While attending the Winter Series Showcase at the Paley Center in Los Angeles last night, I was also treated to the pilot episode of ‘Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest,’ which is basically a series showcasing Mark Hamill’s nerdy collector’s side where he visits other collectors to see their merchandise and talk shop. It is a fascinating show, and the production value alone makes it look like it is something that might have come from network TV or at least basic cable, it just looks that well made.
The pilot episode has Mark going to visit DC comics headquarters, where of course they love him after his years of doing the voice of the Joker, and in particular Mark wants to meet with Jim Lee, who has a collection of toys (from designs that he himself drew of course), and Mark is going to try to convince Jim to draw an original Joker for him. While visiting the offices, Mark is also given access to the DC Vault, a treasure trove of DC Comics collectibles featuring first edition comics, first appearances of classic characters (Superman, Batman, Robin, etc), alternate endings to famous comics (i.e. we saw the alternate ending to ‘A Death in the Family’ where Jason Todd lives). It was pretty amazing, and in the end, Mark does get that Joker drawing, and Jim Lee draws it on camera, and it is pretty astounding to watch the man work, and in return for his skills, all he wants is for Hamill to record a voice-mail message for him as the Joker, which Mark easily agrees to, bragging that he completed the voice-mail in one take and without any rehearsals, and that he clearly got the better end of that deal.
In the Q&A, Mark Hamill is immensely entertaining, showing off his fanboy side and connecting with those in the audience in a fun way, especially for those of us (including yours truly) who still cannot stop looking at him and thinking of him as Luke Skywalker. According to his stories he is also exceptionally nice to all of his fans on the street, so much so that his kids have said on occasional that ‘he’s so phony” (his words), which he laughed about. When talking about the title of the show he claimed that he almost called it ‘Show Me Your Stuff” which made the audience laugh, and he talked about how he loves collecting but the show allows him to fulfill that collecting desire without actually having to take anything home, saving him on storage. He also commented that while filming the show he noticed that oftentimes the collectors themselves are more fascinating than the actual collections, and that his ability to connect with these people is one his favorite aspects of doing ‘Pop Culture Quest.’ And yes, there was one ‘Star Wars’ related question during the night, when someone asked who would win in a fight, Luke Skywalker or the Joker, but Mark deftly dodged the question, though he did point out that even if Luke managed to defeat and kill the Joker, there’s little chance the Clown Prince of Crime would stay dead.
All in all, it seems like a very fun show, and I would definitely check it out if you get a chance.
With Mark Hamill as your guide, explore the most exclusive pop culture collections in the world on Pop Culture Quest, available now on Comic-Con HQ! Join Mark on his quest to track down the rumored rocket-firing Boba Fett, the original Time Machine, the last surviving armature model used to animate the original 1933 King Kong, the 1992 Batmobile, and so much more! Mark travels inside pop culture’s vaults to uncover why we are so fascinated with collecting and what our collections say about us.
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter (@starfro67)