Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics Mac Carter

Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics Mac Carter
Despite having two of the most iconic superheroes on its roster, DC Comics has taken a back seat in public recognition to long-time rival Marvel Comics over the last 20 years. Batman and Superman continue to loom large in the public conscious, but the two characters remain somewhat divorced from DC and its mammoth continuity. It would seem, then, that the company might use something like Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics to emphasize its depth rather than reaffirm what everyone already knows. Unfortunately, the latter is what's offered, resulting in some serious navel-gazing. Issues like the crackdown on the form in the '50s (a period entire books have been dedicated to) are given equal airtime with the decision to temporarily kill off Superman in the '90s. Still, writer/director Mac Carter is able to get some plum interviews with some of DC's best talent throughout the years, including Len Wein, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison and Jim Lee. And the film's strengths come from the exploration of the publisher's lesser-known '70s output, including Denny O'Neil and Neil Adams' legendary work with Green Lantern and Green Arrow, and the injection of English talent in the '80s (Gaiman, Morrison, Alan Moore) that led to the creation of the highly influential Veritgo imprint. There's a litany of subjects left untouched ― Jack Kirby's Fourth World and the massive Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover come to mind ― but the film, helped along with narration from Ryan Reynolds (aka Green Lantern), covers a lot of ground over the course of its 90-minute run time. Some bonus features (there's none to speak of) would have been a nice chance to flesh-out some of these topics. Although Secret Origin does a decent job detailing this comic giant's long history, it's difficult to see who it's aimed at. Casual fans most likely won't care about the S&M undertones of early issues of Wonder Woman and fanboys (and girls) will find this doc far to brief and scant on details. (Warner)