Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked (2003)
Review by Tim O'Shea
Whatever you do, do not judge the new History Channel documentary, Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked, based on some of the ads. The ads play into the tired old “pow, biff, bam” camp style of the 1960s Batman television show. But the documentary itself, which premieres Monday, June 23, 2003 (at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT) is a fascinating product that speaks to long-time fans of the medium equally as effectively as it informs the mainstream consumer whose closest experience with comics may have been an episode of WB’s Smallville.
What first struck me about the documentary in general was that it didn’t fall into the trap of making it a collection of Kevin Smith quotes. While Smith appears frequently in the course of the show, the first five minutes of the show offers Denny O'Neil, Jim Steranko, Michael Chabon and Will Eisner. Steranko, in fact, served as a creative consultant on the project.
Granted Kevin Smith, Stan Lee and Frank Miller are quoted extensively (as with any documentary of this nature), but the documentary makers are apparently asking solid questions or otherwise instantly establishing a rapport, given the number of unique quotes that they elicit from these three typically standard industry quote machines...