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TV hit ‘Comic Book Men’ takes a peek at local store

By Sorraya Brashear-Evans

Kevin Smith, creator of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” “Mallrats” and the beloved “Clerks” movies, is a proclaimed comic book connoisseur, so much so that he opened up his own comic book store called Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash (commonly known as “The Stash”) in his hometown of Red Bank, N.J.

Since Smith currently lives in California, he’s left his long-time friends and colleagues Walt Flanagan and Mike Zapcic to run it in his absence.
Joining them on their day-to-day comic-filled adventures is Ming Chen, who is the technical officer at The Stash, and Bryan Johnson, a childhood friend of Smith’s who doesn’t officially work there but has been known to take on roles around the shop.

“Comic Book Men” follows the daily trials and tribulations of The Stash. According to Smith, this show is intended to be the “‘Pawn Stars’ for geeks.”
Being an avid reader of comic books myself, I was grinning from ear to ear about this. After watching the first season (which averages around an hour per episode) and the first half of the second season (now shortened to 30 minutes per

Comedian Kevin Smith owns a comic book store in New Jersey. (AP Photo)

episode), I can honestly say it leaves more to be desired.

Cutting the show’s run time in half was their first mistake. At only a half an hour, it has a haphazardly thrown together plotline that leaves viewers wanting more.
The show also seems to lack that iconic “Kevin Smith” humor that we all know and love.
AMC probably wouldn’t be open to showing the hysterically funny “donkey show” clip as previously noted in ‘Clerks II,’ however, viewers crave more than the sparse sarcastic remarks made by Bryan.
The show focuses around how The Stash buys and sells their comic books and vintage pop culture merchandise.

Viewers are able to witness firsthand the value of rare items and learn how buyers and sellers barter, but the overly staged situations between the seller and the employee take away the scene’s authenticity.

The most interesting part of the show is when the group sits down with Kevin Smith during the recording session of his podcast “SModcast” and share embarrassing stories and personal comic book favorites. Unfortunately, because of the heavily edited scenes and a rush to stay within the 30-minute range, you never get a full perspective.

Of course, there are some funny moments. The “Zombie Run” episode, which features Mike and Ming participating in a 5K race as members of the undead, will always be a favorite of mine.
This show also does a good job at exposing “non believers” to the wonderful world of comic books.

There are just so many ways the show could be changed to break away from the typical Americanized reality TV show that’s SO overrated.
I would include more of Central Jersey and would also follow the employees to see how they live. Having 30 minutes centered on a small store is bound to make anyone’s eyes glaze over.


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