Saturday, May 30, 2015

We're All a Bunch of Comic Book Men (and Women) Around Here


Karen: A big part of being a comic book fan is collecting. We collect comics, and all the stuff associated with comics -figures, posters, toys, you name it, if it has anything to do with comics, we probably will love it, and we may buy it, depending on our income and mood. At the very least, we love to talk about buying and selling those sought-after goodies.  It's not just comics either -Godzilla, Star Wars, Star Trek....well, you know how it is. We just saw David B's Cube of Wonder, Doug has been entertaining us all with his tales of selling his collection, and we've shown off acquisitions from time to time here. So collecting, collectibles, and collections are all regular topics around here.

But we've never discussed the TV show that revolves around this subject -AMC's Comic Book Men, which looks at the going-ons at writer/director/uber-geek Kevin Smith's comic store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey. If you haven't seen it, here's a taste below:





The other day, we got a big surprise in the BAB mailbox when we received a missive from the casting assistant for  Comic Book Men. She asked if we could help spread the word that they are looking for fans/collectors to appear on the show's upcoming fifth season. We said we might know a few people who would be interested! So check out the flyer below. But for our discussion today, do you have a Holy Grail item you'd really love to track down? Maybe something you'd get if money was no object?


26 comments:

Colin Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Redartz said...

Watching "Comic Book Men" is part of my Sunday night routine, at least during the "Walking Dead" season ( CBM follows Walking Dead, conveniently...). Always get some kicks watching. I particularly like Walt and Ming; these guys are a somewhat more entertaining than some of the comic shop proprietors I've experienced!

As for the "holy grail'; it isn't technically a comic book item, but it is close: the Strange Change Time Machine toy! Back in the late 60's, when toys were fun but potentially hazardous, Ideal made this device which consisted of a heating element in a plastic chamber. You got these little plastic squares, which when placed in the heating chamber, expanded into dinosaurs, monsters, and aliens! Then, you could cram the figures into a compression chamber, turn the crank and crush them back into squares. You can't get much cooler than that! I had one as a boy, and LOVED it. I still hunt for one today, just haven't pulled the trigger on those ebay prices. But someday...

Anonymous said...

I watched the first 2 episodes of Comic Book Men. It didn't do much for me, but I could see the appeal. It's cool that the casting people reached out to you.

My Holy Grail collectible would be a piece of Jack Kirby art. An original page, a sketch, anything. I think a lot of Marvel work is lost, but I'd love a 4th World page. I don't have the money for it, but a guy can dream...

Anonymous said...

(The above comment is from me, Mike Loughlin)

Anonymous said...

Redartz, man you played with some dangerous toys back in the day! A toy with a heating element? Yikes! Anyway, I don't really have a Holy Grail comic (or at least none comes to mind at the moment in my fuzzy brain) but I'd love to have the complete 20 first run issues of Spidey, Avengers, X-men and the FF.

With the Internet you could probably track down your fave Holy Grail comic but of course you might have to cough up some big bucks for it.


- Mike 'trying to find the Holy Grail of burgers' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Martinex1 said...

I've watched Comic Book Men and chuckled occasionally at the comic questions they pose to each other about having powers or character traits. Like Redartz said Ming and Walt can generate some entertainment.

Holy grail for me would be the Perez cover art to Avengers 164, the first comic I bought. Or a Byrne commission of characters I designed as a kid. Both impossible but fun to imagine.

Edo Bosnar said...

"Travel to Red Bank, NJ and batteries not included." Well, that disqualifies me. I'd be happy to participate in their show if they flew me out and put me up at the nearest Holiday Inn. 'Course, I've got nothing really interesting to offer them (if only I still had my complete run of Team America...).
Also, I can't say I really have a Holy Grail item, not in the sense of some really, rare expensive collectible that I just have to have (outside of the comics themselves, I'm just not that interested in the peripheral stuff). The closest thing for me would be to find reasonably priced (i.e., cheap) copies of a few books I used to have in my old collection (like Marvel's Greatest Superhero Battles).

J.A. Morris said...

I'm big fan of Kevin Smith, even went to see him do one of his live shows here a couple years ago. I've been meaning to watch this for a while, but have yet to catch an episode of 'Comic Book Men'. I need to change that.

Anonymous said...

I like original issues of comics but not so much that I'd spend a lot of money on them when decent reprint collections are available, so I'm not really much of a collector.
But in a fantasy world where money was no object, like Mike L above I'd go for original pages. Kirby double spreads would be great, particularly that one with the Promethean giants from New Gods 5, and there were some classics in Kamandi. A Steranko SHIELD cover or two would be nice. And that classic Moebius double spread from Arzach...

-sean

Anonymous said...

My money-no-object fantasy? I want every comic ever published, of course! That'd keep me reading for a while...like Burgess Meredith in that Twilight Zone episode!

Mike Wilson

Humanbelly said...

