Monday, March 5, 2012

Comic Book Men

I write only to declare that I may have quite possibly discovered geek nirvana on television. It's been quite some time since I have been able to say that about TV. I don't normally write about something current.

After three consecutive weeks of The Walking Dead followed by Kevin Smith's New Jersey-based Comic Book Men I'm here to confirm you are missing out if you aren't watching.

The Walking Dead is just plain gripping stuff as end of the world apocalyptic drama goes. My son would like to see them take the show back to the city, but even with the second season's location focus on the farm in the country, it is still quite riveting in its ferocious intimacy and look at human behavior. Again, like the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, and much of today's programming, it's pretty much all doom and gloom. Characters are generally jaded and damaged and finding truly heroic or noble leaders in today's world is essentially non-existent.

When The Walking Dead ended I just happened to keep the television on for Comic Book Men. That show has gradually become appointment television. Of course, I don't need an appointment because it's on at 10:00 pm and I'm normally about to pass out, so I am there! Comic Book Men is Pawn Stars, Antiques Roadshow and even Hoarders for the comic book and collectible set and is uproariously funny [in a laughing inside myself sort-of-way].

Smith and friends are as likable and as odd an assortment of regular guys as they come as each episode charts their antics and relationships around Jay And Silent Bob's Secret Stash, a comic store owned by Kevin Smith. You can't help but love these guys. You don't have to love comic books to love this show either. Heck, I'm not an antique collector but I love American Pickers and the like. Ilk of this sort is always appealing. They are infinitely entertaining shows and who doesn't love seeing real people discuss the things they hold dear to them. Comic Book Men just happens to nail it for me personally. It lightens the mood following The Walking Dead as the perfect antidote to those zombies taking us back in time when heroes were colorful and collectibles were vibrant, good-natured and fun.

A vast array of people from all walks visit their comic shop trying to hock their wares and barter away goods from mended Godzilla memorabilia to original John Buscema Silver Surfer art - purchased by manager Walt Flanagan for $9,200 if I'm not mistaken. One man visited with a live re-creation of the original 1960s Batmobile and the boys went for a little ride. One girl made a deal for Giant-Sized X-Men #1 and the first two appearances of Wolverine in The Incredible Hulk. three books for $1,600. That's my kind of girl. Another gentlemen carried a box of comic classics around worth several million putting the box in his backseat like it was a winter snowbrush. The guys dress up and come up with marketing plans. It has to be tough being a comic book shop in 2012.

Anyway, this is delicious stuff. Haven't we all been there? Don't we all have our favorite hobbies which makes these kinds of shows so relatable? Don't we go absolutely crazy insane for the things we have to have as collectors. I remember one friend saying, "I don't know if people have money to burn or are just plain insane!" It's so true. I know I adore time in the Fancave myself when I have the chance.

Well, more than any show, Comic Book Men answers the call. It is the dessert that follows the heavy meal that is The Walking Dead. It's a brilliant little show and it's about bloody time. At just six episodes I pray they bring it back to AMC for another round. We thank you. Please don't let us down. We need regular heroes like you now more than ever.


J.D. said...

I watch and enjoy COMIC BOOK MEN as well but my complaint with the show is that sometimes the personalities of the clerks in the show can be incredibly grating, esp. Bryan who's sole purpose seems to be giving Ming a hard time. In the last ep. all of them were particularly hard on the guy. Sure, he does make some boneheaded decisions at time but some of the humor borders on downright mean-spirited at times. Fortunately, there is plenty of screen time given to all the great memorabilia that comes through the store's doors! That SILVER SURFER artwork was incredible! I particularly enjoyed the ep. where Jason Mewes returned to the store and they played hockey. I also like it whenever Rob Bruce makes an appearance. Man, that guy really knows his stuff!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I agree. There is clearly a little pecking order there and they are a bit harsh on screen to Ming. I keep it in perspective thinking, while it seems a little harsh, they do all like each other and it's part of their comraderie and schtick.

Wasn't that Silver Surfer artwork something? Wow. Just beautiful.

The hockey stuff was freakin hilarious.

Anyway, glad you're wathcing it too. It's so good!

Jonny Metro said...

Whole-heartedly agree with you. Although Comic Book Men isn't the greatest show I've ever seen, it still hits home for me so much that it is the one show I look forward to the most all week.

My glee even carries over to Monday mornings, as it has become my ritual to download the companion podcast (The Secret Stash) from iTunes and listen to it while I imbibe my first cup of coffee.

By the way, Mike Zapcic (who doesn't get nearly enough screen time, in my opinion) and Ming Chen host their own, separate, weekly podcast entitled "I Sell Comics", which helps me get my fill throughout the week.


The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Ha. Yes, and I don't mean to suggest it's the greatest show ever, but for what it is, the type of show it is, it's a blast.

It's a bit like the comic book documentary you always wanted to make yourself.

I'm going to have to check out that podcast.

It's certainly an innfinitely likable group, although as J.D. mentioned, they do have their curmudgeony and cringe-worthy not-nice moments, but all in all, I like that their real people with a love for all the things that I love and that they celebrate that unabashedly. Fantastic.

Oh and Johnny, great with coffee! Too right!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Another outstanding entry tonight....3/11...but if that gay superman painting was a fraud.... What about buying that replica batman cowl for 600....what if it was a fake... Big fan of the old series too by the way.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Loved the george Perez avengers lithograph...good purchase...very cool