It looks as if Ming Chen is getting a lot of air time in this season of ‘Comic Book Men.’ After getting the chance to run the store last week, he takes the initiative once again and tries to get rid of the overstock in the Stash’s basement by participating in Red Bank, New Jersey’s annual sidewalk sale. Before we get into the impending rise of the Ming Dynasty, let’s recap this week’s episode first.
The show opened with Price Guide Bingo with Walt & Ming. Bryan guesses a comic’s value that Walt doesn’t get right, so he says that he’ll be spending 8 hours with the price guide with “just a soda break and a potty chair” when he gets home. Now that’s a great image.
The customer with cigar smoke-damaged books from a previous episode returns to the shop but he comes back with something smoke-free (and with some muscle to back him up). He has a whole display of ‘Superman Kryptonite Rocks’ from 1977. They were released back in the day at the height of the pet rock craze. Rob Bruce is called in to aid Walt in pricing this particular item. He says that individually he’s seen Superman’s weakness go for $20-30, but maybe $400 for a whole display. Walt offers $500, but the customer wants $1000. They settle on $600 and Bryan calls the item some “’Citizen Kane rosebud shit” for Kevin.
After taking inventory of the stock in the basement, Ming suggests that the Secret Stash takes part in the Red Bank Sidewalk Sale, which the store has only participated once in it’s history of existence. Walt agrees when Ming says that he’ll take care of it all.
Another customer comes into the shop looking for ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ #1.’ The Stash has a 3rd printing of it in stock, to the delight of the young man who wants it to start a real collection with this book. Walt pulls out #2, 3, and 4 instead because they’re first printings that are high grades, which is a much better investment. As Walt said, “Spend less but get more.” In a great deal, the customer walks away with a great ‘TMNT’ starting collection starting lot for $150 for the 3 books instead of getting the #1 at $85.
Back at the sidewalk sale, Walt looks on at Ming who’s selling comics at $2.99 per pound.
A new patron enters the establishment with a copy of ‘Superman vs. Muhammad Ali’ from 1978. Mike reveals that he was “frothing at the mouth” for this to come out back in the day. Kevin notes that Muhammad Ali may be the most popular athlete ever, but someone brings up Michael Jordan, who was so popular that he appeared with the Looney Tunes in the classic film, ‘Space Jam.’ Kevin said, “When you become so good at your sport, you get to play with cartoons.” Mike has seen it at $160 in the past, but the customer is looking for $120. Walt offers $40 due to the condition of the book and the customer agrees.
Ming is trying very hard to push comics at the sale, but things were going slow. Then an idea strikes him. He goes back into the basement and constructs the Wheel of Comics! An excellent sales technique that boasts, “Spin the wheel and win fabulous prizes” like 10% off a purchase, a free book, and more. Many pedestrians have piqued interests now that this awesome opportunity has been erected at the Secret Stash table.
The final customer of this episode comes in carrying the non-altered versions of the ‘Star Wars’ trilogy on Laser disc. He boasts having every version of the trilogy ever released, however, he’s getting rid of this one because he no longer has the means to watch it. He’s looking for $100 for the set, which causes Walt to protest and rightfully so. Though they’re hard to find, no one has laser disc anymore. They strike a deal that involves answering two questions. If the customer gets them right, the set goes to the Stash for $60. If not, he gets Walt’s price. He got the first one wrong because he didn’t know what the TIE in “TIE fighter” stood for, which lead to Walt paying only $5 for ‘A New Hope’. Epic fail, sir. Nice try though.
After a long day of sidewalk saling, Ming made a grand total of $90 from selling a bunch of stuff that would’ve otherwise stayed in the basement. Kevin praises Ming for his hard work, despite him not even making his daily salary in sales.
That wraps this week’s episode of ‘Comic Book Men.’ It’s interesting to see Ming take a larger role in this season, but what about Mike Zapcic? Will he get some episodes where he’s the center of attention this season? Or Bryan Johnson? Will we get more stories from the ‘Tell Em, Steve Dave’ host besides the witty remarks from the corner. I like Ming, but hopefully we’ll see the spotlight shift a bit in the remaining episodes of the season.