True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee is a new biography of the late Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee by American journalist Abraham Riesman. The book aims to explore both sides of Lee – the legend who indelibly shaped the industry by shaping some of popular culture’s most beloved characters, and the controversial man who has often been accused of stealing the credit of other creatives have ‘work and who has exposed allegations of sexual harassment.
Like many famous socialmediagossips, Stan Lee left an intricate legacy. And this book is an unflinching attempt to finally bring to light the less savory aspects of Lee’s life and career that most socialmediagossips, including his fans, are unfamiliar with.
The book goes into detail about what made Lee such a towering figure. As the publisher of Marvel, the company launched so many intellectual property rights that the number would shake anyone’s mind. He helped create characters like Spider-Man, The Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four that dominate pop culture today.
When his work on comics wasn’t enough, his cameos in Marvel movies won him over another generation of fans – Millennials and Generation Z.
But controversy haunted Lee for most of his professional career, even though he was very good at keeping his reputation more or less untroubled.
Jack Kirby, another comic book legend who was even older than Lee, was said to have co-invented characters like Thor and Fantastic Four with Lee. But he turned it down in 1990 when, speaking to the Comics Journal, he said, “Stan Lee and I never worked together on anything! I could never see Stan Lee as creative. I think Stan has a god complex. At the moment he’s the father of the Marvel Universe. “
Kirby left Marvel for DC, where he did some of the best work of his career with New Gods history. Steve Ditko, who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Lee, was another Marvel creative who moved to DC after a disagreement.
With his charisma and camera-friendly image, Lee made it seem like he was the only one to revive Marvel in the silver age of comics. Even after leaving the comic industry, he remained a figurehead for Marvel. He had a tendency to keep himself the center of attention. Other creatives at Marvel felt left out and dark compared to Lee’s immense fame.
True Believer explains at length the inconsistencies in Lee’s narratives about how he allegedly made up some major Marvel characters. The inconsistencies extend to the dialogue. The most iconic piece of the Spider-Man dialogue in comics is: “With great force must come – great responsibility!” That was rephrased for the first Tobey Maguire-led Spider-Man. But that’s not original either, says True Believer. A young Winston Churchill apparently said in 1906: “Where there is great power, there is great responsibility.”
Lee is always hailed as great, and rightly so. He played a huge role in making comics relevant by adding real-world themes to them and making heroes vulnerable and human. But when a conversation comes up about his legacy, let’s also talk about the man behind this happy, grinning, cool grandfather personality.
True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee is a compelling book that explores both Stan Lees – the one we know and the one we don’t know.