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Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle Review

On October 15th at 8 PM there will be a reason to watch PBS for something other than Antiques Road Show.  The first of three parts of a new documentary called Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle will air.  Hosted by Liev Schreiber (that‘s right, they got Sabretooth to do the voiceover duties), this special covers the history of comics from their beginnings in 1938 to their block buster movie status of present day.
As someone who has been not only a collector of comics but a student of history, I made a mental checklist of what highlights they would hit and one by one I crossed them off.  Seigel and Schuster?  Check.  Bob Kane?  Check.  Fredrick Wertham?  Check. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby?  Check.  And so on.
So if you are a comic fan and you already know your history why should you watch it?  Well, the talking heads are worth the price of admission alone.  Neal Adams gets a lot of face time talking about how his contributions helped comics change forever.  Of course what else would you expect of someone known as “The Living Legend?”  But the icing over the whole thing are the rare clips and photos that they included.  Not only do we get Neal Adams talking about his work but we actually get video of a young Adams working on a comic.
Other talking heads get their time as well.  How about Mark Waid and Gerry Conway talking about the The Coolest Man in Comicsdeath of Gwen Stacy and how it changed the whole game of comics?  Or how about having Jim Steranko not only talking about his work on Nick Fury, but actually showing us original pages and talking out his thought process?  When else are you ever going to get a chance to do that?  Steranko oozes so much cool in this show that you just know they sent a pretty young thing to interview him.
In the end this three-part special doesn’t stray from the well-worn path that many other comic specials have done before but I have to admire them for going the extra mile.  The value of this special is in the little extra they bring.  As I said before, we all know how The Watchmen changed comics, but when have you seen footage of Alan Moore actually reading The Watchmen to you?  THAT is why you should watch this special, for the little extras like that. 


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