You’ve probably heard Kevin Smith‘s been working on reality show for AMC. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be a look inside the Smith household à la The Osbournes or The Kardashians (Even if I would watch the fuck out of such a program, just sayin’). No, Smith’s new show is basically Pawn Stars for comic book fans, where they’ll assess the value of comics and collectibles. Also expect a lot of focus on the store’s employees, the daily running of a comic shop and of course, their loyal customers.
The show is based in Smith’s own comic book store in Redbank, N.J. called Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. In fact the show was originally going to be called Secret Stash but it’s been changed to Comic Book Men, as we can see from these promos,
Comic Book Men premieres on AMC right after the return of The Walking Dead‘s second season on February 12th. Nice time slot I’d say.
[NOTE: I'm going to go all editorial-like from here on out. If you'd prefer to not read the ranting of a comic book and Kevin Smith fangirl coming to terms with the name, Comic Book Men, move along.]
I’m really excited for this show and I hope it opens up the “mysterious” world of comic book shops to the unknowing public. I just have one teeny, weeny, itsy, bitsy problem. Did it really need to be titled Comic Book MEN?
First off, I think this is a dumb name no matter what gender it references. I understand Secret Stash could have been misleading, and this new title is very clear, but I still find it dumb. Then again, I’d find just about any reality show name dumb, but even Comic Book Fans, or The Comic Shop or something along those lines would sound better.
Secondly, calling it Comic Book Men makes me feel not welcomed. I love comic books and I frequent a fantastic local shop where I’ve never felt excluded or like a freak of nature for having boobs. To clarify, having boobs and reading the comics as opposed to posing on their covers. This comic shop also has a fairly diverse staff, gender-wise. For people a little weirded about comic shops this is where I send them, because it’s clean, organized, helpful and very welcoming. Comic book stores are in a bit of trouble if you didn’t know, they want your business, not matter who you are. So why would they choose a title that seems to say, “We’re a show for the boys, by the boys”? Why exclude female fans? What I’m afraid will happen is the title and the way they’re promoting the show might turn off other female comic books fans or maybe, women who don’t even know they’re comic book fans yet because they’ve not had the same wonderful experience at a local shop like I have.
Thirdly, it turns out they did audition women for the show and even went so far as to basically cast one until someone decided the show was to go in a different direction. I’m guessing a direction with no women because that’s the only difference I can tell. Turns out the woman was well known geek girl, Zoë A. Gulliksen. She blogged about her experience recently, which is how I became aware of her involvement. She even links to a portion of one of Smith’s podcasts where he talks about how “perfect” she was. But, I guess not perfect enough for this season.
I’m not going to vilify Kevin Smith. I adore him and I don’t think he set out to make a show about comic books where women are not welcomed. Unfortunately, it seems like that’s what happened. I know plenty of people will think I’m freakin’ out over the title for really no reason (and it’s not just me, Jill Pantozzi, who also auditioned for the show, wrote about her disappointment of the show’s new direction over on Newsarama). But after this passed year, which was freakin’ RIPE with controversy over the portrayal of women in comics, the lack of women creators being hired by the big companies and especially after those kerfuffles at conventions between comic book companies and their female fans (I’m lookin’ at you DC Comics at SDDC), you’d think someone would have seen Comic Book Men as a possibly controversial title.
All right, I’ve aired my grievances. I’ll still tune in after The Walking Dead, and I’m sure I’ll love what I see. Why? Because I love comics, and I love people who are fans and enjoy talking about them as much as me. I just would have liked to see someone like me invited to the party.