JON SCHNEPP: RIP
I won’t attempt an obituary here. And I will not pretend for one moment to have known the man. But I was devastated to learn of the passing of Jon Schnepp. He was a host on Collider Videos, chairing the weekly Heroes discussion. He was also an accomplished filmmaker, with his ‘Death of Superman Lives: What Happened’ an instant classic on the documentary circuit. If you need any proof of quite how many lives the man touched? Just look at the twitter verse, now.
His beloved partner, Holly Payne, has kept everyone informed, whilst retaining dignity and privacy. The hardest nosed, most objective of critics, from Mark Ellis to John Rocha to John Campea, paid the most moving tributes to their lost friend and colleague. He brought them all together in death, as he did in his life. None of us can escape the march of mortality but Schnepp reminds us of the value and importance in building the best life possible, thereby ensuring a legacy of work and love and inspiration the moment we move away from this physical realm.
SUPERMAN himself, Henry Cavill, currently busied promoting Mission:Impossible FALLOUT, took time out to pay a stirring tribute to Jon. That surely is a measure not only of Henry’s decency (go on..just doubt his probity NOW, I dare you) but also of Schnepp’s power as a force for good in the media community.
Interesting to note that words such as ‘geek’ or ‘sweaty’ (something Schnepp really should have copyrighted as he pioneered the term) are thrown around the various posts about the man and his work. What John did was to take previously derogatory language regarding film fans and OWN it; calling others to do likewise. He smashed a stigma and built a community with the pieces.
Jon showed us that one’s passions can and indeed should be harnessed rather than shunned or hidden. Sadly, things may have gone too far the other end nowadays, with ‘toxic fans’ a problem term one must confront, head on. But if you want an example, a model of how to be critical, objective and productive whilst retaining one’s inner, childlike awe at a comic/film etc..then the Schnepp is THE ideal to copy.
His chairing style on shows will be an impossible act to follow. It was never about ‘him’ so much as the work, the products being viewed. And he brought out the best in his equally competent and caring panellists. As a filmmaker? Well, ‘Death of Superman Lives..’ is a masterpiece. The kind of thing one wishes people would make more often. A sequel was mooted, possibly looking at the aborted Batman films from Burton’s third to the Nolan reboots. Sadly we will never see the like of that for a long while.
But surely Schnepp has inspired a new generation of fans to take up the mantle? THAT would prove the legacy truly lives on: an ideal of hope.
This is incidentally not the first time that Jon has made me cry. I remember being moved by his outpourings of love to his own beloved Father on a birthday and a recent offer of help to Stan Lee in the midst of whispers about Stan’s struggles. They were split second gestures and he got back on track like a true professional. But a beautiful, human thing to watch: sentiment and soul, whilst avoiding mawkish messianic posturings. And I loved it when I would get an occasional like on Twitter from Jon. You made my day. Many times. Over a twitter based coffee break. You just never knew it. Thank you!
To those seeking to honour the man, constructively? Go out and make art! That’s always Kevin Smith’s advice, when faced with a sad event that touches many. We almost lost Kevin this year, too so harness his advice in a tribute to Jon. Without getting political (though we do cover politics here now so..), it is also worth checking out the ‘Go Fund Me‘ page . Jon’s last stages of care left his beloved family with a potentially crippling series of bills. A life in America without an NHS equivalent. I believe the page is still active so feel free to donate, whilst of course respecting the privacy of Jon’s family and indeed your own financial limitations.
Needless to say? Jon’s are hard to impossible shoes to fill. COLLIDER, out of respect, have dedicated the week to paying tribute to his best bits. Suspect he is looking down from the comic book store in the sky, at once pleased and happy yet already making his own suggestions for edits and improvements in moving forwards. Thoughts with his family, meantime: our sincere condolences.
Mr Schnepp: you were and are, very much loved and we will all miss you more than I can say. An example to all in the film and writing communities. Rest in Peace, Jon. Your life, work and ethos will never be forgotten and will live on. #ONWARDS..