|Index||5 reviews in total|
As a documentary, this feature is not unique, in terms of direction or
the issues explored. Its fairly linear and standard stuff by all
measures. However, it manages to get together a large variety of
legends and popular figures from the comic book world including Stan
Lee, Kevin Smith, Will Eisner, Joe Quesada and many others for some
interesting insights into the industry itself.
Its also nicely narrated by Keith David (the voice of Spawn from the TV series), and presented (during the bookends) by Peta Wilson, so all of that gives it a nice insider feel. As expected, it starts from the 30's, exploring the so called, Golden Age of comics, through their heightened popularity during World War 2, their decline in the post war period, their renewal during the Silver Age, with the launch of Marvel, all the way to present day creation of Image comics.
I guess most major milestones were neatly looked into, including the creation of DC Comics, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, the revolution that Watchmen and Dark Knight returns brought in the 80's and how comic book as a medium has struggled and coped with the changing attitudes of its readers. A little more could have been done to sustain interest for non comic fans interested in watching this, since watching comic panes buzz by for 90 minutes does little to captivate, but for any fan of superhero comics, this is a must watch. Highly recommended.
The documentary traces comic book history from Superman in the 1930s to
21st century movie craze. It covers well-known mainstream figures like
Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and the X-Men, but also characters and
series known only amongst fans, such as the Watchmen and the Sandman.
is not some expose of each hero's powers and whether they could beat the
Death Star in a fight, either; it's a presentation of comic books as a
literary form and an industry, of its impact on culture, and culture's
impact on it. In other words, it's surprisingly good stuff.
It looks good, too. I loved the graphics applied to the pages of the comics, the way the camera would sway and tilt over the static images the way a reader's eyes might. Meanwhile, Keith David has this voice and tone that sets the sharp and super-cool feel of the show perfectly.
Before this documentary I was unable to enjoy the comics. After seeing
it I still can't enjoy comics. Too much paper wasted for generally bad
stories. Maybe I was exposed to them too late in life. Maybe it is
something else. But these guys know their business. Or at least they
convinced me of this. I haven't thought of comics or their readers as
stupid. Still, they are the folklore. At least one part of it.
Also the documentary is quite well done. I was ready to watch it while doing other things. Yet more than once I returned to the screen to see what next. I even backed a bit to see something. Finally, it makes more sense why the feature films are so idiotic, yet these comic books still have a wide readership.
Contact me with Questions, Comments or Suggestions ryitfork @ bitmail.ch
This is a feature delving into comics, telling the history of them(spanning seven decades, from the 1930's to present day) and offering marvelous(pun intended) insights. It consists of interviews, clips of footage that fits(almost none from the movies, whilst that is also a subject one could explore, this stays on the aforementioned topic, and is better for it) and a number of covers, frames and panels, several of which are famous, with the whole thing narrated by the booming, powerful voice of Keith David(the order of those two names make a tremendous difference). It is rather informational, as well as entertaining, interesting and, believe it or not, engaging. Those who get a chance to talk have things to say, if one could have wished a greater amount of time was spent on some of these magnificently talented men, but I suppose they didn't want to lose focus, and this doesn't ever become the story of one specific hero(whether or not favoring is entirely avoided here is up for debate). The tone is respectful and you never feel talked down to or judged, it is presented in a neutral way and the viewer gets to make up their own mind, with a few exceptions. The editing is nicely done, and while containing a little flash, similar to what the media often does, it does not get to be obnoxious or campy. While she is listed as a host, I did not see Peta Wilson in this, I don't know if I watched an alternate version or such. There is a tad of sexuality, violence and other controversial material in this, as seen in various releases(and anyone bothered by the... appearance of Dr. Manhattan may want to avert their eyes at one particular point in this), and an occurrence or three of mild language. I recommend this warmly to any graphic novel fan, and/or anyone who wants to learn more about comic books... honestly, it's so open, anybody could watch it. 8/10
Watched this recently with my wife and twin seven-year old boys.
Comics, ummm excuse me graphic novels, have been a big part in raising
the boys, certainly more than they were for me growing up. I do think
that vocabulary and morals get introduced, not to mention as Neil
Gaiman said the idea of ambiguity, which for me is crucial. And I'm not
even a situational ethicist...nor a conspiracy theorist.
But I do have trace elements of both in me...
I will say that the sexuality gave my wife and myself a little pause, and to be truthful we sort of fast-forwarded over some of that. Really in the 50's-60's there was a crusade against the Caped Crusaders as being too "Ace and Gary?" Insert Seinfeld disclaimer...but for now, and for us sex is sort of limited to the idea of mating. Thank you, nature programs! And we've not touched on bonobos if you know what I mean... We'll get there...but somewhere between 3rd and 5th grade ideally.
Anyways, I thought the violence was going to be trickier. Especially as Vietnam and the Watchmen were included in the pictured pantheon. But that really was tastefully done, as was most of this fascinating, but faster-than-a-speeding-bullet documentary. They cover a LOT in a short time, it's mostly talking heads, so kids, like our "younger twin" might not be as engaged. But the history is well worth knowing in my mind, and this really covered a lot. The Cavalier and Klay beginnings of Siegel and Shuster, the introduction of the comics code, the collapse of the investors' market (but didn't the original Superman Action comic go for a cool $1M recently?).
I'm pretty sure the editors took David Keith's narration and sped it up, and sliced out some of the natural pauses between words to cover it all. I will say that finding out about Jim Steranko was alone fascinating for me. Also the Wonder Woman conception was something I did not know, much less that Gloria Steinem might have helped return Diana to form-fitting form.
I thought the "mogul" talking heads were the worst, and was a little bummed that the Dark Horse honcho did not stand out more. Perhaps that fell on the killing floor of the editing room. This would have been a nice DVD to include the omitted interviews as a bonus, but alas no. This was also made before the most recent Iron Man, which I think was quite a success at migrating (not translating) to the silver screen. Also even though they talk about online comics in the documentary, as usual the new technology never comes as quick as we might think.
Anyways, who might like this...*some* families (please prescreen if you are unsure). And I'm not sure most fanboys would like it, as it might be all old news, and not specialized enough for them. "What, no Flaming Carrot?" I'm the kind of guy who rolls into Lee's Comics and I think the guys suppress rolling their eyes as I look for something new by Alan Moore or lead my kids to the Marvel Zombies. My wife enjoyed it, but she took it to mean that comics are more and more not for kids...which to me is true, and not true.
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