"With comic books you can actually see how a story is told using illustrated panels," he said.
Mann's project started rolling when he was able to arrange funding through such groups as the Swann Foundation, a New York-based group established to promote the idea of comics as art. While he was working behind the scenes on the movie "Legal Eagles" in New York, he began working on "Comic Book Confidential."
"During the day I was shooting Robert Redford and Daryl Hannah, and at night I started shooting cartoonists," Mann said.
The film became a three-year project. Fifty-five cartoonists were actually filmed, although only 22 were eventually included in the film. Mann said he was trying to use artists that demonstrated the progression of comics.
Ultimately the movie relies on the artists to speak of the art form. For example, Eisner movingly tells of the joy he experiences as an artist.
"Comics deal on two levels," he says. "It has a completion to it that satisfies me."
First released in Canada in the fall of 1988, the film, never intended to be a blockbuster, has only been "moderately successful," according to a spokesman for Cinecom Pictures, distributors of the film.
However, Mann already has found his satisfaction.