Note: this article was also published on Annenberg Radio News (link no longer active).
Stripped, written and directed by Dave Kellett & Frederick Schroeder. Produced by Sequential Films. Copyright 2014. (Seen March 26, 2014.)
Newspapers are in trouble. That’s not news. They have the same problems that the music industry went through when MP3s came around, and are in a period where they are trying to figure out how to adapt where everything is online for free.
But there’s an angle you may not have thought about with this changing media landscape: the comics page. Stripped is a documentary about the comic strip industry, and premiered last night in Hollywood right before being released in iTunes and other media next week.
Incorporating interviews with over 70 cartoonists, the documentary was written and directed by Frederick Schroeder and Dave Kellett and funded partially via Kickstarter. It goes into the history of the comic strips, the creative process of the artists and goes into how the industry has changed with the rise of the Internet and the continued downsizing of the newspaper industry.
The documentary is fun, fascinating, and enlightening. Running at 85 minutes long, it feels way too short and could easily have been turned into a Ken Burns-style series. The range of interview subjects is wide, and everyone has something worth hearing. If you are an artist, or just love comic strips, this is well worth the watch.
Stripped shows the world of the comic strip industry as it was, as it is now, and what it may look like in the future. Because, as the end song indicates, pictures have been telling stories for a long, long time.
For more information about the Stripped documentary, go to strippedfilm.com.
Note: the Annenberg version is listed as a critic review on the Stripped IMDB page!