Marvel Comics

  • by Sean Howe
  • Narrated by Stephen Hoye
  • 17 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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, 20 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 100 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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

It's as if this book was written for me!

I couldn't have enjoyed this more... I collected comics for many years from the late '60's until the mid-90's when the blatant commercialism of multiple foil covers for the same book and horrible new art style (Yes, I mean you Liefeld) finally drove me away.

I was therefore already very familiar with all the names and events described herein, but having never read the fanzines or trade mags, was quite unfamiliar with the behind-the-scenes stories of WHY certain things happened the way they did.

This book covers that in a comprehensive and interesting way. It begins with the formation of the company in the early 1930's and progresses chronologically with the bulk of the narrative focusing on the 60's-80's. Narrator does a great job, and is very easy to listen to.

Some of the questions I received answers to are:
Why did Captain America, Iron Man and Sub-Mariner suddenly all get solo titles in 1968?
Whose dumb idea was it to give Spider-Man a "Spider-Mobile" in the 70's? and
Why was Secret Wars such a terribly written story?

I lost a night of sleep because I couldn't stop listening to this book. If you've read Marvel comics, I give this my highest recommendation. If you haven't, I can see how it might be too esoteric for the uninitiated.

Forgive me for editorializing, but it's absolutely criminal what was done to Jack Kirby.
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- Greg

Heavy on data, but totally lacking in STORY

Maybe I've just read too many biographies that were amazing, so my standards are set too high. (Gabler's book on Walt Disney comes to mind). This book doesn't come close.

I was really wanting an easy to follow, compelling story, that kept me guessing and held my interest. What I got was just a bunch of facts, taped to the wall in chronological order. I could care less about any of these people, as the book never truly helped me get to know them. Sure, it talks about the tension and strife between some of the major players, but without sufficiently building up WHO these people actually are... WHAT MAKES THEM TICK... I just don't care about their arguments or problems.

This book is like an encyclopedia. Knowledgeable, but lacking in heart. If you're a die-hard Marvel fan, you may find it interesting, in terms of learning how they got to where they are. Odds are, you'll finish this book feeling like you just skimmed Marvel's Wikipedia page.

Narrator is excellent.
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- aaron "Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-22-2013
  • Publisher: HarperAudio