Tag Archives: comic book men

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day tomorrow. What’s everyone looking forward to? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below. While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Publisher’s Weekly – B&N to Create Kids’ Graphic Novel Sections In All Its Stores – Says everything you need to know about this segment.

CBR – Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men Canceled by AMC – This is not too shocking based on the fact it was bumped a lot and seemed to be more forced in to the time slot than paired.

Newsarama – Feige: Marvel Studios Will Have Openly LGBTQ Characters In Upcoming Films – Countdown for people losing their shit online on both sides.

Newsarama – Gifted’s Polaris Starring in Live-Action Razor – A good pick.

 

Reviews

Talking Comics – The Amazing Spider-Man #801

Talking Comics – Flavor #2

ComiConn 2017: Chatting with Comic Book Man – Ming Chen

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Graphic Policy: I am here with Ming Chen from AMC’s Comic Book Men! I have to say man it’s an honor, I am a big fan of what you folks are doing with that show and I wanted to take the chance and ask you some questions.

Ming Chen: Sure. Fire away.

GP: So you’ve come a long way, from this show that started as a small cult type thing and sort of a rip off Pawn Stars.

Ming: (interjecting) Oh definitely a rip off of Pawn Stars. I mean there’s no doubt about it.

GP: Yeah.

Ming: The show got started because AMC had such a hit with The Walking Dead that first season and so they wanted to do something else comic book based. So they asked “who do we go to for something like this?” So they went to Kevin Smith.

GP: Of course.

Ming: Kevin who is one of the top minds in the comic book world, they asked “Kevin what would you do?” He said well “Why don’t you just rip off Pawn Stars but do it in a comic book store and focus on vintage toys and comics?” AMC thought it was a good idea and could work, however they needed to shoot some kind of pilot and put it on tape and see if it could actually work.Kevin told them he had a comic book store and some guys that worked there AMC could use. He told them flat out, they are not actors and sort of a bunch of knuckleheads but they might not be your guys. In terms of for the purpose of shooting the pilot Kevin thought we’d be fine. So they (AMC) shot it with us and said “That’s it.” “These are our guys.” At that point there was no reason to try and cast anyone else.

GP: Yeah no kidding? Why? You guys fit perfect.

Ming: So AMC was like “Why didn’t you see this and tell us these guys were that good?” To Kevin we were just his friends and co – workers and he didn’t really see it, but it worked out really well. We initially shot 6 episodes to start and to see if it worked. I was like “Who’s going to watch this though?” “Who wants to see four old dudes griping in a comic book store talking about Star Wars and Flux Capacitors and such?” Lo and behold people actually dug it so much that we are about to go into our seventh season. I love it. I want to do it forever.

GP: I mean yeah it’s incredible to have it take off the way it did like that.

Ming: It definitely is.

GP: That was my follow up. For something that you didn’t think would take off, to have it go multiple seasons.

Ming: We thought one, two maybe..

GP: I think the Kevin Smith thing certainly hooks it, but it’s you guys that keep the asses in the seats. It’s really great.

Ming: Thank you so much man. It’s cool to get that response.

GP: Now I’m a huge Batman ’66 fan myself and I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask this. The day you guys shot the show for the Batman ’66 Batboat, did it all really go down like that? Was everyone that disappointed? 

Ming: Yes. So for those who haven’t seen the episode, I meet the guy who I’ve met at several cons and he owns the ’66 Batboat. He had it in Red Bank (NJ) asked if I wanted to come down and go on it. He told me to bring the guys too. So naturally I tell them “Hey guys you want to go down on the Batboat?” They were all for it. I figured we’d go down there and float around for like an hour on it. We brought sun screen and sandwiches. Then we get down there and it’s not even in the water and it’s bolted to a trailer. He tells me it doesn’t go in the water and it’s not sea worthy. So yeah the guys were a little pissed with me for that one. I mean how was I supposed to know? When someone invites you down to their boat it’s usually on the water. I don’t think it was my fault, but they never see it that way. So they are like “You screwed up Ming, You suck.”

GP: That’s the true to life dynamic? They treat you like that?”

Ming: All the time (laughs) I mean if I do something they consider egregious no matter how stupid or small, they will call me out on it. It’s been like that for twenty years.

GP:  I have to ask you, as a fan who like me grew up idolizing these folks and all this stuff, having those same people dropping by or coming up to you like “Hey Ming” is it surreal?

