The San Diego Comic-Con is one of the largest pop culture gatherings that any one person can experience. For four days, the sunny city of San Diego is populated by Spider-Man fans, Doctor Who followers, Cosplayers, and everything else geek. But there are some elements not known to those who attend the Con with one goal in mind. There are the comic book buyers, the costumers, the collectors, the job seekers, and many more. These are the people who go under the radar of the general spectators, and in Morgan Spurlock’s newest documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, the day in the life of those who you might not notice are documented. Hit the jump to read more.
As aforementioned, Spurlock’s newest documentary, which opens tomorrow in select theaters, takes a look at those who have a passion for other things that happen outside places like Hall H or the main grounds.
What Superhero Powers Do You Count On?
Spurlock: Well I do have this mustache. I do have the power of mustache; I get mustache power, whenever I need it. And luckily I had the power of 149 other people making this movie. We had the biggest crew I have ever worked with in my life making a movie. It was massive, a huge camera department, audio department, at any given time we had as many as 25 – 27 cameras shooting at once to capture the whole comic con and all its glory, but it was it was a massive undertaking, but I had great people and a great cast. We had amazing stories like Holly, Jay and Sey Yung, Skip and Eric, so it was good.
And you had god on your side, Stan Lee.
That’s right, the god of Comic Con was watching over us.
Discuss the commercialization of comic con and the issue of the purists versus the other non comic book specific participants.
Yeah I think people love to say it’s not what it used to be; comic con is not what it used to be with vendors. My very first comic con that I ever went to, and it wasn’t even in San Diego, it was a comic book convention when I was 11 – 12 years old in Charleston, West Virgina where I grew up, it was at a ballroom in a hotel, and there were comics vendors that were selling comic books and there guys selling all toys and tie ins from those comic books that already existed, all the lunch boxes (because lunch boxes were still a big deal), and there were people doing autographs. Like the guy who played C3PO was signing autographs. Already then it was already bigger than somebody selling you a comic book. What’s happened is that things continued to blossom as these things become infinitely more popular. As it comes to reading comics, I read more comics now, then I did I was a kid. I buy more comics now then I ever did as a kid. I don’t buy physical paper comics, I download everything straight to my iPad now, which I think ease of use has made consumption of comics easier to a greater audience, so I don’t buy into the idea that its destroying or changing the comic book industry, I think maybe people aren’t buying old paper comics any more, but I think that this commercialization has only helped the industry, because it has helped it become so immensely popular. Good luck turning on the TV in July and not seeing a story about comic con in Omaha Nebraska. That’s how popular this has become and it literally is this triumph of geek culture in that everybody is a geek now, and everybody can proudly say it and you can go out side and you can wear your decoder rings and put on your Spock ears and you can wear your hobbit feet to work and say listen this is who I am. And people are like “oh yeah he’s a geek, that’s kind of cool.” Obsession is no longer seen as a negative.
Would you say you have more going on now than you did in 2004?
Oh yeah, suddenly after Super Size Me Everyone started to return my phone calls. It becomes a very different world when people call you back. When people actually want to work with you, and with this film to have the luck to work with Stan Lee, Joss, Harry Knowles, it’s a dream come true.
What were you looking for in terms of themes in this documentary?
I think the key for us in the beginning, it was myself and my producing partner, we were at comic con making the Simpsons 20th Anniversary special for Fox, when we kind of said to Leo we should make a documentary. I met Stan and Stan said we should make a documentary, and I was like yes we should. So my producing partner and I were literally were discussing what the movie was about, who would be in it, and what would we do. And for he and I both, we realized to tell the story of comic con was to tell the story of fans. Comic con wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the fans, video game culture wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the fans, the movies that are so big and popular wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for them. So we wanted to root it in fan culture, who literally are the driving force of comic con. And the passion, who are these people, what do they do. So whether you are a comic book vendor for the last 30 years, or somebody who makes a costume to go and compete in the contest, or you taking it and your ego on the tables infront of the people of Marvel or Dark Horse. We wanted to make sure it was rooted in those stories and show it to people who didn’t get to see or have access to. The collectors like Anthony Collderan who drove six hours just to get his Galatcus figure at the only place you can buy it at comic con. That type of passion is incredible so for us we wanted to root it in them first with the off shoot being the kind of people you expect to see at a comic cin like a Kevin Smith, Seth Green, or Seth Rogen.
How did you find the people in the documentary?
We had a massive casting call. We sent it through and posted signs in comic book shops. We had mailing through other cons. Comic con helped us with mailings through them. Ain’t it cool news. Harry put it on his website. We basically got 2000 submissions from around the world. First they sent us paper submissions. then we widdled them down, and asked if they could send us videos. THen those people sent us videos. Then from those we widdled them down. Holly was basically the first video we got and said yes this is a story we want to tell because of the imagery of her in her garage with her friends making this costume, telling her story of how this is all she wanted to do. To her the video game culture the fans of Mass Effect, this is the Star Wars of her generation, these are where her stories come from. There is so much I related to with her story.
You want to hear more? Click on the player below to hear the entire interview, which includes what kind of superhero movie he would like to make.