Friday, October 18, 2013


 I just finished watching all three hours of SUPERHEROES: THE NEVER-ENDING BATTLE, the new documentary that ran on PBS earlier this week.

At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, I didn't learn anything that I didn't already know. After all, I've been reading comic books (and books about comic books) for more than fifty years. That said, the show gets my highest recommendation. It takes on a huge subject and does so in commendable style with great production values, terrific graphics and a veritable "who's-who" of "talking heads" including important comic book artists, writers, scholars, publishers, editors, actors, actresses and more.

The show hits all of the high-points in the development of the superhero comic book but because of the fact that it's produced and aimed at a more general audience, there are many things that are left out. I understand that and that's fine. If you go off into the weeds too deeply you'll lose the audience.

I do however wish that there had been more about Jack Kirby. The material that's there (including one talking head appearance by Mark Evanier) is good but I would have liked to have seen more. At some point, someone (I forget who) does say that in the history of comic book artists, there's art before Jack Kirby and there's art after Jack Kirby, a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree.

It was nice to see Joe Kubert, Carmine Infantino and Jerry Robinson all appear on camera. All three men have passed away within the last year and a half and it's still a shock to realize that they're gone.

One thing that struck me watching the program is that Lynda Carter is still breathtakingly beautiful and if the powers-that-be ever green light a Wonder Woman film, Carter should get the first phone call asking her to play Hippolyta, Diana's mother and queen of the Amazons. It was also nice to see the legendary Adam West, which reminded me that I need to post my Adam West story here sometime soon.
A lot of very colorful and important history is covered in three hours and if you're a comic book fan, you'll love SUPERHEROES: THE NEVER-ENDING BATTLE. If you're not, you'll still enjoy it because, as the program states, even people who have never read a comic book now know who most of these characters are thanks mainly to television, films and merchandising.


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