How do fan films go from being entertaining tributes to must-sees in their own right? As stated in a previous article the best fan films show us something that we don’t get from big-budget movies and TV shows. While also demonstrating a love for the craft of filmmaking and the story being told. Today we will be recommending five must-see fan films based on comics that exemplify these qualities.
To ensure we don’t continually focus on the same properties and characters each selected fan film will be from a different comic company. We will look at the narrative of each film and explain what makes them special.
2000AD – Rogue Trooper: The Quartz Massacre
When Genetic Infantrymen (artificial soldiers) are airdropped onto Nu-Earth they are ambushed by an army of Norts. Only one GI remains with his body intact, Rogue. Can he escape the ambush alive?
This brief adaptation of a 2000AD staple makes up for its short length with amazing action and effective economic storytelling. Within five minutes the narration and visuals demonstrate the conflict’s scale and why we should root for Rogue, as he navigates the hostile battlefield which killed many of his comrades. The use of interesting sci-fi ideas such as storing the personalities of fallen GIs on microchips that can be stored on army items adds humour and uniqueness to the story. But it’s the exciting well-staged, nicely shot, and superbly edited action that provides the reason to watch this short. If you want a must-see action fan film, watch this.
DC – New Wings: A Batgirl Fan-Film
After fighting Clayface, Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) is visited by Bruce Wayne. Bruce tells Barbara she must stop being Batgirl. However, both must put their differences aside when a part of Clayface that Barbara brought home comes to life. Can they fix the problem without Barbara’s father, Jim Gordon, finding out?
New Wings is incredibly fun. The dialogue between the characters is hilarious and the cast perfectly fit their roles, with their chemistry making them a joy to watch. Emma Catharine effortlessly captures Barbara Gordon’s youthful eagerness; Anthony Paderewski pulls off a terrific balancing act as a Bruce Wayne that pivots between dark and humorous, and David H. Horne is charming as the oblivious Jim Gordon. Couple that with some wonderful direction, impressive effects work, and perfectly timed editing, and New Wings becomes, to date, the best live-action Batgirl interpretation.
Image – Spawn: The Recall
After young Michael disappears in a supermarket his mother tries to find him but discovers dark forces at work around her. What do they want with her and her child?
The Recall is not just a great Spawn adaptation but a moody, horror tale that succeeds thanks to the acting of the central cast. Johanna Genet as the mother really sells her desperation as she searches for her child. Tom Maurice also does a pretty good job as the innocent Michael and Gregory Paris is a terrifying Spawn. Apart from the cast, it is also helped along by its use of dark atmospheric visuals (with mostly well-done CGI helping to realise some creative spooky images) and an eerie score that enhances the film’s tone.
Marvel – Truth in Journalism
Journalist Eddie Brock takes a documentary film crew on a tour of his life but gradually the crew realise that life around Brock is more dangerous than they anticipated. Especially considering the secret he is hiding.
Clearly inspired by Man Bites Dog, Truth in Journalism makes the Marvel universe feel disturbingly grounded through its pseudo-documentary framing. Which combined with the grainy black and white, cinema verité style presentation makes the grim story hit much harder. And Ryan Kwanten’s central performance makes Eddie Brock into an equal parts sleazily watchable and horrifying presence.
Vertigo – Fabletown
Deputy Mayor of Fabletown Snow White and former sheriff Bigby Wolf must reunite when someone from the real world sees the Beast’s (from Beauty and the Beast) true form. Can Bigby and Snow solve the problem?
Fabletown feels like a quality network TV show. The series’ visuals are very professional. In addition, the narrative is engaging and well-paced. With a fantastic mixture of wit, mystery, action, and heart always keeping viewers invested. But the diverse characters are Fabletown’s biggest strength. All the actors do superb work and the writing gives everyone a nice amount of depth. Above all special mention must go to Emma Van Lare as the commanding Snow White, Holly Day as the sarcastic Cindy, and Jordan O’Neal as the anti-heroic Bigby Wolf. All of whom bring enthusiasm and humanity to their roles. Fabletown deserves to be your next binge-watch.
So ends our list of must-see comic book fan films. Let us know your thoughts and please tell us any comic fan films you would recommend.
Also Read: Holy Fan Films, Batman