First of all, I’d like to apologize for missing the last episode of ‘Comic Book Men’ and not providing a recap for it. I got caught up in other things and it just slipped my mind. It’s a shame too because I liked the episode very much and am anticipating the debut issue of ‘The Cryptozoic Men’, the five-issue mini-series created by the staff of the Stash. But now onto the new episode of Kevin Smith’s comic book store reality show. In the last episode before the season finale, business is booming, but when they are met with some down time, Mike, Ming, Walt, and Bryan decide to play a little game of Comic Charades.
The first customer of the episode brings in a 2007 Megatron G-1 reissue action figure. This version of the Decepticon is the one that transforms into a gun. Before they start the negotiations, he talks about how it’s banned because it resembles a real gun. If a store were to sell it, they would have to open it, place an orange stopper in the barrel, and then reseal the package before putting it on the shelves. For this basically illegal toy, this guy says that he’s looking for $250. Walt offers $100, but then dwells on the potential troubles that could arise from selling the toy in the shop. Also, the potential street cred that could be gained from selling the “contraband”. The highest that Walt could offer is $120. Despite only paying $80 for it in a pretty shady manner, he still can’t let it go for that cheap.
The guys talk for a moment about Spider-Man’s one true love: Mary Jane Watson or Gwen Stacy. Mike and Walt then go off on a tangent about Gwen, who happens to be Peter Parker’s one and only, in my opinion. Her story and her end is, to this day, one of the most tragic tales in all of comic book history. But then, Mike went and brought up “Sins Past”, the storyline that retconned Gwen Stacy’s history to include her cheating on Peter while she studied abroad in France with Norman Osborn. Even though writer J. Michael Straczynski has said before that he regretted the way that things played out, no matter how much people complain about the ‘One More Day’ or ‘Superior Spider-Man’ storylines, ‘Sins Past’ will forever be the worst thing to happen to Spider-Man in the character’s long and storied career in my eyes.
Before the next customer comes in, we find that Walt called in Anthony Snyder, a renowned comic book art dealer. When the customer arrives, he presents a sketch from 1975 of Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, drawn by George Perez, a living legend in the world of comic book art known for his work on ‘Avengers’, ‘Crisis On Infinite Earths’, and ‘New Teen Titans’. Kevin reveals that Walt is a huge fan of Perez, so this sale is quite the big deal to him. Anthony prices the piece at $250, the customer says that he’s looking for $200, but Walt offers $175. After very little contemplation, they settle on the price and The Stash is the new home of a lovely George Perez original.Another topic that the guys mull over is the most overrated superheroes. Much to Walt’s surprise, Mike says that the Fantastic Four are quite overrated. Walt says that without them, there would be no Marvel Universe, to which Mike responds by saying that they’ve been coasting ever since. I haven’t checked out the new Marvel NOW title for Marvel’s First Family by Matt Fraction (who is doing amazing work on ‘Hawkeye’) yet, but I’m inclined to agree with Mike. I was pretty uninterested in most things going on in and around the Baxter Building after a certain point and found that there was more hype than substance. Again, things could have changed with Fraction’s new book, but before the relaunch, I just wasn’t interested in anything F4 related, especially after they killed the Human Torch.
Rather than looking to sell something, a new customer comes in with the intentions of finding some treasure. She approaches Walt’s alter looking for first appearance of Batgirl, ‘Detective Comics’ #359. Walt tells Ming to take the book off the wall, but when he has to ask the issue number, Bryan scoffs at the fact that she knows more about Batgirl than Ming does even though he works in a comic book store. The customer shares that she had surgery a while back to address a health scare. During her recovery period, she reread her old comics and fell in love with Barbra Gordon’s heroic alter ego. Walt is looking for $375 initially, but they settle on $340 after some haggling. Kevin asks if the sympathetic tale had any effect on the negotiations and Walt says yes, that’s often the case. However, Bryan points out that they only took less than 10% off, so it couldn’t have affected the process that much.
Since the store is a bit slow, Ming asks Walt if he could go home early. As an alternative, Walt suggests that they all play a little game of comic book charades. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and it looked pretty fun. In fact, as I was watching, I wanted to join in as well.
Finally, the last customer of the episode is Monster Bill, an old friend of Walt’s that brings in a Bride of Frankenstein model kit by Aurora. According to Bill, this is the most sought after monster model kit. Bill is looking for $1500, but that’s a bit high for Walt. Monster Bill takes them out to his Monster Van to maybe sweeten the pot with the other items he has. Walt finds a four pack of models featuring some classic monsters. This item looks like a winner for Walt, so after some back and forth action, they agree on $175 with the promise that they’d build them together.
Over the past few episodes, I’ve been complaining about the content of the episodes. A large number of shows in the second part of this season felt like they were just whatever was leftover from the shoots thrown together, with a few exceptions here and there. However, despite also containing a hodge-podge of segments like some episodes prior, this episode was a lot of fun. It could have been that everything that they were talking about managed to strike a chord with me this week, and everything they did talk about was something that did I like. So really, I don’t know what it was, but there was something about this particular episode that just sat right with me when the credits rolled.
A few things that may have elevated this episode over the other ones that I didn’t like as much could include A) the inclusion of more Mike Zapcic and his seemingly endless knowledge B) Gwen Stacy, who I love C) Heat Miser and Snow Miser D) George Perez. No matter what it was, I found this particular episode of ‘Comic Book Men’ to be very entertaining, which is totally a good thing because that gives the show much needed momentum going into the season finale next week.
Well, that’s it for this recap of AMC’s ‘Comic Book Men’. Make sure to check back next week for a new recap of the season finale airing this Thursday at 10:00pm. Until then, feel free to go back and check out my past recaps and our other ‘Comic Book Men’ related articles.