Ming: It is surreal. To have those people come up to me and say they are fans of the show and like I’m doing, it’s very cool. I mean to me it’s just something I do every summer with my friends. It very much feels like summer camp and it just gets put on tape. I love how it comes on after The Walking Dead and Talking Dead because I’m still a huge fanboy. I want to meet these people (Zabka, Pearlman, Jason David Frank) because they were such huge parts of my childhood. I know they are actors and actors are regular people but also they were so awesome that what they did shaped my life. It’s cool to be able to meet them now on this level. I mean we aren’t on even ground but like my badge is the same as theirs so there’s a modicum of respect and it’s all just really cool. So if they want to treat me as if they don’t know me or blow me off I will catch up with them later.

GP: Yeah in some cases you moderate their panels afterward (laughs) 

Ming: Yeah moderating the panels is cool too. I mean I’m so glad it happened this way to me. As a fan first, where as a lot of people here grew up in the acting world and the con thing came later to them. So I’m really lucky in that way. I like that I’m a fan first.

GP: Absolutely. I think it keeps it authentic.

Ming: It’s definitely way more fun.

GP: I’ve noticed that you seem to be spearheading the task of taking on these cons more and more lately. The others (Mike Zapcic and Bryan Johnson) join you time to time but not always. So is that your ambition? Are you going to be a lot more Comic Con oriented or branch off and do your own thing?

Ming: We’ll see. I think Comic Book Men works so well because it’s the four of us. It wouldn’t work with just three of us or one of us. Out of the four of us though, I think Bryan Johnson and I have a great dynamic where I will do something and he just reacts to it honestly.

GP: Mike Zapcic is great too. Don’t forget him. He’s like the straight man to you guys comedy.

Ming: That’s true. So I want to continue to do as much with the show for as long as I can because I love it so much. Mike and I have a couple podcasts together and we work very well on that so we have such a well rounded base. I would love for Comic Book Men to keep on going forever, I know it can’t but I’d really like it to. I’m happy with that right now.

GP: Well seven seasons is nothing to sneeze at.

Ming: I’d like to keep the energy from this going and be somewhere in the Pop Culture world after this, I don’t know where it will be but we will see. I will take an opportunity no matter how weird or how small it may be. You never know where it will take you. It might even be more of the Con world. They don’t seem to be stopping any time soon.

GP: They do not. You know what I think would be ideal though? Is that one day you open your own store across the street from the (Secret) Stash and you become a bigger deal then all of them. That would be great.

Ming: That would be so fun. We could have like a rivalry and all kinds of pranks and hijinx. Maybe we’d even have a gang war with like Molotov cocktails (laughs) not really but you know, just a lot of weird and fun stuff.

GP: Absolutely. I’d watch the hell out of that. Well thank you for your time and so much success to you.

Ming: Thank you man. Absolutely this was great. See you around.


Well that was my chat with Ming “The Mighty” Chen. Such a great guy. He loves what he does and wants to do it always, for the fans. You can’t beat that. Hope you see him at a Con in the near future.

Till next time true readers!

TV Review: Comic Book Men S5E13 Hometown Heroes

comic book menIn this episode of Comic Book Men, Phoenix Jones, a real-life superhero, visits the Stash and patrols Red Bank with the guys. Walt reminisces about an iconic Hulk toy.

Well, two episodes in a row is what it looks like for this series to do before reverting back to it’s less than ideal ways.

The episode has some interesting moments that don’t go enough into details. There’s a guy purchasing a Son of Satan comic, which would have been a great opportunity to discuss the character and the comics code. But, the discussion is pretty light and while there’s some discussion of the history of the character, there’s definitely not enough.

There’s also a segment of a guy selling a Hulk belt. It’s an interesting segment in that it’s an item I’ve never seen and it’d have been great to discuss a lot more about it, but again there’s not much discussion, not even the complete item is shown.

Finally, a third segment has a guy selling a one of a kind mask he made. While it is interesting, but the more interesting discussion of the fact this guy commissioned the mask to be made is glossed over. Again, a missed opportunity.

The majority of the episode is about Phoenix Jones, and while it’s fascinating to hear his story (a topic I’m interested in), it doesn’t have a lot to do with a comic book store, the general geekdom world sure. And this leads to them going on one of their adventures which felt more like it was making fun of Jones, their guest.

The episode slips into old habits, has a bit of a mean streak when it comes to Jones, and misses a lot of easy opportunities. Just a bad episode overall.

Overall rating: 6.8

TV Review: Comic Book Men S5E12 Baby Jay

comic book menIn this episode of Comic Book Men, Jason Mewes brings his baby daughter to the Stash so she can meet the guys. A customer sells a collection of comic book Slurpee cups.

