Of the two major comic book companies DC Comics and Marvel, which one do you think has the most characters? Mind you I am talking about everyone, superheroes, villains, sidekicks as well as all of the supporting characters. According to a November 2015 post on the site Quora.com James Wilding states that DC has more than 10,000 characters listed in its database! Marvel, well it has a respectable 7,000 characters as of the Disney purchase in 2010. A later post on the same topic by Andy Grilz estimates that only one in eight of these characters are heroes. Now of all these characters, who would you like to see get their own movie? Would you watch a Louis Lane standalone, what about a movie that tells Alfred the Butlers origin story? The big studios would never provide a budget for a movie like that, and this is where my favorite genre of film steps in to fill the void, the fan film.
Instead of a normal review, I thought I would share with you a few examples of fan films that tell the stories of some obscure but still loved DC and Marvel Characters. Let's start with DC. With the release of the movie Suicide Squad in 2016, everyone is in love with The Joker and Harley Quinn. Warner Brothers who own the rights to DC movies and characters are said to be planning on making both Joker and Harley Quinn stand alone films, BUT they would never green light a movie where these two iconic villains o to something as mundane as couple therapy. Well writer Colin Costello, actress Brandi Price and director Terry Ziegelman did just that with their fan film 'Committed' released in October 2017. This award winning film is both funny and unusual and is worth watching several times.
Lets go a little more obscure then the Joker and Ms Quinn, what about a character from the very early days of DC comics, do you know who Dan 'Terrible' Turpin is? No, well don't worry not many people do. Turpin is the Lieutenant Inspector of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit. Metropolis is of course the home of Superman, and Turpin is basically like Commissioner Gordon, but without a cool spotlight. Turpin never really had any big comic book arcs and is such a small character that DC and Warner Brothers would never bother making him the star of his own movie, but filmmaker Robert Dodrill did! In May 2016 Dodrill released the fan film ‘Turpin: Terrible Toys’. This film follows Turpin as he tries to put a stop to a serial killer called the ToyMaker. Winner of the Best Director Category of the 2017 Fanfilm Awards, this film does not have a Superman cameo, and he is not needed because it is very well written and acted and tells an original story. This film was also made with a budget of only $1000.
What about we switch gears and talk about some obscure Marvel character fan films. There are many awesome fan films on the well known characters like the Avengers, Wolverine or Spider-Man, however, unless you are a hard core Marvel fan you have probably never heard of Dr. Michael Morbius. Dr Morbius or Morbius the Living Vampire as he is otherwise known first appeared in the Amazing Spider-Man #101 in October 1971 and was created by writer Roy Thomas. Morbius acquired his Vampire abilities while attempting to cure himself of a rare blood-disease. Morbius will never be a part of the MCU (and let’s face it Vampires are so 2008) but filmmaker Chaz Dray decided that he needed his own film and the fan film ‘Morbius: The Living Vampire’ was released in October 2014. With a runtime of a little over twelve minutes this fan film has a great narrative and a lot of great fight scenes and teases the possibility of more Morbius films to come.
Last of all I want to talk about a breakthrough comic book character, Ms Marvel. Ms Marvel or real name Kamala Khan is Marvel’s first ever Muslim superhero and was created by Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona. Kamala first appeared in Captain Marvel #14 of August 2013, but later got her own solo series in early 2014. Kamala is from Jersey City, NJ (New Jersey represent!) and has Inhuman genes that give her Shapeshifting abilities. The original Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers who was originally known as Ms Marvel) is getting her own MCU standalone movie which is due to be released in March of 2019, so I don’t think that Kamala will be getting her own movies anywhere in the MCU lineup. But you guessed in, this is where a fan film steps in. Writer and director Anita Kalathara and Landis Aponte released ‘Kamala-Ms Marvel Fan Film’ in February 2017. At just over five minutes long this fan film is basically a long movie trailer, but it does tell a very powerful story, especially based on Kamala and her heritage.
So there you have it, four fan films based on some obscure comic book characters or obscure comic book character stories. Each of these is special in different ways, they are original, well written and in almost all cases self financed by the filmmaker, so check them out. For more in depth information and discussion on ‘Committed’ and ‘Turpin Terrible Toys’ give Shows 4 and 7 of the Fan Film Boyz Podcast a listen. Please feel free to comment on what you think of these films, or if you have some other obscure character fan films you want to share you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert is one of the hosts of the Fan Film Boyz Podcast, a podcast that discusses, reviews and helps promote fan films. For more in-depth discussion and interviews with directors, writers, actors and actresses, give the podcast a listen.