Hello. I’m Gavin Edwards, the public speaker and the New York Times-bestselling author of The Tao of Bill Murray, the ’Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy series, and Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever. If you’re interested in hiring me, click here for more information.

One Week

One week from today, the book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios will be on sale in a bookstore near you. It’s the story of Marvel taking over Hollywood—and then finding that its domination was more precarious than expected. It’s got over 100 original interviews with the people who made the movies, from studio head Kevin Feige to the man who played Doctor Strange’s cape. It has stories about purple pens, vision quests in the desert, and polka dot horses. It was a collaboration between Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and yours truly, and if you’re interested in the book, I’d love it if you preordered it today.

This is the official page for the book at W. W. Norton, which includes links to the bookstore of your choice.

This page has the most up-to-date information on the MCU book tour.

An excerpt from the book ran last week in Vanity Fair.

Joanna, Dave, and I did an early interview with SlashFilm.

The first review was a starred notice in Publishers Weekly: “This definitive account of the Hollywood juggernaut thrills.”

In addition, we’ve received some early blog reviews.

Agents of Fandom: “Not to skip to the post-credits scene, but the book is necessary reading for anyone who fancies themselves an MCU fan.”

The Cosmic Circus: “It is an absolute treasure trove of behind-the-scenes surprises, even for the most up-to-date MCU fans.”

PopMatters: “MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios is a highly entertaining, well-researched, wide-ranging, detailed, and objective examination of one of the greatest Hollywood success stories.”

More reviews coming soon, but until then, judge for yourself! Order MCU today!

posted 3 October 2023 in Buy My Stuff, Reviews. no comments yet

Eat a Peach

I recently had my first byline in The Wall Street Journal: a review of Brothers and Sisters: The Allman Brothers Band and the Inside Story of the Album That Defined the ’70s by Alan Paul. Which I enjoyed, even though I don’t think the album lives up to the subtitle. If you want to read the past the Bill Graham quote that opens the review — “Anyone can boil a potato, but not everyone can make gravy” — then you’ll need a WSJ subscription. (They do offer discounted introductory rates.) If you would like to read a crazy-long feature about the Allman Brothers I wrote for Rolling Stone back in 1999 — it launched my career at the magazine and resulted in a friendly email from Cameron Crowe — then you can click here. Either way, turn up “Whipping Post”!

posted 2 October 2023 in Articles. no comments yet

MCU on Tour

Team MCU is hitting the road! Some events are already sold out, but we’d love to see as many of you as possible….

posted 27 September 2023 in Buy My Stuff. no comments yet

MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios

I have a new book coming out! It’s a history of Marvel Studios and how it remade Hollywood in its own image. We conducted over a hundred interviews for the book and it’s full of juicy behind-the-scenes details you’ve never heard, even if you’re a huge fan of the MCU (polka-dot horses! purple pens! dogs tumbling out of airplanes!).

I wrote this book in a team-up with the extraordinary Joanna Robinson and Dave Gonzales, who are both wicked smart and amazing collaborators. (You might know them from their superstar podcasting work on The Ringer-Verse and Trial by Content.) MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios is being published by the Liveright imprint of W. W. Norton and it’s in United States bookstores on October 10th. How do you preorder a copy? Call up your local indie bookstore or click onto your favorite internet retailer (available via this page).

I think you’ll love the book, but admittedly, I’m not a disinterested party, so perhaps you’d like to check out our first review, from the good people at Publishers Weekly? They call it “a superb chronicle of how Marvel Studios conquered Hollywood.” The starred review concludes: “This definitive account of the Hollywood juggernaut thrills.”

Excelsior!

posted 13 August 2023 in Buy My Stuff. no comments yet

R.I.P. Tom Verlaine

In the spirit of being thorough if somewhat tardy: a few months back, the legendary guitarist (and songwriter and singer and poet and producer) Tom Verlaine died, and I wrote (with Peter Keepnews) an obituary of the Television leader for The New York Times. Various peers and collaborators, including Lenny Kaye, Richard Lloyd, and Richard Hell, were kind enough to offer memories of the man. Read it here and turn up “Marquee Moon” real loud.

posted 16 April 2023 in Articles, Outside. no comments yet

Al Green’s Middle Name

Recently, while writing a newspaper article, I learned that (a) I needed to know the middle name of the singer Al Green (b) there is some disagreement on how he spells it.

He was born Albert Greene on April 13, 1946 (he dropped the final E from his last name shortly after he began his professional singing career). But his middle name is rendered as “Leornes” by some sources (including Wikipedia) and “Leorns” by others (most notably Jimmy McDonough’s definitive 2017 book Soul Survivor: A Biography of Al Green). Contacted through his PR representative, the Reverend Green declined to clear the matter up.

Wikipedia didn’t have any backup for “Leornes” (and I worry that the name has got caught in a citation loop, where the Wikipedia page refers to other sources that in turn draw on the Wikipedia page). But I corresponded with Mr. McDonough, who kindly shared some of his source material, which proved to be court documents, all of which consistently spelled the name “Leorns.” With his permission, I’m sharing them here:

1978 divorce filing
1981 divorce filing
1982 divorce filing

Unless somebody comes up with superior evidence to the contrary, I’m going with “Leorns.”

posted 8 January 2023 in Outside. no comments yet

Chess and Cutting

Happy new year! In case you missed it in 2022: I had two articles in the “Overlooked” section of The New York Times (aka “Overlooked No More”), which profiles remarkable people who never got proper obituaries in the Times, due to the cultural biases of past decades.

