Comic Book Men’s debut was on Sunday night, right after The Walking Dead (such a perfect lead in: to go from a hit TV show that was based on a comic book to a show that shows you what a typical comic book fan looks and thinks like. Well played AMC.) Going into this show, I had a love/hate relationship with Kevin Smith, the show’s executive producer and owner of the comic book store which the show would take place in, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash.
I was on the fence with this show going into Sunday night, mainly because it looks like a show about me and my nerdy friends discussing nerdy stuff like comic books, video games, etc. Why the hell would I want to watch that when I could easily experience it for myself at the infamous Casa de Lopez, my friend’s house where I spent many a night playing Madden, watching movies, playing Magic the Gathering, amongst other nerdy activities? (shakes head in shame)
Comic Book Men is a reality show about the daily happenings of the workers of Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey. They are Walter, Bryan, Mike, and Ming, with the owner, Mr. Smith, making a few cameo appearances. Walt Flannagan and Bryan Johnson are Kevin Smith regulars who have appeared in most of his films from Clerks to Mallrats to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Walt is the manager of the shop while Mike and Ming are his underlings. Bryan, with the super long beard, is not an employee, but he is a regular at the shop that does everything in his power to piss off Walt, Mike, and Ming.
In last night’s debut episode, there are three story lines that are happening simultaneously: the shop has way too much inventory so Walt decides to send the guys to a local flea market to liquidate the items at a massive discounted price, with the winner getting two straight weekends off in a row. (as an employee in sales and worse, in retail, I’m used to hearing about these little bullshit contests to get weekends off, so I feel their pain)
The other storyline, which looks like it will be a regular part of the story of each episode going forward, is that people bring in valuable toys, comic books, posters, etc. to sell to the shop, a la Pawn Stars (one of my most hated reality shows on cable television).
The third storyline, which I like the best, is the four guys and Kevin Smith are in a recording studio talking about everything in the show that just happened in each segment. It’s like they are providing a commentary track for each scene, and if you haven’t heard a commentary track from Kevin Smith, you have not lived. (The two best commentary tracks he has ever done were Chasing Amy and Mallrats. Why? Both tracks had Ben Affleck in it and he was on his A game) I’ve always loved Kevin Smith’s Evening With series where he just talks for three straight hours because Mr. Smith is a genuinely funny guy who has a million stories about everything, so it’s nice to see him talk comics with the guys.
I loved the chemistry between all of the guys. It was very fluid, not forced, and you can tell they’ve been working together for a long time building strong rapport, discussing everything from pop culture to comics to video games.
I also loved the comic book references throughout the show. The first two minutes has Walt, Bryan, and Mike discussing how Batman and Robin’s first meeting was a little on the pedophiliac side. Brilliant. These are the kind of conversations me and my friends have all the time about comic book characters.
The one thing I am on the fence about was the Pawn Stars like idea of bringing in a collectible and trying to sell it. I do like the stuff people are bring in to show Walt and the guys, such as an Australian Dawn of the Dead poster, a replica Chucky doll, original art drawn by Bob Kane, and a really cool Jack Kirby Thor poster.
I just don’t like the concept from Pawn Stars, mainly because I’m not a fan of reality shows like Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn, Parking Wars, Storage Wars, Shipping Wars, etc. I’m sure I can look past this concept of the show as long as Kevin Smith and the guys are providing their witty banter on pop culture.
Overall, solid debut episode. The show caters to geeks and nerds through the references and the show’s premise. As a lifelong fan of comic books, I appreciate hearing the Batman, Star Wars, and horror references. What other show can offer humor and make all of these references all packaged up and wrapped in a nice little bow? None. AMC has another great hit on their hands and I’ll certainly be tuning in every Sunday night to watch.
Until next time,
Matt De Luna, the Delunatic