Fingeroth (comics industry veteran, author, and longtime Stan Lee friend and colleague) writes a comprehensive biography of this powerhouse of ideas who changed the world's understanding of what a hero is and how a story should be told, while exploring Lee's unique path to becoming the face of comics.
... [a] delightful introduction to a guy I'd never met but felt I'd known my whole life ... gives us strong insights into the forces that drove Lee and Marvel to success ... Fingeroth spends some time in the book unpacking Lee's long running dispute with Kirby and others. He also mentions abuse allegations previously noted by media. These sections were not particularly compelling to me, but they are an important part of Lee's legacy and Fingeroth handles them with grace ... One small criticism of the book is that it tells us very little of Lee's response to the founding and runaway success of Marvel Studios (beginning with Iron Man in 2008). That seems a strange omission given how much of Lee's later story is him trying to get Hollywood to pick up Marvel properties ... Taken as a whole though, A Marvelous Life is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Stan Lee set Marvel on the path to world domination (in a good way).
... intimate yet balanced ... highlights Lee’s humanity, humor and even humility. But it doesn’t ignore how his canny self-promotion at times shortchanged his collaborators and constrained his own choices. Mr. Fingeroth charts how the ambitious, insecure Stanley Lieber became subsumed by the bombastic Stan Lee, the fictional persona 'steadily evolving from within the real one and becoming the real one'.
Lieber’s origin story is as good as any of the characters he would go on to create, and Danny Fingeroth’s new biography 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.