Providence Man Pens Definitive Stan Lee Bio

And it wasn’t easy. “Stan Lee’s story is where objective truth goes to die.” This from Abraham Riesman author of “True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee” out this Tuesday, February 16th.

The Providence Journal interviewed the author at his East Side home — book tour on hold for now — and Andy Smith seems to know what he’s talking about. Unfortunately, I am singularly unsuited for writing on this topic and our staff Marvel correspondent is skiing in Stowe right now. I don’t even know if this book is “definitive” or not, but it is 416 pages long. So, I defer to a review in Vulture:

Based on more than 150 exclusive interviews and thousands of pages of archival material, True Believer’s narrative stretches from Stan’s ancestral trauma in eastern Romania to his shocking final days in Los Angeles.

Romania? Yeah, that sounds definitive. Let’s hear from a few other experts (and by “experts” I mean the two names I recognize from the “advance praise” at Riesman’s website.)

“A biography that reads like a thriller or a whodunit. It’s an exploration of an often farcical tragedy: the life, afterlife, and death of a salesman and an editor who dreamed of being something more. It unwraps Stanley Lieber the man and Stan Lee the invention and the brand name, and manages to be scrupulously honest, deeply damning, and sometimes even heartbreaking.” —Neil Gaiman

And this is the other person:

“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

As to the Kirby/Lee controversy?

Riesman said there’s no way to know for sure who did what, but he leans toward the Kirby camp.

Order your copy now from Books on the Square.


Complete disclosure: Mr. Riesman is an acquaintance, so by my calculation I am now one degree of separation away from Patton Oswalt! And for those playing along at home, UNPUTDOWNABLE is a good Scrabble word, coined in 1947 by Raymond Chandler.


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