Monday, February 20, 2012
Comic Book Men: Episode 2
-- I didn't notice this last week, but they've really gone out of their way to make the Walking Dead comics as prominent as possible on this show. There are lots of TPBs, single issues and action figures in most of the shots. Yay, cross promotion, I guess, but it's hard to imagine that anyone watching Comic Book Men isn't already familiar with the series. You know, the one the TV show that aired right before this episode is based on?
-- The first item this week is a Batmobile. But don't get too excited. It's just a replica of the one from the '60s TV show, albeit one signed by Adam West and Burt Ward. (Speaking of, I know the Baltimore Comic-Con doesn't really book celebrities, but I think I speak for many local geeks when I say how cool it would be to get something signed by Adam West.)
Honestly, it really doesn't do much for me. I'm not saying I wouldn't have taken it for a spin, since I obviously would have, but at the end of the day, it's still just a replica. The weird thing is, the owner wasn't even looking to sell. He just wanders in, announces he has a Batmobile, offers to let the guys drive it, and leaves. As a viewer, between this and the Bob Kane sketch from last week, I'm not sure I like all this high-end stuff just walking out of the store, leaving Walt to haggle over Mego dolls and posters. Part of the fun of Pawn Stars is seeing serious money exchange hands. And if you're going to rip off a show like Pawn Stars, fine, but you have to do it right.
-- Kevin Smith makes a "surprise" (i.e., totally planned ahead of time) call to the store. Actually, we never hear his voice, so he may not have even been on the phone. He wants to play hockey. Soon, Ming is pretending to show Bryan and Mike how to play, and Walt is pretending to yell at them for leaving the store when there are customers. Whatever. These shows are no less fake than professional wrestling.
-- Jonathan Baylis, writer of So...Buttons, walks into the store. (I wish I could claim I'm so plugged into the comic book scene that I recognized him immediately, but I'd never heard of him or his comic, and had to Google him afterwards.) I'm somewhat impressed that the show thought to bring an indie creator in, even if he is hawking a page of original art from a well-known Marvel comic, as opposed to his own stuff.
Original artwork from pretty much any DC or Marvel book is absurdly expensive, and given the age of the piece (1971) and that it's from one of the more infamously titled series in comic book history, Giant-Size Man-Thing (which will never not be funny), makes Baylis's asking price of $500 seem reasonable. Walt obviously disagrees, but by now, it's pretty well established that Walt is a cheap fuck.
But fine. Clearly Walt has no obligation to buy the artwork. But here's where he kind of pulls a dick move. After offering to sell Baylis's comic in the store, which would obviously be a huge coup for any indie comic book creator, Walt then seems to suggest a quid pro quo, where Baylis takes an astonishingly low $150 for the Man-Thing page. I mean, it's not like he threatens to withdraw the offer to sell So...Buttons if Baylis doesn't sell. But still. It's just a dick move.
-- The guys play hockey. I fast forwarded through this part.
-- The next guy is trying to sell a complete set of Crisis on Infinite Earths. And here, I call bullshit. Dude, I have a complete set of Crisis on Infinite Earths, some of the issues signed by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. The viewers shouldn't have better shit than the people who appear on this show. He wants $100 for the set of twelve issues. I've seen these comics in fifty-cent boxes at conventions, so for once, I'm on Team Walt as he makes a counter-offer of only $15. The seller also had a nice looking Batman print signed by Jim Lee that Walt also got for $15. There, the guy got hosed. I'd think that would be at least worth $50.
-- More hockey. More fast forwarding. It's nothing personal. When they do this kind of stuff on Pawn Stars, I tend to skip that, too.
-- Jason Mewes shows up. Everyone pretends to be surprised. Mewes grabs some comics and a store hoodie, and is surprised when he finds out he has to pay for them. Eventually, as basically every bit on this show tends to do, the whole thing just turns into an exercise in shitting on Ming.
-- A guy dressed like the Kingpin tries to sell his issue of Captain 3-D #1 from 1953. And I love this, because I've never heard of Captain 3-D. This is the kind of stuff you want to feature on this show, not Crisis on Infinite Earths. Walt, apparently haven fallen in love with the figure, makes his third offer of $15 in this episode alone. Mewes jumps in with an offer of $50 for all the comics the guy brought in, thwarting Walt's latest attempt at highway robbery. Eventually, they settle on $45 in store credit. Which is bullshit: if you agree to take store credit instead of cash, you ought to get a lot more. The haggling on this show is strictly bush league.
-- Last item: A supposed lightsaber hilt prop from Star Wars: Episode IV. Walt has his official Star Wars expert on hand, and from him I learn, frankly, more about the construction of lightsaber hilts than I ever wanted to. The expert quickly determines that it's not from A New Hope...but is likely from Empire Strikes Back. I'm dubious as to whether something as easy to fake as a lightsaber hilt can be authenticated in such a casual manner, but hey, he's the expert, not me.
-- Mewes skips out of Jersey without repaying Ming the money he owes him. Two episodes down, two episodes ending with Ming being abused. I'm starting to think they should just end every show with a freeze frame of Ming's crestfallen face.