Monday, April 04, 2011

Unleashed and ‘Unmasked’

(Published April 4, PDI-Entertainment)

By Oliver M. Pulumbarit, contributor

The History Channel special “Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked” maps out the evolution of US costumed crime fighters, tackling the secrets behind their creation and their cultural impact.

The docu discusses how superheroes reflect the times. Key points in comic book history are discussed, such as the wartime birth of the archetypal characters Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Captain America. What started out as an escapist medium for younger readers evolved to attract the attention of even grownups. Significant changes to the genre are mentioned, including the controversial crackdown on comic books and the creation of the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s.

Filmmakers and former Marvel writers Kevin Smith and Frank Miller share their thoughts on some of the more popular heroes and vigilantes. Original “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” writer Stan Lee talks about how his characters started out and became relevant. Other knowledgeable interviewees are former “Batman” writer Denny O’Neil, erstwhile Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada, “Sandman” author Neil Gaiman, novelist Michael Chabon and “Nick Fury” artist Jim Steranko.

“Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked” airs April 7 at 9 a.m. on History Channel.

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