MEET LEV GLEASON, A REAL-LIFE COMICS SUPERHERO!
Gleason was a titan among Golden Age comics publishers who fought back against the censorship campaigns and paranoia of the Red Scare. After dropping out of Harvard to fight in World War I in France, Gleason moved to New York City and eventually made it big with groundbreaking titles like Daredevil and Crime Does Not Pay.
Brett Dakin, Gleason's great-nephew, opens up the family archives—and the files of the FBI—to take you on a journey through the publisher's life and career. In AMERICAN DAREDEVIL, you'll learn the truth about Gleason's rapid rise to the top of comics, unapologetic progressive activism, and sudden fall from grace.
Whether it was Dr. Frederic Wertham and Seduction of the Innocent or the House Un-American Activities Committee, Gleason was always ready to take on the enemy.
PRAISE FOR AMERICAN DAREDEVIL
"If you don't know of Lev Gleason and how he fought fascism and censorship, not to worry: Brett Dakin didn't either when he decided to find out. In AMERICAN DAREDEVIL, Dakin is the perfect escort—curious, conversational, scrupulously even-handed, always with an eye to the larger context—as he takes you from the Forties and the McCarthy Era through Gleason's sudden fade from the scene. It's all here: politics, culture, business, and the peculiarly American knack for devouring its visionaries and idealists."
- Alexander Wolff, author, Endpapers: A Family Story of Books, War, Escape, and Home
"Dakin creates a sharp and intriguing portrait of Gleason, taking the reader along on the journey to discovering his grand-uncle's story."
- Greg Young, The Bowery Boys
"AMERICAN DAREDEVIL pulls Lev Gleason out of the shadows of history and places him in the well-deserved spotlight as one of the founding fathers of the comic book industry."
- Michael Uslan, producer, Joker, The Spirit, Justice League, and the Batman films
"Incredibly researched, beautifully written and fascinating."
- Craig Yoe, founder, Yoe! Studios and Yoe! Books
"A wonderful biography of a comics legend by his great-nephew. I think Gleason and I would've gotten along well."
- Tony Isabella, creator, Black Lightning
"Family lore about the flamboyant Lev Gleason—trailblazing publisher of superhero comics, staunch supporter of radical causes, lavish purveyor of magnanimity and fun—prompted author Brett Dakin to reconstruct the life of the great-uncle he'd never met. The result is this remarkable story of a colorful impresario whose path ultimately narrowed into obscurity, set alongside the author's own corresponding chronicle of personal and historical discovery."
- Judy Polumbaum, author, All Available Light: The Life and Legacy of Photographer Ted Polumbaum
"An often-riveting legal thriller, complete with suspected traitors, a murder, and the inevitable moral, Crime Does Not Pay."
"Dakin is an engaging storyteller... I found AMERICAN DAREDEVIL gripping."
"Essential reading for both the casual reader as well as students of comic book history."
- Illustrators Quarterly
"Superheroes aren't fiction; they live among us, running businesses, helping communities, paying taxes and speaking out to right a wrong."
"Lev Gleason is a storied figure, a part of the history of comics production and comic art that had yet, until this fascinating volume, to be told in any detail. A personal saga, a business history, and a detective story by a great-nephew pursuing a disappearing world: we have here a tasty package."
"Comic books tell legends of heroes that stand up and do the right thing. Lev Gleason was not only an early publisher of these stories, he was a superhero in his own right. His story deserves to be told, and Dakin does so here in an informative, entertaining manner."
- Anthony Del Col, writer, Luke Cage, Kill Shakespeare, and Son of Hitler
"If you enjoy biographies of American publishing figures, this book is ideal for you!"
"AMERICAN DAREDEVIL provides a fresh perspective on the history of comics, and an in-depth look at one of the most important pioneers of the American comic book industry. I read it cover to cover in one long sitting. At a time when fascism no longer seems safely contained within the pages of history textbooks, we can take some inspiration from Gleason, whose anti-fascist activism was not confined to his comics."
- Leonard Rifas, artist, historian, and author, Korean War Comic Books
"Lev Gleason's personal story is a fascinating one."
"A fascinating and educational book."
"A compelling portrait of an influential and fearless publisher."