Morgan Spurlock, the documentarian best known for Supersize Me, turns his eye to the weird and wonderful world of San Diego Comic-Con in his latest film, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, which offers an intimate look at some of the people who attend the con as fans and professionals.
You’ll meet a toy collector hell-bent on getting a Comic-Con exclusive, a costume designer hoping to win the con’s masquerade, two artists hoping to break into the comics industry, and a comics seller trying to find a buyer for a $500,000 comic.
The film is peppered with commentary from Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, and other pros in the business. And while there’s no typical nuts-and-bolts documentary factoids, you won’t miss them; the stories here are that compelling. Spurlock recently took a few minutes to catch up with Men's Fitness.
Did you set out to find these people and stories or did you unearth them while you were doing research?
Morgan Spurlock: When we first got the idea for the film, we wanted to make sure that we were following people that would tell a deeper story. When we were doing research for the film, I didn’t know that Comic-Con doubled as a geek job fair—that people go there with their portfolios to break into comic books, that people compete in the masquerade to break into Hollywood and the costume design business. I found that to be incredibly fascinating.
Did you go to a lot of cons growing up?
Yes. I was a big comic book fan. It was Stan Lee who got me into it. When I was a kid, my mom started buying me Spider-Man comics. It all kind of stemmed from him. But in West Virginia, where I grew up, comic book conventions were very, very small. When I moved to New York City, I went to the ones in New York and I’ve been to them in Chicago but I had never been to San Diego until we got hired to do the Simpsons special. The minute they called for us to make that I said, “We have to go to Comic-Con to find Simpsons super fans.” It was there that the idea for making this movie was hashed.
Have you heard that it’s the worst. Documentary. Ever?
Worst documentary ever? [Laughs.] For the Simpsons special, absolutely.
Is Spider-Man your favorite superhero?
No, it’s oddly not my favorite superhero. My favorite comic book as kid was Plastic Man. Plastic Man was probably one of the most uncool superheroes that you could like, but he was my favorite.