Morgan Spurlock is best known for making “infotainment” documentaries, where he is usually on camera as the subject, in addition to being the director (i.e. Super Size Me and last year’s The Greatest Movie Ever Sold). However, with his latest documentary about the San Diego Comic-Con, Spurlock is neither seen nor heard and he lets the geeks speak for themselves.
The film follows a number of individuals over the course of the 2010 edition of convention. These stories are accompanied by various talking head interviews, which consist of both random Comic-Con attendees, as well as various celebrity geeks, such as Joss Wheden, Eli Roth, Kevin Smith, and Stan Lee.
Each of the featured stories in the film focus on individuals who come to the convention for different reasons. There are a couple of guys, who view the convention as a networking event for aspiring artists and are there to show their portfolios to the various publishers. There’s another story that focuses on the cosplay element and features a group of people who are preparing to perform in the masquerade (with their VERY detailed costumes). Another guy in the film is a hardcore toy collector, whose only goal is to buy his most-wanted collectable before anyone else. Heck, there is even a touching love story thrown in.
The film also features an interesting history of the covention with the somewhat sad revelation that comics themselves have taken a backseat in recent years to all the high profile film panels and other pop culture events that dominate the convention. In fact, one of the central stories of the film focuses on one of the oldest comic dealers at the convention and their struggle to make a profit.
Overall, I can definitely say that Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is probably the best and most straight-forward documentary Morgan Spurlock has ever done. It also helps to show that geeks and nerds come in all different shapes and sizes and are not just weirdos that live in their parent’s basement (though I’m sure that there are plenty of those too).