History is taking an in-depth look at several iconic Marvel and DC comic book creations in the upcoming two-part documentary Superheroes Decoded. Comic book-inspired movies, of course, have become a vibrant part of the pop culture landscape over the past few decades beginning with the big screen adaptations of Superman in 1978, and Batman in 1989. After sequels from both DC properties led to a lull in popularity in the late 1990s, the superhero genre had a resurgence with Marvel's X-Men and Spider-Man movies in the early 2000s. In the wake of the blistering success of director Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, the genre has grown exponentially.
Coming just days before the hotly anticipated release of Disney/Marvel's new MCU entry Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, History is airing the two-part documentary Superheroes Decoded on April 30 and May 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In a press release from the cable channel Wednesday, History says the documentary tells how "the first superheroes emerged in the dark days of the Great Depression and evolved into the blockbuster franchises we know today," and calls "their epic origin story" the "story of America."
Interviews with several experts from both the comic book and movie worlds will be featured in Superheroes Decoded, including top creatives like Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee and DC Comics writer Brad Meltzer. Interviews with Captain America and Avengers: Infinity War directors Anthony and Joe Russo will also be featured, along with Iron Man director Jon Favreau, and Avengers star Anthony Mackie. History says:
"With rare access to top creators at both DC and Marvel, Superheroes Decoded uncovers how the rise of the superhero parallels America’s rise as a superpower in the 20th century, evolving through the decades into a uniquely American mythology that has captured audiences across the globe. Using modern film clips, vintage comic artwork, historical archival material."
History says the April 30th portion of Superheroes Decoded will concentrate on "the making of the iconic American superhero."
"From the creation of Superman, Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and beyond, these all-American legends have endured through decades of war, triumph and scandal, constantly evolving to reflect the country’s changing values in a tumultuous world. From World War II and Vietnam to Watergate and the tragedy of 9/11, these mythic heroes embody America’s deepest fears and greatest aspirations."
The May 1st segment of the documentary, the channel says, will examine "the American rebel and how sometimes being a hero means breaking the rules."
"From the beginning, superheroes like The X-Men, The Hulk, Black Panther, Iron Man, Luke Cage, and Wolverine have challenged authority and fought for outsiders, a battle that reflects the country’s most profound real-world divisions and struggles for justice. From their often controversial origins to recent resurgence in movies of today, these rebels redefine heroism for a new generation."
Superheroes Decoded promises to be an exciting documentary for comic book movie fans and will no doubt prime them for the big summer and fall ahead. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 coming out in May, Wonder Woman in June, and Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League in November, the documentary will undoubtedly add valuable context to the big screen iterations of the comic book tales, and ultimately make fans appreciate the creative forces behind them that much more.