06 April 2012

Going Underground

The movie "Comic Book Confidential" directed by Rob Mann goes through the history of comic books during their highs and lows. It starts out in the eighties when Superheroes became super popular. Superman and Batman received a lot of attention and other Superheroes began to flourish. During the war Jack Kirby created Captain America as a hero that would save the Americans and portray the moral value of patriotism. After the war ended, people began to get sick of Superheroes and horror, romance, and other genres of comics came into the market. After an 11 year old boy killed an older woman, horror comics got the blame and regulations were put on what could be put in comics. This ruined comics a little bit and contributed to the reason why comics are seen today as for children only. After these regulations were established some comic artists rebelled and started selling comics underground. They did not want to be told what to put in comics, they wanted to write whatsoever they desired. Once they started selling comics illegally, these comics began to be active instead of passive and more sexual and satirical. Slowly but surely horror came back into comics and some of the underground comics became more mainstream. Superheroes became popular once again not only in comics but in movies as well. People like Frank Miller began to rewrite the old Superheroes in ways more relatable to our day. Comics have been through many ups and downs and there is a lot of history about them. However, because of the underground movement their history is not well known.

McCloud in his book Understanding Comics explains that there can be a variety of genre's in comics and that they don't have to be what everyone thinks they are. In this movie it goes through the history of comics and shows all the different genres that have appeared in comics. There have been a ton of different genres and there could even still be more written. The popular genres have been written about the most, but they are not the only comic genres out there. I did not realize the amount of different styles of genres in comics until watching this movie. There was a huge underground movement that I was completely unaware of that changed the way comics were made and the content inside of them. I believe this is a major reason why the mainstream comics became so "childish." There were a lot of genres of comics, but the regulations narrowed the genres down and the superhero and child comics were the ones that survived.

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