I watched the first two episodes of the Kevin Smith reality show Comic Book Men. It started last month on AMC and there are 6 episodes planned. The show is hosted by Kevin and stars the guys who work in his comic shop. Kevin bought an existing shop called Comicology in 1997 and turned it into Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. In case you want to shop there you'd need to get your ass over to Red Bank New Jersey. It's seems a fairly good sized shop, there are shops that big and bigger here in my area, but I don't know if we've seen the whole thing so far.
The show is broken into two streams that wind around each other through the hour. One stream is shot in and around the store and the other is shot with everyone sitting around a table discussing the events of the day for the podcast. In the store we rarely see anyone buying anything. Mostly they seem to have people trying to sell some stuff. They show up hoping to get a big cash payment, often with completely unrealistic expectations, and the reality of the market punches them right in their guts. Then they're on tv and that's got to suck. In the first episode some guy brings in a signed Bob Kane Batman sketch from 1970. No one knew what it was worth, thousands seemed a good guess, they recommended using an auction house. There's a mix of toys and comic stuff that rolls in. Some lady brought a Chucky Doll but it had no box and the lady didn't take the money offered. The guy who had the Six Million Dollar Man Doll had a box and they bought that. A guy brought in some movie stuff and they had to call another guy who knew more than they did to help them out. It didn't go too well for the guy trying to hawk his stuff. He wanted a lot more than the expert said the stuff was worth. He didn't get paid.
That sort of encounter happened a lot at DreamHaven's front counter. People would come in with a box of "old" comics, and when you go to take a look, they were from 5 years ago. Over the last many years the back issue market has taken a deep plunge. No one is buying that stuff but this guy thinks he should at least get what he paid for them, you know, since they're old. Stuff before the 1960's still has some good value but hardly anyone is buying that either. Walt makes a joke about how hard it is to sell back issues when every second another collector drops dead and there isn't anyone to take his place. I've seen that happen a lot in many other hobbies. Ridin' high, then the wasteland. There's often a chance to pick up huge collections for cheap. We'll probably see a switch to digital comic back issues if the companies are smart enough. There's already an underground market out there handing the stuff around for free. It's a bit on hold as they work through the loss of Megaupload and recover from the SOPA/ACTA fiasco.
That's Ming Chen, Bryan Johnson, Kevin Smith, Michael Zapcic and Walter Flanagan left to right. Walter manages the shop, Ming and Michael work in the shop, and Walter's long time friend Bryan Johnson just seems to hang out in the shop. Bryan managed the second shop that Kevin owned. It was in LA for about 4 years ending in 2009. Ming and Michael have their own podcast about selling comics. Ming does a lot of web site production for View Askew Productions. That's Kevin's business, they make and sell all sorts of stuff. He also does a lot of podcasts.
The show is mostly fun to watch though sometimes they are a mean bunch. Not unlike when I worked at the comic shop. It's a place that sometimes attracts dicks. Of course all the cool people make up for that. Episode 2 has a guy show up with a replica of the 1965 Batmobile. I saw that car at the local comic book con a couple of years ago and it's a nice car. I didn't get to drive it like the guys in the shop did, that looked like fun. That episode had some guy come in with a light saber handle that he wanted appraised. He was told it was from the first movie but it was from the second movie. That was what the Star Wars expert they brought in thought. He said he was about 90% sure and if it was real it was worth north of $7000. Not bad for a $60 investment 15 years ago. Jason Mewes rolls in during the second episode and tries to run off with stuff from the store. He talks Ming into paying for his stuff. Then he bounces around the store acting all fucked up. I'd find that real annoying, and unless it was a gag, it was pretty sad to see him out of character. Glad I don't have a friend like that. I'll have to keep an eye out for the rest of the series. I've already down loaded the podcasts but haven't listened to them yet. It almost makes it cool to work in a comic shop. I'm kidding, it's always cool to work in a comic shop.