Morgan Spurlock has crafted some of the best documentaries out there. His charm and attitude bring a light manner to his chosen topic, and Comic-Con is another successful venture into a territory that I’m very familiar with.
Following various groups of people through the Comic-Con experience, viewers get a peek at the insane madness that pushes so many of us self proclaimed geeks. It doesn’t exactly open a window to those with little interest or insight into geek culture, but the passion displayed by those involved can be identified with no matter what your personal passion is. The only thing negative I can say about this doc, is the fact that Spurlock stays out of the spotlight, allowing the people covered to tell their story.
Just about every major genre of geek is covered here. There’s Holly Conrad, a cosplayer and aspiring costume designer. She’s building a very extensive set of Mass Effect 2 costumes to take part in the masquerade. Chuck Rozanski is the owner of Mile High Comics, and a Comic-Con veteran. James Darling and Se Young Kang are a couple looking forward to a Kevin Smith panel, and James plans on proposing to Se Young during that panel. Finally, there’s Skip Harvey and Eric Henson, two aspiring comic artists taking their portfolios to the convention in the hopes of finding work in a field they love.
If that paragraph above left you lost trying to figure out what cosplay was, or what someone is doing at a panel, you may wonder what the point of watching is. This is one made for the geeks out there, but don’t be so quick to skip this doc. It may seem odd that someone would spend time building a costume based on a video game, but their passion is to find a job as a costume designer. It may seem like a non-traditional way to get there, but all of us can understand the passion to do what you love. It just happens to be that everyone in Comic-Con loves doing something many people consider nerdy.
Each different story manages to stir some strong emotions. Watching Chuck try to keep his business profitable is emotional. He wonders aloud with his friends about what has happened to a convention called Comic-Con that doesn’t really care about comics anymore. With a love for the business of comics, viewers can only hope that Chuck can cover his costs and continue to come back each year. Easily the most moving are the stories of Skip and Eric, the aspiring artists. Drawing comics is what they want to do, and they’re placing all of their hopes on showing their portfolio to the many artists at the convention. Although their stories may end in different places, each one will bring a tear to your eye as you watch them succeed or fail.
Throughout the doc, small scenes of famous artists, actors, and directors sharing their reasons for being geeks are presented. This doesn’t exactly explain what it is about geek culture that draws some in, but how can you really do that anyway? I’m sure there are plenty of reasons that people may give to explain their love of comics, action figures, anime, cosplay, or any other number of hobbies some may find geeky. In the end, it’s not really a love that you can explain. Why do geeks like me enjoy these things? Simply because we do. Comic-Con Episode IV isn’t going to convert someone into a comic book geek, and it certainly won’t help anybody understand the fascination geeks have with their favourite hobby. What it will show is that although we may be considered geeks for what we do, we are as passionate, dedicated, and motivated as anybody else out there. We’re just like you, except we sleep on Star Wars bedsheets.
Under the marquee – Will