'Comic-Con' leaves questions

Steve Tilley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:25 PM ET

There's a moment in Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope when diehard video game fangirl Holly Conrad compares her quest to create the perfect set of Mass Effect 2 costumes to that of the sci-fi saga's own doomed heroes: "It's a metaphorical suicide mission for my future," she states, perhaps aware how this must look to the outside world.

It's significant because it's one of the few times documentary director Morgan Spurlock, best known for Super Size Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, allows his subjects a bit of unvarnished self-analysis, peering beyond the gentle womb of the San Diego Comic-Con's annual convergence of pop culture fandom.

With its somewhat clumsy title meant as a wink to the Star Wars flicks, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope follows a set of individuals who have each traveled to San Diego's 2010 convention in search of something. Conrad wants to showcase her costuming skills at the con's masquerade; illustrators Eric Henson and Skip Harvey are looking to break into the comic book biz, young romantic James Darling wants to propose to his equally geeky girlfriend, Se Young Kang, during Kevin Smith's panel, and so on.

While Spurlock himself never appears on camera, his directorial star power gives him access to a dizzying who's-who of the geek elite, from The Avengers director Joss Whedon to Marvel Comics impresario Stan Lee. The events unfolding on the chaotic show floor are broken up by these intimate interviews.

A Fan's Hope is (appropriately) hopeful, likening the attendees whose stories it follows to comic book heroes seeking their own type of redemption.

But despite its star-studded lineup of directors, creators and other commentators, A Fan's Hope is light on the why and how of nerd culture's population explosion, and avoids any sort of acknowledgment that outside the safe confines of the San Diego Convention Centre's halls there are still people who think dressing up as video game aliens is kind of weird. It's as if the geeks have already inherited the earth.

 


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