Run time: 90 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 27th April 1989
Distributed by: New Video Group
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 2
IMDB: 7.0 / 10
Director: Ron Mann
If you answered yes to all three questions, you'll love Comic Book Confidential -- presuming you haven't seen it at some point in the last 14 years. Now available on DVD, the documentary lightly traces the history of the comic book medium since its inception, complete with stories about censorship, underground comics, parody, women's issues, and the various genre changes the medium went through.
The usual suspects are interviewed -- Stan Lee (Spider-Man), Robert Crumb, and tons of others (including a number of comic strip artists who work in newspapers, not comic books). Curiously, many of the interviewees also read from a past work (while it is displayed on screen), or tell a story from their life which is illustrated as well (for example, Crumb illustrates a tale from Harvey Pekar about his obsession for collecting jazz records).
For the non comic-obsessed (like myself) his tends to fade in and out of being actually interesting. The comics themselves -- extreme close-ups of panels with forced narration or bad music behind them -- are the least interesting part of the movie. As with Crumb, the real joy comes with looking into the psychoses and neuroses of the nuts that actually become cartoonists on a full-time basis.
And unfortunately, some of them turn out to be very plain folks indeed.
The new DVD features a few extras, including an introduction from... wait for it... Kevin Smith. (And to be honest, it's one of the funniest things on the disc.)