I think. . . I think it would be something I used to have, and didn't appreciate what an irreplaceable item it was at the time ('cause I was flat-out lunkheaded adolescent boy):

One of those first sweatshirts that Marvel put out. The one that said "Here comes the Incredible Hulk", w/ him stomping toward you on the front; and on the back it says "There goes the Incredible Hulk", and the reverse image reveals that he was pulling this inane little wheeled child's bunny toy on a rope behind him. It was the perfect encapsulization of the Hulk's nature-- and it was funny, irreverent and oddly sweet all in one sight gag.
I-- ugh, it kills me to even admit this-- I played JV football in 10th grade, and used it for a practice jersey, and it got destroyed by the end of the season. . .

Otherwise, my Holy Grails aren't that lofty. The fact that they become too absurdly expensive goes a long way to my really not coveting them anymore. Ultimately, they're just "things" to "have". . . and I seem to have lost the edge big time as far acquisitive desire goes.

'Course, it's not like I have any intention of surrendering my big ol' comic collection any time soon. Hmmm.. . .

HB

Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, I like the way you're thinking, Mike W.: if I had an infinite amount of money to spend, I'd just get complete runs of stuff that I'd love to read or re-read, and that's not likely to ever get reprinted, like Master of Kung Fu (and the Deadly Hands of Kung Fu magazine), Rom, Thriller, Marvel: The Lost Generation and so forth, and have them bound (so I don't have to deal with long-boxes and bags & boards). Oh, yeah, and magazines like Star*Reach and Epic Illustrated, and - especially - the complete run of Warren's Spirit Magazine, arguably the best format in which those stories were reprinted...

Doug said...

I'll confess to only having seen the show for a few minutes here and there.

As to my Holy Grail, it's already gone! The chase to attain a complete run of the Avengers ended 20 years ago, and the final sales of that run ended some months ago. So the run itself, as well as key issues like #s 1, 4, 16, 28, 57, etc. was a mission accomplished.

I've been thinking about an omnibus (actually it would probably be 2-3 volumes perhaps) for which I would immediately plunk down money. As I've been selling, one of the sad parts has been shipping off the various Giant-Size comics from Marvel's mid-70s titles. Avengers, FF, Amazing Spider-Man, Giant-Size Super-Heroes, Daredevil, Giant-Size Marvel Triple Action... all of these (well, almost all) have been sold. And I'd love to have them back in a collection! And I think such a collection should reprint those big books as-is, with the Golden- and Silver Age reprints intact. I guess for me, few things scream "Bronze Age!" like those Giant-Size books. I have a real sentimentality for them.

Doug

William said...

OMG! I got that same e-mail from the Comic Book Men casting department. The person who sent it said she had read some of my comics and liked them a lot. Which kind of blew my mind a bit, because I didn't think anyone really visited my site that I didn't tell about directly.

Speaking of which, if anyone is interested in checking out my site you can do so at the following link: http://www.billscomics.com/

A couple of years ago, I actually applied for the show, and to my surprise they wanted me to appear. (I was thinking of selling some original comic artwork that I own, most notably a Will Eisner sketch that I obtained when I took his class). Anyway, In order to be on the show, you have to pay for your own travel and expenses and I just couldn't swing it financially at the time. So I had to bow out.

As for my Holy Grail, just like Doug, I already obtained it, (and let it go). It was a complete run of Spider-Man comics. And not just Amazing Spider-Man, but pretty much every Spider-Man comic ever published. But I sold the collection a couple of years ago and used the money to put a down payment on my house. (Unfortunately my experience selling my collection wasn't as pleasant as Doug's). But that's a story I would rather forget.

Humanbelly said...

I haven't seen the show either, but am I correct that there's the vaguest ANTIQUES ROADSHOW vibe to it? At least in the rudimentary structure?
I dunno-- the older fellow w/ the Alan Moore-style beard does kinda rub me the wrong way-- seems to carry around an aura of autodisdain, as it were, and I've never been enamored of that mindset-- which does seem to have considerable representation amongst the fans and devotees of our sphere of interest.

(But now I sound like an elitist snob myself-- so don't give me too much notice)

Actually, one other odd holy grail for me would be to somehow acquire the entire (brief) run of Dell's MONKEES comic. I have one single coverless issue of it-- and it's an utter hoot! I would likely go to unusual lengths to get the rest of them. . .

HB

Dr. Oyola said...

I watched it once and between the opening segment being the female you think is the hottest, to them essentially bullying Ming Chen (I had to look up his name) I knew it was not for me.

As for holy grail comic item. . .? I want a complete run of Fast Willie Johnson, or Fantastic Four #48 thru $50 and/or #52. Oh! A complete run of Marston's original Wonder Woman comics.

In truth, I never spend more than $5 for a comic including shipping - no matter what it is.

Dr. Oyola said...

The above should read "female superhero you think is the hottest. . " I could not roll my eyes enough.

Edo Bosnar said...

Never watched the show, by the way, as it's not offered by any of the channels in the local equivalent of basic cable that I have. However, most of the commentary and reviews I've read seem to echo Osvaldo's, i.e., that the guys in the store can be really unpleasant, kind of like the comic book guy in the Simpsons.

david_b said...

Ehhh, I like the concept, watched it a half-dozen times. The personalities themselves all seem a bit toooo pompous for me.

As for holy grails.., much like HB I'd LOVE to have all those MMMS T-Shirts, just the ads I've always dreamed about.

