Well, of course you think you wish you were at San Diego Comic-Con this week. Surrounded by some of the biggest name in popular culture, some of the most passionate fans on the planet and right in the center of everything as it happens (while also being in Southern California, in a sunny yet not-too-hot low 70s all week). Does it get better than that?
Well, it depends on whether you’ve actually thought about the reality of being inside a convention center with 130,000 other people, or having that constant, nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you’re probably missing out on some exciting news that everyone back home can see online the minute it breaks. Maybe it’s less stressful to stay at home and read along online. To help with the feeling that you’re kinda, sorta there, here are ten Netflix picks to make you feel like all is comic books.
CHASING AMY (1997)
What is life as a comic book freelancer like? This almost-documentary-like movie gives you a realistic look behind the cur — Okay, it’s a Kevin Smith movie, so maybe not, but the scenes set at the comic convention have a surreal ring of truth to them nonetheless. Just imagine that, but far, far busier.
COMIC BOOK: THE MOVIE (2004)
Mark Hamill affectionately bites the hand that feeds him with this mockumentary in which he plays a fan upset about plans for a movie starring his favorite superhero, with guest appearances by all manner of familiar faces including Stan Lee, Kevin Smith and the Hef himself.
COMIC STORE HEROES (2012)
While there hasn’t been a documentary made about the poor, brave souls who work the floor at San Diego Comic-Con yet — but surely it’s only a matter of time — there is this, a series that glimpses behind the scenes at Midtown Comics, one of the largest stores in the U.S. How nerdy can a series about store management at a comic book store get? Oh, you have no idea.
Before geek culture took over the world, Star Trek fans were considered an unusual oddity for their unending devotion to the space opera franchise. This documentary was made right on the cusp of the nerding of pop culture, and reflects a more innocent, albeit more judgmental, time.
TREK NATION (2011)
On the other end of the spectrum is this documentary from 12 years later, when Star Trek had undergone some time in the wilderness — thanks, Scott Bakula — and a big screen reboot. Compared with the earlier documentary, it’s an education in how fandom had changed over the course of the decade.
NBC’s spy comedy drama was, in many ways, the Comic-Con attendee’s dream: Not only did Chuck Bartowski have all the right posters up on his wall (Remember when Tron was retro-cool, not something that reminds us of Tron: Legacy?), but he managed to become the hero of his own story and get the girl. This weekend, literally tens of thousands of people in the San Diego Convention Center will be wishing the same could happen to them.
THE IT CROWD (2006)
By comparison, the British sitcom about a group of tech support specialists at a massive corporation is perhaps more representative of the real Comic-Con attendees: sarcastic, anti-social and given to moments of manic genius that will forever go unrecognized by the wider world.
KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM (2012)
Much like Chuck, this movie takes the real life nerditry and makes it real — or, at least, as real as a fictional story can make something. A magic book used by cosplayers in a Live Action Role Play turns out to be filled with real magic, causing all manner of trouble for a cast that includes Danny Pudi, Summer Glau and Brian Posehn, nerd favorites all.
MARVEL & ESPN FILMS PRESENT: 1 OF 1 GENESIS (2014)
As if to put paid to the dreams of a million fanboys and girls stoked by Chuck and Knights, this Disney-synergistic cross-production compares today’s leading sports figures with superheroes and still finds them wanting. How can we mere mortals compare with that…? (Spoiler: we really, really can’t.)
THE WALKING DEAD (2010)
AMC’s version of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s zombie comic has won itself many fans with its evocation of hopelessly fighting to survive in a landscape that’s trying to eat you alive (literally) — an experience that’s not a million miles away from being at Comic-Con. Just binge this show and it’ll be just like being there.