Heroes & Villains – ‘The Stan Lee Story,’ ‘Trees: Three Fates’ + ‘Ghosted In L.A.’

It’s Heroes & Villains time! Your oasis of calm in the midst of Rob Zombie Week here at Biff Bam Pop! Rest assured that not even I am immune from Mr. Zombie’s satanic charms and my contribution to the festivities will be arriving imminently.

But for now…comics!

stan_lee_xl_gb_3d_04610_1903111754_id_1244764.png-380x538The Stan Lee Story
Roy Thomas (W)
Various (A)
TASCHEN Books

Out of the trillions of word combinations out there, “epic tome” has got to be one of my favourites and I’m sure it’s popped up more than once in my columns here. It’s rare that a tome comes along that attaching the word “epic” to it seems to be doing the tome a disservice. Even rarer still that a tome comes along that makes one consider buying a new coffee table to support it. A coffee table of pristine white marble with carved angelic inlays would be a modest start to support a book of this magnitude. 

It couldn’t be any other book than The Stan Lee Story.

I will freely admit that I balked at the advertised price tag for the standard version and I politely had to have a seat when I read about the price for the limited edition version of 1,000 copies that retailed for a staggering $3,000. My dog-eared copy of Bob Kane’s Batman & Me autobiography spontaneously combusted when it heard about The Man’s biography.

This is less of a book and more of a towering monument to Stan Lee’s life and it is worth it. Roy Thomas takes great care to break down Lee’s life decade by decade making for an incredibly compelling read. Additionally, the amount of comics art that is included (especially from the early days of Lee’s career) is mind-boggling. There’s stuff in here I have never seen in my decades of being a comic book fan.

The Stan Lee Story also contains a forward by The Man himself and an afterword by Roy Thomas. Both are incredibly touching. If you have a chance to pick one up (I’m sure the book comes with team lifting instructions) this book is an amazing, spectacular, fantastic, incredible look at the life of a man who left an indelible mark on pop culture in both the 20th and 21st century.

trees-three-fates-2-of-5_06a70bcc9c.jpgTrees: Three Fates #1
Warren Ellis (W)
Jason Howard (A)
Image Comics

Trees is one of those insanely interesting speculative fiction stories that just so happened to come along at a time when I was getting a bit bored with comics. So, obviously, I’m glad it’s back. 

The overarching story of the book is about what happens to Earth a decade after giant alien “trees” land and take root and then proceed to do…absolutely nothing. They don’t move, they don’t interact with people, they don’t demand to be taken to our leaders. They’re just there. For me, that’s where the really interesting stuff happens. Watching Ellis and Howard work around the trees as they show how the collective existence the planet has been changed in response to an alien presence that isn’t really doing much of anything.

Beyond the core concept of the book (giant alien trees take root), this third outing doesn’t require much advance knowledge of the prior two miniseries (but you should absolutely check them out). I laughed more than I probably should have at the opening sequence of this book which depicts what a couple was up to when the trees landed in a small Russian town.

If you’re lucky, your local comic shop will have a copy of Trees: Three Fates. In his Orbital Operations newsletter, Ellis has been pretty clear that advance orders of the book are going to be required if you want to catch a physical copy of this book. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

e153ccff22386237178116e8f2d19371.jpgGhosted in L.A. #3
Sina Grace (W)
Siobhan Keenan (A)
BOOM! Box/ BOOM! Studios

Just a quick note on this one, I covered Ghosted in L.A. a couple of months ago when issue #1 came out and I wanted to circle back because I’ve really been enjoying this book. It’s certainly one that you should be checking out and your Local Comic Shop (if they’re cool enough to stock it) should still have the first couple of issues in their back stock. It’s a fun read, it’s got ghosts and drama! More people should be reading this book.

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