Comic Con: The Documentary


3 of 5 stars
What’s this?

I’m in San Francisco today, where I gave a talk at the super-fun TYPO Talks San Francisco yesterday. Alas, I have to get on a plane in a few hours, so I’ll miss the conference’s second day, which makes me sad because it looks terrific.

Anyway, for the plane ride back I just downloaded a rental of documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s latest: the awkardly but I guess appropriately named “Comic Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.” Spurlock tracks five super-dedicated fans as they make their annual pilgrimage to the immense Comic Con festival in San Diego.

Geek subject matter aside, what’s notable about the release of this movie is that it’s being made available online on the same day and date as it’s being released to theaters. It’s certainly not the first film to try this approach, but to me it seems like the first film for which such a forward-thinking release strategy makes perfect sense. This is a independent movie with limited theatrical distribution, but it has the kind of built-in audience that is geographically distributed but nontrivial. So if you’re in one of the bigger markets that can support theatrical releases you can see it at your local movie house starting today. But for geeks in smaller markets, having same day availability via online services is obviously a huge plus; like Comic Con itself, it pulls together a meaningful, focused audience out of a widely dispersed subculture.

Find out more about the movie, including where you can see it and/or rent it, “at its official site” For added color, you can also read about my one and only visit to Comic Con in 2006 too.