Segments in this Video

Introduction to Superhero Culture (02:29)


Host Liev Schreiber wonders how America transformed into a nation where "anyone can be a superhero."

Superman (02:48)

Truth, justice, and the American way seemed to be unraveling by the late 1970s. Warner Brothers planned the first full length film featuring a superhero.

Believable Superhero (02:24)

Special effects were used to make Superman fly in 1978. The audience cared about the character portrayed by Christopher Reeves.

Compensation for Shuster and Siegal (01:42)

Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created the original Superman character. A settlement was negotiated with Warner Communications.

Problem with Static Characters (01:55)

Comic book sales of superhero titles fell because the difficulty in reaching new readers. Continuous readers wanted to see change. Stan Lee led the way by having Spider-Man get married.

Mature Batman (03:53)

In 1986, Frank Miller reinvented Batman in "The Dark Knight Returns."

Watchmen (04:49)

In 1986, Allen Moore and Dave Gibbons began a series about a team of deeply flawed heroes with moral ambiguities.

X-Men (04:14)

A diverse group of mutants connected with comic book readers in the 1980s. Stan Lee intended this as an anti-bigotry story. Northstar was the first gay superhero.

Wolverine (02:16)

This member of X-Men was a hero by restraint who fought his natural instincts to slice people up. Hugh Jackman portrayed the character differently than the comic books.

R-Rated at Image Comics (03:56)

Todd McFarlane talks about redesigning Spider-Man's webbing. Artists started their own company after being denied more power from Marvel.

Death of Superman (04:34)

DC Comics was eager to make Superman relevant again. Writers killed off the superhero in an 11 issue crossover event. A collector's version included a black armband.

September 11, 2001 (03:53)

The terrorist attack in New York City was discussed in comic books. The issue of freedom versus security was addressed.

"Dark Knight" Films (01:27)

In 2005, the Christopher Nolan film version of Batman established him as the man drone of 21st century warfare.

Sexy Spider-Man (02:55)

Superman and Batman had nine films made by the time Spider-Man appeared on the big screen. Special effects made the movie a huge success.

Crossover to Digital Media (03:37)

Fans of all ages can play superheroes in video games or write their own comic books.

Mainstream Fantasy (02:27)

President Obama was featured in a Spider-Man comic after mentioning the superhero.

Facing Adversity (03:59)

Superheroes are used as a symbol of hope to those experiencing conflict around the world.

Credits: A Hero can be Anyone (1980's-today): Superheroes—A Never Ending Battle (01:59)

Credits: A Hero can be Anyone (1980's-today): Superheroes—A Never Ending Battle

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A Hero can be Anyone (1980's-today): Superheroes—A Never Ending Battle

Part of the Series : Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Superheroes are enthusiastically embraced in all forms of media and by all demographics, beginning with the historic Superman movie featuring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. In 1986, Batman is overhauled as The Dark Knight to reflect the nocturnal underside of his character, and Watchmen brings new sophistication to comic book narratives, illuminating a violent and politicized world. In the new millennium, superheroes have taken over popular culture with feature films, television shows and video games complementing a new generation of web-based comics that bring superhero adventures to every corner of the world.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL58755

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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