So much time, money and creative effort is spent to bring comic-book superheroes to moving-picture life that it’s almost backward to contemplate how those adapted environments could be translated back into comics form. Thanks to technology, live-action and animated adaptations are finding new ways to convince viewers they’re seeing powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.
And yet, these adaptations only go so far. Movies trade spectacle for (relative) brevity, offering two-plus hours of adventure every two to three years. The reverse is true for television, which is more prolific but often less earth-shattering. Both have to deal with practical considerations such as running time, actor availability, and the streamlining of complicated backstories. Thus, to borrow a phrase from politics, adaptations are often exercises in “the art of the possible.” By comparison, comics have much fewer limitations.
Therefore, comics versions of those adaptations must necessarily limit themselves, even if they only choose to work within some of those real-world limitations. Sometimes this is as simple as telling stories set within the adaptation’s version of continuity. However, sometimes comics are the most practical way to “continue” a well-liked adaptation, and thereby perpetuate its visual and tonal appeal.
The superheroes-themed episode of PBS’s Pioneers of Television we mentioned Monday is now available online, so you can see for yourself as this week’s installment spans the decades, from Adventures of Superman in the 1950s to The Greatest American Hero in the 1980s.
As you’d expect, the episode contains interviews with the likes of Lynda Carter, Adam West, Julie Newmar, Burt Ward, Lou Ferrigno and Jack Larson. Watch the episode in full below:
A full-length trailer has been released for Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, a Kickstarter-funded documentary that will receive its world premiere next month at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
Directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, the documentary traces the evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman and examines “how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.” Among those interviewed for the film are Gloria Steinem, Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, Trina Robbins, George Perez, Gail Simone, Danny Fingeroth and Andy Mangels.