Like many geeks outside of the US (and possibly for some right next door to it) Comic Con is a distant dream, each year it rolls around and each year I have no ticket. This has been going on for longer than I’d like so when I saw the trailer for a documentary on Comic Con called Comic Con: Episode IV - A Fan’s Hope, I knew I’d have to see it. It opened here in Toronto this weekend and after a botched screening a few weeks ago of Cabin In The Woods, I’d acquired a complimentary ticket to see anything I wanted. It was a no brainer what I’d pick.
From start to finish I was grinning like a god damn idiot at the screen. The documentary follows a set of people leading up to the covention and their time during it. These people include aspiring illustrators “The Geek” and “The Soldier” who attend Comic Con to get their art critiqued in hope of getting work, another follows “The Survivor”, Chuck Rozanski, a man who owns Mile High Comics who are feeling the effects of the recession, “The Designer” a woman who makes costumes from the game Mass Effect to re-enact at the convention, “The Collector” a man who goes specifically to buy packaged toys and “The Lovers” a young couple who met at the convention the previous year. This is all inter spliced with short interviews with living geek legends including Frank Miller, Eli Roth, Seth Green, Edgar Wright, Joss Whedon and Robert Kirkman to name just a few, each expressing their love and experiences at the convention. The documentary itself is directed by Morgan Spurlock and produced by Stan Lee, Harry Knowles and Joss Whedon. It’s just brimful of geekiness.
If you’ve been to any of the Comic Conventions in San Diego I’m sure this documentary will bring back all sorts of memories, for people like me it’s an insight into a hidden world of treasures. It isn’t so much a documentary as a snap shot of what the festival is. There is a little bit of history on how it began but not too much, it follows these central characters who all have their own missions which really emphasises how the convention has grown from simply just being for comics. This highlights the change in current trends and the worries this brings for comic dealers, outlined in Chuck Rozanski’s portion of the film. The convention is so big now, it is not merely for those who love comics but for the film nerds, the gamer nerds, the design nerds, cosplay nerds…I could go on. It’s great that it reaches so many people now but to see the struggling comic world that inspired it is very sad to see on screen. One of the greatest accomplishments of this documentary is the heart warming stories it has managed to find for us, each one is incredibly interesting in its own way.
I really, really enjoyed A Fan’s Hope and anyone who has any kind of obsession with comics, games, movies…or just anything would appreciate it. As the film drew to an end all I could think was, “No don’t end! I want to see more!” But I don’t think I will be satisfied until I’m actually there myself. So really, the only bad thing to come out of it is that, if you thought you wanted to go to Comic Con prior to watching this movie, prepare yourself for how you’ll feel after.
I may not be able to go this year…but next year…next year will be my year.