Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe

Marvel Comics: The Untold StoryFace front true believers! How did Marvel Comics go from being a small, struggling company in the early 1960s to a Hollywood mainstay and multibillion dollar business? How did Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and a handful of other writers and artists, almost single-handedly create so many iconic characters, such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers? How did the company go from the dizzying highs of the comic book boom in the late 80s and early 90s to declaring bankruptcy a few years later, only to emerge as the biggest name in film making a few years after that, dominating the box office with hits like Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Sean Howe’s engaging, exhaustive and exhilarating Marvel Comics: The Untold Story traces the history of one of the most important and dominant pop culture institutions of the last 60 years.

Starting with the company’s humble beginnings, Howe traces both the creative history of Marvel, from their emergence in the “Silver Age” of superhero comics in the early 1960s and then follows a group of misfits, burnouts and geniuses as they engaged the drug counter culture with the “cosmic” comics of the late 60s and early 70s, and then responded to a more jaded society with the rise of vigilantes and anti-heroes like the Punisher and Wolverine in the mid-70s and the 1980s. At the same time, the book also chronicles the business side of the comics industry, a history of boom and bust, and a seemingly never ending battle between the artists and the executives over who owns the artists’ work, intellectual property, and even the physical drawings created for the comic books. This divide is most memorably portrayed in the heart-breaking split between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, a creative partnership on par with Lennon and McCartney or Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese that deteriorated into bitterness, threats of violence and years of lawsuits.

Filled with amazing characters (both real and fictional) and unforgettable personalities, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is great, regardless of if you’re an experienced comic reader, a fan of the movies, or simply interested in a fascinating story told well. Excelsior!

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One Response to “Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe”

  1. momssmallvictories Says:

    Thanks for the suggestion, my hubby and boys would love this. I have requested it for them.

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