Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's HopeBy Morgan Spurlock featuring photgraphy by Alba Tull
The annual San Diego Comic-Con is something I've always appreciated from afar. A so-called “nerd Mecca,” I'd no doubt be right at home in the masses teeming with like-minded geeks and costumed fans. But, for whatever reason, I can't bring myself to pull the trigger and just go
to the dang thing. Maybe it's the huge crowds, or the fact that I'm sure my iPhone would work about as well as it did on New Year's Eve (read: terribly) in that Faraday cage of competing signals and sweating humanity. Instead I'm content partaking in my favorite aspect of the nerd culture, toy collecting, via the internet. You see, each year toy makers offer neato exclusives to attendees of the SDCC and typically make available online whatever is left over after the convention.
In 2010, the SDCC exclusives I bought included a talking Peter Venkman doll from the 1980s cartoon “The Real Ghostbusters” and updated version of Sgt. Slaughter of G.I. Joe fame. That same year also found something you might not expect at the convention: somewhat-controversial (and Oscar-nominated) documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. Best known for inflammatory films on the perils of fast food or, ahem
, commercialism, Spurlock probably wouldn't turn up on many people's lists as possible authors of a coffee table book entitled “Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope.” After all, what is Comic-Con but a celebration of consumerism?
For his part, Spurlock doesn't come across as Spurlock-y as one might expect. He leaves his confrontational snark at the door and instead celebrates fandom. The book is filled with handsome portraits by photographer Alba Tull of both geek celebrities, like Stan Lee, Nathan Fillion, and Seth Green, and costumed fans, like a dumpy Green Lantern, guys in super-detailed Stormtrooper armor, and the requisite hot girl sporting the “slave” Princess Leia metal bikini costume from “Return of the Jedi.” While it's mostly a visual feast, the book does feature tiny, fan-friendly snippets on different aspects of SDCC from the artists and creators in attendance, such as Matt Groening, Paul Dini, and Frank Miller.
While the book doesn't quite deliver on the cover's promise of being an all-access look at the world's largest pop-culture event (what, no behind the scenes info into the planning stages? No photos of the aftermath?), the book does offer a breezy parade through the basics of the Convention and whets the appetite for Spurlock's upcoming documentary film on the subject.
Purchase your copy here.