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Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope (2011)

by on 2012/09/15

“Let’s dig into this love and get the money out.”

* * * *

Ok, I admit it.

I bought this documentary for the Joss Whedon HeroClix figurine that came shrink-wrapped with it.

There’s no time to talk at great geeky length about my reverence for Mr. Whedon here, I will simply refer you to my Cabin in the Woods review to expedite through the Comic-Con-sized line up of ideas in my brain.

With the figurine safely atop my fireplace mantle, I can begin.

Confession No. 2: this non-fiction account of a select group of fan boys and girls who attended the 2011 Comic-Con International in San Diego made me weep like a wee boy who has dropped his favourite comic book in the bathtub.

Yes, I shed geeky tears three times during the 88 minute run time and I don’t care who knows it.

I’ve been to exactly one comic book convention in my life. I went to the first-ever Ottawa Comiccon with Mr. Hacker Renders and my favourite teenager Miss_Tree, so I can’t claim long-standing geek cred here. But like my experience at Ottawa’s Comiccon, this documentary was a bit like coming home.

I guess I spent most of my early life reading used comic books (weighty works like Richie Rich, Scrooge McDuck and Mad Magazine). I was drawn to Star Trek, X-Men, Spider-Man and the Hulk. I have stacks of Buffy Season Eight, Angel and Spike graphic novels in my bedroom today.

Nonetheless, so far, comic conventions were something I managed to avoid. Crowds, I hate them.

But the crowds, and the individuals that create them, are all rather terribly, terribly lovely as I learned from this sympathetic and heart-warming Morgan  Spurlock (Super Size Me) film. There’s the aspiring costume designer, Hope, who lovingly recreates the characters from Mass Effect for the Comic-Con cosplay. She’s making a bet-it-all gamble, sinking all of her money and time into the project, in the nerve-racking days leading up to the convention.

There’s Skip, a bartender and aspiring comic book artist, who’s delightfully vulnerable, and I think rather talented. And there’s James who proposes to his adorably clingy girlfriend at a Kevin Smith panel. Sob. Finally, there’s Eric who gets confirmation of his talent in a underdog-makes-good climax worthy of a boxing movie. Sob.

Interspliced between these real slices of life, are  celebrity interviews about the sublimity of geekdom with Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Frank Miller, Kevin Smith, Matt Groening, Seth Rogen, Seth Green, Eli Roth and Harry Knowles.

It is cool on a plate.

So, in sum, come for the Joss Whedon action figure, stay for the awesome documentary.

* * * *

88 minutes

Rated Rated PG-13 for some sex and drug references, language, brief horror images and some of the longest lineups I’ve seen since May of this year at Comiccon in Ottawa

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