Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is a fanboy fiesta
A documentary by Morgan Spurlock. Rating unavailable.
You know, professional film critics just might be the wrong audience for a nerd fiesta like Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope. The fact that we earn a (meagre) living writing about made-up stuff we love just barely separates us from the geeks and gawkers lining up in San Diego at the world’s biggest comic-book and fantasy convention. And who wants to be reminded how thin that line can be?
Perhaps mindful of such thoughts, documentary veteran Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) keeps himself out of camera view—not that there aren’t plenty of other characters crowding the frame. Among the 100,000 or so fanboys, obsessives, and cosplay freaks, there are some better-known observers. Shot starkly against white paper are such comix-to-flix crossovers as Frank Miller, Eli Roth, Seth Rogen, Matt Groening, Guillermo del Toro (“I live for the moment when the other collectors want to kill me”), and de facto emcee Kevin Smith, who has the funniest comments. No George Lucas, though.
Spurlock’s team also follows aspirants, including: a fantasy-costume designer who’s one of the few women profiled; the proprietor of a struggling, yet massive, comic-book empire, trying to sell a super-rare issue for a half-million bucks; some poster kids for dweeb love; and two ink-dipping artists having their portfolios evaluated.
The phenomenon of the San Diego convention itself, launched in 1970, is rather cursorily examined. One facet is obvious: corporations flogging movie merchandise now dominate the scene; stars on hand, 40 years later, range from Sylvester Stallone to Angelina Jolie, with Marvel’s Stan Lee practically counting his money nearby. The demographic shift has come largely at the expense of the actual comic-book fans who started the damn thing.
What Spurlock thinks about this, or any other issues raised here, remains unknown. Of course, you know you’re stuck in Ambiguityville when you hear someone at a photo op yell out: “Storm troopers, you’re not smiling!”
Watch the trailer for Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope.