Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics

The Untold Story

eBook - 2013
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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.

Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial, 2013
ISBN: 9780062314697
Characteristics: 1 online resource : illustrations
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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ChristchurchLib Mar 18, 2013

Marvel Comics originated in 1939, when publisher Marvin Goodman reluctantly expanded his pulp magazine business into the new field of comic books. But the brand didn't really take off until 1961, when writer Stan Lee and artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko helped create Marvel's most well-known characters. In this in-depth, meticulously researched, and "scintillating history" (Publishers Weekly), Entertainment Weekly editor Sean Howe delves into the tangled and contentious personal relationships among Marvel's talented stable of editors, writers, and artists; also taking center stage are their creations, like golden-boy Captain America and lovable (if nerdy) Spiderman. Fans who can't get enough may also want to try Blake Bell's equally dishy The Secret History of Marvel Comics.

Popular Culture newsletter March 2013.

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ErnieK
Feb 18, 2013

I have no illusions as a comic book reader about how the sausage is made, or how the business has changed, but after a couple hundred pages of this book, I just could not care anymore. The revolving door to Marvel's "bullpen" and the endless divisiveness just keeps on keepin' on, with the same people having the same arguments over the same issues. leaving in a huff and coming back to repeat the story, decade after decade.

Howe does a good enough job with mind numbing material. I would have liked a few more date references and a little more clarification as to who was where doing what to whom, but it's a confusing and repetitive saga to tell.

w
writer13
Feb 13, 2013

A wonderful peak behind the curtain of the house of ideas that shines a light on what a nest of vipers it really was. The divisive attitudes that were apparently prevalent in Marvel's heyday provide allusions to the atmosphere of modern investment banking. A terrific history of the company that is largely responsible for our modern mythos.

b
bvonschlosser
Aug 02, 2012

incorrect title listed. the book will now be published as "MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY"

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