I’m not a bloke who reads a lot of comic books. I do retain a fascination with comic book heroes from my wasted childhood, and Mrs Jameson and I are mid-way through watching the whole of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (IRON MAN 3 is next), but to actually pick up some Marvel or D.C. printed offering and see what’s illustrated between the pages is something I would almost never do.
However, in the last couple of years, I have read a couple of books taking a look behind the scenes (as it were) of comic books. As a creative person, I quite like reading about other creative people and the challenges they face – even if it is in a completely different field. And whereas reading about films I haven’t seen or music I’ve never heard could leave me baffled, here, even if I don’t know the specific comic books being talked about, I know who the characters are, I can imagine them, I can appreciate the story being told.
The first half of this MARVEL COMICS – THE UNTOLD STORY is a great read, there’s Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and various other big personalities clashing as they try to get their comics out. While in the background there is a growing sense that for all the sneering they get (Mario Puzo, of all people, shows up in person to sneer) that they are doing something which impacts the world.
As the book goes on though, and perhaps reflecting the change in culture at the company itself, the story becomes more corporate and less interesting. The personalities shrink and the back-biting becomes even more petty. Or maybe after hundreds of pages of back biting, I was just a bit worn down by it.
No doubt, Sean Howe will eventually produce a sequel which details the films (we pretty much stop here at the original IRON MAN) and how this upstart comic company became one of the biggest entertainment forces in the world. No doubt that will be full of ego clashes and arguments too, but by that point my weariness will have past and I’ll probably revel in it.
Fancy some free dark short fiction? My collection, SOMETHING WENT WRONG & OTHER STRANGE TALES is available for FREE here.