It’s not out of the ordinary for the employees of Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash to deal with superheroes. After all, every day they must sell tons of comics, trades, toys, and apparel featuring the likenesses of the greatest superheroes the medium has to offer. But in the most recent episode of AMC’s ‘Comic Book Men’, it’s Walt, Bryan, Mike, and Ming who are the real heroes when someone in their lives is in need of someone to save the day.Before the heroics begin, the show starts with an odd but rare item. Walt is presented with some He-Man animation cells from the original cartoon. The customer is looking for $700, but seeing as he doesn’t know too much about this sort of thing, Walt calls in Rob Bruce to help out. After some Brucean knowledge is dropped, Rob determines that at retail the solo shot of Prince Adam would go for about $175 and the group shot, which was likely used as a reference piece by the animators, would probably go $300. Walt offers $200 and after a bit of hesitation, they make the deal. They definitely aren’t the usual sorts of thing that the Stash deals with, but the cells were certainly some cool items.
After the sale, Walt informs the staff (and Bryan) that Gary Conover, a longtime customer of the Stash since it first opened, needs to sell his massive comic book collection because of health bills that need to be paid. Before they could conceive an idea of how to best sell these books to help Gary, the guys look through a sampling from the collection. In that one box, Mike, Walt, and Ming found such key books as ‘Iron Man’ #1, ‘Daredevil’ #1, and ‘Avengers’ #4, which was the first appearance of Captain America in the Silver Age. Based on the preview of the collection, they all agree that they can definitely help their friend sell these books.
In one of their trademark tangents, the guys discuss the Lucasfilm sale to Disney. Walt jokingly says that rather than bring back any of the old cast, they should just reboot the whole thing by remaking the Trilogy. When asked who he’d cast, he said that Justin Bieber should be Luke Skywalker. Bryan chimes in by saying that it should be rated NC-17 and that Luke and Leia should have sex before they find out that they’re brother and sister. Like Ming, I, too, was shaking my head at the idea. I know that Walt and Bryan were just messing with Ming, but I’m not too sure that I’d dig a ‘Game of Thrones’-esque version of ‘Star Wars’.
A customer comes in looking for ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #300, the first appearance of Venom. When asked why the fondness for the symbiotic villain, the customer said that he relates to Venom because he wanted to do good, but he’s tempted to stray away from the right thing. When it comes time for the sale, Walt doesn’t budge too much on the ticket price, so it sells for $90, which is more than a fair price for that issue, I’d say.
Back at the Conover residence, Mike and Ming dig into Gary’s collection, which ends up being about 72 boxes containing comics that date back to 1956. After seeing the full scope of what they’re dealing with, the Comic Book Men decide to hold their own auction instead of bringing the collection to an auction house in order to give 100% of the profits to Gary. Kevin says that it’s a Batman move by the guys because they’re concerned about helping the cause in the best possible way. In addition to the auction, there’s talk of other things that they could sell or offer to make the event an even bigger hit and the idea of Walt Flanagan cosplaying came up. That’s not something that I ever thought I’d be talking about, but I was sure as hell excited to see it.
Another customer comes in with a Captain Kirk action figure signed by William Shatner. Walt is only interested because it’s signed since it’s not an original figure, but rather a rerelease from 1999. The guy is looking for $150, but goes down to $110 to seal the deal. Walt brings up that the best thing to come out of this sale was that they discovered that Ming does a mean Captain Kirk impression. Literally, as Ming made fun of Mike for liking ‘Star Trek’ in a Captain Kirk voice.
The final customer of the episode brings in a poster-sized recreation of ‘Superman’ #13 in an attempt to find out more about it. Rob Bruce was like Sherlock Holmes with this one as he deduced from a zip code on the piece when the item was made before revealing that it’s a reprinted piece of work. The original is worth about $5000, but this one is only worth about $40. Walt wants it to hang up in the shop and offers $50 because it looks cool, but no dice. The customer walks out a little defeated.
The day of the auction finally arrives in Asbury Park, NJ in the same place where Kevin had shot the convention scenes in ‘Chasing Amy’. Before the festivities commence, a special announcement is played for everyone in attendance from Stan Lee! The living legend says that there are five gems hidden among the lot that are signed by Stan himself. During the montage of the comics being sold, we get a few quick glances of Walt dressed as the Martian Manhunter. Definitely a highlight of the episode for me. After the dust settled on the auction, they raised a grand total of $27,935 for Gary Conover’s hospital bills. Before the gang signs off for the week, Kevin says that it’s uncharacteristic of any of them to care about anyone, so this act of kindness meant all the more coming from Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Mike Zapcic, and Ming Chen.
In my recap of the last episode, ‘Stash-teroids’, I said that the episode felt like filler. This latest episode is definitely a step up from the last one, and on top of that, it was really great to see the guys take care of their longtime customer and friend like that. It was a nice reminder that the comic book community needs to be more like a family and willing to help each other out once in a while because if they don’t support each other, then no one will. Well done, ‘Comic Book Men’, for your acts of kindness and valor.
That’s it for this week’s recap of ‘Comic Book Men’. Make sure to check back next week for a new recap of the latest episode. Until then, feel free to go back and check out my past recaps and our other ‘Comic Book Men’ related articles.