Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle

Season 1
 (247)
8.12013TV-PG
Examines the evolution of superhero characters and the comic book industry, chronicling how disposable diversions that cost just a dime became the foundation for a multi-billion dollar industry whose products are an influential part of our national identity.
Starring
Liev SchreiberStan LeeLinda Carter
Genres
Special Interest
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English

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  1. 1. Truth, Justice, and the American Way
    October 16 2013
    56min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    From PBS - Follow the fortunes of superheroes, from the Depression through Superman's television debut.
  2. 2. Great Power, Great Responsibility
    October 16 2013
    56min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    From PBS - See how superheroes affect and reflect relevant social mores.
  3. 3. A Hero Can Be Anyone
    October 16 2013
    56min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    From PBS - Track the enthusiasm for superheroes as they're embraced in all media and by all demographics.

More details

Directors
Michael Kantor
Supporting actors
Adam West
Season year
2013
Network
PBS
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

247 global ratings

  1. 74% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

John CallahanReviewed in the United States on May 28, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
watchable, fun and informative
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This documentary presents an interesting history of the development of the superhero genre. Naturally, the focus is on Marvel and DC, since they were the major players in the previous decades (and still are). I would have like a bit more emphasis on the McCarthy-era hearing in which Dr. Wertham unscientifically blamed comics for juvenile delinquency, nevertheless that regrettable period was touched on. I did appreciate the tip of the hat to the creators in the 60s and 80s who were actively trying to make their comics relevant to cultural tensions. A very watchable, fun and informative documentary.
One person found this helpful
J. MccormackReviewed in the United States on February 5, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Not just for comic geeks
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Very well done documentary about comic books from their very beginning. Very information and entertaining. Not only do we learn a lot about the ins and outs of what happened in the early days of comics, but along the way we learn a history lesson for all of the decades involved, and how surrounding American history greatly influenced the story lines of many comic characters. This is not just for the comic geek - this is great for anyone to see, to learn about a part of American culture in general, and all that surrounds it.
One person found this helpful
Scott W. HannanReviewed in the United States on February 19, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great summary of the first two eras of comic books
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The first two segments of this documentary are wonderful for someone, like myself, who only had a cursory understanding of comic book history. They contain great interviews with people from the era, and do a great job of breaking down the cultural significance of superheros, albeit it in broad terms.

The third section, covering the late 70s to today offers little substance. It's a licky-split summary of the era without much attention plaid to the cultural significance of superheros. There is a brief section dealing with 9/11 that attempts to dig into the role that comics played during that time, but otherwise the documentary accidentally suggests that comics don't carry the substantive weight they may have once carried.

Overall, it's an enlightening and easy to digest piece and I highly suggest it for those looking for an approachable introduction to comic book history.
One person found this helpful
Justin RReviewed in the United States on May 26, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
An excellent documentary about comics
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This documentary is an examination of the culture that produced superhero comics, going by the ages. Episode I is Golden Age, episode II is Silver Age and episode III is Bronze Age/"Dark Age"/Modern Era. It also touches on some important people in comics -Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Jim Steranko and others.

If you're a gigantic dork like me, you're probably familiar with all of this, but it's still a good series to watch.
One person found this helpful
E. Joseph DelaneyReviewed in the United States on October 26, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
A History Lesson
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This is the kind of product that should be shown in colleges teaching the Comic Arts and Writing or in Film Schools. Liev Schreiber narrates the nearly 3 hours of material which begins during the Golden Age of comics and runs right up to the current era. It is a fast moving and in-depth piece that to those of us making our own comic works is also inspirational. To comic fans, this is a terrific addition to their DVD collections right up there with Comic Book Confidential, Comic Book Heroes Unmasked, The Mind of Alan Moore, Todd McFarlane-The Devil You Know, and Will Eisners doc on Sequential Art. Add all of these to your comic collection and be inspired as you create your own piece of comic book history. Excelsior!
19 people found this helpful
michaelReviewed in the United States on February 9, 2016
3.0 out of 5 stars
Adam West! Need i say more.
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It was intresting. I diden't watch the whole thing, but I did see around half and it was entertaining to learn the history and some of the personal backgrounds of these artists. Oh and not to mention Adam West hahaha.
One person found this helpful
LoriReviewed in the United States on May 14, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Superhero Mania
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I grew up a comic book fanatic and found this story of super hero comic creations fascinating. I was a Marvel girl, but the whole superman thing was neat and the interviews with the best writers, inkers and creators of my childhood were interesting. I loved it. If you grew up reading, listening to or watching super hero anything, get your inner geek on and watch this.
One person found this helpful
JohnAroundTheCornerReviewsReviewed in the United States on July 7, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
A super-documentary about superheroes from the depression until the present
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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.
2 people found this helpful
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