COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL, a documentary by RON MANN (DV1/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL, a documentary by RON MANN (DV1/Southbound)

This 90 minute doco may look dated now -- and it is rather superficial in some respects -- but it offers a useful comicshistory.001 overview of the US major players from just before the Second World War (given scant attention) and into the more interesting, diverse and controversial period of the Fifties and mid-Sixties.

Looked at from this distance the alarmist "public service" films about the dangers of juvenile delinquents and kids reading comic books is quite amusing, but we forget the real power of the conservative US establishment which held a kind of inquisition into the genre and imposed the notorious Code. Footage of hundreds of kids trashing comics brings to mind the same response to rock'n'roll and Lennon's "bigger than Jesus".

But through interviews witth many of the main players (Frank Miller, a young and thin Stan Lee, William Gaines of Mad, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman and others) the story unfolds and, far from doing harm in many cases, comics were actually of some social benefit: the superheroes supported the war effort and fought the Nazis; Mad magazine satirised everything and everyone (even Senator McCarthy, when few would dare) and they gave enjoyment and escape to millions of kids and adults.

The underground comics of the Sixties are also here too and eccentric and innovative characters like Harvey Pekar come off as important artists and social commentators.

But as a consequence of its age and the constraints of its running time, this is little more than an introduction and contextualisation od the main threads of comic art up to the period of graphic novels.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

BOOZE IN THE MOVIES: Through a glass, darkly . . .

BOOZE IN THE MOVIES: Through a glass, darkly . . .

For a few days in my late teens I stayed on Moturekareka, an island just south of Kawau Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. The sole other occupant was alcoholic old Snow who lived in a crude shack lined with... > Read more

THE WHO, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT DVD REVIEWED (2004)

THE WHO, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT DVD REVIEWED (2004)

The first clip on the exceptional Who bio-doco The Kids Are Alright captures the band at their unpredictable best. It is late '67 and they are being interviewed on the US television show The... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Pete's Danish rum souffle

Pete's Danish rum souffle

Pete notes that while this is neither Danish nor a souffle it does contain rum. It's an old family favourite apparently. "The parentals picked it up when blowing through some roadside diner... > Read more

Billy Joel: A New York state of mind

Billy Joel: A New York state of mind

Billy and I were introduced while he was having his lunch. He gestured for me to join him and help myself to the generous pile of sandwiches on the table, multi-level affairs held together by long... > Read more