Because AMC knows that there wasn’t nearly enough on last week’s episode, this week’s episode opens with Ming talking about the zombie apocalypse. Walt thinks that everyone would just get used to it and that people would only have to kill a zombie every now and then. Bryan asks Ming what he’d do if he came to work and there was a zombie Mike behind the counter. Ming says that he’d put Mike out of his misery, but Bryan asks how he’d know that the zombies were miserable. Ming assumes that’s how it is, and then Bryan says that in his own case you’d know since he says he’s miserable all the time.
In the studio for the podcast, Kevin asks the guys if they had to put together a superhero outfit for themselves, what would it include? Kevin says that he already wears a costume basically, which is pretty true. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen him without a hockey jersey and shorts. Mike would want to wear a suit and a mask. Very classy. Walt wants shroud, then goes into extreme detail as to what else his outfit would include. Clearly he’s thought of this before.
Now in the Stash, Walt walks up to the guys and suggests that they take part in a comic book convention at an Elks Club in Howell, NJ on their day off to make some money for the store. Kevin then shares fond memories of the Elks Club cons that he’s been to and mentions the distinct aroma of the building. Walt says that that smell is the smell of America.
Bryan starts planting the idea of taking Walt’s spot in the hierarchy of the Stash in Mike’s head when a customer walks in with an Avengers 30th anniversary lithograph signed by George Pérez, who Walt says can make any costume, no matter how ridiculous, look badass. The customer is selling the piece to try to get to the San Diego Comic Con this year. The gang talks about how back in 1995, Stan Lee was the most famous person at the con, but now all of Hollywood comes out to the Mecca of Pop Culture. Mike says that he can’t put out an offer on behalf of the store, but he buys the poster for himself for $130.
The day of the con has arrived and the guys start packing up merchandise to sell. They start packing up some Kevin Smith/View Askew stuff, comics, t-shirts, a Boba Fett backpack (that I might have to go to the Stash and buy myself), and other various items. Once they fit as much as they could in their mini van, they hit the road. In the van, they talk about hypothetical superhero battles, including Mr. Fantastic vs Plastic Man and Ant-man vs. The Atom.
A customer comes in looking to get a few things priced. The first item he puts before the guys is Punisher #2 from 1986. Mike brings up how he doesn’t like The Punisher because he’s a “murdering scumbag”. Surprised by Mike’s statement, a mini-debate is sparked as to whether or not Punisher is a hero. As a compromise, Mike says that he’s an anti-hero, and they get back to the sale. The book is in poor condition. If it was in mint condition, Mike says that it would be $50, but in the condition it’s in $2-$3 tops. The next item that the customer breaks out is a photocopy of the original character sketch of the punisher by John Romita, Sr. Walt offers $10 for both, but the customer isn’t into it and leaves.
Back on the road, Walt starts a ‘Star Wars’ vs. ‘Star Trek’ discussion, pitting Ming versus Mike. He tells them to form a team for each side and they’d decide who was superior. Mike assembles Spock, Kirk, Data, and Worf to face Ming’s team of Luke Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, and Boba Fett. Walt rules that as villains, Vader and Boba would betray their team, causing the ‘Star Wars’ team to lose. They arrive at the lodge and walk into the Elks Club, but the con was cancelled without informing them.
Bryan asks Walt if Kevin called and said a superhero wanted to work at the Stash, who would be acceptable? Walt says no to Aquaman and Batman, whose broody nature makes him a “more muscular Bryan” apparently, but he says yes to Green Lantern since when the ring is off, he’s a normal guy. Walt settles on Superman as a final answer when a customer comes in with a Catwoman Barbie from the Halle Berry film. The guys talk about their favorite Catwomen, like Lee Meriwether, Eartha Kitt, and Michelle Pfiffer. Ming says that he has no problem with the newer Catwoman, despite the similarities to a dominatrix, and he would give the doll to his daughter. The gang points out that Ming’s logic is super flawed, and Kevin says that that isn’t the first image of Catwoman that he’d want to give to his daughter. The customer is looking for $50, but Ming offers $5. The highest Ming goes is $10 and she says that she’ll take it just to get out of there. Now that Ming has a questionable present for his daughter, Walt is curious to see how that will play out.
After the con was a bust, the guys go to a diner. Mike talks about how their current surroundings remind him of ‘Superman 2’, where The Man of Steel loses his powers to be with Lois, and they go to a diner after making love. Walt wants to salvage the day, so Mike suggests checking out the newspaper to see if there’s any garage sales in the area.
Kevin says that they all have items that they desperately want to be a part of their collections. Bryan talks about an Evel Knievel toy that he had in the 70s. He tried to find it one day online and it was about $300. He decided against getting it. Kevin said that the way Bryan described it was the way that poets describe women, yet he wouldn’t shell out the dough for it. Bryan said he’d rather stay sad.
A customer comes in with a Ninja Claw figure from the movie ‘Commando’. Mike says that a common misconception is that just because something is rare doesn’t mean that it’s valuable. Kevin talks about how toy manufacturers extend the line by creating toys that weren’t even in the movies, which they believe to be why they don’t recall Arnold facing any ninjas in ‘Commando’. The customer is looking for $200, but says that the lowest he’d go is $100. Walt says that the highest he’d do is $25, and since the customer needs the money, he accepts Walt’s offer.
At the garage sale, Mike, Walt, and Ming go directly for the comics. Kevin says that the garage sale is the safest time machine there is, considering that there’s no chance that you can go back in time and make out with your hot, young mom. (‘Back to the Future’ references are always a win in my book.) The comics are $2 each, so they look through all of them to see if there are any gems to pick up for the stash. They come across Superman #168 and Mystery in Space #85, as well as a bunch of other books. Bryan finds some Mego Action figures, which are super rare and very sought after by collectors that are $5 each. Their whole haul was $105, but they’re likely to make way more than that when they sell them at the Stash.
A customer comes in with a Superman poster from 1977 by George Stavrinos, who was mostly known for fashion illustrations. When asked what’s so special about it, the customer gives some more back-story on Stavrinos, the homoerotic influence on the piece, and “the most rendered crotch in the history of Superman history”. The customer wants $2500, and Walt turns it down flat. The customer also has a replica Batman cowl from the Adam West series that was designed from the specs of the original production’s costume designer. The customer wants $1000, but Walt points out that there’s no way to prove authenticity, so he offers $350. They settle on $600, and Bryan puts it on and looks rather dashing. Walt tells Kevin that he did some research on the Superman poster after the customer left. He said that it was still available for $35 online and wasn’t by George Stavrinos. It was actually by Drew Struzan, who did the art for many movie posters, including the one for ‘Mallrats’.
Robert Bruce comes into the shop and the gang shows off what they got at the garage sale. He says the figures can go for $25 each. He then goes through all the comics and prices them as well, but notices the Frankenstein toy that Bryan picked up randomly for his bike. It ends up being worth something because it was a rare toy known as a Bike Buddy from 1964. Rob saw one go for $800 in the 90s, but that one was mint in the box. He offers Bryan $150 for it, which he accepts right away.
That’s it for my recap of episode 5 of ‘Comic Book Men’. Feel free to go back and read all the other recaps, including the one for last week’s episode, to prepare for next week’s season finale!