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Interviews with: Guillermo del Toro, Stan Lee, Neal Adams, Roger Corman, Avi Arad, Richard Donner, and Jim Steranko

Since comic books and graphic novels have gained huge popularity among movie goers, Hollywood has taken notice. However, Comic Books Unbound relates the rather sordid past of comic books on the big screen while also telling what their present and future hold.

The Show

Comic Books Unbound is a Starz original documentary about the history and depth of comic book film and television adaptations. This 59 minute feature packs lots of information for fans of both superhero comics and movies.

There are a number of positives about this DVD release. One, the research done on comics in film is very exhaustive. I applaud Starz for finding rather obscure serials and showing them to a modern audience that may not be familiar with this early hybrid of film and comics. Besides the use of great footage, the interviews are phenomenal. The producers make sure and get big names on both sides of the aisle of comics and film. The research is so good that we see still images from the long bootlegged Roger Corman Fantastic Four film. However, instead of merely panning that effort, which is easy to do, they give Corman a chance to explain the problems and reasoning behind that abysmal film.

As for problems, the documentary comes in at under an hour. This may be off putting to some buyers, but the information in the DVD is solid and concise. With that being said, I would have liked to see more content. Thankfully, the film balances out comics and the movies almost equally. In most of these documentaries, the new flavor of the month movie hit will be focused. If you want a nice tool for academics or just for your own reference, this DVD has it all.


The Video

The video is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, just like the televised version. The colors are nice and skin tones are not too bright or pallid. However, I hate the cartoon graphics of non licensed characters used in this film. They look cheesy and like something made on one attempt at photoshop. Thankfully, there are stills of established characters.


The Audio

The audio is Dolby Surround 5.1. While you will not be blowing any speakers away with this DVD, the voices from the interviews and the narrative have two distinct tone levels which play really well on surround. I liked how the audio helped keep it serious, but not too serious.


The Packaging and Bonus Features

The case is standard amaray with rather cheesy fake superheroes on the cover. While this is standard for copyright reasons, the characters look horrible. With that, they fit every stereotype of comics that we have been fighting since the 1950s. The only special features are outtake interviews, but these are a bit on the short side.


Overall (Not an Average) 8/10

The Show 9/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 810
The Packaging and Bonus Features 4/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10