PBS has given us a wonderful look at superheroes, starting with the birth of the Superman comic strip during the depression (we get details from two years before Superman appeared in Action #1) all the way through the present (well, at least the present of when this was originally filmed).
We see how current social mores have their effect on the superheroes, including when critics were so critical about the various comic books that the comic industry tamed down the comics and created the "Comics Code"
PBS also helps us see that anyone can be a superhero in their everyday lives.
There are only three episodes, but this is a super series.
I highly recommend this documentary
THE REST OF THIS REVIEW EXPANDS ON THE ANTI-DRUG COMICS TOUCHED ON IN THE DOCUMENTARY
This "Comics Code" had a clause that could be interpreted as allowing or denying any mention of drugs. The "Comics Code" allowed DC to publish Strange Adventures #205 with an anti-drug-dealer message in 1968, but did not allow Marvel to publish Spiderman's anti-drug message in 1971.
Strange Adventures #205, published in 1968, three years before the famous Spiderman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow anti-drug comics, featured the first appearance of Deadman. He discovers that his murderer was involved in drug smuggling, and uses his powers to occupy other people, to get them arrested. It's certainly not as powerful an anti-drug message as were published three years later, but it does appear to be the first "Comics Code" approved comic book including drugs.
In May thru July, 1971, Marvel published a Spider-Man "anti-drug" issue (that the U.S. Government had asked them to create) without code approval. (Thanks for reminding me, Rachel K.). You can read about this here: (www.politedissent.com/archives/6095). You'll note that though the drug addict is depicted on the cover, the drug addiction is only mentioned inside the comic book. I couldn't find a collection on Amazon that includes this title, but I found this item: [[ASIN:B002VB7IOC The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1, No. 96]]. If someone finds the collected "graphic novel" version, leave a comment and I'll put it here.
Embarrassed, the Comics Code people quickly revised the policy to specify that drug references were allowed, as long as they depicted the use negatively, which allowed DC, mere weeks after the Spiderman stories were published, to release the story that they'd been sitting on, waiting for when it could be approved.
In my opinion, this already written "Green Lantern/Green Arrow" story arc about drug addiction was more powerful. Unlike Marvel, DC put the ugly details about heroin addiction RIGHT ON THE COVER (since Speedy was a hero, could we call this "hero addiction"?). This addiction affected Green Arrow personally, because it was his own sidekick, his ward, Speedy, who was the addict. (What is a "ward"? Like an adopted son, Dick Grayson was Bruce Wayne's ward.) (See: dc.wikia.com/wiki/Green_Lantern_Vol_2_85 and [[ASIN:1401202306 Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection - Volume 2]] for more information.
These anti-drug comic books gained praise from teachers nationwide for raising youth awareness of the problems of drug addiction.
For a page that talks about all three of these anti-drug books, see: goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/09/24/comic-book-legends-revealed-226/
NOTE TO AMAZON: I realize that your rules prohibit external links, but if you review these links, you will see that they support the topic (and do not try to steal sales away from Amazon). I hope that you can approve this revised review.