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Oct 9, 2013

Everybody’s got their secrets. Why, in 1976, this one time, in band camp, I... You get the point. So why would it be that hard to imagine that a gigantic publishing house might have a few skeletons in its closet? That’s the allure of The Secret History of Marvel Comics, a big new book by Blake Bell, author of Fire & Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner & The Birth of Marvel Comics and Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko and Michael Vasallo, an expert on Marvel Comics from the 1930s to the 1950s.

MICHAEL VASSALLO podcast excerpt: "I think we ended up pioneering the (Marvel Comics founder) Martin Goodman history. Very little has been published, researched, and written about him. We had access to every comics history book ever written. What we found on Martin Goodman ended up being incorrect... Every single statement we make is sourced."

Secret History delves into the business practices and trickery that established and grew the Hydra-headed publishing empire of the late Martin Goodman, the tight fisted, often unpleasant gentleman responsible, nonetheless, for giving the world his talented and far more charming nephew, Stanley Lieber. You probably know him better by his pen name—Stan Lee. The book is packed with details of Goodman’s often unseemly practices, lack of appreciation for the many artists and writers he employed at slave wages, and the fact that he never did understand what made his one true and enduring success, Marvel Comics, succeed. Secret History, incidentally, covers quite a different chunk of time than Sean Howe’s 1960s centered book, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. But collectors will probably be interested to read both. You can meet the authors—alongside comics artists Al Jaffee and Stan Goldberg—at the official book release event on Saturday, October 12, 2013, at 7 p.m., hosted by the Society of Illustrators, 128 E. 63rd Street, in Manhattan.

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Blake Bell BlogFacebookTwitterBlake Bell talks to Mr. Media about Strange & Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko (2008)

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