Ask and you shall receive! In my recap of ‘The Sidewalk Stash’, last week’s episode of ‘Comic Book Men’, I wondered if we’d get any episodes this season that centered around the seemingly all-knowing comic guru Mike Zapcic because we’ve been getting a lot of Ming-centric episodes this season. Well, this week we saw Ming and Bryan Johnson help Mike as he prepared for a 5K Zombie run for a charity started by Kevin Smith called The Wayne Foundation, which aims to eliminate human trafficking, child prostitution, and child sex exploitation. Though he may not be in the best shape for this, it’s quite the noble mission that Mike and his sidekick/partner in crime, Ming, choose to take on.
Before we get to the super 80s training montage (Yes, there is one but not yet.), a customer comes in with a baseball autographed by the cast of the 1966 Batman television show. Signed by the likes of Art Carney, Adam West, Burt Ward, Yvonne Craig, and more, Walt and Mike had never seen anything like this. Moreover, they were intrigued by it and desired to have it. Not knowing where to start on pricing, they summoned the “Batman of useless facts”, Robert Bruce, who prices it at around $350 based on the obscurity of the item and the number of cast members who had signed the ball. Walt and the customer settle pretty quickly on $250 & a Secret Stash t-shirt. That had to be the quickest sale on ‘Comic Book Men’ history.
The focus switches back to Mike and Ming’s 5k Zombie Run, which takes place in Pittsburgh, the birthplace of the zombie genre per George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’. Johnson offers to help Mike train for the event, despite being wildly unqualified to do so.
Another customer enters the store peddling an unopened box of Batman cereal from 1989 that surprisingly survived his collegiate years. Walt purchased the item for $25 to reside in the Stash permanently as a conversation piece. After trying to remember what the cereal tastes like on the podcast (I believe Kevin said they were similar to Cap’n Crunch), Walt brings up that Ming knows what they taste like as he sampled a bowl of the 23 year old cereal. Unsurprisingly, it was very stale.
Before Mike gets to show off his physical prowess in the race, he flexes his intellectual muscles when another customer comes in with a copy of ‘Sheena, Queen of the Jungle’ #2, which was drawn by W. Morgan Thomas aka Will Eisner. Mike explained that Eisner worked under different names to make it appear like he had more creators working for him than he actually did. Despite the fun fact that came up because of this item, the condition it was in lead to Walt declining the purchase. However, instead of selling the comic, Walt gives the customer $5 to do the “gremlin walk” out the door. Yeah, I was just as confused watching it as I’m sure the staff was as it was happening.
As the race approached, Bryan explained his qualifications for being Mike’s trainer: He’s seen people who are fit, talked to people who are fit, and seen ‘Rocky 3’ twice. Then we get the almighty training montage featuring the scenic Jersey Shore (not the crappy, MTV version of it)! My favorite part had to be Mike weaving through the stacks of comics in the store. If only working out was that fun for everybody…
The final customer of the episode brought in something that had the guys royally marking out. Before them sat ‘House of Secrets’ #92, a landmark issue for Swamp Thing, who Mike and Walt are huge fans of. The customer wants $350, but walks away when Walt offers $300, leaving the Stash staff sulking.
The big day has arrived and Mike and Ming are ready to run for their lives from zombies and through a grueling obstacle course. At the start of the race, Mike hits the wall a few minutes in and slows down before things get super difficult. Bryan notices the pace of his boys slowing, so he follows them and emerges from the forest like a Sasquatch wielding limbs to throw at his compatriots. “You hit me in the head with a severed hand,” exclaims Ming. Though I just described the scene in the most verbose way I could have, it was pretty hilarious to see Ming get nailed in the head with a hand.
When the dust cleared and all was said and done, they make it to the end and they survived. No zombie Mike and Ming, as seen in season one episode ‘Zombies.’ And to top it all off, they raised $1100 for the Wayne Foundation. Though it was a rewarding experience, Mike stated that he would not do it again. I don’t blame you there, sir.
Another week, another episode of ‘Comic Book Men’ in the history books. Check back next week for a recap of next week’s episode right here on ScienceFiction.com!
‘Comic Book Men’ airs Sundays at 11:30pm ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Talking Dead’ on AMC.