Well, that was certainly the nerdiest thing I’ve ever seen. And trust me, I’ve seen plenty of nerdy things.
“Comic Book Men” is a new series — more likely mini-series — airing on AMC. Remember when AMC stood for American Movie Classics? What happened?
It’s yet another unscripted reality show, this time centered on a comic book shop in New Jersey owned by filmmaker Kevin Smith. The first episode, which aired last night, broke down into three parts.
Part the First features Smith and the staff of his store standing around talking nerd talk, apparently as part of a podcast they do online. I was very proud that it didn’t take long for the discussion to turn to: What super woman would you most like to have sex with?
Stay classy, Kevin Smith.
I hate nerds talking. Now, I talk a lot of nerd talk here, but we’re not really having a conversation. This is me typing, basically talking to myself. You join in after it’s over. Plus, I know most of you, and you’re not nerds (as evidenced by the lack of comments these posts get).
You see, comic books have always been a solitary pursuit for me. I had no friends growing up who read comics, so I didn’t grow up having those “who’d win in a fight: Superman or Thor?” (Answer: Thor) discussions. In fact, it wasn’t until college that I had a comic book conversation. It was about the X-Men. It made me very uncomfortable. It’s one thing to read comics. It’s one thing to write about comics. It’s a whole other thing to have an actual chat with another person about comics. That’s a bridge too far for me.
I love comic book shops. But I don’t want to talk in them. I walk in, I look over the merchandise, I pick up what I want, I buy it, I walk out. For some people, going to the comic book shop is a social outing. They chat with the store clerks, they chat with each other. They are always in front of me when I want to check out. They annoy me.
Most comic shop owners, the ones where I’m a regular, understand. They say “hi” when I walk in, “bye” when I walk out, and ask if I want bags and boards (I don’t).
It’s always tiresome when new hires are brought in and they start trying to be my friend. “What are you buying? What titles do you follow? What do you think of the New 52?” Look, I don’t discuss my purchases with the clerk at the grocery store and I don’t want to discuss them with you. They usually figure it out after a couple weeks.
So listening to Smith and his pals having the same tired discussions I’ve overheard in comic shops for 30 years was not a big draw. The second part involved the staff going to a flea market to try selling their wares. The most annoying guy in the group — who will probably be the show’s breakout star — is some Grizzly Adams reject with an attitude reminiscent of Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons.” He was actually making fun of the type of people who attend flea markets. Like he’s in a position to make fun of anyone.
The third aspect of the show — the part I actually found interesting — is the “Antiques Roadshow/Pawn Shop” segment where people bring in their crap to see what it’s worth. The merchandise was sometimes neat, but once again the people bringing it in aren’t the type you’d want to spend any time with.
So, do I recommend “Comic Book Men?” Not unless you have an incredibly high tolerance for nerditry. An Incredibly High Tolerance.