CBC’s The Passionate Eye often features very good documentary films. This is the case again for Comic Books Go To War which airs Wednesday January 27th at 10. If you are old enough, you might thing of the DC Sgt Rock comic books. What is presented here is far removed from that and more akin to a reporter version of Spiegelman’s Maus. Daniels rightfully calls it cartoon journalism. Artist reporters such as Joe Sacco, Ted Rall, Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) and others are presented along with their work.
Comic Books Go To War could perhaps have focused on fewer artists. There are too many artists and works presented too briefly.
This documentary is visually stunning. Director Mark Daniels brilliantly connects graphics from the books to news and video footage that show the exact same thing. The 3-D effect he achieves showing scenes for a Hiroshima comic book by Seiji Nakasawa is pure artistry. It is combined with hard to watch footage of the aftermath.
Marjane Satrapi’s take on the graphic novel is also interesting. The documentary’s one real weakness is here: the voice over is on the annoying side.
Also quite interesting is how Joe Kubert (Sgt. Rock) became a graphic novelist after a friend’s story prompted him to create Fax From Sarajevo. Seeing the traditional American comic book style applied to the genre is wonderful.
This is a documentary any graphic novel fan must see.