Emmy-Award Winning Producer Explores America's Superheroes
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle is the first documentary to examine the dawn of the comic book genre and its powerful legacy, as well as the evolution of the characters who leapt from the pages over the last 75 years and their ongoing worldwide cultural impact. It chronicles how these disposable diversions were subject to intense government scrutiny for their influence on American children and how they were created, in large part, by the children of immigrants whose fierce loyalty to a new homeland laid the foundation for a multi-billion-dollar industry that is now an influential part of our national identity.
The series, airing Tuesday, October 17 from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., takes viewers through 75 years of heroes and villains — both in print and in real-life. It also examines the vibrant comic book industry whose characters continue to enthrall Americans and fans all over the world.
During the Depression, the popularity of dozens of superhero characters opened the door for a new generation of artists and writers. World War II created a patriotic fervor for star-spangled adventurers to represent the American spirit at war and on the home front. However, in the 1950s, superheroes were caught in the fire of government scrutiny and regulation. When Adventures of Superman premiered on the new medium of television, America’s first and greatest superhero was born.
A new breed of superhero emerged in the 1960s, inspired by the age of atomic energy and space travel. The pop art movement drew heavily on comic books, with superhero images appearing in the works of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Civil Rights in America and other social issues made their way onto the page as black superheroes emerged and comic books were forced to confront the reality of an increasingly complex world.
The series also captures the enthusiasm for superheroes in all forms of media, beginning with the historic Superman movie featuring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. In 1986, Batman was overhauled as The Dark Knight to reflect the nocturnal underside of his character. Now, superheroes have taken over popular culture with feature films, television shows, video games and a new generation of web-based comics that bring superheroes to every corner of the world.