Tights, Camera, Action: We Note Notable Superhero Fan Films Superhero fan films: The good, the bad, the ugly, and the really-shouldn't-be-wearing-spandex.
NPR logo Tights, Camera, Action: We Note Notable Superhero Fan Films

Tights, Camera, Action: We Note Notable Superhero Fan Films

Last Sunday's launch of an ambitious, technically impressive Tolkien-geek fan film shows how far the medium has come.

Where once uberfans were content to tromp out into the backyard to videotape themselves lightsabering the snot out of one another, new technologies have rendered the days of rough in-camera edits and hand-puppet dianogas obsolete. And even though any Fett with a Flip camera can turn out a respectable product, many fan films represent sizable investments of time, resources and effort.

Take, for example, the genre of comic book fan film.

Batman: Dead End (above) is perhaps the most famous example of the form. The 8-minute film went live on the Web right around Comic-Con 2003, setting off a nerdsplosion of interest in director Sandy Collora, who's gone on to helm an actual, you know, movie.

To my way of thinking, Dead End is notable for two reasons:

Dispelling the Memory of Adam West's Bat-Belly
Dead End proved that simple, true-to-the-comics circus tights can look great — as long as the guy who's sporting them has 4 percent body fat and biceps the size of your head.