Stan Lee

Novelist David Markson, who passed away in June, was a fan of the Strand Bookstore. Recently, the Strand started selling the author's heavily annotated personal library, which has been "scattered among the stacks." Alex Abramovich reports, while scooping up many of the treasures.

In school we learned that the English novel was born in the hands of Daniel Defoe and Samuel Richardson. In his new book, The Novel, Steven Moore, a longtime editor at Dalkey Archive Press, offers an alternate history, tracing the form back more than a thousand years. He finds that "Petronius's Satyricon ... [looks] like a Thomas Pynchon novel." Moore's book is hardly stodgy: its opening chapter is, among other things, a celebration of contemporary experimental literature and a rebuttal of an essay by Jonathan Franzen.

Dear Q.M.: we admire your elegantly bad posture, your sturdy dot, your unknowability. Yes, we're writing a love letter to the question mark, and hoping to win a copy of Ben Greenman's latest story collection, What He's Poised to Do (note the curvaceous apostrophe).

Comics Roundup: In San Diego this week, Comic-Con 2010 is in full swing. Lindsay Eanet names eight literary works that deserve a graphic-novel treatment. Drawing Out Reality: How do you create a "sense of place" in comics? Stan Lee, who helped invent countless Marvel Comics characters, has a new line of comic books, and unveils three new superheros at the convention. Cartoonist Paul Madonna discusses the responsibility of a visual artist, the lack of innovation in comics, and the importance of telling stories with pictures. There's a "new spark of interest" in comics and graphic novels in the Middle East, and Ben Schwartz remembers when Los Angeles was a hotbed of alt-weekly comics.

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