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True Believer

The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee

Abraham Riesman



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Crown Publishers
04 May 2021
Biography: general; Fiction-related items; Other Film, TV & Media; Sci-Fi Biographical; Marvel Universe
Stan Lee--born Stanley Martin Lieber in 1922--is one of the most beloved and influential entertainers to emerge from the twentieth century. He served as editor in chief of Marvel Comics for three decades and, in that time, launched more pieces of internationally recognizable intellectual property than anyone other than Walt Disney- Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men, Black Panther, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor . . . the list seems to never end. On top of that, his carnival-barker marketing prowess more or less single-handedly saved the comic-book industry and superhero fiction. Without him, the global entertainment industry would be wildly different--and a great deal poorer.

But Lee's unprecedented career was also pitted with spectacular failures, controversy, and bitter disputes. Lee was dogged by accusations from his longtime collaborators Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko over who really created Marvel's signature characters--icons for whom Lee had always been suspected of taking more than his due share of credit. A major business venture, Stan Lee Media, resulted in stock manipulation, bankruptcy, and criminal charges. And in his final years, after the death of his beloved wife, Joan, rumors swirled that Lee was a virtual prisoner in his own home, issuing cryptic video recordings as a battle to control his fortune and legacy ensued.

Abraham Riesman is a veteran culture reporter who has conducted extensive new interviews and research, turning up never-before-published revelations about Lee's life and work. Lee's most famous motto was- With great power comes great responsibility. True Believer chronicles every triumph and every misstep of an extraordinary life, and leaves it to readers to decide whether Lee lived up to the responsibilities of his own talent.
By:   Abraham Riesman
Imprint:   Crown Publishers
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9780593135716
ISBN 10:   0593135717
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   04 May 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Forthcoming

Abraham Riesman is a reporter for New York magazine, where he writes about arts and culture. His work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The New Republic, and Vice, among others. He lives in New York City.

Reviews for True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee

For those who know Stan Lee from his sunny, funny cameos in Marvel films, get ready for an unputdownable deep dive. The man lived a life--warts and all--and Riesman captures the shadow and sunshine in equal measure. --Patton Oswalt True Believer is in every imaginable way the biography that Stan Lee deserves--ambitious, audacious, daring, and unflinchingly clear-eyed about the man's significance, his shortcomings, his transgressions, his accomplishments, and his astonishing legacy. --Robert Kolker, author of Hidden Valley Road Stan Lee was a mythmaker, both creatively and autobiographically. To reach the truth of his troubled and troubling life story, Riesman has had to peel away layers of quarrel, exaggeration, credit-grabbing, dispute, and faulty memory. The result is an enthralling, vibrantly written portrait of one of American popular culture's great innovators.--Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back The story of Stan Lee is a wild ride, sometimes breathtaking, often shocking--but it is also a wholly American one, rooted in the transformation of hardscrabble reality into glorious dreams, of legends into truth, of absence into action, of immigration into assimilation. --Sarah Weinman, author of The Real Lolita Stan Lee was, all at once, a genius, a schlepper, a hack, a huckster, a marvel. Riesman painstakingly dug into how much credit each of those overlapping personae deserves, and then he spun all those threads into a book that reads with the supple speed of Mr. Fantastic himself. --Chris Bonanos, author of Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous A life rich with unexpected turns and a biography filled with personality. In looking at a man who created heroic stories for a living, Riesman bravely examines the trace lines underneath the legends of his life. The result is a startling, fresh portrait of a truly American career. --Nathan Heller, author of The Private Order Not since the Daily Bugle's Ben Urich figured out Daredevil's secret identity has a reporter dug deeper to solve a comics mystery, or woven a better story from the results. --Isaac Butler, co-author of The World Only Spins Forward True Believer is an epic journey from 19th century Romania to 21st century Hollywood, jam-packed with carefully compiled evidence of just how much delectable bullshit, staggering failure, and vicious backbiting goes into the making of a great American genius. I genuinely could not put it down.--Penny Lane, director of Hail Satan? Take it from someone who has always found comic books alluring but knew next to nothing about the medium's history before reading True Believer this book will pull you in no matter what level of knowledge or built-in curiosity you bring to it. --Leon Neyfakh, co-creator of Slow Burn and Fiasco

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