TV Review – Comic Book Men – Zombies

AMC’s new unscripted one hour series, Comic Book Men, dives deep into fanboy culture by following the antics in and around master fanboy Kevin Smith’s New Jersey comic shop, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash.

Year: 2012

Starring: Kevin Smith, Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Ming Chen, David Zapcic & Jason Mewes

Network: AMC

I think maybe we’ve run our course with this one.

I’ll maintain what I’ve been saying for the past couple of weeks: this isn’t a bad show; it just sort of exists. It tickles the funny bone a little; appeals to the inner geek a little – but it hardly has any deep essence that makes it sustainable. I’ll hang in there until episode 6, but I don’t have the interest in collecting necessary to sustain much interest.

And let me amplify that which may well be the dividing factor between those who may or may not get something out of Comic Book Men: This is a show for collectors. Hell, everyone’s into superheroes these days – it’s more uncommon to find people who have zero interest in the genre. But this show isn’t creating a broad appeal to people who are a bit fond of guys and girls in tight tights with immense cleavage. This show is for hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool, lacking-in-self-control collectors. It is a collector who will be interested in seeing a young couple part with $1600 (US) for three (count ’em) single comics; it is a collector who will be interested in the going price for a 1991 Godzilla toy; it is a collector who will want to know the approximate value of that box of titles that they hope will fund them through college/filmmaking/binge drinking one day.

The gang meet their customers this week with the usual mixture of camaraderie and arrogance – they have interests in common with these people, but working in the store gives them some manner of seniority. Except in Bryan Johnson’s case, where not working in the store where he seems to spend every waking moment gives him the right to mock every single human that shares the same breathing space… except for Kevin Smith. Actually, the (comparatively) quiet spoken Mike Zapcic kind of shines in this episode as a genuinely decent bloke. He is present at most of the customer negotiations this episode, and never has an unkind or snide remark to offer anyone – unless his workmates say something stupid… which happens a lot actually.

I haven’t really noticed it in previous weeks, but this week very clearly sticks to a theme in terms of the customers caught on camera. With one exception, the customers are couples who come in together, or the one downtrodden fella who has just been dumped and is reclaiming his manhood by retrieving the collectibles he had previously sacrificed in the name of love… or at least booty. Poor Ming is the whipping boy again this week as we watch a store promotion yield less than lucrative results under his initiative. The podcast talks horror movies, admires the form of Frank Langella’s Dracula and makes me wonder how any of these guys can manage to keep a comics store open in this current economy.

How To Enjoy It

Keep track of how many times something is referred to as someone’s “Holy Grail” and try not to break your TV by the end.

Rating – 2.5 out of 5 (Below Average)

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