Finally, a filmmaker has created a documentary for not only lifelong comic book fans, but also a nice introduction for those unfamiliar with the world of superheroes. With the consistently top-grossing blockbuster movies, best-selling video games, and countless toys, novelties, clothing, and accessories making comics not just something for hardcore fans, it was only time before someone took it upon themselves to create an official history of the industry. And what would be more fitting to do so than to present it in a visual presentation? PBS first aired this three part documentary on October 15 and immediately released it on a special edition DVD and Blu-Ray.
Narrated by actor and noted comic book fan Liev (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Scream 2) Schreiber, this quick tutorial on the history of comics and its greatest creators is divided into three hour-long segments. The first hour, titled "Truth, Justice, and the American Way," documents the Golden Age of comics, talking about the creation of not only the genre, but its first and arguably greatest hero, Superman. The second hour, titled "Great Power, Great Responsibilities," focuses on the Silver Age of comics, featuring chats with comic book legends about the arrival of Marvel Comics and such classic heroes as Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, and the X-Men. The third hour, titled "A Hero Can Be Anyone," discusses the Modern Age of comics, talking about gritty realism and the rise of the creator-owned comic books, the industry's steady decline and subsequent rise from the ashes, and the movies that made it all possible.
Featuring such classic talents to talk about their creations and archive footage of those no longer with us, this documentary succeeds where numerous others like it have failed in the past. There is enough introductory and background information for new or reluctant readers to step foot into a comic shop while simultaneously spotlighting enough untold tales from the comic book vaults to keep even the most knowledgeable of fans on the edge of their seats. Cameos and interviews with the likes Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, Jim Steranko, Lynda Carter, Adam West, Zack Snyder, Jerry Robinson, Michael Chabon, and many more make this a must-see for any fan of comics, history, or the modern American mythology that is superheroes.