I attended a press presentation yesterday with the cast and creators of AMC television’s new unscripted reality show, Comic Book Men, which premiers Sunday, February 12th at 10/9c. The show follows the exploits of the employees of Jay and Bob’s Secret Stash Comic Book Shop in Red Bank, New Jersey.
The show is the brainchild of actor, writer, director, producer, and all around cool guy, Kevin Smith, and his equally cool friend and Comic Book Men Executive Producer and Original Media CEO, Charlie Corwin. Fellow Executive Producer of the show, Elyse Seiden, introduced Kevin to Charlie and the rest as they say is history.
During the presentation for the series the full cast was introduced and they, as well as Kevin and Charlie, answered everyone’s questions as well as shared information about the show.
Walter Flanagan, is the store manager of The Secret Stash, the comic book store featured in the series. As well as being the store manager, Walter is a talented artist.He has penciled several comic books, including, Batman: Cacophony, Batman: The Widening Gyre (written by Kevin Smith), and Karney and the War of the Undead (written by Bryan Johnson).
Michael Zapcic, is the stores assistant manager known for his vast knowledge of comic books. He also hosts a weekly podcast called, “I Sell Comics” with fellow cast actor Ming Cheng on Smith’s S.I.R. (SModcast Internet Radio) Network.
Bryan Johnson, is an actor, writer, and director, who has appeared in Dogma, Chasing Amy, and Mallrats. Bryan starred in, directed, and wrote the film, Vulgar. He also hosts podcast, “tell ‘Em Steve-Dave!”, with Walter Flannagan and Brian Quinn.
Ming Chen, is the creator of Kevin’s View Askew Productions, the technical expert for The Stash, co hosts the “I Sell Comics” podcast, as well as the store’s go to guy.
I enjoyed seeing the rough cut of this Sunday’s premier episode last weekend, and I will say it is a show that will appeal to different types of viewers on many different levels. The show is actually “real” and the people in it are themselves, not assigned “characters” like you see in many reality shows.
Walter, is really the store’s manager, Michael is the assistant manager, Ming is who he is, and Bryan is well, Bryan. A funny guy naturally who does not force it or try to be funny. He just is.
The guys have fun together, and with the customers too, so it is not just one sided or about just one thing. Viewers who love comic books, art, old toys, rare memorabilia, including a possible movie prop or two, will remember things that brought them fond memories as kids, and now adults, will love the show.
The passion Kevin and the guys at the store have is real and they make you feel like you are part of it. The show takes you along for the ride with them and you get it.
Another part I liked was the incorporation of the podcast of all of the guys with Kevin shown during each episode. The guys talk about what is/has gone on at the shop in a free style way and language that is relatable to everyone watching. They are themselves and for lack of a better word, are “one of us“. Just regular people shooting the breeze about different things the love. The premier episode I saw had different customers looking at items in the shop as well as items they were looking to sell. The show is a little Pawn Stars with some really cool comic book and pop geekiness thrown in.
Kevin and the cast mentioned to me they were happy with how AMC has let them do the show the way they want which I think speaks highly of AMC and the guys. No pretense or fake reality here.
Of course all reality shows have outlines but this one and a few others (Hollywood Treasure), feature real people doing what they and others love in a pretty realistic way. Viewers are smart and the cut I watched of the show represented itself and the fans in an honest way.
I also wanted to point out that the show did not perpetuate the typical negative stereotypes of comic book fans either. Kevin, Charlie, and Elyse made sure to represent fans and collectors of all types. It was fun, funny, and interesting to me, and even though I don’t know a lot about collecting Comic Books, the show showcases other collectible pop items so there is something of interest for everyone.
Tune in to AMC this Sunday, February, 12th at 10/9c after AMC’s The Walking Dead.
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