In its debut, Morgan Spurlock brings his newest film Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope to a limited number of movie screens and accessible on video on demand through most cable providers.
Filmed during the 2010 San Diego Comic Con, Spurlock tries to explain the magnitude the Con has on the geek/nerd population. Along with following the fans journey to the Con there are a lot of interviews and perspectives from celebrities like Seth Rogen, Seth Green, Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Stan Lee and others.
A main point of the movie is that there are different types of people that attend Comic-Con and the documentary follows the trials and tribulations of fans that are attending the con.
Here are the types of people that were covered:
The Cosplayer: This type of person walks around the Convention floor (and/or in the Masquerade) dressed as their favorite comic/video game/anime character. Costumes at SDCC range from horrible to elaborate professional grade, that can take hundreds of hours to create. It is amazing the lengths some fans will go to create costumes. For the movie Jessica and her cosplay crew created some pretty crazy Mass Effect costumes.
The Comic Artist: This type of fan brings his art portfolio, in hopes of becoming a professional and breaking into the comic industry. Many companies will hold portfolio reviews to critique artist’s skills. It’s a tough industry to break into, but if you have the talent Comic-Con is a great placed to get noticed. The movie shows the highs and lows of 2 artists as they try to break into the scene.
The Comic Vendor: This fan runs one of the many thousands of booths on the convention floor. The vendor featured in the movies is the owner of Mile High Comics. The proclaimed largest comic vendor in the world. The focus is on the decline of interest of actual comics at the Con which the vendor feels has been taken over by the huge production companies. He is trying to sell a Red Raven #1 with a price tag of $500,000 to help pay off his debt. (From experience Mile High has one of the largest booths for selling comics. I purchased some comics from this vendor at last year’s Con.)
The Panel Camper: “Panel Camping” refers to fans that go to Comic-Con and sit in a specific Hall and stay there the entire day. This happens with the rooms that host the most popular panels (usually Hall H or Ballroom 20). Due to limited space and since they do not remove people from the halls, if you want to see a specific panel you need to be in line hours beforehand which can take up the majority of your day. This can be annoying especially if there is other stuff you would like to do at the Con. Some people begin to camp right after the con closes for that day. The couple in the movie started dating at Comic-Con and the guy is planning to propose to her during a Kevin Smith panel.
The Collector: This type of fan spends most of his time on the convention floor at different vendor booths standing in line and purchasing the different Comic-Con exclusives to add to their collections. The movie follows one such collector in his quest to purchase his exclusive toys (We at N3rd Link fall into this category.)
So here are my thoughts on the movie and if it’s worth your hard earned $6-8 to rent.
The movie does a good job of giving an overview of the convention, and how the convention has evolved from a “comic-centered” convention visited by a couple hundred people to a pop-culture mecca with over 140,000 visitors and now sells out almost instantly. I also believe it did a good job portraying the different types of people that attend the Con. There are so many different types of fans that attend Comic-Con and I was glad to see that Morgan Spurlock made that known. One important theme the movie shared was, that although it is called the San Diego “Comic-Con” comics definitely take a back seat to the movies and TV production companies. If you have attended Comic-Con recently you probably know that if you want a break from all the pushing and crowds you walk over to the comic section. There you won’t find people shoving each other to get whatever free thing that is being passed out. It’s a little sad that comics get overshadowed at the Con even though the many of the blockbusters that have been coming out lately are comic related.
Understanding that this movie is more about getting understanding what the San Diego Comic-Con is…the love of pop culture and the newly accepted celebration of your inner nerd/geek, there isn’t a ton I would change. I wish they had gone a little more in depth with the process. Whether it’s the behind the scenes of putting on the Con or a more realistic perspective of the steps fans go through to get to the con and what they put up with to attend (Although if that happened half the movie would be standing in lines.)
The Verdict: If you are a fan of Comic-Con or interested in what the big fuss is about then it’s definitely something to check out. If you have been to Comic-Con you probably won’t learn a lot of new information much but you will recognize a lot of what you see in it and it can help tide you over for the 3 month wait for SDCC 2012 to start. Go check it out!
It’s available now on your VOD cable provider, itunes. Morgan Spurlock is taking his movie on tour to select cities with a Q&A after the screening. Click here for more information.