Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope (2012)

comic-con-a-fans-hopeWell how about that? Someone finally gets it. Morgan Spurlock has become one of the most notable documentary directors of all time and thankfully with “Comic Con Episode 4” he chooses to spotlight an area of the world that garners a lot of attention and acclaim and yet rarely gets looked upon with much respect. It’s so easy to kick at fan boys in today’s pop culture storm because they’re simply the easiest targets around. But what Morgan Spurlock accomplishes with the help of Stan Lee and Joss Whedon, is depict fan boys in a light we rarely ever see: human. In the grand tradition of films like “Trekkies,” Spurlock spotlights the entire comic con experience from multiple angles to allow the general audience to explore that comic con as a whole is not just a simple gathering of fan boys across the world, but a testament to hard work and for some, a day that decides the rest of their lives.

From the owner of Mile High Comics trying to survive the fading popularity of the comic book, to the Mass Effect fan girl creating her own show for a masquerade ball, to two comic book artists trying to break in to the business, every single story in “Comic Con Episode 4” depicts comic book fans in a positive and truly human light that shows us that they’re all respectable and dignified human beings with souls and passions that we have no right to chastise at the end of the day. Like a sports event, Comic Con is the epicenter of the pop culture world where people can gather to share a common interest and Spurlock covers all grounds of the event. There are celebrity interviews and anecdotes about wild experiences, there are various sub-plots that will genuinely suck you in, and there are even truthful depictions of the economical impact on the event.

Like every convention out there, Comic Con has become not just a place for comic books but for pop culture as a whole. And Spurlock thankfully takes the time to explore how that has hurt the comic book industry as well as helped it. While the San Diego Comic Con has gotten recognition and respect as a place to sell films and properties, the true comic book fans are by and large nowhere to be found leaving comic book dealers out in the cold left to cut their losses and figure out new ways to attract business from people who have never picked up a comic book in their lives. With the bad comes the good though as Spurlock thankfully never clubs us over the head with the negative aspects of the con, showing what a party it can be and how much it means to people.

Even a small sub-plot involving an action figure collector trying to acquire a special collectible Galactus figure will suck audiences in to his dilemma. Spurlock never depicts the individuals here as comical or buffoonish and instead allows them time to convey to the camera their passions and how it defines them at the end of the day. One subject has a prominent military career but will stop at nothing to be a comic book artist, while another bases her entire life on fifteen minutes on stage at the comic con which will give her the encouragement for her hobby that she needs to turn it in to a career of her very own. “Comic Con Episode 4” is very light and easy to sit through. It doesn’t try to change the world, nor does it club us over the head with heavy themes of politics and war. It’s merely about the passion that Comic Con influences and how it’s changed the world for better and for worse.

All we want as fan boys and fan girls is to be depicted as humans with something that gives us purpose, and Morgan Spurlock thankfully shows audiences that Comic Con isn’t about pathetic nerds living in their parents basements. It’s about people who share a passion and devotion to something that surpasses skin color, religion, and gender. This is the documentary about the biggest pop culture event of the world that fans have been asking for for years. It shows that being a fanatic can be one of the most entertaining and fulfilling things in ones lives that love for something can defy racism, prejudice, and hatred. Spurlock makes us geeks proud.