Comic Books Unbound

Comic Books Unbound
With comic books becoming increasingly influential, carving a unique niche in the crevices of literature, pop art and visual entertainment, the time is certainly ripe for a documentary treatment of their rise, influence and key moments. Comic Books Unbound is not it; in fact, it seems to barely relate to comic books at all, treating the comic book shop as nothing more than another mill to serve the Hollywood grinder. Adding insult to that injury is the consistent tone of surprise that comic books — little four-colour tales of grown men in spandex, with shockingly straightforward ideas of good and evil — could be worthy enough to feed the home of ideas that is modern filmmaking. It’s all done from Hollywood’s perspective; absent is any idea that comics as art are more than simply a series of storyboards waiting to be filmed. Instead, comics fans from the film world discuss their idyllic childhood spent dreaming of Spider-Man, where comics are kindergarten to filmmaking’s grown-up art school. The film’s memory of comic book movies extends less than ten years — Hellboy, Sin City, Dark Knight and, briefly, American Splendor (for "cred”) are cited as classic comic book inspirations. The lineage of comics extends only as far back as Richard Donner’s original Superman. Any legitimate history — of the comics industry’s self-imposed "Comics Code” for example, or the rise of the alternative comics underground — serves only the end result of movies. It’s an insult to fans of both unique artistic expressions. Plus: interview outtakes. (Anchor Bay)