In this graphic memoir, AMAZING FANTASTIC INCREDIBLE: A MARVELOUS MEMOIRStan Lee whisks us through his life as one of comicdoms leading figures.


Ex-CEL-si-or, true believers! This review is the most Astounding, Exciting, Thrilling, Overwhelming, Shocking, Pulse Pounding, Senses Shattering piece of imaginative insight your eyes will ever behold. It’s a bountiful voyage of discovery that will make you, faithful reader, hold on to for dear life!

After reading a biography about Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, told in his imitable voice, you can’t help but be carried away by the sheer enthusiasm of it all. A unique way to tell his story, AMAZING FANTASTIC INCREDIBLE tells the life of Stan Lee in a comic book format. When you think about it, it seems like the most obvious way to show the origins of one of the godfathers of comics history.

Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir Stan gets his first break

The book is told in the first person narrative, with Stan bursting forth from the pages, telling the reader how it all came about. It starts off as a linear tale, full of anecdotes about his early upbringing, his mother’s adoration of him, his father’s constant struggle to find work, his first bicycle, etc. But it’s not long before Stan gets derailed, where one story reminds him of another story which reminds him of another story (which he’ll get back to later). It feels like a conversation with the man, and his voice shouts from every page. This is in no small part due to Peter David’s help with the memoir and Colleen Doran’s art. I’ll get back to this later.

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The story leaps back and forth, with Stan telling us how he wrote an issue of Spider-Man without CCA approval before even telling us of the origins of the webslinger himself. The good thing is, this doesn’t feel inconsistent. This feels real. After all, while a story may have a beginning, middle and end, it doesn’t have to be told in that order. Throughout the story, we get glimpses of a life brimming with joy and energy, but also tainted with sadness.

It’s very clear in some instances that there are certain aspects of Stan’s life he’d rather not talk about. While it does call into question the nature of the biography, at least he addresses any issues and is upfront and honest that sometimes “the less said the better”. There is definitely loss involved along the way. There is one very tragic fact I never knew about, and in a book of humor and fun, it made me pause in thought.

Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir Stan pitches Spiderman

Colleen Doran does a fantastic job of creating a graphic memoir that sparkles with energy. In her hands, Stan is always on the move, full of grand gestures and almost cartoonish expression. She makes even the most mundane magical, and in one particular scene when the writers and artists of Marvel are creating an album, it crackles with dynamic energy. Her inks are light and playful, while the colors pop and zing. Apart from renderings of popular issues, she creates fantastic splash pages for the many artists that worked with Stan, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby being notable exceptions. Even their exits from Stan’s life are well executed, and while not grounded in the real world, carry the spirit of their departures.

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It is a book full of humor and laugh-out-loud moments. If you’re a Stan Lee scholar, there may not be that much for you to glean from this. Many of the stories are well-known. If you are a novice or, like me, know more about the work than the man, this is a great book that is enjoyable to read.

So what are you waiting for, Comics Fans? Make sure to pick up your copy today! Let us know what you think of it and Stan Lee in the comments below!

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