The pop culture hymn of the local comic book shop is not a new one; indeed the overweight, lonely, and obsessed “Comic Book Guy” has been a fan favourite of “The Simpsons” since 1991, and it has been quoted that Matt Groening based this character on “every comic-bookstore guy in America”. It is also true that Nerds have often found sanctuary in their neighbourhood comic cavern. Often seen as a haven for Trekkies, dungeon masters, and societies awkward background characters like ‘Captain Sweatpants’. Being a poet at heart, I am one to believe that the comic book store is much more than a dispensary of geeky stereotypes. It is a point of convergence where those of modern ideas can freely express interest in their art form. Where else can you buy some silver-age static free bags and boards, find a used 3.5 player’s handbook, and check out Wednesday’s new releases, all while debating which apocalypse is the coolest.
This Sunday (Feb, 12) on AMC, Kevin Smith premiers his newest homage to the industry with “Comic Book Men”, a reality show based on his New Jersey comic hut “Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash”. The 6 episode series will feature Smith talking shop with his long time friends and comic bookenthusiasts who run the store. The cast, whom Smith has based some of his popular reoccurring movie characters, are not celebrities themselves but just run-of-the-mill friendly neighbourhood American book guys, doing what they do best. Trailers of the show depict them standing around shelves of colourful comic memorabilia discussing the products, trends, and the important stuff in life like “Trek vs Wars”. The show has received some heckling for the lack of women featured in the first season, which begs to question whether these individuals have ever stepped into a comic book store before, producers only replied “We need to save something for season 2”.
As a fan of Mr. Smith’s work, I for one am looking forward to the new series. He’s always excelled in dialogue and I’m interested in some more organic comic book conversation. If the show comes off as scripted or just tries to reinforce the popular stereotypes to make a buck, then I’m out. But I do have faith in Kevin Smith as a nerd to talk about nerdy topics. (Although he is a little hard on LOTR). The show comes on in a perfect timeslot, right after The Walking Dead on Sunday nights, which should give the show a lot of push. I’m content enough to see that this type of programming is continuing to becomeincreasingly popular, and hopefully the show can provide some light and pride on the iconic local comic shop.