BATMEN, JUDGES AND COMICS, OH MY!

It’s a sunny, warm, early May morning as I write this. Why early? Because in just a few hours, prep work for the second part of shooting for “Crime Alley” begins, starting with a scene between Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth. Within the following week, we will go from Wayne Manor, to the streets of Gotham, to the lair of one of the film’s villains. From there, we finish off the shoots by going to a dockside rooftop, to shoot the film’s opening scene, ironically enough.

But as I sit here and reflect about the shoot, I also feel it necessary to mention some of the more recent developments, all of them positive.

“Crime Alley” has been attracting some attention from the mainstream media, here in Finland. Or at least perked a few eyebrows. You can already read – if you speak Finnish, that is – an article on us on YleX’s website, and there’s another piece about us coming out in Suomen Kuvalehti. Our Making Of-documentaries – now in its second episode – have also given our fans a chance to take peeks behind the scenes.

Which is rather excellent, considering that we’re trying to get some traction on our Indiegogo. Making “Crime Alley” has been a lovely challenge, and we thought we’d reach out to the worldwide network of loyal fans for some much-needed – not to mention much-appreciated – support.

On another note, the Internet was recently rocked by the release of “Judge Minty”, a fan film set in the world of “Judge Dredd.” The short film – directed by Steven Sterlacchini – is a powerhouse of a fan film, expertly done and doesn’t miss a beat. The film gives you thrills and chills equal to that of anything Hollywood can provide, but with twice the heart. And – like all the best things in life – it’s free. It’s up on Youtube; go check it out!

Judge Dredd, of course, was the star of his own splendid film titled simply “Dredd.” The film received lackluster showings here in Finland – limited to only a few runs in theaters – but even those few showings were jam-packed with not only fans, but hardcore cinephiles, who know the value of a good film. The fact that the film even had those few showings were due to the determined enthusiasm of fans who made petitions and shone the spotlight on the fact that people wanted to see the film; groups such as the Dredd 3D elokuvateattereihin-group on Facebook, for instance.

Dedication like that is rare, and when you see it, be a part of it, it warms your heart. And when that dedication and enthusiasm crosses boundaries, be they national, cultural or even interpersonal, you know you’re dealing with something special.

Why do I mention this?

Well, Jyrki Vainio and Rami Rautkorpi are two of the most prolific professional comic book artists here in Finland. They, along with Péter Paalanen – my brother – and Antti Kirjalainen, are busy men.

So, when I approached these cats regarding the idea of a comic set in the world of “Crime Alley”, I was pretty much sure that I’d get some blank stares and polite refusals. But I didn’t know Jyrki, Rami and Antti, at this point. But when I started working with them, I quickly realized that they’d become part of the team, too; “Crime Alley” had crossed over a boundary, from one form of media to another. And I had gotten the chance to cross over with it into something I’ve always wanted, but never had the chance to do: write a comic book.

So does this all have a point? Well, long story short, before the Internet release of “Crime Alley”, expect a comic book arc – titled “Crime Alley: Scars” – to be released on these very pages, for free. Just like all the best things in life.

Oh, by the way… I did mention we’d be going to the lair of one of the film’s villains, didn’t I? Well, you heard it here first, loyal fans: Zsasz is not the sole antagonist of “Crime Alley.” Who is it? Keep an eye out; all things will be revealed, in time.

In the meantime, watch this space and spread the word…

“You’re not the devil. You’re practice.”

– Pekka Paalanen

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