Writer, producer, and Chicagoan Harry Bauer has found a way to exhibit his creativity in a series of short fan films based on The Fantastic Four comic books.
As we all know, comic book fans are passionate about their characters. With the huge growth of film festivals dedicated to fan films such as the GeekFest, more and more creatives are turning to bringing characters ranging from Harley Quinn to Green Lantern to life.
The shorts are easy to watch and tell the story as it is written in the actual comics. We were so delighted by his passion project that we tracked him down for an interview.
Bauer grew up in New Jersey, but moved to Chicago after he attended college at Indiana University because of Chicago’s theatre scene. Harry explains, “I was actively involved in theatre for a decade after landing here. I even had my own small theatre company. Then, I focused more on my writing, specifically screenwriting. From there, I transitioned into making short film projects.”
When asked how he has been faring throughout the pandemic, Harry expressed how much he misses sitting down and enjoying a meal at any one of Chicago’s amazing restaurants, while also being thankful all of his family’s needs have been met.
Harry Bauer then went on to explain where his inspiration for this short series came from:
“These are the comic books that got me into collecting as a twelve-year old. I am very fond of John Byrne’s comic work (the writer and artist who did these comics) and followed him around from book to book while I was growing up. On top of that, this was truly a pandemic pet project. I saw other people making short content to flex their creative muscles while we’ve all been stuck at home. Some friends made videos reading children’s books, which stuck out in my mind. I thought, ‘Why not do the same kind of thing with comics?'” Watch below:
According to the one-time member of the once-thriving Chicago Screenwriters Network, the idea grew. “I evolved into the idea of a picture flip book with a radio play behind it. I also wanted to present it in a way that implied some feel of motion while still adhering to the original comic book panel art,” Bauer noted.
“When I first considered it, I thought about doing all of the voices myself. I did that with a previous project where I mashed up Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad are Friends stories with Batman and Joker.
I did rough scratch demos to play around with the idea. I didn’t like how I sounded on certain characters. I wanted to do the villain Annihilus more than the other characters. So, I thought why not pull in a full cast for the rest?”
Thinking this would be a great project for his actor friends, including wife Elizabeth, Bauer explains the project became a creative outlet for his friends stuck in a pandemic. “Many were eager for the chance to do something. I lucked out and was able to pull in a lot of really great people. “
Bauer explained that his inspiration behind the style is simple:
“The classic Fantastic Four comics 60’s cartoons were very simplistic and are a lot of fun to watch. I felt like I could emulate that a bit and also add my own quirky flavor. Try to make the panels feel alive without any animation.”
We asked Harry Bauer how long it takes for each episode and how he was able to cast such talented individuals to voice this project,
“There’s 3 videos done and 4 more that are coming. It takes about 1.5 months per video. Right now, I have enough advance work done that the videos are being released every 2 weeks. There will be a 6 week gap between the release of the 6th and 7th video.
I started with actors that I’ve worked with in the past or know from seeing them in plays or other short films. It was also a great opportunity to work with awesome people who I met at film fests or friends who moved away. People that I normally would not be able to collaborate with.”
The Fantastic Four project consists of 7 videos and Harry is unsure if he will continue to create these comic book fan films after this project, however he plans on completing a feature length sci-fi screenplay in the very near future,
Be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel so you can view each additional Fantastic Four episode as they are released!
Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment business in both Chicago and Los Angeles.