With Great Power: The Marvelous Stan Lee

Page Street. Oct. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781645672852.
Gr 1-4–If “Every hero needs an origin story,” Eriksen pens one here for superhero creator Stan Lee. This unauthorized picture book biography explores the early life and later successes of the comics writer, born Stanley Lieber. Many students will recognize the subject and his characters, and the inspiring story will appeal to kids, even though it may seem more legend than real life. The text and illustrations include graphic novel elements, such as speech bubbles and illustrated onomatopoeia, to capture the comic book effect. Gatlin implements a muted palette for the small 1930s New York City apartment of Lieber’s immigrant family. As famous comics characters are introduced in the biography, bright reds, greens, and oranges are a contrast to the grays and browns of his days as an errand boy and early career as a writer with the pseudonym Stan Lee. This is a carefully crafted and positive tribute: “You don’t need a pair of web shooters or impenetrable skin to stand up for your fellow man...anyone can be a hero, as long as they stand for what’s right!”
VERDICT This is an engaging and glowing primer on the life and contributions of Stan Lee.

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