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Comic Book Confidential: 20th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] [1988] [US Import]

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Product details

  • Directors: Ron Mann
  • Format: Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Strand Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Dec 2012
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008YGF5P2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 191,487 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thor of the North on 5 Oct 2003
Format: DVD
This movie is a must-see for any comic book fan. For non-fans it's good way to get to know comics better. The movie features a lot of well known comic book creators like Stan Lee, Robert Crumb and Will Eisner. There's a lot of good footage of various comics being filmed frame by frame while being read by the creator. Don't expect a lot of extras here though. This a very basic release. Still, you will not be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Odie on 2 Nov 2011
Format: VHS Tape
From the one strip funnies in the 30's through to Frank Millers The dark Knight this is a concise and informative look at the noise American comics have made in between.

Not being much of a comic buff myself I was surprised how much I enjoyed this film. Interviewed within are Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegalman, Sue Coe, Harvey Kurtzman and a whole host of other equally talented people. We cover 'Mad' magazine and the 'Raw' doormat sized epics to the inspiration for Art Spiegalmans 'Maus' and go from the 40's fear of comics into the Nazi-esque comic burning that went on.

50's Paranoia, the changing attitudes and drug use of the 60's and 70's, and staid 80's boredom have all shaped the writers and rebels of the comic world as shown here. I loved the music and the animated sequences read by the authors were a good touch. Unfortunately there is no mention of the work that was coming out of Britain at the same time...

So for a informative and lively look at the history of AMERICAN comics give it a go.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
DVD replacement of VHS copy........Good documentary.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Super! 8 Jun 2002
By Blahblahblah - Published on
Format: DVD
Comic Book Confidential is a fun and intelligent look at the history and evolution of comic books, mostly through interviews with some great talents and/or innovators, portraying comic books as the wonderful, subversive, unique 20th century artform that it is.
Unlike most documentaries on comic books, this film does not fall into the trap of focusing on those stereotypical comics (i.e. superhero comics) which usually represent the lowest level of the artform. In fact, the film makes the point that superhero comics would have remained low in popularity if it weren't for the existence of the Comic Book Authority which helped turn the majority of comics into mediocre drivel. The film does note how Stan Lee tried to inject some relevance into superhero titles by turning the characters into human beings, and how others like Frank Miller (with his Dark Knight Returns) have attempted to make artistically valid superhero comics. However, the film is far more concerned with the individual expression of such artists as Robert Crumb, Sue Coe and Paul Mavrides. But even collectors more interested in the mainstream will find much of interest in this documentary.
The film begins with a look at E.C. comics and the backlash created against such titles by Wertham's "Seduction of the Innocent". There is an excerpt from a U.S. government documentary (easily as amazing as the old "duck and cover" how-to-survive-a-nuclear-war documentary) about how reading one 8 page story will turn a child into a homicidal maniac who sticks knives into trees (I'd like to know who gave them weapons in the first place), plus footage of mass comic book burnings reminiscent of the brief Beatles backlash which will break the hearts of most lovers of pre-Code comics. Footage of Congressional investigations into comics (Bill Gaines is shown testifying) also clearly parallels the then-contemporaneous HUAC red scare.
The film then shows how the Comic Code Authority (the industry's Senator McCarthy) was formed and ruined the artform with its contextual blacklist (one of their more racist decisions is shown), and how the Authority was largely abused by some companies in order to destroy their competition, e.g., forcing E.C. to fold with the exception of Mad Magazine which did not fall under the Code's mandate. It then goes into how the underground comix arose as a backlash against both the Code and/or mainstream society and illustrates their vital role as part of the late 1960s counterculture. This is followed by the underground movement's evolution into more artistically meritorious individual expressions (vs. mere backlashes) in such titles as Art Spiegleman's Raw and Los Bros. Hernandez' Love and Rockets. There is also a look at Dan O'Neill's legal problems with Walt Disney and the banning of his Air Pirates comic by a court unfamiliar with artists' rights to create parodies.
Along the way, there are visually exciting montages of comic book art and photographs and films of, e.g., the early 1970s San Fran scene accompanied by lots of great music (jazz, bluegrass, etc.). Also, many of the artists interviewed (Harvey Pekar, Gilbert Shelton, Charles Burns, etc.) do a wonderful job of performing some of their short stories while their artwork is shown on the screen.
This is a thought-provoking film which will have you laughing out loud even while you're learning, and is highly recommended to anyone, whether they just read mainstream comic books or don't read comics at all. Those not already familiar with the best the industry has to offer will be pleasantly surprised.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The Best Comic Book Documentary 22 July 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Some reviewers may be confusing "Comic Book Confidential" with "Masters of Comic Book Art," a 1987 video that profiles Eisner, Kurtzman, Kirby, Ditko, Adams, Wrightson, Moebius, Miller, Sim, and Spiegelman--and is indeed hosted by Harlan Ellison. "Comic Book Confidential" is NOT hosted by Harlan Ellison and is not shot in a boring, banal manner. It's a terrific movie movie, much in the spirit of "Crumb." It was also released, once upon a time, in the CD-ROM format, copies of which may still be available.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By G. YEO - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Comic Book Confidential is one of the best documentaries on comics and has a timeless feel about it. Made in 1989, it remains relevant over time. Generally, it's a historical rather than a 'confidential' look at the medium. But it is so well executed that one has to admire Mann's witty, creative and heartfelt approach. I've seen a few other documentaries on the subject and few 'feel' as personal.

