Kevin Smith and his merry men of Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Michael Zapcic, and Ming Chen, are back again for a new season of ‘Comic Book Men’. This time around, episodes are shorter, the season is longer, and the content is zanier! I mean, maybe. I’ve only seen one episode (and a sneak peek at New York Comic Con), so I’m just taking a wild guess. And with a new season, you get new recaps from yours truly. AKA there are spoilers here if you haven’t seen the episode yet. Proceed with caution. You have been warned.
The episode opened with the trademark banter of the Stash staff. When Ming asked the guys if they ever pretended to be superheroes when they were younger. Mike said that pretended to be Aquaman when he was a kid, and he even pretended to talk to fish. “Pretend to be Aquaman and those are the only people who’d talk to you,” said Bryan. Now I’m picturing little Aqua-Mike hanging out on a playground talking to a fishbowl. Poor little guy.
The first customer of season 2 came into the Stash bearing Megos, which Kevin says are “like joints. You can’t not enjoy it”. This guy had Megos of Spider-Man, Human Torch, and Mr. Mxyzptlk, who’s the least intimidating villain ever according to Bryan. Robert Bruce was hanging out at the shop and was available to price the dolls. The customer settled for $350 for all 3, which made Walt a happy man.
Ming has an idea to throw birthday parties at the store for kids. Walt is hesitant at first, but comes around to the idea when he and Mike realize that the little kid versions of themselves would have loved to have their birthday parties at a comic book store. I too would have loved to have a party in a comic book store. Not that there was anything wrong with DZ: Discovery Zone, but I’ve loved superheroes all my life and a Stash Bash, as these parties were called, would’ve been right up my ally.
Another customer enters the Stash looking to sell a Darth Vader helmet display from a toy store that was used to promote ‘The Phantom Menace’ toys. He’s looking to get rid of it to make his future wife happy, although he insists that she isn’t making him get rid of it. Not entirely sure if I believe that story 100% because I know I wouldn’t get rid of something like that unless someone made me. Regardless, as a wedding present, Walt says that he’ll pay $200 for the display so that they can hang it in their store. The couple agrees and they go happily into their giant Darth Vader helmet-less existence.
The last customer of this episode was looking to buy the Legion of Superheroes Clubhouse 12 pack. While inquiring about price, she has some great Legion talk with Mike and Walt. After showing their love for the Legion of Superheroes, she agrees to splurge and buy the set. Before leaving, Walt asks if she needs a job because he “hasn’t been this stimulated mentally in a while”.
Finally, the day arrives for the very first Stash Bash. After letting the kids in, Ming and Mike supervise a game of “Pin the Tail on Mr. Ming”, while Walt, who is an accomplished artist in his own right, does some half-assed face painting for the kids. But those activities only kept the little monsters busy for so long before they started tearing up some of the store’s merchandise. All seemed lost until Bryan arrived as 4 Color the Comic Book Clown! While not exactly the best at balloon animals, he was certainly entertaining. Normally, big, burly, and bearded Bryan Johnson intimidates me, but whenever they show him with kids, he’s just a big teddy bear. And then he starts making fun of Ming, and everything is back to normal.
In the end, the Stash Bash only made about $350 in profits. Although Ming caught some flack from Kevin and Walt for the failed scheme, Bryan uncharacteristically sided with Ming and said, “If the currency was smiles, you made a million bucks.” At least someone was thinking of the children.
Overall, I liked the episode, despite being a little disappointed that I can’t have my next birthday party at the Secret Stash. At first, when Bryan came into the store dressed as a clown, I was getting visions of ‘Vulgar’, the film produced by Kevin and directed by Bryan about a birthday party clown who tries to put his life back together after being gang-raped. Thank God things didn’t get as dark as all that, but I did still find humor in Johnson dressing up as a clown.
I’m also a fan of the shortened episodes. Not to say that I disliked the episodes of season one, but this episode flowed better and was more concise in my opinion.
Check back again next week for another recap of everyone’s favorite comic book store reality show on AMC (as if there’s another one)! Also, keep an eye out for my interview with the guys from New York Comic Con, which should go live this week at some point.