"They're in their adolescence now, just on the brink." That's the last line of "They Shoot Comic Books, Don't They?," Howard A. Rodman's feature from the May 1989 issue of American Film™. He's quoting screenwriter Sam Hamm (BATMAN, BATMAN RETURNS) on movies inspired by comic books. Does that mean today's crop of comic book movies are – gulp – middle-aged? Or is this a film genre destined to be forever young? Certainly, the trend reported here 25 years ago has only grown in strength. If you need convincing, this month's film openings include THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 and X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. Last month brought us CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. Rodman surveys the pulp geniuses of the ‘40s and ‘50s, interviews writers and producers, and explores the quaint early conflict between studios seeking broad, bland box-office appeal and storytellers who preferred their action heroes on the dark side. Flash the bat signal if you want to know how that one turned out.