Heroes Manufactured is a Canadian documentary which highlights the unique challenges that Canadian independent comic artists face while trying to make it in the comic book industry. Attending the comic convention circuit, these creators struggle with the challenges of competing with the giant publishers like Disney’s Marvel and Warner Bros’ DC Comics and a never-ending flood of creative talent from all over the world all vying for a bit of the comic book pop culture pie.
Started as a crowd funded project, Heroes Manufactured was officially selected for showing at 30 different international film festivals this past year. I met director Yaron Betan, a 2007 graduate of the OCAD University Integrated Media and Film program at the Toronto ComiCon this year and he invited me down for the official public Opening Night.
Heroes Manufactured follows Canadian creators Alfonso Espinos, Andy Stanleigh, Shane Kirshenblatt, and Meaghan Carter as they attend several comic conventions in Canada during the 2016 season. Each with their own projects and approaches to creating comics. Legendary Canadian writer and artist Ty Templeton also tags along offering sage advice from his own years of working in the business. From the monster FanExpo show, which is the third largest comic book convention in North America behind only San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic Con all the way to the small but amazing Cambridge Comic Arts Festival we see the creators setup booths, meet the fans, and often help each other to get their creations into the public’s hands.
Now I have seen a few documentaries on comic books. Back in 2011, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope by Morgan Spurlock comes to mind. Heroes Manufactured can compete with any of them. Truly a world class presentation. Pace of the narrative was fantastic with the creators being quite engaging and their anecdotes interesting. Several celebrity bits from Kevin Smith, Stan Lee and Neal Adams rounds out the film. I even dropped a tear during the Stan Lee breakfast piece. Captain Canuck creator Richard Comely takes a moment or two to speak about his experiences as a Canadian comic creator and how important it is that we celebrate independent creators. The film also spends some time with each creator at their home or studios giving you a peak at the process you might not see from just attending conventions. Really good stuff. Production value is great with only a few sound warbles during some of the celebrity segments where you could tell the crew didn’t have access to the primary microphones being held by the likes of Stan Lee or Kevin Smith.
Definitely look for this film once it hits DVD and streaming services later this year. And if you happen to bump into Yaron, Alfonso, Andy, Shane or Meaghan at a comic convention pick up some of their work and say hi from Marty!
In the meantime, take a peak at the trailer here https://www.heroesmanufactured.com/
Key West Video Inc. and White Night Studios Present “Heroes Manufactured” A Film by Yaron Betan Featuring Alfonso Espinos, Shane Kirshenblatt, Mark Shainblum, Ty Templeton, Richard Comley, Andy Stanleigh
Support by Studio Comix Press & Kingsky Productions
Executive Producers Stuart Steinberg, Yaron Betan, Alfonso Espinos, Zavosh Zaboliyan, Bruno Marino and Michael L. Suan
Trailer Music by Soundcloud/Pyramidmusicofficial
Production Services by Key West Video Inc.
Filmed on Location in Ontario And Quebec, Canada