This episode is another interesting one in that it focuses on the basics with just Jason Mewes stopping by with his daughter, but the episode’s buying and selling segments, especially two of them, that are the most interesting.

Mewes’ segment with his daughter Logan is quite but not all that memorable. There’s some fun with it, especially where the guys give a gift and the discussion of Mewes as a father. But, the episode feels more like a “where are they now” more than anything. Cute, but forgettable.

What I think is most interesting are the three buying and selling segments. The two segments of folks selling get intriguing and the purchasing segment has some potential that isn’t quite reached. With the person buying, she’s after a Leatherface toy. While it’s interesting to hear her talk about the toy, and the guys too, there’s some points touched upon that aren’t completely discussed enough, the uproar over the toy and taking toys out of their package.

The selling segments are interesting. The first involves a lot of comic related cups from 7-Eleven. I’ve never seen the cups myself, so getting the history about it is really good. But, the enthusiasm shown is where it’s really interesting. There’s some good discussion of why they’re important and what the big deal is part of the highlight, but the guys geeking out about the art displayed is also very cool.

The final selling segment involves a MEGO Batcave, and here’s what I’d like to see more of. While a few are excited to see the toy other staff mock it. We haven’t seen division over an item like this, I think ever. To see some debate whether something is cool or fun or interesting is actually interesting, and I hope we see more of it in the future.

The episode sticks to the basics, but also gives us something that’s a little new. It’s not groundbreaking television, but to hear some different opinions and see some enthusiasm is really nice.

Overall rating: 7.4

TV Review: Comic Book Men S5E11 Insta-Ming

comic book menIn this episode of Comic Book Men, Ming gets a selfie stick and tries to go viral filming behind-the-scenes looks at the Stash. Walt takes a look at bootleg toys of an ’80s blockbuster.

The series gets back to some basics with this episode focusing on comics an toys, and other than the roundtable discussion, the episode takes place in the store.

Each product segment is focused on people trying to selling, which is interesting, and there’s some discussion as to what the items are for and why they’re important. In a nutshell, this is the basic function of the show, and when compared to “zany experiences,” the basic is where the show does some of its best work.

There’s something solid about that it all too. A couple of the items I’ve never seen before and the show does a decent job as to explaining why they’re important and what’s interesting about each one.

There is the ongoing story about Ming and the selfie stick which is somewhat entertaining and goofy. There maybe could have been something more done with that aspect, but it was still funny.

The episode was basic in many ways, and it works because of that. Here’s hoping we see more of this and less crazy adventures.

Overall rating: 7.6

TV Review: Comic Book Men S5E10 Tell ‘Em, Jim Lee!

comic book menIn this episode of Comic Book Men, tell ‘Em, Jim Lee! – Superstar artist Jim Lee guests on the podcast and regales the guys with tales of comic-dom. A comic book brings wedding bells to the Stash.

Yeah, it is every other episode that’s good this season, because after last week’s meh episode, this one is much better.

This week is on the end of good as it actually focuses on comics! The episode actually begins with Kevin Smith asking if anyone buys comics and from there things spin out with individuals looking to purchase and sell things and special guest Jim Lee hanging out with the podcast.

The purchasing and selling segments are decent. Not amazing, but the guys go over the items and folks talk about why something is special or why they’re really excited about it. It’s the usual for that, and nothing to crazy. Easy to watch, nothing challenging.

But, what I like about this episode that I liked about an earlier episode is the guest. In this case it’s pertinent, Jim Lee, the ground breaking artist and current exec at DC Comics. We get to see Lee talk a little bit with the guys asking questions. It’s not quite as good as John Romita Jr., but it has me wondering if the show would be better to be a straight up talk show with guests in geekdom. Yes, they do this as a podcast, but a video version isn’t unheard of and seeing as the strongest episodes this season have been that makes me wonder if a shift isn’t the worst of ideas.

A better episode, still not as great as it has been, but it’s focused on comics and geekdom without adventure tangents. It’s really every other episode this season as far as quality.

Overall rating: 7.9

TV Review: Comic Book Men S5E9 Suburban Cowboys

comic book menIn this episode of Comic Book Men, an old pal inspires the gang to don their cowboy hats and journey back to the old Wild West. A customer comes in seeking an iconic ’80s comic.

Yeah, so it looks like every other episode is going to be good this season.

This episode falls into the bad habit of veering off of the focus on the store, comics, and collectibles, and instead has the crew going on another wacky adventure, this time to some place called Wild West City in New Jersey.

That latest adventure begins due to a customer coming in with a bunch of Wild West comics. This has Walter waxing nostalgic about going to the adventure town when he was younger and that gets the guys to go and check it out. Instead of focusing on the comics themselves and maybe diving more in to their history, we get a side event.

