As I hinted in my last recap of ‘Comic Book Men’, the great Stan Lee pays the Secret Stash a visit in this episode. Understandably so, the whole staff is wide-eyed and excited for the figurehead of Marvel Comics to make an appearance in their humble store for a photo shoot. And then, from his normal spot in the corner like Statler and Waldorf from ‘The Muppet Show’, Bryan Johnson chimes in bringing Walt, Mike, and Ming back down to Earth with some friendly ribs.
Before the most popular man in comics gets his airtime, a customer comes in with one of the most popular comics in modern times. This guy walks in and presents Walt with a first run edition of ‘The Walking Dead’ #1. In the past, a high-graded copy of the book has gone for up to $10,000 because the first run was limited to less than 8,000 copies. Due to the popularity of the comics (because of the hit AMC show), this particular book is very sought after. The seller is looking to get rid of it because he wants to start a photography business so he’s looking for about $2000. Walt, who really wants the book, offers $250. After some back and forth, $450 is as high as Walt can go. When the guy asks for $500 and gets denied, he decides that he can’t do it and walks away leaving Walt a little bummed out.
Next, in the spirit of Stan Lee, another customer comes in with an ‘Incredible Hulk’ #6 from 1963 looking to get $500 for it. Walt discovers that there’s a rip on the front cover and a stain on the back cover, so the price goes down considerably. They settle at $215 and everybody’s happy.
The Stash has been chosen to be the location for a charity photo shoot featuring Stan Lee, so preparations are being made for the comic icon’s arrival. The guys run down Stan’s creations, but realize that they’d be there for a while if they continued. When Stan arrives, he first meets Ming at the door. When he meets the rest of the crew, he shakes their hands and playfully calls them “hostile looking guys” before getting into full photo shoot mode.
Back in the podcasting booth, Kevin comments that Stan “created the characters that fueled the imagination” while Walt calls Stan the “cool Walt Disney”. Whereas girls traditionally flocked to Disney princesses, boys flocked to Marvel superheroes in terms of merchandise and the like. So it’s no surprise that Disney actually ended up acquiring the comic book publisher in 2009, thus finally possessing the market they’ve long targeted with little success. Of course, boys and girls alike enjoy Marvel’s heroes today, but it wasn’t too long ago when it was more common to find boys with action figures and comics and girls with dresses and tiaras.
The last customer of the episode comes in with quite the Golden Age comic: ‘Planet Comics’ #1 from Fiction House. Rob Bruce says that he’s seen the book go for up to $35,000, and it’s in great condition. However, it’s the Canadian edition of the book, which meant that it’s not actually what it seems to be. Actually, it was mostly a reprint of ‘Planet Comics’ #62. Rob says $250 is a good asking price, but they settle on $115 after the customer is a little more than bummed at how the Canadians played him like that. After all is said and done, Walt sees that Rob is interested in it, but he says that he has to ask Mrs. Bruce first. Walt and Ming accuse him of being whipped, and Rob comes right back saying that they’re just as bad.
Back at the photo shoot, Stan’s posing for pictures for the photographer while Walt, Ming, and Mike are taking pictures with their phones. During some down town, the guys ask Stan a few questions since it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to have time to talk to this man in person. Walt is literally wide-eyed the whole time. The first question Walt asks pertains to who would really win in a Thor vs. Hulk fight. While Stan gives his answer, Walt, Ming, and Mike immediately sit down like a kindergarten class attentively listening to their teacher at story time. To shake things up a bit, Bryan asks Stan for love advice. Then the topic switches to Captain Stacy’s death in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ #90. Stan says “when [Captain Stacy] was dying, that was one of the most dramatic panels in comics”. It’s hard to argue that.
Reflecting on the day’s “marvelous” events, Kevin calls Stan a living legend and the modern day Mark Twain before expressing how jealous he was of the guys and how he wished that he was working there that day.
Overall, I was just immensely jealous that these guys were fortunate enough to spend some personal time with the great Stan Lee. Like many comic book fans, I would have killed for the opportunity to talk to Stan one on one because the man has had such an impact on my life. One thing that I think could have improved the show would have been reference to Stan’s former collaborations with Kevin. For example, when Bryan asked about love advice, I was half expecting a ‘Mallrats’ reference there, which would have been really cool. Now, I’m not just saying that because ‘Mallrats’ is one of my favorite films, but a few more nods to other Kevin Smith works would have been cool. I mean, they alluded to the fact that Bryan directed ‘Vulgar’, despite not mentioning it by name or what it was about. I’m very envious of these guys, but I guess that just means that I need to have my own successful TV show in order to converse with the father of my favorite heroes. One day…
That does it for the first part of Season 2 of ‘Comic Book Men’. When the show comes back in February, make sure to catch it in it’s new time slot on it’s new night. The first episode of the second half of the season premieres on Thursday, February 14th at 9:00pm. If the wait is just too unbearable for you, be sure to go back and read my other recaps to tide you over until this mid-season hiatus concludes. And since the episode premieres on Valentine’s Day, maybe we’ll get to see Mike & Ming’s honeymoon after “getting married” earlier this season.