Last night PBS aired a three-part documentary called “Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle.” It examines the evolution of superhero characters and the comic book industry, chronicling its ups and downs, and how these inexpensive diversions became the foundation for a multi-billion dollar industry.
It’s about three hours long, so I wasn’t really planning on watching in in one seating, but I ended up watching the whole thing. It’s really well done, and it covers a lot of history and drama that other documentaries never did. However, there’s a lot more that wasn’t covered, so maybe a 4 or 5 part series would have filled in the blanks. It also focuses on the impact certain events throughout recent history have had on the industry.
Something I really disliked was the presence of Joe Quesada speaking about Spider Man, he shouldn’t even mention him at all, not after the stunt he pulled when they dissolved his marriage and basically ruined his continuity just to match the movies. I don’t hate the guy on a personal level, but I dislike his decisions.
While the film doesn’t mention every superhero that has ever existed on paper, it focuses on the most known ones, and others that have had impact at some point or another. Here’s a sample clip on Superman’s part.
The funniest thing had to be the story about how the writers of Superman came up with the idea of killing him. I still think they should’ve waited at least one more year before reviving him, but that’s just me.
If you missed it PBS uploaded all three parts to their Youtube channel at $4.99 a video (55 minutes each). You can also help PBS by pre-ordering the film and its companion book, “Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls and the Creation of Comic Book Culture,” on stores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and also from the PBS store