning to the sad end, focusing more on his achievements than merely biographical. Lee wrote his own account of his life that has a page count a fraction of this endeavour, and while some quotes are used from that, it’s generally to put things in context. Thomas is the perfect person to write the book of Lee’s life, not least because he replaced Stan as editor-in-chief at Marvel but he was one of the last people to visit the legend before his passing. He brought him the book for him to see, and to say Lee was happy with it is an understatement, and it’s easy to see why. Packed full of rare images, including photos from his personal archive as well as famous comic covers, panels, and even some rare in-progress proofs and sketches, the book is a visual delight. The oversized pages are used perfectly to highlight some of the amazing artwork that graced the comic books over the years - a tribute to not only mastermind Stan Lee, but those who drew the various characters and comics throughout time. The sheer number of illustrations that evoke memories and still take the breath away is sublime. Sure, there are occasional colour issues due to the ‘blowing up’ of the comic book pages - particularly towards the end when some of Stan’s most iconic stories are reproduced in full, a section that takes almost 200 glorious pages - but it’s nothing to get worked up about as it gives the images more of a ‘pop art’ look.
Once you get into the book - it’s encased in a cardboard carry-case that could easily help with weightlifting exercises - you will find there is so much more to ‘The Man’ than superheroes and film cameos. Thomas opts wisely to change to the first-person perspective once we get to the point where he replaced Stan, but the focus is always on the subject, there is no time for showboating here. A healthy portion of the book is, understandably, given over to the post-Marvel years and Stan’s resurgence in front of the camera in the aforementioned movie slots. His influence in the genesis of these box office giants isn’t ignored, either.
The Stan Lee Story is a big investment, but worth every penny. Just make sure you have a bookshelf and coffee table strong enough to keep it on! Highly recommended.