While Fingeroth deftly analyses the comic industry’s highs and lows, he is less slick at pinning down Lee, despite the interviews he had with him over the years. Compelling though the corporate machinations are, there’s little sense in the book of Lee as father, husband and person. The main cloud that Fingeroth does address is the accusatory rumble that has hovered over Lee’s willingness to take disproportionate credit for character creation. For his part, Lee, dependent on his artists to animate the stories, was largely unapologetic: “I really think the guy who dreams the thing up created it,” he said in 2007.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he is omnipresent: oversized glasses, gray mustache, thinning hair, that familiar smile. But the greatest role Stanley Lieber ever played was Stan Lee, the most famous, and arguably greatest, comic book creator who ever lived.
Lieber’s origin story is as good as any of the characters he would go on to create, and Danny Fingeroth’s new biography, A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story Of Stan Lee, tells it well.... The second half of this nearly 400-page biography covers Lee’s far less fecund, and much less interesting, post-1960s career, which perhaps explains the copious and tiresome repetitions that mar Fingeroth’s otherwise entertaining book.