I was really illuminated by a number of stories here: Martin Goodman's rise, in the depression era, having started with literally nothing and publishing pulp magazines, which led to publishing comics. A totally self-made man in the depression era, for Goodman the comics was a lucky extension of his pulp magazines and something that seemed to wane after the disastrous 1950s era. The utter disdain of Stan Lee by his contemporries and later by Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, with the issue of creation coming up over and over again. How bad the sales were during the 1970s, my personal favorite era, but which led to the creation of the direct sales market. The sad deaths of several people in the industry, such as Mark Gruenwald, John Verpooten, etc. How creativity has been wrested away from writers to editorial to marketing over the years, now to the point where almost nothing being made is worth reading.
I liked reading about the struggles of various creators to get their copyrights back, involving Joe Simon, Steve Gerber, etc. Some of the insight on Steve Gerber came from Mary Skrenes, his girlfriend & co-writer on Omega the Unknown. I wished we had more dirt of the settlement that Gerber struck in his Howard the Duck lawsuit, but that's not here. What you do get is a good description of Stan Lee's compensation, which is astronomical compared to anyone else, all the more strange because he was utterly detached from the business after the 1970s.
There has been some interesting commentary on this book since it was published last October. Bob Greenberger wrote a review where he noted that Howe missed connecting the dots on Marvel's failure to merchandise their characters properly back in the 1960s. One fascinating anecdote surrounds the Howard the Duck for President campaign and button in 1976--Gerber licensed the merchandising right from Marvel for a small fee and made some good money on those buttons. Comic Geek Speak podcast had a lengthy interview with Sean Howe where they discussed different sections of the book in detail.
I think this book belongs on the shelf of any Marvel Comics fan. For the die-hard fan, you may have read some of this history in other publications, but I am sure there are bits of history here which you never knew before, and it's nice to have everything laid out in a chronological order. Now I would love it if Howe would do a companion volume on DC Comics, too. Nuff Said!