The Bonkers ’80s Kids Movie (Made By A 'Batman' Legend)
Legendary comic book artist Neal Adams passed away last week, and looking back at his impressive body of work, it’s starkly evident that the world of pop culture just wouldn’t have been the same without him. Perhaps most famously, Adams’ 1970s Batman run, along with writer Denny O’Neil. gave us some of the best Bat-stories of all time – he would also later gift the world the comic where Batman is a gun-toting maniac with a dinosaur sidekick, but we’re not here to talk about that.
While Adams’ art obviously had a lot of influence on the world of comic book movies, he also took a stab at making his own motion picture; 1982’s Nannaz, AKA Death to the Pee-Wee Squad. Made for around $40,000, a 40-year-old Adams wrote, directed, and starred in the picture as a “naive engineer” who invents a “gadget worth millions.”
When the inventor’s kids are left home alone with the priceless gizmo, it soon attracts the attention of murderous “industrial spies” who storm the house. So it’s basically a proto-Home Alone story except that, instead of simply getting hit in the face with a paint can or two, these crooks get shot, axed, and even throwing star-ed in the goddamn head. Oh, and it’s not the kids doing all the murdering it’s “Nannaz” the toy monkey.
Adams kept costs low by A) casting other comic book creatives instead of actors, and B) not actually paying those people, instead offering them a percentage of the hypothetical profits. Oh, and as for the kids, he simply cast his own children. Plus, rather than first writing a screenplay, and then finding locations based on said screenplay, Adams boasted that he would “find a place that was available for filming” and only then “write that into the story.” He eventually sold the movie to Troma, the Disney of ultra-low-priced schlock, and illustrated a gloriously pulpy poster for the release.
Perhaps Adams’ passing will inspire some kind of painstaking restoration and theatrical re-release for this goofy cinematic oddity.
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Top Image: DC/Troma