Stripped

Full disclosure: I am in this movie. 

Stripped, which US viewers can get right now on iTunes*, is a documentary about newspaper comics, and was spearheaded by a man who loves and studies comics in a way that I never have. Oh, and he creates comics, too.

(*For Non-US viewers, and folks who'd rather not use iTunes: You can get the movie on April 2nd via VHX.tv (DRM-free), via DVDs at Topatoco (DRM-free), and via Google Play (U.S. only, not DRM-free.) I'll post direct links once links actually exist.)

It is also a bit of a choose-your-own-ending piece. The decline in newspaper circulation, the closure of papers, and a contraction in the reach of the syndicates is juxtaposed with the advent of the direct-to-the-consumer model employed by folks like me. The filmmakers did a great job of exploring and explaining both business models, and they interviewed syndicate editors, syndicated cartoonists, webcartoonists, webcomic business experts, and more.  

They also interviewed Bill Watterson. It is the only recorded interview he's ever done.

Stripped is far more than just exclusive interviews, though. There are some embedded shorts, including a pixel-pop, 8-bit explanation of the webcomic business model and a delightful music video. The segue animations are absolutely delicious, and not just because I can see Dave Kellet's inimitable hand in them. 

As with any review you read here, your mileage is going to vary a bit from mine. In this case I expect it to vary a lot. I'm far closer to the subject matter than 99.9% of my readers are, after all. Even so, I learned things. David Malki's analysis of the disruptive innovation wrought by photography at the turn of the 20th century was indisputably brilliant. And maybe that means you'll learn even more things than I did, and can enjoy the film even more. I don't know, but I think that would be pretty cool.

Regardless, I believe this film is going to stand for decades as the definitive documentary on this art form.

I love comics, and I loved this movie. And yes, I'd love for you to support it (I don't get a dime, mind you.) It's may not be my very-most-favorite, very-most-fun film of the year, but it did clear my Threshold of Awesome. And while it's not in wide release in theaters, it is available now on iTunes

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