There have been many films and TV shows about comic books. So why is Comic book Confidential so special? It’s because of its devotion to the underground comic creators.
Ron Mann, the director chose to tell the story of not only the mainstream comics but, the underground that changed people’s opinions of what comics can be.
Mann, starts the film with the creation of the comic book with Max Gaines taking the Sunday comic stripes and folding it into a smaller format. These idea of repackaging the stripes in too a smaller format leading to the creation of Superman, to his son Max Gaines son, Bill creating horror comics and the comic’s code creation that closed his company. After the history lesson through the film really begins and it shifts its focus to Indy comix.
The film features for of the people who were responsible for the Indy comix movement of the early 70s, with interviews with William Crumb (Zap comix), Harvey Pekar (American Splendor), Bill Griffith (Zippy), and Art Speiglman (Raw magazine and Maus). While these creators might not be household names like Stan Lee or Jack Kirby, the film does it’s best to inform people of the importance of these creators.
Something else that makes the film stand out is the comic reading done by series creators. It’s something that’s normally associated with novelist but is equally entertaining to hear especially Pekar’s reading of American Splendor who wrote from a first person perspective as well as the warped mind of Shary Flenniken with her reading of Torts and Bonnie.
The film also features a hero of mine, Dan O’Neill, who along with a group of like-minded artists and writers created the Air Pirates. The group would question what culture by using Disney’s characters to make a point about copyright and creative freedoms. O’Neill as creates maybe one of the greatest quotes: “If you’re going down in flames, hit something big.”
For people looking to learn more about Indy comics, this movie does a great job of letting you into that world. I whole heartily recommend this movie.