“At the heart of Comic Con is a really cool comic book convention. You just need to be able to push through the rest of the con to get to it.” – Kevin Smith, Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.
Succeeding where other filmmakers have failed in securing permission to film at San Diego Comic Con, one gets the feeling that Spurlock’s inner geek-child from West Virginia just cannot believe his luck at bringing this cultural icon to the big screen.
Following the stories of five different people in the run-up to San Diego Comic Con 2010, Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope documents the hopes and ambitions of each one of the movie subjects as they travel to ‘Nerd Mecca’.
An extremely talented and passionate costume and creature designer who has been creating costumes in her garage to the ongoing curiosity of her neighbours, Holly hopes to win the big prize and be spotted by somebody in the industry.
Comic Con veteran and owner of Mile High Comics, this is Chuck’s 34th year at Comic Con. The long time comic book fan must give serious consideration to selling his treasured Raven comic book or risk closing his store due to mounting debts.
James Darling & Se Young Kang
James plans an elaborate proposal to his girlfriend Se Young Kang at the Kevin Smith Panel. Collecting the ring is proving to be something of a problem though as Se Young is adamant in her refusal to leave James’ side.
Skip, a longtime amateur illustrator yearns to be discovered at this year’s event. Born into a
household filled with comic books and a comic-loving family, he has spent his life honing his craft so that he may one day live the dream of officially becoming a part of the group of exclusive illustrators in the highly coveted comic-book world.
Eric is an aspiring illustrator currently in the US Air Force. Serving his country and caring for his family, he has yet to have the opportunity to completely pursue his humble passion for drawing. Coming to Comic-Con, he is hopeful to impress publishers with his illustrations and create a career out of his heartfelt passion.
In conversation with Curicon, Spurlock is hugely enthusiastic about the different personalities in the movie and how they have shaped the outcome of the finished product.
“We had about 2,000 people submit to be in the film so it was a long, arduous process of kind of just whittling them down. The very first person we cast in the movie was Holly Conrad (The Costume Designer) and when we got her tape and I watched and I saw what she was creating in her garage, it’s remarkable. These [people] just epitomised what I wanted the film to be about. I wanted it to be about people who are incredibly driven, who had a tremendous amount of passion, who weren’t just going to Comic Con to hang out and have a good time. I wanted people who were going there for real specific reasons and I think once we cast Holly she kind set the bar for everybody else that we wanted to cast around her.”
Despite his extensive experience in the film industry it’s evident that Spurlock is at heart a romantic and he’s inspired by the stories of others. His talent lies not alone in directing but in his ability to empathise with the lives and ambitions of the people in the film.
Take Chuck Rozanski for example, “Here’s a guy who’s been in the comic book business for years. It’s his heart, his soul. It’s everything he believes in and loves and will he be able to keep his business running? Will he be able to keep this brick and mortar business functioning? I think all of the characters are really likeable and we were really really lucky”.
“There’s something that I love about all the characters. As somebody who collects a lot of things I love the scene where Anthony is sprinting through the con to go get his 18” Galactis. I love that.”
“I love this idea of just putting yourself out there as a creative person. I love what Holly, Skip and Eric all do. They’re trying to find their way and break into this business. I can really relate to that and as somebody who believes in ‘Love’s Geek Love’ I love James Darling and Se Young. I love that they fell in love because of their shared passion for all of these geeky and nerdy things and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want? We just want to be loved for …loving the crazy shit we love. “
Many people have charged Comic Con with being nothing more than an ‘entertainment con’ these days, that it’s merely a marketplace for entertainment companies to sell their wares. Does he think that Comic Con is still a comic book convention or will the comic book element eventually be submerged by the digital arts?
He’s pragmatic in his response, “I think that the heart and soul of Comic Con is still comic books. You know, people like to say that Comic Con is dying, that it’s not about comic books any more. Well you know what? The world isn’t about books any more, period. People aren’t buying books, people aren’t buying physical books. I buy more comics now digitally than I ever bought as a kid. It’s even easier for me to go on Comixology and download them straight to my iPad and it’s awesome. I read them with my son. Some of them are even a little bit interactive, you know? It’s great what comics are becoming but at the heart of that are still writers and artists who are creating these pieces of art. And they are art and they are beautiful and they’re great stories.”
“I think what Grant Morrisson says in the film is great; ‘They are the best of us’, that’s what comics are. They tap into what makes humanity good and great and that’s what we all hope and strive for and I think that will never go away”.
Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is available on DVD from July 10 2012. The DVD will include the following special features: Behind-the-Scenes Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Talent Interviews and Trailer. Fans will also be able to purchase the DVD and Collector’s Editions at Comic-Con International in San Diego (July 12-15).
The two Collector’s Editions of the movie will contain the DVD alongside action figures of Stan Lee and Harry Knowles or Joss Whedon and Spurlock. This is the first time mega-director Whedon has been immortalized into action figure status. The Whedon/Spurlock edition will be sold exclusively at Toys ‘R’ Us. The Lee/Knowles combination can be found at select retailers and at online retailers.