Comic Book Men
|Comic Book Men|
|Developed by||Kevin Smith|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||31 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Kevin Smith
|Camera setup||single camera|
|Running time||60 minutes (Season 1)
30 minutes (Season 2-)
|Production company(s)||SModcast Pictures|
|Original run||February 12, 2012– present|
Filmmaker Kevin Smith was drawn to television through his love of podcasting, through which he says he realized his true calling: telling stories with words rather than pictures. His website, SModcast.com, features a number of podcasts, including I Sell Comics!, hosted by Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen, and Tell 'Em Steve-Dave!, co-hosted by Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson. The latter was the inspiration for Comic Book Men. Brian Quinn, the third co-host of Tell 'Em Steve-Dave!, was unable to be featured in the series due to the conditions of his contract for the TruTV series Impractical Jokers.
NJ.com reported in July 2011 that AMC was interested in the TV show that was being developed by Smith, which was set at Smith's store, and described as "Pawn Stars for geeks". The series would be part of AMC network's active entry into reality television. AMC decided to pick up the show to follow The Walking Dead. The working title was Secret Stash, before it was finalized as Comic Book Men.
On May 9, AMC announced that Comic Book Men was renewed for a second season of 16 half-hour episodes. Season 2 premiered October 14, 2012, initially following the third season of The Walking Dead with its first 8 episodes; the second 8 episodes spearheaded AMC's new "Real Original Thursdays" lineup along with two new series, Freakshow and Immortalized. On its new night, it initially aired at 9:00 PM EST (with repeats at 10:30PM and 12:00 Midnight EST), but after a month was moved to 10:00PM EST with a repeat episode airing at 10:30 PM (and repeats of both episodes at 1:00AM and 1:30AM EST, respectively)
- Kevin Smith – The owner of the store, and a filmmaker and author whose films include Clerks, Chasing Amy and Red State, and whose books include My Boring-Ass Life. Smith has been a comic book fan since he was a child, and has gone on to write such comic book series as Daredevil, Green Arrow, and Batman: Cacophony.
- Walt Flanagan – Smith's friend since high school, and the manager of Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash since 1997. Flanagan has also appeared in small roles in Smith's films, and is a comic book artist himself, having illustrated Smith's miniseries Batman: Cacophony and Batman: The Widening Gyre. He co-hosts the podcast Tell 'Em Steve-Dave! with Bryan Johnson and Brian Quinn.
- Mike Zapcic – Zapcic is described as having an "encyclopedic knowledge of every issue of every comic known to man", which he utilizes at Secret Stash, where he began working in 2000. He co-hosts the podcast I Sell Comics! with Ming Chen, and lives in Long Branch, New Jersey with his wife, Julia and their sons, Mitch and Daniel.
- Bryan Johnson – A longtime friend of Smith's, who, while not officially an employee at Secret Stash, can often be found behind the front counter. Like Flanagan, he has appeared in a number of Smith's films. In 2000, he wrote, directed, and starred in the movie Vulgar, which was based on the clown cartoon featured in the intro of Smith's film, Clerks, and which premiered at the Toronto Interntational Film Festival. He has also written comic books, including Karney and War of the Undead, both of which were illustrated by Walt Flanagan. He co-hosts the podcast Tell 'Em Steve-Dave! with Walt Flanagan and Brian Quinn.
- Ming Chen – Chen first met Smith through the fansite he created in dedication to Smith in 1995, which led to Chen being hired to create the View Askew Productions website. Today he continues to work on all of Smith's online properties, and is the technical expert at the Stash. He co-hosts the podcast I Sell Comics! with Mike Zapcic, and in his free time, he does pro bono website work for two non-profit organizations, Street Poets Inc. and The Kenny Gordon Foundation. He has a wife, Debbie, and two children, Lillian and Harrison.
Each episode of Comic Book Men is accompanied by a companion podcast, titled The Secret Stash, which is hosted on the SModcast network. For the show's first season, some podcast episodes were pre-recorded during the filming of show, while others were recorded live on the SModco Internet Radio station (S.I.R.) directly following the first airing of an episode, allowing the audience to participate by calling in to the show. For the show's second season, the episodes were all recorded in the Secret Stash and hosted by Ming Chen, occasionally joined by some of the others from the show including Walt, Bryan, Mike and frequent series contributor (and "pop culturalist") Rob Bruce.
As of December 2012, Metacritic scores the first season 55 out of 100 based on 7 professional TV critics. Ellen Gray of The Philadelphia Inquirer remarked, "Comic Book Men may not be as complicated as Rubicon, but it's smarter than it looks at first." Mike Hale of The New York Times opined that the series is an authentic portrayal of post-collegiate American life, and concluded, "It’s diverting, a little sad, a little boring, full of geeky macho posturing and ultimately pointless, much like a Wednesday afternoon in a comic-book shop." David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle called the show an "amusing geekfest".
- Cast members: Kevin Smith. AMC. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- I Sell Comics! SModcast. August 12, 2012.
- Tell 'Em Steve-Dave! SModcast. August 12, 2012.
- "SMecret Origins #2 – Brian Quinn of Tell 'Em Steve-Dave, & Impractical Jokers.". Comic Book Men. February 27, 2012.
- Venutolo, Anthony (July 7, 2011). "Kevin Smith reality show may land at AMC". NJ.com
- Smith, Kevin. "Draper. Meth. Zombies. Tell ‘Em, Steve-Dave. YAY, AMC!" Silent Bob Speaks. September 1, 2011.
- Seidman, Robert (January 14, 2012). "AMC's New Unscripted Series, 'Comic Book Men' Debuts February 12 at 10pm". TV by the Numbers.
- Morabito, Andrea (September 1, 2011). "AMC Greenlights Two Unscripted Series". Multichannel News.
- Itzkoff, Dave (February 3, 2012). "Cameras Invade a Paradise for Fanboys". The New York Times.
- White, Tom (January 5, 2012). "Kevin Smith Reality Show Comic Book Men Coming to AMC". WhatCulture!
- Neuman, Clayton (May 9, 2012). "AMC Renews Comic Book Men and Talking Dead". AMC. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- Abbey, Cory (July 13, 2012). "The Walking Dead Premieres Oct. 14; Talking Dead and Comic Book Men to Follow". AMC. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- Surette, Tim (April 17, 2013). "AMC Renews Comic Book Men and Freakshow, Sets a Premiere Date for Low Winter Sun, Plus Other Non-Breaking Bad News". Retrieved April 17, 2013.
- Comic Book Men Season 3 To Premiere After The Walking Dead On October 13
- "Cast members: Walt Flanagan". AMC. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- "Cast members: Mike Zapcic". AMC. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- "Cast members: Bryan Johnson". AMC. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- "Cast members: Ming Chen". AMC. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- . SModcast. March 25, 2012.
- "Comic Book Men: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
- Gray, Ellen (February 10, 2012). "Ellen Gray: Zombies then comic books? A winning 1-2 punch on AMC". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Hale, Mike (February 11, 2012). "The Fanboys Behind the Counter". The New York Times.
- Wiegand, David (February 12, 2012). "'Comic Book Men' review: Amusing geekfest". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Official website
- Comic Book Men at the Internet Movie Database
- Comic Book Men at TV.com
- The Secret Stash podcast official site at SModcast.com