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True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee…

True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee (edição: 2021)

de Abraham Riesman (Autor)

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Título:True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee
Autores:Abraham Riesman (Autor)
Informação:New York: Crown, 2021
Coleções:Read, Lidos mas não possuídos

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True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee de Abraham Riesman


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'When I ask [Gerry] Conway for his general estimation of Stan, he pauses for a moment and replies, "He's a good guy. He's just not a great guy."' ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 3, 2021 |
In True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, Abraham Riesman argues, “The often-false story Stan Lee told about himself and his work was that of the American dream: success earned through hard work, optimism, and staying true to oneself. But the true story of his life is that of the American reality: success won in no small part through nepotism, corner-cutting, dissembling, and stealing… Taken as a whole and with sober eyes, the man’s journey adds up to one of the more fascinating stories of the past century of American arts and letters, and it is a journey that has heretofore gone unexamined in public” (pg. 14). Riesman positions Stan Lee as a Mark Twain/Horatio Alger -type figure who invented his own identity in order to advance beyond the circumstances he experienced as a youth amid the Great Depression. In many respects, this makes Lee the quintessential American narrative, but Riesman’s “warts and all” portrait includes the steps Lee took along the way that embittered his colleagues. Riesman delineates Lee’s career into three phases. He writes, “The first had been his unrecognized toiling until 1961, and the second had been his bumpy, meteoric rise since. In the third, he would no longer write the characters that made his reputation, but he would finally perfect the details of the character that would allow him to stay famous until the end of his life” (pg. 181).

Riesman further argues that Lee chose to promote the wrong talent. According to Riesman, “[Lee] never sold himself as comics’ greatest editor but rather as its greatest ideas man. One can argue that that was a core tragedy of Stan’s existence and legacy: He was never able to put his most inarguable achievement front and center and instead opted for the ones that were most debatable” (pg. 67). While Lee’s persona and Marvel’s work appealed to the cultural left on college campuses, Riesman describes Lee as a confirmed centrist who gestured at leftist issues without fully committing as he tried to support both sides of the political spectrum (pg. 174). On the one hand, Riesman describes this as part of Lee’s centrism, but it also meant that he avoided permanently alienating audiences based on politics. According to Riesman, “losing Kirby had been like losing a limb, and [Stan’s writing] hadn’t since garnered the kind of praise he’d had when the two were working together. Indeed, he never would again. Stan’s good days as a respected creator of new material were, unbeknownst to him at the time, permanently over” (pg. 180).

Riesman describes how Lee perfected his persona while narrating Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, with his tone “evolving from the solemn tone he’d historically exhibited in public to the street-hawker cadences he would soon become famous for. His narration sequences would typically conclude with a cry of ‘Excelsior!’, further cementing the word as his verbal signature” (pg. 211). According to Riesman, “it’s a direct line from there to his world-famous cameos” (pg. 211). The final third of Riesman’s account details the duality of Lee’s final years, with his public persona reaching ever-wider audiences even as Lee’s final ventures – Stan Lee Media and POW – struggled to make an impact while stories of his personal life were dominated by conflict and people vying to control his legacy. Riesman concludes, “After a life that spanned nearly a century – a tapestry of triumph and tragedy, of enormous dreams and disappointing realities; a stretch of time in which a man could watch the world become unrecognizable and know he had some not-inconsiderable part in making it thus; an existence that went through a denouement of agony and discord – after all that, Stan may have found a way to rest and deem that life good enough” (pg. 331). ( )
1 vote DarthDeverell | Mar 23, 2021 |
For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com

True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee by Abraham Riesman is a biography of the famous writer and editor, mainly concentrating on debunking many of his claims over the past decades. Mr. Riesman is a journalist writing mostly about culture and arts.

I have been a fan of comic books for many years, its American mythology for better or for worst. True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee by Abraham Riesman reinforces many of the rumors, as well as innuendos which were roaming around the comic book universe. Much of the book focuses on the creator credit of many beloved characters, especially his very public and litigious fight with Jack Kirby.

Indeed many fans which believe Stan Lee is the creative genius which the Marvel empire was built upon. These fans may have issues with the book. On the other hand, nothing in this book is Earth shattering, or something that hasn’t been invoked previously, but is packaged in a concise, well researched package.

The book asserts that Stan Lee was a loving husband, doting father, an excellent boss, knowledgeable editor, certainly creative, and a genius self-promoter. On the other hand, he is a credit hog (which we all knew), prone to attract con-men which took advantage of him in his late age, and it seemed that his creative genius peeked in the late 60s, and he spent the next six decades trying to recapture that magic.

Stan Lee gets full credit in this book for being decades ahead of his contemporaries. Mr Lee, after all, conceived the interconnected fictional universe now knows the Marvel Universe. These days it seems obvious, but that innovation of having a shared, overarching story-line were admired characters can interact and team up cannot be overstated.

Mr. Riesman is attempting to tell the truth, let alone staying away from rumors and innuendos and states so when possible. In all honesty, I thought that the author actually erred on the side of scholarship than fandom. The author furthermore sees Stan Lee as a remarkable, talented man with a vision not many people have, or even understand. Stan Lee is indeed responsible for getting the Marvel brand out, selling it, and making it cool. ( )
  ZoharLaor | Feb 17, 2021 |
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