Comic Book Confidential UNRATED CC

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(21) IMDb 7/10

COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL is a feature-length documentary that profiles twenty-two of the most significant artists and writers working in comic books, graphic novels and strip-art in North America today. In an entertaining and informative combination of interviews, historical footage and state-of-the-art animation techniques, COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL provides a positive answer to that burning existential question of the late twentieth century first posed by Zippy the Pinhead: "Are we having fun yet?"

Starring:
Lynda Barry, Charles Burns
Runtime:
1 hour, 26 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Comic Book Confidential

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director Ron Mann
Starring Lynda Barry, Charles Burns
Supporting actors Sue Coe, Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, Al Feldstein, Shary Flenniken, William M. Gaines, Bill Griffith, Jaime Hernández, Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Stan Lee, Paul Mavrides, Frank Miller, Victor Moscoso, Françoise Mouly, Dan O'Neill, Harvey Pekar, Gilbert Shelton
Studio Docurama
MPAA rating Unrated
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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4 star
33%
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See all 21 customer reviews
One of the best Comic Book Documentaries going!
John David Robinson
There's great use of "exploitation films" of the 1950s describing the "dangers to society caused by comic books" too.
Steve Ramm
And I can tell you that the film has never looked better.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Blahblahblah on June 7, 2002
Format: DVD
Comic Book Confidential is a fun and intelligent look at the history and evolution of comic books, mostly through interviews with some great talents and/or innovators, portraying comic books as the wonderful, subversive, unique 20th century artform that it is.
Unlike most documentaries on comic books, this film does not fall into the trap of focusing on those stereotypical comics (i.e. superhero comics) which usually represent the lowest level of the artform. In fact, the film makes the point that superhero comics would have remained low in popularity if it weren't for the existence of the Comic Book Authority which helped turn the majority of comics into mediocre drivel. The film does note how Stan Lee tried to inject some relevance into superhero titles by turning the characters into human beings, and how others like Frank Miller (with his Dark Knight Returns) have attempted to make artistically valid superhero comics. However, the film is far more concerned with the individual expression of such artists as Robert Crumb, Sue Coe and Paul Mavrides. But even collectors more interested in the mainstream will find much of interest in this documentary.
The film begins with a look at E.C. comics and the backlash created against such titles by Wertham's "Seduction of the Innocent". There is an excerpt from a U.S. government documentary (easily as amazing as the old "duck and cover" how-to-survive-a-nuclear-war documentary) about how reading one 8 page story will turn a child into a homicidal maniac who sticks knives into trees (I'd like to know who gave them weapons in the first place), plus footage of mass comic book burnings reminiscent of the brief Beatles backlash which will break the hearts of most lovers of pre-Code comics.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 22, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Some reviewers may be confusing "Comic Book Confidential" with "Masters of Comic Book Art," a 1987 video that profiles Eisner, Kurtzman, Kirby, Ditko, Adams, Wrightson, Moebius, Miller, Sim, and Spiegelman--and is indeed hosted by Harlan Ellison. "Comic Book Confidential" is NOT hosted by Harlan Ellison and is not shot in a boring, banal manner. It's a terrific movie movie, much in the spirit of "Crumb." It was also released, once upon a time, in the CD-ROM format, copies of which may still be available.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By G. YEO on October 25, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Comic Book Confidential is one of the best documentaries on comics and has a timeless feel about it. Made in 1989, it remains relevant over time. Generally, it's a historical rather than a 'confidential' look at the medium. But it is so well executed that one has to admire Mann's witty, creative and heartfelt approach. I've seen a few other documentaries on the subject and few 'feel' as personal.

However, as this IS a vast subject, Ron does run out of time, leaving one begging for a sequel. We see snippets of the late Jack Kirby, and you find yourself wanting to see more of the man. Ditto for the other creators.

The documentary leans heavily towards the underground and more adult aspect of comics rather than the men-in-tights superhero genre so be prepared. If you're expecting to see an extensive in-depth explication of Batman, this is not the documentary to watch. If you want an overview of American comic book culture and a peek into its varied nuances, Comic Book Confidential is for you.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By G. Cepeda on March 9, 2005
Format: DVD
I have an old laserdisc copy of this documentary and can vouch for its quality.

While it's NOT a complete history of comics, it's a good summary for people who want to learn general comic book history and become familiar with some of the great names in comic book history.

I'm glad to hear that the extras which existed on the LD edition have been ported to the DVD version. People will enjoy the comics extras and be transported back in time to when these concepts and characters were new while reading the old comics.

Recently, the History Channel aired its own documentary on superheroes, but the older Comic Book Confidential still blows the newer documentary away. To top it off, the History Channel has only offered a DVD-R of its program and if anybody is familiar with DVD-Rs, you know they aren't as professionally produced as a standard DVD and lack the chapter stops and extras most of us expect as standard requirements for a GOOD DVD!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 17, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
This BD is titled the "20th Anniversary Edition" but it's really the 23rd Anniversary Edition. Confused? So was I but the original film was released in 1989, making 2009 the 20th anniversary when it was released on DVD. But this version is the first one on Bluray and I'm told that the bonus features are new. So with better resolution and the bonus features I can certainly recommend this new version.

There are plenty of other reviews here of the film itself so I won't spend a lot of time covering that except to say that the graphics are GREAT and the really cool parts are when the well known cartoonists like Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman and William Gaines (can you tell I'm a long -time "Mad Magazine" fan?) as well as Stan Lee read from their stories. And the soundtrack uses pop music classics to emphasize the narrative of this documentary. There's great use of "exploitation films" of the 1950s describing the "dangers to society caused by comic books" too.

Note: Be aware that Amazon groups reviews of ALL versions of a film together so it's best to sort reviews by date with "most recent" at the top and then note which version is being reviewed.

The bonus footage adds 40 minutes to the 85 minute feature with interviews with those in the film and others, like Jules Feiffer and Robert Crumb, Harvey Pekar and Drew Friedman. These are stories which, IMHO, should have been included in the film but weren't (I guess) for time purposes

Whether you love superhero comic books of the 1950s and 60s, "Mad Magazine" or it's imitators, or the underground comics of the late 1960s, I'm pretty sure you'll love this Bluray disc And if you have the earlier one without the bonuses, you'll probably want to see this one also - there's 50% more stuff here!

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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