For some, it is Valhalla; for others, it is a seething, roiling, chaotic pit of humanity. For many, I suspect, it’s a phenomenon just slightly more indecipherable than Naked Lunch. It is San Diego Comic-Con, and documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, with the help of Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, and aintitcool’s Harry Knowles, has endeavored to crack the code in COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE. Rallying a massive production unit and focusing in on a handful of attendees that include a couple of aspiring artists, a costumer seeking to catch attention with her ambitious creations, and an old-school vendor wondering whether there are any comics left at the con — plus celebrity interviews from the likes of Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, and Seth Rogen — Spurlock cuts through the myths of obsessive behavior, social awkwardness and bad hygiene (although there’s plenty of that, as well) to create a more human portrait of the people who have found pleasure and fulfillment in the worlds of genre media, and the event where they can let their geek flags fly.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Spurlock.
Congrats to Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News! He’s revealed that he’ll be running Famous Monsters.com for new owner Philip Kim. Knowles has been a devotee of the late Forrest J Ackerman, long-time genre fan, literary agent, and Editor of the original Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, the seminal Horror/Science Fiction publication. Aimed at youngsters, that magazine paved the way for all the genre magazines that came in its wake. You either tried to be like FM or proved you were different than Famous Monsters to make your mark.
What does the AICN guru have in mind for FM?
The types of articles will be different from what you see at AICN… And tonally different from most of what you see in the Horror Blog world. For one, FAMOUS MONSTERS wasn’t just about Horror. I’ve also been talking with a great deal of filmmakers and effects professionals about bringing you some very special content like only FAMOUS MONSTERS should bring us.
What you’ll see is a lot of PASSION for the classics, the faces and names behind the scenes that too often are ignored by a media that is fixated upon Big Stars & Big Directors and don’t celebrate the myriad of artists that contribute to the kind of work that made us geek out to that magazine. FAMOUS MONSTERS taught us to know the names of folks like Lon Chaney Sr, Jack Pierce, Paul Blaisdell, Bob Burns, Rick Baker, Stan Winston, Rob Bottin & on and on. We’ll look back at those and many more even as we focus to find the new creators of Famous Monsters – be they practical, digital or some unique form that I can barely understand.
And that sounds to me like he’s got a good grasp on the Famous Monsters tradition. Best of Luck!