Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
PBS also appears to be wooing the Comic-Con crowd with Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle, a new documentary series tracing the history of comic heroes.
On today’s panel, executive producer Michael Kantor offered the obligatory comment that the project is meant to appeal to ages “8 to 88.” Afterwards, he admitted to Deadline that PBS is at least in part looking for the audience that has “a strong niche in social media” with this project.
Kantor said PBS is “thrilled” that the program, which went into production 3 years ago, is coming out “when superheroes are peaking.” But the producer added the project s received funding from both federal agencies National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) because of its the potential to reach the Twitter crowd “because they’ll learn something” about American history through the story of comic book heroes.
The panelists stressed the fact that President Obama is a Spiderman fan.
Kantor was joined on the panel by Spiderman writer Gerry Conway; Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and Wolverine creator Len Wein. They were asked how they felt about superheroes making the transition from comic book to the big and small screens.
Said McFarland: “I think most of us are pretty proud of our creative children, we want to show pictures of our children to as many people as possible.” Comic book creators, he said, “are not elitists, not artistes.” He added he hopes that with Warner Bros. owning DC Comics and Disney acquiring Marvel, other studios may start looking for other [new] product. That could be a boon for us.”
A little virtual humor came from TV’s original Batman, Adam West, who spoke to the audience via satellite (no face, just voice). When asked if he was happy to be done with being a superhero, West said: “No I’m unhappily done with it, I just loved the money.”
The actor said he likes most new Batman incarnations and cited the 2013 animated Batman series as evidence of the character’s longevity. He also cited a relatively new line of Batman toys including an Adam West doll. “You caught me playing with my doll,” West joked.