TLDR: If your entry to The Film Fund pitches anything about a new superhero story, 50% of the proceeds from your entry will be donated to The Stan Lee Foundation to promote literacy and the arts. We’re putting out a call. A call to create new superheroes.

What we imagine a young Stan Lee’s face would look like after watching Suicide Squad 😑

If you’ve been on the internet at all today, you know that comic book savant and epic film producer Stan Lee passed away at the impressive age of 95. Stan, your creations and hilarious cameos made the world a better place. From long, praising Instagram posts by Kevin Smith to the legacy of original storytelling you’ve left us, you will be missed.

But unlike all of the other posts on the internet today, we’re not going to feature a list of his best movies. Or give you a biography that you could easily find on Wikipedia. I’m interested in what his passing means for the future of cinema. And at the bottom of this post, I show you how you can help with this future.

Unfortunately, superhero movies have fallen in quality in recent years, with the majority of them becoming the bane of auteur-inspired filmmakers everywhere (no pun intended). It’s been six years since Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. And while highly anticipated, Shyamalan’s Glass isn’t due out until 2019. Sixteen years occurred between Unbreakable and Split. Three years will have occurred between Split and Glass. Eight years since Watchmen.

Sure, there’s Kick-Ass and the Deadpool franchise, but to be honest, everything else either gets lost in the slush (did anyone actually see Ant-man and the Wasp?) or is just laughingly terrible, like Suicide Squad.

Superhero movies have become the sad joke of the multiplex. They can’t stand on their own, either. Try to watch the latest Avengers movie without having seen all of the other Marvel movies. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will hate this article, but for those who take filmmaking and storytelling seriously, it cannot be denied that their most recent releases have been formulaic and stale. Cheap jokes and flat characters supported by glitzy CGI. These are not groundbreaking complaints.

None of this is to diss Stan Lee. To create a compelling character is difficult in itself, and to create an entire multi-faceted universe is astounding. But recently, this universe has suffered without Stan Lee’s direct influence. The suits have gotten in the way.

Where are the indie superheroes?

I think Stan Lee’s passing will remind us what great creators can do in their prime. With the increase in accessibility to animation technology like Blender as well as countless tutorials on YouTube and No Film School, creating special effects for a low-budget film has never been easier. In fact, the subtler effects are on a budget, the better.

We’re putting out a call. A call to create new superheroes. To stop recycling Stan Lee’s genius.

So, if your entry to The Film Fund pitches anything about a new superhero story, 50% of the proceeds from your entry will be donated to The Stan Lee Foundation to promote literacy and the arts.

Enter here or below by December 2nd, 2018.

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