Kevin Smith has a new reality series on AMC called “Comic Book Men.” It's pretty much “Mallrats” meets “Pawn Stars” meets “High Fidelity.” Haven't heard of it yet? Here's everything you need to know before the series premieres on Sunday.
AMC's first foray into reality television is "Comic Book Men," a show about the New Jersey comic book shop that Kevin Smith and Jay Mewes opened in the 90s -- aptly named Jay And Silent Bob's Secret Stash -- and the men who work there. It's a place where some of the most knowledgeable comic book experts work, hang out, and has the added benefit of being "the only place in Red Bank I can smoke weed and not get busted," as Smith so gently put it.
The show is largely filmed inside of Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash (or just "The Stash," as devotees refer to it) but also incorporates some road trips (to the flea market, as shown in episode one) and footage of the men in their weekly podcast, "I Sell Comics." Smith is quick to acknowledge the difference between "Comic Book Men" and other reality shows in that they never "break the reality wall," as many reality shows do, with a "confessional" booth or direct interviews with castmates looking into the camera. Instead, AMC suggested they film their weekly podcast to help tie together the plot of the show.
While "Comic Book Men" is Kevin Smith's show, it should be noted that he's not involved in the everyday comings and goings at The Stash. He owns the place, but is known for only dropping by approximately once a month, or "every time I'm in town," Smith said. Thus, most of the show revolves around the actual dudes who run the shop: Walt, Michael, Bryan, and Ming.
Fun fact! Bryan is actually the real-life inspiration of Randall, from "Clerks" He's also completely to blame for Smith's love of both hockey and comic books: "He made it cool for me to get into [comics] and that's changed my life." Bryan, a "career slacker" who was hesitant to join the reality bandwagon at first, saying, "I don't want to be Snooki." He was eventually convinced by the money he'd make from the show, which would allow him to finally fix his bum knee. A guy without health insurance who hangs around a comic book shop all day long? Yep, definitely sounds like the inspiration for Randall.