CBC gets a lesson in comic-book history

On this day in 1988, Comic Book Confidential filmmaker Ron Mann shared the story of his now-classic doc with CBC's Midday. Watch the interview.

On this day in 1988, Comic Book Confidential filmmaker Ron Mann shared the story of his now-classic doc

Ron Mann, director of Comic Book Confidential, in a 1988 CBC interview. (Screencapture)

Sith lords and zombie hunters and Power Rangers: that's who fans will be lining up to see at this weekend's Hamilton Comic Con. But lest we forget how the event got its name, the attractions at expos like this don't begin and end with sci-fi photo-ops. The Hammer is welcoming comic-book artists, too, and the collectors who idolize them. That's why we're tucking into the CBC Digital Archives today for this interview clip with Toronto filmmaker Ron Mann.

On this day in 1988, Mann met Midday's Valerie Pringle to talk his latest documentary, Comic Book Confidential

The film would go on to win the 1989 Genie for best feature-length documentary, and it remains a sort of moving encyclopedia of comic-book history. (In a very Encarta move, it was even released in 1994 as a CD-ROM.) 

A comic collector browses through back issues at the 2014 edition of Toronto's Fan Expo. (Canadian Press)

Starting in 1933, and progressing through to the present day (read: late '80s), Mann covers the birth and evolution of the form, interviewing the artists, writers and publishers who are, in some cases, as famous as their creations (Stan Lee, Robert Crumb) giving a comprehensive survey that, for pre-Wikipedia audiences (and the CBC Midday interviewer), was a major pop-culture history lesson. 

"Comics have always been there from the very beginning," Mann tells Pringle in the clip. "It has something to do with art, it has something to do with poetry, painting, music. But what's interesting about comics is they're comics, in and of themselves."

Watch the interview and learn more on the CBC Digital Archives.


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