Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope’ Review – A Documentary For All
After attending Comic Con myself for about 4 years, I was not expecting Morgan Spurlock’s documentary about it, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, to surprise me.
Turns out I was wrong.
The documentary focuses on a few different subjects and their experience at Comic Con 2010. We have:
1) Holly Conrad, a self-taught costume and creature designer who is preparing her appearance at the masquerade with her group of friends.
2) Couple James Darling and Se Young Kang who met at Comic Con just a year prior to that. Here’s the twist, James is getting ready to ask Se Young to marry him at Comic Con and she has no idea.
3) Comic book dealer and Comic-Con veteran Chuck Rozanski, who is striving to reach the sales number he needs to keep his shop going.
4) Amateur illustrator Skip Harvey whose trip to Comic Con is a dream come true and a chance to become discovered.
5) Aspiring illustrator Eric Henson, who heads to Comic Con in the hopes of impressing publishers with his illustrations.
Each one of these people represents an aspect of Comic Con and the only familiar on to me was couple James Darling and Se Young Kang. And fun fact, these two might look familiar to those of you who attended Kevin Smith’s panel in 2010, because that’s where James proposed. And I was totally there, so it was really exciting to see the whole backstory on the proposal.
Of course my experience of Comic Con is also different from theirs because I cover the convention as Film Equals and our sister site TV Equals, but that just shows how huge Comic Con is and how much there is to explore.
For instance, I wasn’t even aware that illustrators could show off their work to industry professionals and possibly get work out of it, yet I have walked past that section never really getting what it was.
As for the masquerade that Holly takes part in, I had heard of it but never attended, although I might have to now because it looks kind of awesome.
Finally, while I didn’t recognize Chuck Rozanski, his store Mile High Comics is where I buy all my comic books when I’m at Comic Con, so it was kind of cool to find out more about his story.
And that’s just the five main people we follow. The documentary also shows us the world of collectors and what their experience is like at Comic Con especially when they are trying to get their hands on this one exclusive artifact. So fascinating.
As for the documentary format, I should mention that while he does do the voiceover, Morgan Spurlock doesn’t appear in the film (I personally was disappointed since I always enjoy watching him interact with people in his documentaries). But as he explained during the press day for the film, he didn’t want the film to be about him, but about the fan and I think he achieves that.
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is really a celebration of Comic Con and the extensive range of individuals you can find there. I particularly loved Spurlock’s intercutting of interviews from celebrities such as Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith with regular Comic Con attendees talking about the convention and what it means to them.
If you’ve been to Comic Con before, this really is a must-see because of how familiar and unfamiliar it will feel. Plus images of Comic Con might remind you of all the exciting things you’ve seen and done there, I know it did for me. And if you’ve never been but have always been curious about it, this will give you some sort of idea of what the fuss is all about. In fact, I want to make my parents watch it so they finally understand where it is that I go every year in July.
Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope comes out to limited theaters today, April 6th and is also available on VOD (so there’s no reason for you not to see it).
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