AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD is a good example of a pretty decent comic book property being turned into a very good TV series. They’re adapting the stories loosely, following the basic plotline but the writing is greatly improved—especially the dialogue, I’m a sucker for good dialogue.
This past Sunday the show re-premiered with new episodes after a little break and it did not disappoint. Heavily marketed during the show was a new reality series called COMIC BOOK MEN which would feature life inside a comic book shop, this one, the well known SECRET STASH owned by film-maker and sometime comic book writer Kevin Smith.
I’ve never been to the store in New Jersey but always figured I’d stop by when I was in the area, but after watching the show I no longer have any interest.
Part PAWN STARS part podcast, the show features three of the most unlikeable people I’ve yet to encounter on TV (Keep in mind I don’t watch Jersey Shore, America’s Got Talent, The Voice or American Idol) ‘acting naturally’ both in the store environment where customers bring in items of value and then we cut back to a recording studio where they create their podcast and Kevin Smith asks weighty questions like “who is the hottest superheroine?”.
The show perpetuates the notion of a comic book as Nerd Mecha Boys Club where even the sight of a girl inside sends the hordes into panic. These Nerds are not only awkward around anyone ‘normal’ they are mean—both to regular folks sorry enough to stop by their booths at a flea market in a decidedly staged ‘contest’ to pad the show and to each other. The only seemingly decent guy on the show is a worked named Ming Chen who tries his best to do well and is ridiculed by the others because he showers and tries not to look like he rolled out of bed in found clothes.
Particularly mean-spirited is a homeless panhandler named Bryan who takes a break from his job near the underpass to hang out all day at the store. He doesn’t work there, he’s a customer that loiters there all day offering his sarcastic wit to help explain why he is so lonely he has to hang out unpaid in a store all day. He demonstrates that even Nerds can be bullies when he breaks some of the items Ming is trying to sell during the contest and in true geek form displays a lack of backbone when confronted by a tough 70 year old man who sets him straight and makes him pay for what he broke.
Walt, the Manager, would be the one you might expect to be the most put together but he’s a sorry excuse who doesn’t even seem to know what he’s looking at. He appraises a Detective Comics #35 in 1.5 condition at guide for “about $300” which in reality sells for about $2500 in that condition—it’s a very rare book and guides don’t mean squat. He also misquotes a Bob Kane Batman sketch as being a holy grail with a $10K value when all any ‘expert’ would have to do is search eBay to survey the countless Kane sketches on there going for much much less. Kane would draw you a picture at the drop of a hat, thinking himself the next Picasso—and his work is probably the most forged out there, so it’s far from rare to find a Kane original sketch.
I had high hopes for this show. THE BIG BANG THEORY has gone a long way towards establishing Nerds as Chic. It’s also a show that respects those nerds by getting its facts straight. For all BIG BANG has done Kevin Smith’s new show moves Nerds back to the stoneage, showing them as lonely, awkward social outcasts with some serious anger issues.
It’s a show NOT worth your time.