It has been well over a week and the dust has settled from the San Diego Comic-Con. I’m sure most of you are, by now, familiar with this extravagant event, what with the proliferation of comic books and science-fiction on the movie and television screens, and within pop culture over the past couple of years. At times, I wish I were younger. If I were between the ages of 8 and 14, I would be geeking out so much harder than I usually am. Just the chance to see some of my favorite superheroes on the big screen and on television, and in now mostly solid adaptations, would have blown my mind and probably driven my parents crazy. I grew up during the time of Tim Burton’s Batman films, which I love. I mean, I could recite along all the dialogue from Batman as I watched it. There really wasn’t much in good quality superhero films during that time, and we know how the rest of the Batman franchise turned out (Batnipples, everyone!).
Due to the heavy coverage of superhero movies and shows, most people may not even realize that actual, physical comics still play a part in this event, but they do. It turns out, so does craft beer. San Diego and its surrounding area is another well-known hotbed for craft beer. An unofficial Comic-Con beer festival is held during the weekend, along with other significant craft beer events, as well as special releases of beers. I’ve never made it out to San Diego’s Comic-Con, but I held my own craft beer and superhero shindig. I took in a viewing of a documentary about a well known but little-seen superhero flick, and a beer from Odd13.
Codename: Superfan: The Basics
- Brewery: Odd13 Brewing (Lafayette, CO)
- Style: IPA
- ABV: 6.5%
Codename: Superfan: The Details
I was aware of Odd13 Brewing before I moved to Colorado because of their superhero themed labels. This style of labels was created in part to one of the co-owner’s love of comic books as a child, and also to catch the attention of customers. It worked for me…and I heard good things about the brewery. Codename: Superfan is one of their most popular beers, and some might say most controversial. Superfan can be described as a New England-style IPA that’s known for its unfiltered, hazy look, creamy mouthfeel, and that oh so tropical, juicy taste without the bitterness. This beer is made with Pacific Northwest hops: Simcoe, Citra, Amarillo, and Equinox.
If it looks like a New England-style IPA and quacks like New England-style IPA…sorry, getting ahead of myself here. By appearances alone, this is a New England-style IPA, or Northeastern IPA. The beer has a fluffy, pillowy head that I would like to rest my head upon. The body is so hazy it looks like a milky version of an orange-pineapple juice concoction. The smell upfront is juicy and tropical (mangos and pineapple), that leads to some citrus (orange peel and grapefruit), and has bits of pine and cut grass hidden in there. The head hangs around for awhile before leaving a nice lacing along the sides of the glass.
The taste of Codename: Superfan pretty much follows the nose, but with the citrus notes standing to attention. It’s still juicy and tropical but you get more of a grapefruit and orange zest taste. It’s slightly sweet with an underpinning of piney and herbal hops. After a few sips and looking down at the hazy beer peaking out from underneath the frothy head, all I could think about was an Orange Julius. Does anyone know what I’m talking about? Are those still a thing? *checks internet* I guess they sort of are. Well, that’s what ran through my head. This medium bodied beer has a creamy mouthfeel that has a subtle but nice carbonation level. All that juicy goodness tends to not linger that long on the tastebuds, making me go back for more, and leaving a piney bitterness at the back of the tongue.
Doomed!: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four (2015)
- Director: Marty Langford
- Genre: Documentary
- Total Running Time: 1hr 25mins
- Rating: NR
- Availability: Hulu
The Fantastic Four was Marvel’s first super team comic, co-created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and was the company’s answer to DC’s Justice League of America. The ground breaking comic covered the lives of four individuals that were granted powers from cosmic rays: stretchable genius Reed Richards, the invisible Sue Storm, rock monster Ben Grimm, and fiery Johnny Storm. This so-called family instantly became a fan favorite, yet they’ve never been able to reach the cinematic success of Marvel’s other characters. It’s not for a lack of trying.
In the past twenty some years, there have been three different adaptations covering four films. Most people are aware of the last three. There was the 2005 film. This film and its 2007 sequel captured some of the essence of the comics, but they were dopey and full of bad acting and storytelling. Then, 2015 blessed us with Josh Trank’s grittier adaptation (sometimes known as Fant4stic…ugh). This version, based on the Ultimates Fantastic Four comic, was also poorly received and quite the shit show behind the scenes, but it had some interesting elements despite a rushed climax. The way it dealt with the characters’ new powers had a David Cronenberg body horror vibe to it. Yet the very first film ever made based on these characters is very much like a ghost story told around the campfire. Did it really happen? Oh yeah, the cousin of my friend’s bank teller saw it.
Doomed! peels back the layers of the first cinematic adaptation of Marvel’s first family and shows the seedy side of Hollywood. There was a time when Marvel didn’t have its own production company and sold the rights to its many characters to different studios, one of them being the Fantastic Four back in the mid-1980s to a German producer, Bernd Eichinger of Neue Constantin (now Constantin Film). In 1992, Eichinger was about to lose the rights, so he began approaching filmmakers, like Lloyd Kaufman, to get started on a production in order to maintain control of them. This was a dark time for Marvel movies. Blade wouldn’t come out until 1998, and X-Men in 2000. Eichinger ended up with a deal for $1 million with Roger Corman, the legendary Hollywood rebel. At the time, $1 million wasn’t much to make this particular kind of movie. The documentary tells the story through interviews with many of those who were involved: Corman, the director, the actors, the casting agent, the editor, and a journalist from Film Threat covering the whole production. All of them had the purest intentions of making a great superhero movie, and lot of them saw working for Corman as a right of passage in Hollywood.
The production faced many obstacles along the way. The production schedule was rushed – it was shot in 3-4 weeks – while they filmed in a rat infested condemned studio. As the film languished in post-production, doubts began to rise for those involved. Clandestine operations had to be pulled off just to finish the film. The actors never gave up hope and kept promoting the film at conventions until they received a cease and desist letter. Eventually, the film was completely taken away from the filmmakers and never made it to the theaters or home release. But something interesting happened afterward. Years later, bootleg copies began to spring up at conventions all over the country. The myth became a reality.
While Codename: Superfan has all the characteristics of New England-style IPA, it also has more bitterness than others of this style that I’ve tried. Perhaps it’s a slight hybrid: a NE-PNW IPA. It has the juicy characteristics of an NE-style IPA but with a faint pine bitterness on the finish, indicative of the IPAs I’ve come to know from Portland and other breweries of the Pacific Northwest. I tend not to worry myself with trends within craft beer as long as they are well made and taste yummy. Codename: Superfan is an accomplished beer. It’s not something that I’ll immediately reach for, but I am glad I picked up the 6-pack. The hops involved in this beer are some of my favorites, and they really get a chance to shine. I can see why this particular beer has its super fans (I’ll see myself out).
Doomed!: The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four is an illuminating documentary on how the rights of existing properties work in Hollywood. Bernd Eichinger and Stan Lee, as some suggest, never intended The Fantastic Four to ever make it into the theaters. The issue with rights is still prevalent today. Why do you think there have been so many reinterpretations of Spider-Man on screen? The latest film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, was a co-production between Sony and Marvel, yet Sony has plans for future films based on characters from the pages of Spider-Man comics. Marvel Comics has essentially killed any Fantastic Four comics due to a pissing contest with Fox over the rights. This documentary highlights the heart and perseverance of those that came together for something they believe in, even as the powers that be tried to constrain them.