I feel for Adi Shankar. Shankar has created some terrific Marvel fan films in the past, such as Truth in Journalism – the film noir featuring a pre-Venom Eddie Brock, and Dirty Laundry, featuring none other than Tom Jane reprising his role as the Punisher. His latest short, also Punisher-themed, is titled The Dead Can’t Be Distracted and is based on a comics run by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto. It looks pretty bitchin’, based on this little teaser, but unfortunately we’ll never get to watch it, as Marvel has sent Shankar a cease-and-desist order to stop him from using their characters. Here’s what Shankar has to say about it:
“According to Marvel it would ‘confuse the audience’ into believing that it’s an official Marvel production. At first, I was flattered that the quality of our work might even compare to the millions they spend on production and advertising, but then the reality of it all set in. Marvel legal was demanding that I don’t release the film! Since when does Marvel go after fan films? Wasn’t there a recent and heavily promoted Punisher fan film with Thomas Jane? What could I do about this?
What would you do when staring at a letter from one of the biggest, wealthiest companies in the movie business? They can put me out of business with the snap of their fingers. Do I have a beef with Marvel? Absolutely not. I think they have become so huge and that my film is lost in the belly of the corporate beast. I want the right people at Marvel to see this film, to rescue our film, and to hopefully be inspired by my love for this character. … Write to Marvel. Tell them that you want to see this film. Tell them you want to see our Punisher on the small screen.”
It’s great that Shankar is being good-natured about it, but frankly, I’m surprised that Marvel had more of a problem with this than with Dirty Laundry. I mean, that short even has the same actor who played the Punisher in a feature film – far more easily confused with official Marvel stuff, in my opinion.