In 2012, Adi Shankar served as the executive producer for Dredd, a stylish adaptation of the long-running comic series of the same name. Despite generally positive reviews, Dredd struggled at the box office, therefore dashing hopes for any potential sequels. Even so, Dredd has picked up a significant cult following and has sold extremely well on home video. Clearly, there are many fans of the film who are clamoring for more, and Shankar is giving them what they want with a new web series based off the Dredd franchise.
Shankar, in addition to his day job as a Hollywood producer, is also an independent filmmaker who creates “bootleg” fan films based off popular franchises. In 2012, he scored a hit with “Dirty Laundry“, a Punisher fan film starring Thomas Jane. A year later, he released “Truth In Journalism“, which imagined Venom through a lo-fi, black-and-white lens. “The concept of the “Bootleg Universe” is about viewing our icons through a new lens,” Shankar told Tubefilter.
For the next entry in the bootleg universe, Shankar has turned to Dredd. He has released Judge Dredd: Superfiend, a six-part web series that presents Dredd “as a hyper violent 90’s style children’s cartoon.” As Shankar explains, he made Superfiend for the Dredd devotees who loved the film in spite of its commercial failures. “It’s a thank you to the fans,” he stated. “End of story.”
When I asked Shankar what he hoped to achieve from Superfiend, his answer was a lot longer.
This is work that hasn’t been produced and I think it should be. Other than that, I refuse to measure myself by the same metrics or by the imaginary ladder our society has ingrained in us.
Here’s what I do know: Money is finite, while having a genuine impact on culture is infinite, as the ripple effect of that impact will permeate through our species from one generation to the next. The generation that is coming of age now is in a place where they have the power to shape the direction and the narrative of the language of the Internet.
It is this generation that must be weary of the faulty metrics of success that will be a detriment to creativity and innovation, as third parties attempt to define what success in the digital world means.
View count, by way of example, is a silly metric. If it were legitimate then we should all opt to replicate “Gangnam Style” because it is untouchable sitting at well over two billion views. In the film world, Paul Blart: Mall Cop made almost $150 million domestically while The Hurt Locker made $17 [million]. Yet is there even a question as to which movie made the greater cultural impact?
I feel compelled to make this long winded point because the audience that reads your site needs to understand that they and they alone not only hold the key to unlocking the visual narrative of the future, but they also have the power to define what “achievement” in the digital age means.
That’s a lot to unpack, but the takeaway is pretty simple: Don’t let view counts or box office numbers signify which artworks are culturally significant. Dredd‘s fans have championed the film no matter its commercial viability. Superfiend is Shankar’s way of expressing gratitude.