Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle [Blu-ray]
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October 15, 2013
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Examines the evolution of superhero characters and the comic book industry, chronicling how disposable diversions that cost just a dime became the foundation for a multi-billion dollar industry whose products are an influential part of our national identity.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 6.5 x 5.25 x 0.3 inches; 3.2 Ounces
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
- Run time : 3 hours
- Release date : October 15, 2013
- Actors : Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : PBS (Direct)
- ASIN : B00EE8AIV0
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #129,475 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is a wonderful buy as a DvD. It succinctly explains the history of super hero comics in the 20th century, but there is a give an take to that.
The key to a documentary is facts and for a nerdy subject like this (where the people most involved are professional escapists and by nature divorced from facts) two things get in the way.
Idealism is the first obstacle. Obviously you can't devote time to a subject without love or need for the subject, but love for the subject deifies factors that are not a part of history. Obviously the history here did not start with something as overreaching as the concept of super heroes (You, like in Neil Degrass Tison's Cosmos where they tries to make Gilgamesh into a super hero?), but they did not dwell on more immediate inspirations like the Scarlet Pimpernel or Zorro or the kinds of books the creators of modern comics would read before they became the creators more iconic characters like Superman, Batman, and the Joker. Much like many of the Walt Disney documentaries I purchase there are moments where research, retrospect, and insight into the events and repercussions of objective information becomes "Golly gee, what a better world this imaginary thing made". Again, this is to be expected when wide eyed nerds try to tell the truth about people and subjects before their time with wide eyed love. I can take that obstacle in any documentary.
Indignation is the bigger second obstacle. Whether it is comics, television, film, or animation, these art forms are an industry and these industrialist are artists. Which means you have the back stabbing of a competitive world of work meeting with people less likely to be stable about it. The older artists and writers give the best perspective in this documentary because time humbles all tempers and egos, but then you get to the creators from the 1990s and suddenly the facts are gone. Todd McFarlene in this documentary really miss evaluates his role in the era of the comic boom and the establishment of image comics (though he is still an important figure head of the time with allot of good in sites to share) as does the writers of the Death of Superman books. This was the time period where new comic companies were risking it all, 90% of comic shops closed, and the economy of comics collapsed.........but all we got out of the insiders in THIS documentary is "Here is how I did the daring thing and wrote a darker story.........and somehow the economy of my industry fell apart. I don't know. Does not matter. Want to read the issue of Batman I wrote where he found his first grey hair?". It is really disappointing to say the least to have such a complex and charged time skimmed over because the artists they asked still had chips on their shoulders.
But again, this is still a good documentary set. I recommend you look up an internet reviewer by the name of SFDebris and his recent miniseries covering the Rise and Fall of the Comic book industry in the late 80s and early 90s (currently 7 parts long on the Blip internet channel). It covers the artists, the investors, the venture capitalists, the market, the shipping, the battle of egos in every office, and every inspired mistake along the way. It damn near picks up all the slack this dvd left hanging behind it.
Highly recommended. I use this documentary in my Graphic Novel class.
The third section, covering the late 70s to today offers little substance. It's a licky-split summary of the era without much attention plaid to the cultural significance of superheros. There is a brief section dealing with 9/11 that attempts to dig into the role that comics played during that time, but otherwise the documentary accidentally suggests that comics don't carry the substantive weight they may have once carried.
Overall, it's an enlightening and easy to digest piece and I highly suggest it for those looking for an approachable introduction to comic book history.
Top reviews from other countries
O.K., there are lots of talking heads, but they are (to me) largely unknown, as is the subject matter about which they are talking. If you are looking for a simple introduction to the comic book world, then this isn't it. My advice, if you're a newbie, is to approach the subject one or two characters at a time and get to know their story, before moving on. The origin story of Captain America is a good start, as this is fairly straightforward.
Over three episodes it charts the history of the comic book companies that brought us the mainstream superheroes that are now constantly breaking box office records.
There are some areas that could have been fleshed out more and to be honest another episode or two may have been welcome. But what we have is an entertaining and informative look at the rise of our favourite heroes and how the industry has changed over 75 years.