Review ★ True Believer The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee ★ Abraham Riesman

Book review – True Believer The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee Abraham Riesman Comic Review

The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee
The definitive, revelatory biography of Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, an artist and entrepreneur who reshaped global pop culture–at a steep personal cost.

I have been patiently waiting for the day to come for a Stan Lee biography.  It finally came in February 2021 in the form of Abraham Riesman’s True Believer.  There are others out there, yes – but after looking into them a bit, one can determine that they are written in Stan Lee’s best interest.    Truth clouded and history seen through the eyes of Lee’s famous sunglasses.  In True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee – Riesman refuses to sugarcoat Lee’s life and contributions, and it is a better book because of it.

Not once does Reisman deny the impact Lee had on the world.  Instead, he lays out the facts, as cloudy as some of them may be, and the evidence of Stan Lee’s dishonourable practices to show the true unfiltered impact he had on the world.  It does not matter if you are a fan of DC or Marvel.  It does not matter if you are a fan of Lee or Kirby.  It does not matter which side of the extremely long and often argued debate of who owns what characters you fall on.  What matters in this book is the history of comics.

I’ll admit, I was not a fan of Riesman’s writing style.  In fact, I downright hated his writing at first.  I had absolutely zero issues with the content, just his writing.  Please read that again.  If you came to this page to see me bash the content within its pages or stand up for Lee, you’ve come to the wrong review. 

The pages’ content was absolutely brilliant  – I just wasn’t a fan of how it was delivered.  It is not an easy read; the words don’t flow across the pages in a way that is easy to follow.  Riesman seems to have a thing for using more complicated, less known words in place of simple ones.  I often wondered how often he turned to a thesaurus. 

As someone who has followed the history of comics, nothing in this book came as a surprise.  Well, except one thing – but ill get to that in a moment.  If you are not in the know about comics’ history, I suggest you read this book.  Quite frankly, even if you know the sordid history of comics – you should read this book.

The amount of research Riesman had to have put into this book is astounding.  Everything was well thought out, and all the facts laid in front of our very eyes to the type of man Stan Lee indeed was.  What shocked me the most and still continues to astound me is how much Lee despised the industry he helped mould and ultimately create. 

Despite all of Stan Lee’s faults, the man will remain a legend.  He helped launch comics to the mainstream, and he will forever hold a special place in my heart, despite everything, because of it.  It is indeed unfortunate and disheartening how the legend spent his last remaining years. Do yourself, Stan & the comic book genre a favour and read this book.  Like I said, it isn’t just about comics or Stan Lee.  This is a history book – both from a world and industry perspective. Whether you are a comic book fan or not, contained within the pages are the deep roots of an industry that has struggled and floundered throughout the decades.

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