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Comic Book Junkies: The hero we all need

Days after Lenny Schwartz and Nathan Suher premiered their film Far From Perfect: Life Inside a Global Pandemic, fans were clamoring for more. “I told them I’d only do if it they cancel San Diego Comic Con. And then they cancelled San Diego Comic Con and I don’t like to break a promise,” said writer and co-director Schwartz. And that’s how Comic Book Junkies, which will stream over a Facebook watch party on Saturday, July 25, was born.

Comic Book Junkies is a comedy that focuses on fans and cosplayers who are thrown into turmoil when San Diego Comic Con 2020 is cancelled because of coronavirus. That’s enough to throw any comic book junkie for a loop, but then the earth gets thrown into a black hole by an unknown villain. To save the world, these fans and cosplayers must become the one thing they have all aspired to be: heroes.

Making this film provided a bit of a balm for Schwartz, who was disappointed about San Diego Comic Con’s cancellation. “I know it seems like it is this crazy place but honestly, I have been at every one of them for the last 12 years(this would have been 13). The first three years I went as a fan and the last 9 as a professional. It is my time out from the real world.”

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The film was created in a similar way to Schwartz and Suher’s previous social distancing film. Schwartz wrote more than 100 vignettes that he sent to their actors, who were each tasked with filming their piece. Then Suher stepped in to stitch all the pieces together.

“When you have a script where everyone is recording their scene independently and the stories sometimes directly intertwine, there is a risk that the performances that are intended to dovetail with each other just don’t work out as they did on paper. As an editor, I have had to deal with that several times on this film by occasionally finding creative ways to create chemistry between abutting scenes,” co-director and editor Suher said.

Luckily, Schwartz and Suher had a little more time to plan Comic Book Junkies than they did Far from Perfect. “With Comic Book Junkies Lenny and I discussed several months out how we were going to allow for enough time to find and accentuate the nuances in the performances with the use of basic editing, some music cues, and manipulating some of the video and audio for dramatic or comedic effect.  The extra time also gave us the opportunity to inform the performers if their submissions needed to be redone for either technical reasons or if we felt they needed some direction,” Suher said.

Schwartz was thrilled with the number of actors who wanted to be involved in the film and the quality of their performances. His favorite moment from the film? “It was great to work with Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Films. I see Lloyd every year in San Diego, and I have ben watching his films since I was 13. It was an honor. But I can’t pick a favorite because I am so appreciative of the actors’ work and love the thought everyone put in.”

Comic Book Junkies will be shown via a Facebook watch party on Saturday, Jul 25 at 8pm. For more information, go to facebook.com/events/293303155190042

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