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Comic Books Unbound (Starz Inside)
Comic Books Unbound
Starz Inside
Actors: Neal Adams, Ron Perlman, Roger Corman, Richard Donner, Stan Lee
Genres: Documentary
NR     2008     0hr 59min

From superheroes to superstars, Hollywood has always turned to comic books for imagination and inspiration. In this documentary, discover the history of comic books from page to screen through the evolution and revolutions...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Neal Adams, Ron Perlman, Roger Corman, Richard Donner, Stan Lee
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/04/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 0hr 59min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Comic Books Unbound: Slightly biased
Tim Lasiuta | Red Deer, Alberta | 11/02/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

Comic books are hot in Hollywood. Just look at the current round of popular films. Iron Man, the Hulk, Batman Returns, Superman Returns, the upcoming Green Hornet, the Fantastic Four, Spiderman #3, Hellboy II, and so many more are taking the box office by storm.

Starz Entertainment, in association with Michael Ruggerio, Gregg Backer, and Evan Kanew, delve into the history of successful comic book to film adaptations starting with the early movie serials like Blackhawk, Batman, Superman, Captain Marvel, and Spy Smasher to current megahits Hellboy II and Iron Man. Interviews with comic book legends Carmine Infantino, Jim Steranko, Stan Lee, Frank Miller, and Mike Mignola, film producers Avi Arad, Micheael Uslan, and Richard Donner, and actors Ron Perlman, and Lou Ferrigno spice the peppy presentation up with insights and opinions. The various decades and productions are dealt with in a choppy fashion, and the flow is not smooth as it might be, but this may be due to the short length of the documentary. For instance, the movie serial era is only glossed over, and seems to zoom in on a limited number of titles, and the 1960's to the 70's is briefly discussed. Missing in action seems to be good discussions on the Batman TV series, the Green Hornet TV series, Wonder Woman, the Hulk, and the animated series from Filmation. The entire range of animated shows is also omitted, leaving the bulk of the time on the documentary spent on the era from 1994 to 2008.

Having said that, the information and interviews is interesting and presents a good overview of how Hollywoods' perception of comic books has gone from hot to cold to hot again. New productions are mentioned and Frank Millers' The Spirit is included, as are announcements from San Diego and New York.

No documentary is perfect, yet, for the intended audience, this is a reasonable presentation. Any more information, and we have a 2 hour special, and many more hours of cast offs.

Look for this at your favorite DVD dealer or online from anchorbay at

Make Mine Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse, or Dell....

Tim Lasiuta

Not a True Documentary
Scott Asher | 01/05/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I found this on the documentary channel of Netflix streaming and was excited to watch it. What I got was more a taste of the incredible diversity of impact on the silver screen by one of my favorite mediums, Comic Books. Since this is a Stars special, and not a true documentary, the show moves very quickly from era to era without spending a lot of time in each. As a result, my interest is piqued but my hunger not satisfied.

A nice diversion as we wait for the true documentary expose on the impact of Comics on culture."
Tim Janson | Michigan | 10/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Comic Books Unbound is an hour-long documentary that originally appeared on the Starz Network a few months ago and has just been released on DVD. I hesitate in calling it a documentary because it isn't one in the truest sense of the word. It is rather a collection of interviews with various comic book pros, actors, and filmmakers on the subject of comic book-based films.

The film traces comic book films from the earliest movie serials of the 1930s and 40s, right through this year's mega-hit films like "Iron Man" and "Batman: The Dark Knight". It is most interesting to see how these films have developed from low-brow, B-movie fare to the blockbusters that they've become today. One need only take a look at the all-time box office leaders and you will see it littered with comic book films. The Dark Knight is inching ever closer to taking the top spot away from "Titanic".

It's not only a history of comic films that you get but a bit of comic history itself. Stan Lee talks about how the comic book business was almost destroyed in the 1950s by the publication of "Seduction of the Innocent" and the Congressional hearings that forced the creation of the Comics Code Authority and doomed many comic book companies, notably EC Comics.

You have to cringe when you think about the sheer stupidity of studio executives. Michael Uslan was turned down by studio execs numerous times in trying to get "Batman" made as the jaded execs could not see past the campy 1960s TV show.

The list of interviewees is long and diverse: Stan Lee, Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, Tim Sales, Mike Mignola, Carmine Infantino from the comic book pros; Guillermo del Toro, Richard Donner, Michael Uslan, Roger Corman, Avi Arad, and Zak Penn representing filmmakers; Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Jeff Bridges, Robert Downey Jr., Edward Norton, and Gwyneth Paltrow, giving their opinions from the actor's perspective.

Corman's tale of his Fantastic Four is quite humorous if you're not familiar with the ill-fated, ultra-low budget fiasco. The film also hits on several other Marvel Comics film flops including the horrible Captain America made-for-TV films and direct-to-video disaster. As a long time comic fan I particularly enjoyed the comments by Neal Adams and Jim Steranko. These guys were the rock stars of the comic book business when I started collecting in the early 1970s.

While enjoyable, it's quite short at just under an hour and it doesn't reveal much information that most comic fans don't know already. One thing that would have been nice to see is a look at some of the films due out in the next few years and an overall assessment of the future of the genre. Not much in the way of extras other than a few minutes of interview outtakes, notably from Stan Lee and a few others. It's fun but fluffier Cool Whip.

Hollywood and comics
Renee C. Mulhare | MA United States | 05/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is far from being a comprehensive documentary on comic books that have made it to the silver screen, but it's a fun little overview, featuring some of the big-name titles that have broken comic books out of its niche and made them more approachable and even acceptable in the mainstream: Superman, Batman, Frank Miller's "Sin City" and particularly Spiderman, as well as the artists and directors who made them possible, including Guillermo Del Toro, Richard Donner, and Marvel Comics' grandmaster, Stan Lee. There's even a few little segments on some oddities, like Roger Corman's attempt at filming The Fantastic Four on a shoestring budget and the 1940s serial versions of classic DC titles. It's a little bit dated, in the fact that it features some hints on the early development of titles like Watchmen and Iron Man, which have now been released, but it's a lot of fun and a good way for a neophyte to comic books to get their feet wet."