Film adaptations of "The Fantastic Four" have never reached the level of respect or adulation of their comic-book cousins "The Avengers" or "The X-Men." But before the latest two attempts to bring the comic to the screen, legendary producer Roger Corman obtained the rights in the mid-1990s and created a film that was apparently so bad, it was shelved, never to be released to the public.
The 1994 version of "The Fantastic Four" was an oft-bootlegged Holy Grail for comic lovers and fans of bad movies, but the story behind its creation is one that is as action-packed and dramatic as any release from the Marvel Universe. It's all documented in "Doomed!," this month's film feature at The Revival House starting at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 16, at the Milton Theatre. This month's event, Comically Cinema, is a salute to the source materials of such films, with a full-blown comic-book extravaganza featuring comics and collectibles from Delmarva’s own PLB Comics of Salisbury, Md., Ogre's Grove of Milton and more.
On the walls and in the theater
Local independent comic book publisher PLB Comics will display prints of original artwork in the lobby of the Milton Theatre through the end of March. Prints displayed will be available for purchase, and will feature PLB Comics’ original characters from their self-published comics, as well as other works. The PLB Comics team will have a full selection of their comics, art prints, T-shirts and stickers available at the screening. Ogre's Grove Comics and Collectibles will also offer a number of items.
PLB Comics is an independent group of artists and writers based on Maryland's Eastern Shore. PLB offers original concepts and fresh perspectives on the world of sequential art, while maintaining an appreciation of mainstream classics. Currently, PLB publishes two main titles: “The Fall,” which is a gritty vigilante/crime comic, and “Gideon & Sebastian,” a buddy-cop, action-comedy, vampire-slayer title.
The Ogre and his wife currently sell geeky goods at www.OgresGrove.com and comic conventions in Delaware. They are working hard to make their dream come true of opening a brick-and-mortar shop in Sussex County. In addition to carrying comic books and action figures, they offer handmade creations which will be on display at the event. Local artists include Aquariann, who uses colored pencils to create fantasy and flower drawings, and Bil Joseph, who upcycles cigar boxes into comic book boxes and clocks.
Fans who wish to dress up as their favorite superhero will be eligible to win comic books during an audience-led vote for the most creative cosplay of the evening.
On the screen
Long before the Iron Man suited up to start the Marvel cinematic revival, Roger Corman snagged the rights to ”Fantastic Four” for their first ill-fated screen incarnation. The film has never been legally screened for an audience; it’s available only through bootleg copies. Filmmaker Marty Langford assembled all those involved with the production to recount their days spent on the production and their reaction to the film in the documentary "Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman's ‘The Fantastic Four.’"
“Doomed” features never-before-seen footage from the production as well as new on-camera interviews with cast and crew, including Corman, and the original cast: Jay Underwood (Johnny Storm), Michael Bailey Smith (Ben Grim), Joseph Culp (Dr. Doom), Alex Hyde-White (Dr. Reed Richards) and Rebecca Staab (Sue Storm).
Director Marty Langford will join attendees via Skype at the end of the screening for a live Q&A about the making of the film, and what he has learned along the way. Langford is a self-described "geek" who turned his interest in the film into a fully fledged movie.
On the plate
Revival House favorites Caped Crusaders of Cuisine, Tapas Catering, will once again be serving delicacies to fight hunger and deliver explosions to the taste buds.