However, as this IS a vast subject, Ron does run out of time, leaving one begging for a sequel. We see snippets of the late Jack Kirby, and you find yourself wanting to see more of the man. Ditto for the other creators.

The documentary leans heavily towards the underground and more adult aspect of comics rather than the men-in-tights superhero genre so be prepared. If you're expecting to see an extensive in-depth explication of Batman, this is not the documentary to watch. If you want an overview of American comic book culture and a peek into its varied nuances, Comic Book Confidential is for you.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The best comic book documentary on DVD 10 Mar 2005
By G. Cepeda - Published on
Format: DVD
I have an old laserdisc copy of this documentary and can vouch for its quality.

While it's NOT a complete history of comics, it's a good summary for people who want to learn general comic book history and become familiar with some of the great names in comic book history.

I'm glad to hear that the extras which existed on the LD edition have been ported to the DVD version. People will enjoy the comics extras and be transported back in time to when these concepts and characters were new while reading the old comics.

Recently, the History Channel aired its own documentary on superheroes, but the older Comic Book Confidential still blows the newer documentary away. To top it off, the History Channel has only offered a DVD-R of its program and if anybody is familiar with DVD-Rs, you know they aren't as professionally produced as a standard DVD and lack the chapter stops and extras most of us expect as standard requirements for a GOOD DVD!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The original film was great - The BD adds 50% more in bonus footage. 17 Dec 2012
By Steven I. Ramm - Published on
Format: Blu-ray
This BD is titled the "20th Anniversary Edition" but it's really the 23rd Anniversary Edition. Confused? So was I but the original film was released in 1989, making 2009 the 20th anniversary when it was released on DVD. But this version is the first one on Bluray and I'm told that the bonus features are new. So with better resolution and the bonus features I can certainly recommend this new version.

There are plenty of other reviews here of the film itself so I won't spend a lot of time covering that except to say that the graphics are GREAT and the really cool parts are when the well known cartoonists like Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman and William Gaines (can you tell I'm a long -time "Mad Magazine" fan?) as well as Stan Lee read from their stories. And the soundtrack uses pop music classics to emphasize the narrative of this documentary. There's great use of "exploitation films" of the 1950s describing the "dangers to society caused by comic books" too.

Note: Be aware that Amazon groups reviews of ALL versions of a film together so it's best to sort reviews by date with "most recent" at the top and then note which version is being reviewed.

The bonus footage adds 40 minutes to the 85 minute feature with interviews with those in the film and others, like Jules Feiffer and Robert Crumb, Harvey Pekar and Drew Friedman. These are stories which, IMHO, should have been included in the film but weren't (I guess) for time purposes

Whether you love superhero comic books of the 1950s and 60s, "Mad Magazine" or it's imitators, or the underground comics of the late 1960s, I'm pretty sure you'll love this Bluray disc And if you have the earlier one without the bonuses, you'll probably want to see this one also - there's 50% more stuff here!

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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