Movies & TV / Columns

Comics 411: The Best Comic Book Documentaries

January 31, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Necessary Evil Super-Villains of DC Comics

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Damage #1, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1, and more!

Now, on with the show!

Last week we took a Look at Marvel’s New/Old Avenger Voyager Here’s what some of you had to say:

MadModPoetGod: “Whatever”

KGNine: “I’m almost positive Voyager will be revealed as Kobik, only adding to the disappointment”

Thomas Stockel: “Okay, to be fair here someone at another site I visit (Is it okay to mention another site? What are the rules pertaining to that?) said in a special someone almost saw through the facade. Voyager isn’t Sentry, she’s more like Dawn from Buffy in that her history is a lie. People think she’s always been around but it will be revealed everyone has false memories. Maybe that’s wishful thinking but if true it’ll be a lot more interesting than Sentry ver 2.0.”

Wrestling Fan: “in 1994, DC Comics introduced Triumph, a founding member of the JLA who was promptly lost in time and retroactively wiped from history. He came back, was hated by fans, and eventually was turned to ice by the Specter before being completely killed when the JLA’s HQ was destroyed, with his frozen body still in it.

….then Marvel did the same thing with Sentry, who proved to be just as popular with fans.

….and now they seem to be doing the dame thing with Voyager. I just hope there’s a twist that makes her worth the effort.”

TheAaronscottJ: “If she turns out to be the big bad then it works. Adding another character and saying they’ve always been there rarely works. Even Scrubs couldn’t pull it off. I’d go the Rick & Morty route.”

To read ALL the comments from the column, CLICK HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we discuss…

Best Documentaries About Comic Books!

Lately I’ve been getting into comic book documentaries so I’m looking forward to this one. The first trailer for documentarian Patrick Man’s Chris Claremont’s X-Men has been released by XLrator media. Spotlighting Claremont and featuring interviews with himself as well as colleagues such as Rob Liefeld, Ann Nocenti, Louise Simonson, Marc Silvestri, and the late Len Wein, Chris Claremont’s X-Men aims to break down how integral the UK-born writer’s work is to the Marvel mutants. Chris Claremont’s X-Men is scheduled to be released on-demand February 6.

I finally got around to seeing The History of Image Comics (So Much Damage) from SYFY Wire. I enjoyed it even though it was very broad in terms of what transpired in the storied publishers history.

Although I haven’t seen a wide array, I thought I’d throw some out there and see which ones you had seen and recommend. Please note, I’m covering the ones that focus on the comic book industry and not any that looked at comic book movies/

One of my all time favorites is Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist. The 2010 is a complete encompassing of the life of this master storyteller. This award-winning full-length feature documentary tells the story of one of the most influential creators in comics. While watching it you will be blown away by just how much Eisner did to impact the industry. If I had to pick just one documentary to watch, this would be the one.

A very close second is In Search Of Steve Ditko. The man behind the original art of Spider-Man, Ditko is a complete mystery of a man. This documentary attempts to unravel that aura and is a roller coaster ride of emotions.

Back in 2014 She Makes Comics came out and took the viewer on a journey through the history of the female comic book creator. Director Marisa Stotter shares an eye-opening documentary through the 1900s with input from a number of legendary creators, editors, and publishers. It’s become even more timely with the current state of the industry today.

Do you know who Bill Finger is? You will after watching Batman & Bill, a Hulu documentary that puts the spotlight on the exclusion of the late Bill Finger as co-creator of Batman. Yes, while Bob Kane is the name you think of most when it comes to the creation of the Dark Knight, it was Finger who designed Batman and his world. This one will have you shaking your head in disbelief.

I have not seen Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods or The Mindscape of Alan Moore but after watching trailers and clips, both will be on my list to see in the very near future. I can only imagine what Moore’s covers.

While not mentioned as much as the others, R. Crumb is the King of the underground comic scene and Crumb sets out to show you why. Inspirational yet depressing, this is an unflinching look at a brilliant man.

The Image Revolution is a fun look at Image and goes deeper than the SYFY one, I still feel more could be mined from one of the craziest periods in comic book history. Still, it takes me back to the days when I got most of my behind-the-scenes news from Wizard Magazine and that usually left me with more questions than answers.

Another one that I’ve not seen is Comic Books Unbound. This comes highly recommended as one of the better ones about the history of comics. With interviews with Guillermo Del Toro, Stan Lee, Neal Adams, Ron Perlman, Mike Mignola, Paul Pope, Jim Steranko and a host of others, this looks like a fun ride.

I have Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics on my list, as it covers both the baddies and the people behind them. One that I’ve seen but don’t remember well is Superheroes Decoded and plan on watching it again soon.

One that I have seen that covers the industry well is Comix: Beyond the Comic Book Pages. It gives the focus to the legends like Stan Lee, Neal Adams, Frank Miller, Mark Waid, Marc Silvestri, John Romita Jr., Steve Niles, and others. It also covers more than just Marvel and DC.

What about you? Is Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle on your list? Which comic book documentary do you recommend?

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!