Tales to Astonish (Bloomsbury)

 TTAB   (Bloomsbury, 2004)

™ and © Bloomsbury

Ronin Ro, whose previous works have dealt with the rap and hip hop cultures, here takes on the history of the comic-book industry, as seen through the lives and careers of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.

In large part, the book becomes a story of Kirby’s bouts with the various comics publishers, most especially Marvel, because—despite apparent attempts to be even-handed—Ro clearly is of the “Kirby was the creative genius” camp in the long-running debate over who was most responsible for the early Marvel successes. He seems to feel that Lee’s greatest contribution was showmanship more than anything else.

Part of that bias may come from the fact that Kirby’s friends and associates were obviously more forthcoming in their recollections and opinions than were Lee’s or those of anyone else connected with the two men. And, of course, the book is hampered by the passing of so many of the main participants in recent years.

Much of this history will be familiar to CBG readers—but there are some personal insights along the way that will be new to many and may make the book worthwhile even to long-time fans.

— Patrick Daniel O’Neill

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#1 (2nd printing)

  6/1/2005
  $14.95
  $15.00
No copies available
Trade paperback; Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and the American Comic Book Revolution; 3o4 pgs.Ronin Ro 

#1 Hardcover

  7/1/2004
  $24.95
  $24.95
No copies available
Hardcover; Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and the American Comic Book Revolution; 3o4 pgs.Ronin Ro