TV Review – Comic Book Men – Con Gone Wrong / Ink

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, Mike Zapcic

Network: AMC

Well, there we go.

There’s not a great deal left to say now that we’ve reached the end of AMC’s niche show Comic Book Men. Comics & collectibles were bought and sold; people talked about superheroes; geeks made fun of each other. If there had been a splash of pornography it would be like someone filming the internet.

Could Comic Book Men be extended into a full length reality show? No. It undoubtedly won’t stop people from trying, but I think these six episodes milked everything out of the premise that could be milked. Not so much about the running of a comic book store (even one with a fair bit of notoriety like Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash), Comic Book Men was very much about the titular men – or Man-Children depending on how you view their levels of maturity. I don’t mind a spirited debate on pop culture, but I just couldn’t muster up enough to care about it the way these guys’ conversations suggest they do. Although, given the expression on their faces throughout much of the series, they don’t care too much either.

In Con Gone Wrong we watch the intrepid geeks make their way to a local comics convention to hock some goods from storage, and hit up a few garage sales on the way home. This episode actually opens with one of the better spiels when Ming asks Walt about the impending Zombie apocalypse – Walt puts the whole idea into stark perspective in the modern world setting. The usual instances of customer negotiations take place – the highlight this time being an individual with what appears to be an unhealthy fixation on Superman’s crotch.

Ink wraps up the series in the biggest challenge ever presented to the team: everyone gets tattoos. The stand out in this challenge is simultaneously bizarre and touching. Bryan draws an image of his niece riding a tricycle which he intends to place on his forearm. Oh yeah, he’s drawn her as a zombie. While most people would be reaching for his sisters number to tell her never to let him near the poor girl again, Bryan explains that his young niece is way into zombies, and it’s one of the connections they have. When we actually meet the dear girl at the end of the episode, you can see that Bryan is clearly smitten with her. It actually reminded me of how I feel about my own nieces and nephews. In one sweet moment the most cynical and depressing figure on the show to date demonstrates real heart, and gives me hope for the entire species “Geek”.

The show got old quickly; it doesn’t have much value in replay; the conversations are nothing new unless you know nothing about comics culture, in which case you’re not reading this so why am I bothering? Was it a bit of fun though? Absolutely – and I might even look forward to another offering from the same crew, so long as they can find something new to hook viewers with. Perhaps a show following Smith’s next effort in filmmaking, with his buds along for the free ride?

How To Enjoy It

When all is said and (not much is) done, you’re not going to remember this show enough to be worried about having enjoyed it.

Rating – 2.5 out of 5 (Below Average)

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