Comic Book Confidential
(History of Comic Books)
Runtime: 90 min
Whether dismissed by middlebrow culture guardians as vulgar and beneath contempt or attacked for the alleged corruption and exploitation of the nation’s youth, when it comes to launching moral cultural crusades, few targets are as easy and defenseless as the comic book. In Comic Book Confidential, director Ron Mann makes a strong case for cultural redemption of this widely maligned and misunderstood medium.
The film traces the origins and progress of the popular medium from Jack Kirby’s Captain America and the superhero fervour of the war years, through Will Eisner’s cinematic The Spirit, to the anti-comic book movement of the 1950s and the irreverent, long-running Mad magazine. Yet, more than a history of the medium, Comic Book Confidential is a survey of 22 of the most significant artists and writers of comic books, graphic novels and strip art in North America, including R. Crumb, Frank Miller, Jaime Hernandez and Harvey Pekar. These are the luminaries who guided the medium through an unprecedented period of creative fertility and growing credibility among critics.
The documentary is equal parts entertainment, history, education and revelation; it places comics precisely within those social, political and artistic contexts they have traditionally been denied. What emerges is not merely a fascinating portrait of this vibrant contemporary medium, but a testament to a long-marginalized art form at the point when it is finally able to assume a place alongside the likes of jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and motion pictures.
Music by Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Gerard Leckey, Dr. John, Keith Elliott, Nicholas Stirling.