The first article was on Vera Menchik, the world’s first women’s chess champion (her reign lasted from 1927 to 1944). I regretted that I didn’t have space to include information on a couple of her contemporaries, including her husband’s Rufus Stevenson’s first wife, Agnes Lawson Stevenson, a top-notch player who died when she walked into an airplane’s whirling propeller. And Menchik’s last major tournament, at the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires in 1939, pitted her in an epic match against Sonja Graf, an equally fascinating figure.

Graf had left for Buenos Aires as part of the German team but was removed from it en route by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda. Unwilling to recant her public anti-Nazi statements, Graf played the tournament under “the international flag of Liberty.” After finishing second (losing a very close match to Menchik), she stayed in Argentina rather than return to Nazi Germany.

The second article was on Dorothy Spencer, a deft film editor who cut over 70 Hollywood movies across five decades. I wasn’t able to see all of them, but I particularly recommend Stagecoach and To Be or Not to Be (the Ernest Lubitsch version, not the Mel Brooks remake). I was particularly proud that I was able to track down a couple of editors who had knew her professionally at Universal Pictures (her last movie was the otherwise forgettable The Concorde… Airport ’79 in, yes, 1979).

May their lives be an inspiration in 2023, and beyond.

posted 5 January 2023 in Archives. no comments yet

The Greatest Charlotte Photo Ever

Yep, this one.

Some months back, my pal Greg LaCour, who edits Charlotte magazine, sent me an email that included the photo you see above, and asked if I’d be interested in writing about the crazy two-week period in April 1972 when the Charlotte Coliseum hosted Billy Graham, pro wrestling, Elvis, and a minor-league ice-hockey championship series. My answer, of course, was yes. And now you can read the results, titled “Slap Shots & Elvis & Bad Guys & Jesus,” either in a gorgeous eight-page spread of glossy pages in the October issue of Charlotte (on sale now at a newsstand near you, if you live in or around the Queen City), or on the web by clicking this link.

posted 4 October 2022 in Articles. no comments yet

R.I.P. Coolio

Coolio died this week—just 59, way too young. Back in 1996, I spent a week traveling around the world with him for a magazine cover story: a live show in DC, multiple appearances on MTV in New York City, and memorably, a visit to a bookstore in London. The opening paragraph of the article:

Coolio raps for a living, but he’d rather ride dragons. When he’s not onstage or in the studio, he reads and rereads Anne McCaffrey’s series of Pern fantasy novels. “I think it’s her compassion,” he says. “Plus I like the idea of speaking to dragons telepathically.” So today in London, Coolio has cancelled a smorgasbord of phone interviews with Scandinavian journalists so he can restock his Pern library. Once he’s completed his collection, he plans to line them up in order and read them all yet again. Coolio strides into a large Dillon’s bookstore, locates the science-fiction section, and starts snatching McCaffrey’s novels off the shelves. He quickly considers each one before shoving it back on the shelf or tossing it in the pile of keepers at his feet:  Dragonflight, Dragondawn, All the Weyrs of Pern, Firstfall, and Moreta: Dragon Lady of Pern. But he scowls: there’s a glitch. “Where the fuck’s The White Dragon?”

After I tweeted out that paragraph on Thursday night, it went viral, so I’ve put the whole article up in my archives: you can read it here. (The text alludes to a provocative photograph of Coolio taken by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, where Coolio agreed to be strung up by the neck to symbolize the ongoing death of young black men. It was powerful and unsettling, which is what I think attracted both Mondino and Coolio to the image.)

I hope Coolio’s riding dragons somewhere.

posted 1 October 2022 in Archives, Articles. no comments yet

Talking About Bad Motherfucker

Well, as you may have heard, there’s a pandemic going on. One sad side effect of that is that it didn’t seem like a good idea to do in-person bookstore readings in recent months: I love meeting readers and signing books, but I’m not such a big fan of hosting superspreader events.

The unexpected silver lining: I did three online Bad Motherfucker events, each of them a conversation with a smart and accomplished friend, all of them very different, and you can watch all of them still!

Last night Douglas Wolk and I were hosted by Book Passage, the cool bookstore with two branches in the Bay Area of California. Douglas is the author of All of the Marvels, an incredibly smart journey through the history of Marvel comics, for which he read every Marvel superhero comic ever (27,000+ of them). So we talked about Nick Fury, naturally—and the ups and downs of doing obsessive research.

Back in November, I talked with Phil LaMarr, the hugely gifted voice actor (Futurama, Samurai Jack, Justice League) and live-action actor (Mad TV, Pulp Fiction) who did a completely brilliant job reading the audiobook of Bad Motherfucker. We talked about his various encounters with Samuel L. Jackson and how each of us approached our work on Bad Motherfucker. It’s archived on the Instagram Live feed of Hachette Books.

Also in November, I had a lively and entertaining conversation with one of my favorite people on the planet: Rob Sheffield, author of brilliant books including Love Is a Mix Tape and Dreaming the Beatles. We geeked out on Samuel L. Jackson movies and misheard lyrics (and where they overlap, in a memorable scene in The Long Kiss Goodnight) and we were hosted by Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC.

posted 20 January 2022 in Buy My Stuff, Outside. no comments yet