After a sabbatical to work on a screenplay, Lee returned to Marvel Comics, taking on the role of publisher and president when founder Martin Goodman — who'd sold the company to a conglomerate called Cadence Industries — retired. (Goodman's son Chip stayed behind as editorial director.)
Roy Thomas, Lee's right-hand man in the office since 1965, took the reins as editor, and presided over a revolving door of new talent who'd grown up absorbing the Marvel style and who were eager for work. What did the company have to lose by letting them take a crack at turning around sales? It was, in a more modest way, a repeat of what Hollywood had been experiencing for a few years, after a conflation of big-budget disasters and the successes of Easy Rider and Bonnie and Clyde convinced the studios that they might as well throw money at scrappy film school graduates and hope for the best. The hard-core comic readers came from all over the country. Among them were Don McGregor, a diminutive, fast-talking, aspiring filmmaker from Rhode Island; Steve Gerber, a chain-smoking Camus obsessive from St. Louis; Gerry Conway, the Brooklyn-born prodigy who'd started writing DC Comics when he was 16; and Steve Englehart, a bearded and bespectacled conscientious objector from Indianapolis.
Change was coming to Marvel Comics.
The segment printed is very interesting and definitely hooked my interest for picking up the book when it comes out on October 9th. Although much of this comic backroom story unfolds before my time, anyone that has grown up with comics is familiar with the Marvel greats of the 70's. I've always been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes for the creations I've enjoyed over the years. If you have to, definitely check out his excerpt and see if it hooks you too.