Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics
So, back at SDCC in August, attendees of a certain panel got an early look at Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics. In fact, it was peoples opinions on that footage that made me anticipate this documentary so much. I have waited, and waited, and waited for a documentary like this. The closest thing I have ever seen is Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked on The History Channel, and the Justice League documentary that was a special feature on the Justice League: The New Frontier DVD. The second I got the chance to, I was watching this amazing film. Enough worship, let’s get to the review:
The film begins with Neal Adams talking about how comics represent peoples dreams and aspirations. Then, creators Neil Gaiman, Jim Lee, and Mark Waid talk about their love for the DC characters and how they’re so unique and how they relate to them, and narrator Ryan Reynolds talks about how DC came from the outside of society, but it would grow into something much, much more. Paul Levitz opens the segment on DC’s beginnings, but many creators way in on Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz and the creation of National Allied Publications, and Donenfeld’s mob connections, among other topics, like how they began with spicy pulp comics, which if you didn’t know, were considered racy by 1937 standards, but they’re like today’s Victoria’s Secret catalogues. There is a lot of information I never knew in this segment, which is presented wonderfully with amazing original images in still good condition that are incredibly rare and many creators share their thoughts on DC at the time.
The film also explores the government hearings on comic books, The Death of Superman storyline (which brings Louise Simonson to tears), Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow run from the ’70′s, and the imprints that DC would acquire or create over time. There is a lot about the Batman and Superman film franchises, and they go into great detail about many circumstances that would shape DC Comics over the years. The creators featured are the best part of the film, they provide inside views and personal views on characters, events, people and more, and all of their opinions are educated and rooted in their love for the characters and the stories about them. One of the most interesting subjects is the creation of the Silver Age, and how the need for new ideas after the comics code implementation sparked it’s birth. Something that really amazed me is the huge amount of respect the creators have for Julius Schwartz, who brought the comics industry back from the brink of death by creating the silver age.
The film has an underlying theme that focuses on how much the world around us has influenced the comics, and how they really are a byproduct of their environment. The one thing I knew for sure going into this film was that I would come out with more information and opinions on DC Comics than you could find anywhere else. DC knew that this documentary had to be unique and be able to teach even the die-hard comic fans new and interesting facts. So overall, this film is amazing, and definitely worth picking up. The only thing I wish would have been featured more is the evolution of the art over time, because after all the images we see are the truest representation of the characters we know. Here’s my overall rating:
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Amazing creator input, loads of new, interesting information, good range of subjects.||No focus on the evolution of the art side of the comics and it’s importance in the industry.|