Starz Inside – Comic Books: Unbound (01×06)

Starz continues its monthly documentary series, Starz Inside, this month focusing on the hot property of comic book movies and how the industry started, then sagged, was revitalized and continued in an up and down movement throughout the days of the serials all the way up to Oscar nomination and box office records.


The Starz Inside series has always been more of a topical production, focusing on a current event (like Pixar and horror movies) and analyzing where the genre or company has been before. Unfortunately, the series has always come off a bit superficial, only touching upon certain aspects in an hour long overview rather than delving deep down into one particular area. Serious fans of the genre will know most of this before, but even comic and movie fans will pick up on a few things (such as Road to Perdition being a graphic novel before a movie).


In the now-standard way of doing things we get interviews with various cast and crew from comic book movie adaptations talking about what influenced them and how the genre has survived some horrible adaptations over the years (such as the first Fantastic Four, and the horrendous mess the Superman franchise turned into). Interviews mainly center on the cast and crew of the upcoming sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, including Guillermo del Toro, Ron Perlman, and Selma Blair as well as Superman director Richard Donner, Marvel poster boy Stan Lee, and various comic book writers and artists.

One of the more interesting stories is that of Michael Uslan, producers on Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman reboot, and his attempts to shop the movie around to various studios and their responses. As Batman sets off a flood of properties being sold off we’re also treated to the origins of the adaptations starting in the 1940’s well before movies had established themselves as “talkies”.


While mentioned only briefly, the program could have benefited from further analysis of films like Sin City and 300 which used the comic source material to a new level, firmly establishing the link between storyboard and ink panel.

While the documentary is entertaining, a wider selection of interviewees, including big names like life-time comic devotee Sam Raimi, or even any of the writers/producers/directors on some of the bigger adaptations couldn’t have hurt. As it stands, it’s only an hour long, all the broadcast shows are in reruns and there’s much worse things you could be doing with your time than tuning in.

Comic Books: Unbound premiers June 10 at 8PM on Starz.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!