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Stan Lee’s ‘Amazing Fantastic Incredible’ New Book

If you’re still trying to find a gift for the comic obsessive in your life, you can’t do much better than Amazing Fantastic Incredible, the new book by iconic Marvel comics creator Stan Lee. Written in the form of a comic book, this lively memoir traces Lee’s’s story from origin to triumph to defeat and back again—much like the fictional stories that made him a legend.

Discussing the book with NBC News, Lee—who turns 93 later this month—reflected on his humble origins and the unwarranted shame that inspired his distinctive nom de plume. “I always felt that I would write either the ‘Great American Novel’ or something worthwhile,” says Lee, who was born Stanley Martin Lieber. “When I got into comics, they were on the bottom of the cultural totem pole. It was almost embarrassing telling people that I wrote comics, so I figured I’m going to change my name for the comicbooks. I took my first name Stanley and I just cut it in half and I became Stan Lee.”

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In the ’60s, he made a seismic impression on the culture, creating a series of unusually complex characters (including Spider-Man Thor, Iron Man, and the X-Men) that have continued to resonate for over five decades. However, Lee had no way of anticipating this success, particularly in light of his publisher’s shortsighted resistance. “What he would say was, ‘I don’t care. Don’t waste time with a lot of dialogue and characterization and all of that. Just give me action.’ I wanted to write about people, not about guys punching each other.”

As for the legend status he enjoys today, Lee has no shortage of gratitude. “I never would have expected anything like this when I was young,” he explains. “I still sometimes have trouble believing it. All I was trying to do was just make a living.”

Before buying and/or reading Lee’s new memoir, watch NBC’s profile of the author below.

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