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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Special Movie Review: Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope

This week is THE biggest annual comic book convention of all time: San Diego Comic-Con International 2012, and unfortunately...I won't be there! Comic-Con is like nerd Mecca and once a year, fans from all over the globe come and revel in all things comic books, movies, video games, anime, costumes, everything! We here in Texas have some pretty impressive conventions of our own like Dallas Comic-Con, but NOTHING compares to SDCC! Many fans like me dream of going Comic-Con, but whatever lack of funds or determination prevents you from going, fear not! Fortunately a group of geeks, nerds and filmmakers got together to make a documentary of epic proportions about...you guessed it: Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope! For anyone who has never been to a comic convention of any kind, you may be in for a shock. For those of us (like myself) who are regular attendees of conventions like this, get ready for an in-depth look at THE biggest convention in the world. Director Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me (2004)) with producers and fellow geeks: Jeremy Chilnick, Matthew Galkin, Thomas Tull (The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises)and Harry Knowles (Ain't It Cool News), present us with the definitive look at the biggest yearly pop-culture event. The executive producers of the film include Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Harry Knowles and Gill Champion, so you know it's going to be great!
L to R: Champion, Lee, Knowles, Whedon, Spurlock
The film focuses on the experiences of five individual attendees during San Diego Comic-Con 2010, which includes aspiring artists, costumers, dealers and love-struck fans. The film also features interviews from some of the most important and influential figures in comics and pop-culture like Joss Whedon, Frank Miller, Kevin Smith, Matt Groening, Seth Rogen, Eli Roth and of course Stan Lee! The film was released earlier this year in April to select theaters and is currently available on Pay Per View, On Demand, YouTube, iTunes and is now available on DVD. This is not the first film to give audiences a look into the world of Comic-Con. Back in 2004, Mark Hamill (Star Wars) directed and starred in Comic Book: The Movie. While that film was more of a mockumentary with Mark Hamill playing a devoted comic book fan named Donald Swan, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope is more like a reality show featuring the real-life experiences of these five people.
As you follow their stories, you start to feel for them and empathize with all their hard work, especially with Skip, the struggling artist trying to make it into comics who is repeatedly rejected. The most revealing of the stories is with Chuck Rozanski, the owner of Mile High Comics, the largest comic book dealer in the U.S., who gives us a very eye-opening view of the future trends of Comic-Con: "Even though they have comic in the name of the event, very little of the convention anymore is actually comics." While it's true that Comic-Con was originally about comic books, the convention has become the biggest venue for any and all pop-culture properties and merchandise including blockbuster movies, video games, anime, toys and collectibles.
Costuming and cosplay is also a big part of Comic-Con and the story of the designer, Holly is very interesting as her team creates very unique and impressive costumes from the Mass Effect video game. Some of the craziest moments in the documentary come from following one particular rabid collector who makes a mad-dash for the Hasbro booth to get a hold of the exclusive collectibles such as a rare 18" Galactus figure.
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope is a highly entertaining and revealing hour and a half for any fan who's ever been to comic convention. Even if you're not a fan of comics or conventions, this is an interesting look into a world that you may have scoffed at before. Yes, I relate to the people in this film, we are all nerds, geeks, collectors, fanboys alike and it's hard to argue with the hundreds of thousands of attendees that sell-out this convention every year. These fans are the ones who buy movie tickets, video games, toys, collectibles, and even in an economic recession, Comic-Con still thrives and grows. After seeing this documentary, it only makes me want to go to SDCC even more, however, the usual restrictions keep coming up every year such as airfare, hotels, and of course money, that prevents me from attending. Hopefully, I will get to go someday, like a devout pilgrim making the journey to the holy land. When I make it to Comic-Con, I will get down on my knees and thank the comic gods that I have come home! Maybe I'll see you next year at SDCC 2013?