Book Review of
True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee
Stan Lee was one of the most famous and beloved entertainers to emerge from the twentieth century. He served as head editor of Marvel Comics for three decades and, in that time, became known as the creator of more pieces of internationally recognizable intellectual property than nearly anyone: Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men, Black Panther, the Incredible Hulk . . . the list goes on. His carnival-barker marketing prowess helped save the comic-book industry and superhero fiction. His cameos in Marvel movies have charmed billions. When he died in 2018, grief poured in from around the world, further cementing his legacy.
But what if Stan Lee wasn’t who he said he was? To craft the definitive biography of Lee, Abraham Riesman conducted more than 150 interviews and investigated thousands of pages of private documents, turning up never-before-published revelations about Lee’s life and work. True Believer tackles tough questions: Did Lee actually create the characters he gained fame for creating? Was he complicit in millions of dollars worth of fraud in his post-Marvel life? Which members of the cavalcade of grifters who surrounded him were most responsible for the misery of his final days?
And, above all, what drove this man to achieve so much yet always boast of more?
My siblings bought me True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee by Abraham Riesman for my birthday.
I really enjoy watching Marvel movies. They are about the only movies I see in theaters and keep up with. This is why they thought I would enjoy this book.
I would say this book was written in some form for a more general audience, not just Marvel fans. I don’t know how fully accurate it was as I have only read short articles on Stan Lee.
I was glad I read The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, but it made me like Stan Lee less. I always loved his cameo appearances from “Mr. Stank” to yelling at Spiderman. I just loved that. I thought it was amazing that he did that. Now on reading about his life through the information Reisman gives, I see there were a lot of issues like lying. He was known to lie about a lot of stuff.
It makes me kind of sad to see all the flaws. There is a reason though people say don’t meet your heroes. I wouldn’t say Stan Lee was a hero, but I did appreciate all the writing and work he did. Now though, I can see flaws in it and how maybe sometimes he didn’t give credit where it was due. Learning about his childhood and earlier career was my favorite. It was more his later career and further into the book that made me uncomfortable.
I am glad I read True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee because I enjoy being knowledgeable. However, I did think his story was going to be a little happier and more inspirational. I am sure there are other books out there on Stan Lee that would provide this.