Both in class and in many blog posts the topic surrounding Fandom is one that has been analyzed thus causing many to question the boundaries of obsession. I came across this really intriguing documentary that explores individuals who take on the persona of a Superhero in order to make a living in Hollywood. Confessions of a Superhero directed by Matthew Ogens showcases the fascinating profession of impersonators by focusing on the buskers who work along the Hollywood Walk of Fame dressed as iconic figures.
From Wonder Women to the Hulk these actors use the popularity and franchise of these characters as a way to generate an income by taking pictures with curious tourists in hopes for “tips” in return. This documentary is very relevant to the idea of Fandom because Ogen presents to the audience various perspectives on why someone would choose to transforms themselves into someone else in order to make a profit.
Ogens sheds light on several people working in this type of profession by providing them with an outlet to share their story and background, which illuminates to the viewer an interesting look inside the world of both impersonators and extreme fans. For purpose of this post I would highlight two individuals explored in the documentary who encompass completely different intentions behind choosing this profession.
Jennifer Wenger is an aspiring actress who left her small town in Tennessee, hoping to get a break in Holly Wood. Although she was a recognized cheerleader and homecoming Queen she talks about her experiences in high school and college as suffocating, which eventually resulted in her move to L.A. She takes on the persona of Wonder Women solely to survive as she pursues any other type of acting endeavors that will aid her in landing a role on television or in movies. Through out the documentary we see her more as herself than as Wonder Women, and it is pretty clear that she has not taken on the character as an alternative personality but only as a way to make money.
On the other hand Christopher Dennis who is also an aspiring actor has a much deeper connection with Clark Kent/Superman, from replicating the exact curl in his bang to the excessive merchandise he has collected over the years. Not only does he have an uncanny resemblance to Christopher Reeves but obtains a copula of knowledge regarding everything Superman yet it doesn’t end there. He owns everything you could imagine that has the Superman brand attached to it, bed spreads, action figures, collectors cards, life size cardboard cutouts, movie soundtracks on vinyl all of which is taking over his living space. Like on an episode of Hoarders everywhere you turn is more stuff only these belongings have a theme, and according to Chris been an accumulation of 90,000 dollars worth of spending. Although clearly his first love is Superman he also has a girlfriend who is actually a P.H.D Student in Psychology who admires Chris’s extreme passion for the Superhero.
Each person’s story reflects their relationship with the superhero character they choose to portray and ultimately adds a human condition to both the profession and the love for comic books personalities. I think this documentary answers a lot of questions regarding the types of Fandom out there and whether or not it can be harmful or helpful.
Its absolutely worth checking out and for all those who have NETFLIX its only a click away so in between exams take a break and escape into the fantasy of Superhero impersonators. Or for those who have seen it let me know what your thoughts are and if you feel its a valid representation of the consequences of Fandom?