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 Meanwhile on PBS... Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle

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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Meanwhile on PBS... Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle   Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:50 pm

Meanwhile on PBS... "Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle"

I recorded this last night, might watch it tonight. Any good? Or same old same old as every other media "look" at comics, didn't the Discovery Channel or History Channel, do one a few years back, and and one a year or so before that, etc...

Every year, usually on a slow news day, the local paper here does a light feature proclaiming, "Comics, not just for kids anymore!"

Usually nothing in-depth, just a cursory, slightly inaccurate but more or less harmless overview of comics, seasoned with archival footage and short clips of experts, edited from some new round of interviews. There will be Superman, Gaines and Wertham, footage from congressional hearings, then at some point Stan Lee will be given credit for somehow inventing comics, and no one will mention the many legal battles between publishers and creators. Dark Knight Returns, Maus, Watchmen, a clip from Dark Knight, Christopher Reeve's Superman, and to keep it fresh, a clip of Robert Downey jr. from Iron Man or the Avengers, roll credits.

But I will keep my fingers crossed.
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Terry M (Ditko Fan)

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PostSubject: Re: Meanwhile on PBS... Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle   Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:14 pm


It wasn't the worst doc I've seen. It reminded me of Comic Book Confidential in some parts. Short clips of artists and writers some even reading from their most famous lines. Even had some time with Adam West and Lynda Carter. She's still amazing.

Mostly a lot of short edited clips of "expert talking heads" like you guessed. They had some odd footage of Alan Moore. And some new clips of Joe Kubert and Joe Simon, Carmine Infantino and others. I bet there was more footage, I wish the thing would have been longer to show more of the newer interview footage.

Otherwise it was much like any other one, also like you had guessed. They went from the congressional hearings to the Comics Code, giving the reader the impression the publishers were forced into the code, by not pointing out the publishers didn't lose.

There was the usual minor mistakes and the usual timeline errors resulting from shortcuts. and organizing the material things up into segments. Mostly in the movie segments. They claimed the Avengers was the first film to have so many characters, disregarding the X-men films, and they ignored Spiderman's first film coming out so close after 9-11. And Stan Lee isn't overly credited, here was quite a lot of tribute to Kirby as well, though you might think Kirby and Ditko drew everything. There was a very nice bit about Steranko as well.

When they get to Spiderman, the cut the story short to say, "Stan turned to artist Steve Ditko..." Not that simple.


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PostSubject: Re: Meanwhile on PBS... Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle   Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:04 pm

Watched it this morning while at the drawing board. One smart thing they did was the title. By focusing specifically on "superheroes" they avoided the whole comics = superheroes, genre/medium confusion.

I agree it seemed very similar to "Comic Book Confidential. I liked the very beginning where they focused on newspaper comic strips. And I agree they did a nice job with the segment about Steranko.

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