As a life-long comic book collector, it was exciting news when AMC announced it was launching the series “Comic Book Men.” The show comes from Kevin Smith, the actor/director who is both a comic book enthusiast and writer. The show originates from his comic book store, Secret Stash, located in Red Bank, New Jersey.
This series sounded like a great way to inform the public about the importance of comic books in pop culture from the writings of Stan Lee to the artwork of Neal Adams. The show could explain why The Incredible Hulk #180 is so valuable (it’s the first appearance of Wolverine) or why all comic book collectors should own copies of Green Lantern No. 85 and 86 (deals with Green Arrow’s sidekick, Speedy, being a drug addict).
What sounded like a good idea for a series has turned into the most self-indulgent piece of garbage on TV that doesn’t star a Kardashian.
There have been entire episodes where the Stash team — Walt Flanagan, Michael Zapcic, Bryan Johnson and Ming Chen — never touch a comic book. There’s plenty of talk about favorite talking dogs, whether Tarzan should be considered a super hero and how cool it would be to have their own batcave, but comic books are a mere afterthought.
The cast doesn’t help. Flanagan is the store manager but doesn’t come across as competent enough to operate a garden hose while Chen’s lone purpose is to be the brunt of everyone’s jokes. He worst is Johnson who is not a store employee but hangs around just to insult the customers.
Zapcic is the only one who has any sense but unfortunately was involved in an episode that was the last straw for the show. The New Jersey resident lost most of his comic book collection during Hurricane Sandy. Any comic book fan will tell you that’s a tragedy. The other guys in the shop got famed comic book artist George Perez to create an original drawing as a way of starting his collection anew.
That’s a nice gesture among friends but this is a cable TV show. If they aren’t going to talk about comics, they could at least do something that affects more than just themselves. That drawing could have been auctioned off to raise money for other people who suffered great losses.
AMC has such a sterling reputation with amazing programs such as “The Walking Dead,” “Hell on Wheels,” “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” Having a show as bad as “Comic Book Men” on the same cable channel is like having a bowl full of M&Ms and your dog named Reese adding pieces to the mix.