Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Directed by: Morgan Spurlock
Written by: Joss Whedon, Morgan Spurlock
Starring: Jessica Merizan, Skip Harvey, Stan Lee, Kevin Smith
Synopsis: A loving look at the pop culture juggernaut that occurs every summer in San Diego

Oh San Diego Comic-Con. A dork's Mecca, a geek's mother ship, and a safe place for nerds everywhere to come and let their freak flag fly. Whether you're into gaming, movies, or traditional comics, Comic-Con is where you want to be come July. For those of us who cannot afford to make it, Morgan Spurlock's latest documentary, COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN'S HOPE, gives us a glimpse of various aspects of this convention.

Comic-Con had a very humbled beginning starting in 1970 with only 175 attendees with the focus purely on comic books. Now, it's become more commercial encompassing pretty much anything and everything pop culture with over 125,000 in attendance. Spurlock does something for the first time in this movie; he stays behind the camera and lets his subjects and famous talking heads (Eli Roth, Joss Whedon, Seth Green, Stan Lee, Grant Morrison) tell their own stories. There are two comic artists looking for their big break; an old comic book dealer who is looking to sell a rare comic (Red Raven #1); a costumer wanting to win the Masquerade; and a boy looking to propose to his girlfriend during the Kevin Smith panel.

There's no guarantee that they'll achieve any of their goals or get noticed, but they go because they love what they do. The film was able to show me other parts of the convention I never knew about. Sure, I had heard of the insane lines to get into the panels where may sit through three different panels just to see the panel you want at 7pm. But two parts I did not know about were the Masquerade and portfolio reviews. The Masquerade gives show where you're able to Cosplay your favorite game/characters/movie/or whatever and have a chance to win awards. As for showing your drawing portfolios, you can sign up to show your portfolio to real artists working for comic book companies. It's a chance to network, get your work critiqued, and possibly land a job. Not too shabby. These were the most interesting points because it showed the lesser advertised parts of the convention.

There's no real groundbreaking storytelling within the film. Our main characters are fun to follow and all have their own endearing qualities. The film touches on an interesting aspect about how the convention has strayed away from its original purpose of comics. It's become more of a "pop culture" con where you can buy a marvel comic in one room and go to a Dexter panel in the next. You can tell the comic dealer is agitated about this aspect and worries he won't make the money he thought he would; however, the point ends up being glossed over and never explored. Maybe Spurlock could make an Episode V?

Spurlock has added a another good notch to his lineup of popcorn documentaries. Even if you don't ever have an interest to go to Comic-Con, the film does a fantastic job of giving you an insight to the nerd culture where it's okay for a grown man to dress up in a Wonder Woman costume or pay $1,000 for a toy that you'll never open. Even though there may not be any deep revelations or groundbreaking film making going on, the film has an inescapable heart to it that was completely endearing and sucked me in.

COMIC-CON will show again Thursday, April 19th at 10pm at the Magnolia Dallas.

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