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Surfing the Stan Lee Universe with Danny Fingeroth

Posted by Jeff Hawley in meetings

The January 2012 CNW Meeting Review – by Jeff Hawley

Can there ever be “‘nuff said!” about Stan “The Man” Lee? What a career! And what a book about that life and the man behind it (still web-slingin’ at age 89) penned by authors Danny Fingeroth and Roy Thomas, with Stan’s input (“The Stan Lee Universe”, 192 pgs., TwoMorrows Publishing).

At the specially-scheduled January 5th CNW meeting, Danny talked about the making of and displayed images from the book, keeping his audience face front and true-believin’! Even Mr. Fantastic might be hard-pressed to stretch his arms around this book’s trove of rare interviews with Stan and other comics luminaries, memorabilia, correspondence, photos and stories. The book encompasses the history of Stan’s legendary comic book achievements: co-creating Spiderman, the X-Men, the Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man … the whole Marvel Universe!

A few highlights: sample scripts and plots; Jack Kirby’s pencil work from 1978’s “The Silver Surfer Graphic Novel” (oft cited as the seminal GN, and written by Stan, ‘natch); a transcript of Stan’s interview with Will Eisner (Watch it on YouTube under the title “Comic Book Greats”); and a radio transcript of the Smilin’ One debating Hilde Mosse, associate of the infamously anti-comics Dr. Frederic Wertham. And listen up, sweatin’ scriveners… Deep within the pages of this tantalizing tome, behold and absorb the holy grail itself, Stan Lee’s Top Ten Tips for Writers! Stan’s energy and wit abounds throughout the book.

Witness one of his side projects: “Blushing Blurbs: A Ribald Reader for the Bon-Vivant”, a slightly risque “photo-funny book”. And as an active speaker-for-hire, Stan promoted himself with – what else? – a comic book! While Danny gleaned much of the book’s material from the Stan Lee archives held at the American Heritage Center (University of Wyoming), there are still mouth-watering gaps.

As Danny told it, Stan was in the habit of tape-recording Marvel plotting sessions with other members of the “bullpen”….but those historic tapes have not come to light! Lost, if you will, in a veritable black hole of the Stan Lee Universe! Oh, by the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, may they soon be unearthed!

In the meantime, Danny Fingeroth’s book will be treasure enough to satisfy any pilgrim’s interest in the unforgettable fearless leader of Marvel Comics.

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