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That Time Neal Adams Wrote and Directed a Film Starring Comic Artists

Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me.

Today, we look at a bizarre film that an anonymous reader wrote to me about the other day that I thought was so interesting that I figured we might as well feature it here.

Neal Adams, obviously, was not only one of the most popular comic book artists around, he was also one of the most influential. There are countless legendary artists who broke into the industry as...if not Neal Adams clones, per se, certainly as heavily inspired by Adams in their style. Not only that, but Adams has also always been a very outspoken person when it comes to creator rights. He famously helped Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster get a stipend from Warner Bros. that helped the two Sueprman co-creators a great deal towards the end of their lives. When you look at the comic book artists that have most changed the world of comic books in the 20th Century, Neal Adams has to be right up there at the top.

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Amusingly enough, though, in the early 1980s, Adams decided to give filmmaking a try, as well.

At the time, there had only been a handful of movies based on comic books released into theaters, including the famous Superman the Movie. Obviously, Adams believed that one of the drawbacks of movies based on comic characters is that they don't have the same viewpoint as the actual comic book creators themselves. That was the sort of thing that he aimed to fix with his film, which was initially going to be titled Nannaz.

The concept behind the film is that an engineer invents a gadget that could possibly be worth millions. He leaves the item at his home in a Polaroid camera case. His kids are at home while he goes out for the night. Throughout the night, they are the hunted down by a series of various agents who are trying to get their hands on the invention. However, the rogue agents keep getting foiled by, of all things, the kids stuffed animal, a monkey named "Nannaz"...

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Initially, the film was going to be called Nannaz. Besides writing and directing the film, which cost $40,000 of his own money (he was also the producer of the film - he shot it on 16mm film, with the intent to blow it up later), Adams also had a key role in the film as the hapless engineer. The kids in the film, naturally enough, were played by Adams' own children, Jason and Zeea.

Those are the MAIN characters, but what about the agents trying to get the invention? Well, Adams chose some familiar names...if you were a comic book fan, that is!

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