My two main sought-after grails I've already gotten, the 1967 MMMS inflatable Spidey pillow and that 1973 Ideal Spiderman playset in my cube. I've got nearly all the vintage comics I could ever want, which isn't all that many. I'm pretty content in the 'holy grail' category.

Humanbelly said...

Gnnnrgh. I haven't had to scratch much more below the surface with CBM to come to the conclusion that, no, I really, REALLY don't like them/it/the show at all. For the most part, these guys come off as petty losers who are the kings of their own truly small, insignificant world-- and the strategy for dealing with the broader scope of humanity is to dismiss it as stupid and worthy only of disdain-- effectively judging themselves as superior to everyone/thing else before that judgment is otherwise laid upon them. These are exactly the kinds of LCS folks (other than the central manager guy, perhaps) that would have me exiting a store as quickly as possible and not coming back.

Granted, all of that may be about as "authentic" as any other reality-type show--- but I don't think these guys are actually solid enough actors to be creating anything like an entire personality-overlay on themselves, y'know? Ugh. It's just perpetuating the worst of our hobby's stereotypes.

Mind you-- and I've said this before-- EVERY darned hobby or pastime that thrives on collecting and arcana and minutia seems to attract this sort of fringe-o'-society type of personality. Remember when we were kids and Birdwatchers and Butterfly Hunters were perpetually portrayed as one-foot-in-the-nuthouse obsessives? And I've spoken before about the FIERCE passions that exist in rival camps of the trilobite-collecting community. Jack the Ripper-ologists have FOREVER been seemingly on the verge of committing his unspeakable crimes upon each other due to extreme disagreements over his likely true identity. We belonged to the Maryland Cage Bird Society for a couple of years, and while it was a lovely, lovely group of folks-- man, there were definitely a majority of "characters" on board at the time!

HB

Dr. Oyola said...

There was a one-off pilot for a show set at the store where I get my comics called "Comic Book Heroes" - I know it is available on streaming thru Netflix or Hulu or some other service.

I wrote a review here: https://themiddlespaces.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/comic-store-disappointment/

Dr. Oyola said...

I found the full episode on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi6vT-2p65A

Edo Bosnar said...

Thanks for the link, Osvaldo. I left a rather longish comment about the show on your site, under that now almost 3 year-old post...

david_b said...

Once again HB, you describe my feelings exactly on CBM (having the term men in the title is more 'poetic license' here, maturity-speaking), far better than I could once again.

As most of us have run into these types, I describe them as I used to describe an old girlfriend wishing to stay in her small local company than move up the ladder years ago.., pretty much 'big dogs in a small pound'.

Karen said...

Busy weekend, so I'll just say that regarding CBM, as Doug mentioned, it's not a show either of us watch, but I do know people who watch it, and we thought the opportunity to appear on it might be of interest to some of the readers here. We're willing to a chance sometimes with things we aren't necessarily fans of, whether in guest posts or through other avenues, because we know the community here has wide-ranging interests.

Redartz, I think the Strange Change Machine was kin to the Thing Maker, wasn't it? I recall my brother having one of those, with the hot metal plates (yes, what were they thinking?), and he would make all sorts of creepy rubber insects that he would then use to try to frighten my mother with. Oh for the days of lawn darts, easy bake ovens, wood-burning kits...

My comic collecting has really dropped off in recent years, especially once I got those DVD-ROMs of many of the major Marvel titles. I'm still grabbing up older issues of Thor. But it's not as much of a priority as it used to be. My husband is a statue collector, and he has gotten me some Hot Toys over the last few years. One I really wanted was the Bruce Lee Enter the Dragon figure, and he got that for me last Christmas, which stunned the heck out of me. So I don't know that I have a Holy Grail left. Actually, I'm starting to feel a little weighed down by everything!

BK said...

Ugh. The show gives me the creeps. Besides representing everything I dislike about the comic retail industry (a boys' club, locker-room mindset, with boorish unfunny fanboys sitting around bullying and pranking each other and obsessing over the dollar value of collectibles), the show is creakily-produced, with obviously- and awkwardly-staged scenes and collectible appraisals, complete with pointless minor celebrity appearances. Why are these 5 man-children hanging around an empty, ugly-looking comic shop in New Jersey? The whole thing is mind-bogglingly offensive and makes me embarrassed to be a comic reader and collector. Add to this the involvement of Kevin Smith, who I have never been able to understand the appeal of, and you have a steaming pile of unwatchable pablum.

I really think AMC took a serious misstep when they scheduled this after Walking Dead. I understand the thinking behind the decision: "WD is based on a comic and draws comics fans, and the after-show, Talking Dead, is fannish and full of pop culture references, so why not make the whole night comic book themed by adding a show about an actual comic shop and the hunt for collectibles?" I wouldn't be surprised if Comic Book Men has turned off as many people as WD has turned on to the world of comics.

As for my own grail items? I am still a casual collector and regular buyer of new and older comics and related ephemera. These days I fantasize about collecting more original art, rare Canadian Golden Age comics, old toys, and Victorian/Platinum Age books.

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