There are two other segments with customers selling things, an important comic featuring Spider-Man and a replica of the Flux Capacitor. Both would have been more interesting to spend time on, especially since there was good debate about the importance of this Spider-Man related comic. That would have been more geek focused and maybe not mass audience friendly, but it’d be much more appropriate for the show.

The Wild West City segment is rather said than interesting, and with it ending the episode it had me wondering why Walter really enjoyed it.

There’s nothing wrong with these sorts of episodes, but they seem to distract from the point of the show, as if the normal day to day stuff isn’t interesting enough to create content without this sort of side quest. As usual, not a bad show, but it just doesn’t focus on “comics” enough.

Overall rating: 6.6

TV Review: Comic Book Men S5E8 Royal Romita

comic book menIn this episode of Comic Book Men, Legendary comics artist John Romita Jr. draws an original piece for the Stash. Bryan’s interest is piqued by an Evel Knievel toy from his childhood.

So, like Star Trek films, every other is a good episode? This episode shows off what Comic Book Men should be more like and about.

There’s two segments beyond the main portion of the show. The first is the Evel Knievel toy and Bryan. That segment is nice mostly because there’s some humor, but real nostalgia coming from Bryan. He clearly loves the toy and it shows. There’s some great enthusiasm shown, which comes through the screen. There’s also some things said by Bryan which are great, like what he plans on doing with it.

The second “store” segment involves a girl purchasing a Wonder Woman comic. That is great showing off some fandom which is really cool. The guys discuss the character, and though it feels more like a pitch for her upcoming debut, it’s still cool to see.

But, the big thing of the episode is John Romita Jr. coming by the shop. Not only does he do up some art for the store but he just tells stories. This is what the show should be more about. I’ve never seen Romita Jr. speak or seen him at a convention but the guy is someone I could hear talk stories for quite a while. He talks about his father, Stan Lee, getting in to drawing, and his thoughts on being an artist.

It’s all wonderful and I want more of this. It doesn’t need to be creators, but fans, other sellers, this is the type of thing the show should be focused on, fandom and celebrating geek culture and comics. Stay away from the latest crazy adventure, just focus on this, and you’ll have a show unlike all the others.

I doubt next week will keep it up, but here’s hoping, because this episode shows off what the show can truly be.

Overall rating: 8.6

TV Review: Comic Book Men S5E7 Making Clay

comic book menIn this episode of Comic Book Men, Walt and Bryan audition the Secret Stash employees for a role in their new claymation film with friend and fellow podcaster Brian Quinn.

The first episode of the second half of the season was the best of the season, and it just took one episode for the series to get right back into old habits moving away from the focus on comics and instead being sidetracked with something else.

The episode does have some comic moments, the group buys a really cool toy and gives some solid history about it. While I don’t want a show only of that, it still is more of what the show should be.

Instead the episode introduces the television folks to Brian Quinn and instead has a lot to do with a claymation film that’s being done and their search for voice talent. What that has to do with the show and its comic focus is a big question. Yes the show is about these guys and their world, but, it’s expanded beyond the shop to their wacky adventures, with this being the latest.

For as good as last episode was, this one just goes back to old habits.

Overall rating: 6.4

TV Review: Comic Book Men S5E6 Stan Saves!

comic book menIn this episode of Comic Book Men, Stan Lee drops by the Stash and helps the guys with a customer experiencing a comics crisis.  A customer buys a classic issue of Fantastic Four.

The show is back after a rather long break and does so with the best episode of the season by far, and that’s totally due to guest Stan Lee who really does spend the entire episode at the shop.

What’s fun is hearing Lee talk about his memories of comics and interacting with the costumers. Whether his role in the creation of so many characters is embellished or not doesn’t matter, it’s still fun to hear him talk about the comics that come through the door as well as his reaction to the questions posed to him, including a bit about that infamous Playboy pose.

But, what actually hit me the most was Stan Lee talking to a customer who has decided to close his pull box and stop collecting. It’s a solid and honest speech about what comics mean to him as a creator and what it means to many collectors. Now, I have to say as a buyer it felt a bit strong armed, and it sucks telling a store you need to close you box (and how are you saying no to Stan Lee), but it’s interesting to hear Stan’s take.

This episode is a bit of an anomaly and I’d hate for it to dive in to guest of the week type shows, but still, it’s much better than all of this season’s episodes. The episode is titled “Stan Saves!” and it feels like he has the series in many ways.

Overall rating: 8.1

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