Reality TV Gets Nerdy with Comic Book Men

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's . . . The Comic Book Men, coming to a television near you

Kevin Smith leads this team of ‘Comic Book Men’ on AMC’s new reality series

Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men brings the world of comic book collecting into the spotlight

If reality television has taught us anything, it’s that there is no subject matter too bizarre or inconsequential to form the basis of a reality show. We’ve seen shows about real housewives, bounty hunters, cake-bakers, hillbilly hand-fishers, pawn-shop owners, hog-hunters, hoarders, incompetent Alaskan gold-miners, even thrifty coupon-clippers. 

Leave it to film director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma) to discover one group that’s been woefully under-represented in the world of reality TV: nerds. 

Whether this results in a viable reality show will soon be evident, as Comic Book Men debuted this past Sunday, February 12. Set in a New Jersey comic-book store, the show follows a group of guys who sell comics, buy comics, talk about comics and generally delve deep into the strange minutiae of fanboy culture. 

Now that comic-book culture has become firmly entrenched in mainstream entertainment, Smith is adamant that the vast viewing public is ready for a show he describes as “Pawn Stars in a comic-book store.” As he explains, “The Simpsons Comic Book Guy is a well-known figure. The stereotype has travelled [to the point that] you don’t have to explain it to people anymore. They get it.” 

The show centres on four guys who spend their days in the comic store Smith owns, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash: Walt, manager of the store; Mike, described as “the prototypical comic-shop employee”; Ming, newest member of the group and the “technical expert” of the team; and Bryan, who doesn’t actually work at the Secret Stash but spends his days hanging out there — “kind of like Norm Peterson on Cheers,” quips Smith.

During the course of the show’s six-episode season, the guys will also venture outside of the store to find and appraise rare and valuable items. As Smith admits, he recalls watching shows like Pawn Stars and Antiques Roadshow and getting excited whenever a rare comic book or toy would be examined.

“You’re like, ‘I wish every episode was that.’ The idea was to make a show that’s kind of like where you take Crunch Berries and you remove the Cap’n Crunch and just have a bowl full of the berries . . . just comic books and [stuff.]”

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.