A new comic book convention is coming to Buffalo and the Western New York area, the hometown of Cosmic Book News, this Summer with the Nickel City Con.
Buffalo’s premier comic book convention will take place August 13th and 14th at the Buffalo Convention Center.
Scheduled guests to appear include the Comic Book Men, Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Michael Zapcic and Ming Chen; legendary comic book writer and artist Neal Adams, in addition to his son Joel Adams; Ray Park, known for portraying Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; WWE Superstar Ric “Woo!” Flair will be on hand; Brett Dalton from Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD; The Magicians and Game of Thrones‘ Esme Bianco, The Magician‘s and Star Trek‘s Rick Worthy and more are also set for the Nickel City Con.
The Nickel City Con is being brought together by Buffalo’s biggest sports collectible and comic book store, Dave & Adams, with sponsors including our own Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres.
I recently visited Dave & Adams (located near the Easter Hills Mall at 8075 Sheridan Dr. Williamsville, NY), and it’s incredible. It’s a huge store with tons of sports collectibles, memorabilia and merchandise in addition to weekly comic books, back issues, action figures, gaming and lots more.
AMC has announced that Comic Book Men has been renewed for a fourth season with plans for a new spinoff series starring Robert Bruce and another new show based on Kevin Smith’s “Hollywood Babble-On” podcast.
Comic Book Men is a reality-based TV series set at Smith’s comic book shop in New Jersey featuring long time friends Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson along with Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen.
Robert Bruce is the series expert on all things pop culture and is frequently featured on Comic Book Men offering advice and knowledge on a range of comic book items and more. His new AMC series is described as seeing Bruce on a cross-country search for collectibles and fan boy items at estate sales, auctions and flea markets.
THR reports that AMC will be filming a pilot for the new Kevin Smith “Hollywood Babble-On” based series with a weekly show hoping to come from it which is said to need a bit of tweaking for TV.
“I always describe it as Entertainment Tonight but filthy,” Kevin Smith told THR. “We sit there and make fun of our industry betters. We bring an inside perspective. We’re not the biggest winners on the planet, so we can grouse as well. It has a fun dynamic of salty and sweet. It’s a night club show, so we’re working with the good folks to try and crack the code of how to turn that podcast we record live every week and turn it into a TV show.”
As AMC’s Comic Book Men gets set to wrap up its current season, we thought we would check in with old friend Walt Flanagan to see how things are doing on the other side of the doors of Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash.
This year saw many highs for the show and the artist, including the publication of Cryptozoic Man by Dynamite Entertainment, a project that first began as a plot prop on CBM.
Walt, who is just the kindest man this side of Krypton, continues to co-host the “Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave!” podcast with longtime friends Bryan Johnson and Brian Quinn.
He met exclusively with Cosmic Book News M.E. Byron Brewer at a nameless LCS the other side of Red Bank, New Jersey, to discuss the show, the comic book and more.
Cosmic Book News: With only a handful of episodes left, Walt, what would you say was this season’s highlight thus far?
Walt Flanagan: Hmmm … for me? The launch of Cryptozoic Man at the Baltimore con. Truly a dream come true.
CBN: In your opinion, how has the show and the cast — you — changed since the comic book store doors opened up to cameras in Season One?
Walt Flanagan: Wow, that’s a tough question … have I changed? I don’t think so. I’d be disappointed in myself if I did change. But really only someone else other than me is more qualified to answer the question, “Have I changed?”
CBN: Who has been your favorite guest star, either this season or of all time, on Comic Book Men? (I just loved the George Perez episode.)
Walt Flanagan: The retired New Jersey Devils … that was surreal, almost like it didn’t happen.
CBN: What was it like to have Dynamite Entertainment and Nick Barrucci publish a miniseries based on a plot thread from Comic Book Men?
Walt Flanagan: Amazing. I can’t thank Nick and Dynamite enough. I really enjoyed working under the Dynamite banner.
CBN: What was the reaction to Cryptozoic Man?
Walt Flanagan: I thought the reaction was pretty good. Even before the episode where we launched the book aired, I pre-sold the 4-issue series on my podcast “Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave!” and we pre-sold 20,000 copies grand total of the four issues. That blew me away. Our listeners really supported the comic and I will never forget that support.
CBN: What did you think of the book, looking back? It was wild having pseudo-reality become reality and then become pseudo-reality on TV!
Walt Flanagan: I think it’s my best work. That has a lot to do with my inker, Chris Ivy, and colorist, Wayne Jansen, who both did a wonderful job! I had so much fun designing weird creatures and Bryan really gave me a story where I could just go crazy a little doing my favorite thing: drawing monsters!
CBN: What was the biggest surprise this season?
Walt Flanagan: The kiss?
CBN: Have we heard anything from AMC about the “next” season?
Walt Flanagan: Not yet.
CBN: What has it been like for you at the cons and other personal appearances since the advent of Comic Book Men?
A couple weeks ago, AMC released a teaser for the Superman-themed return episode of Comic Book Men which featured a mysterious super guest star.
Fans speculated it could be new Superman Henry Cavill or Lois & Clark‘s Dean Cain.
Now AMC has confirmed that Dean Cain will be the Superman set to appear on Comic Book Men Sunday, February 9th at midnight.
On the premiere episode, “Superman’s 75th,” The Man of Steel is turning 75 and the boys from The Stash plan to celebrate in style! The guys transform The Stash into the ultimate Superman party — complete with a giant Superman “S” ice sculpture as the center piece. Walt and the boys get dressed as characters from Superman lore. Meanwhile, Walt teases that he’s invited a special mystery guest — the party flips when Dean Cain shows up!
In addition to Dean Cain, AMC has announced that Nichelle Nichols, Uhura from the original Star Trek series, will appear on an episode.
As expected, the mid-season finale for Season 4 of The Walking Dead has rebounded with 12.1 million viewers after the past couple of episodes featuring the return of The Governor saw ratings plummet by 1 million viewers.
The Walking Dead, Talking Dead and Comic Book Men return February 9th on AMC.
AMC’S The Walking Dead CAPS FIRST HALF OF FOURTH SEASON WITH STRONG 29% YEAR-OVER-YEAR GROWTH
MID-SEASON FINALE DELIVERS 12.1 MILLION VIEWERS AND 7.7 MILLION ADULTS 18-49
The Walking Dead CONTINUES TO BE THIS SEASON’S #1 SHOW ACROSS CABLE AND BROADCAST, AND THE #1 CABLE SERIES OF ALL TIME
TALKING DEAD AFTERSHOW SETS NEW RECORD, WITH 6 MILLION VIEWERS AND 3.8 MILLION ADULTS 18-49 FOR MID-SEASON FINALE
NEW YORK, NY – December 2, 2013 – The mid-season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead capped the first half of season four and posted gains of 29% over the first half of season 3, running against NFL football, broadcast sweeps and high-profile special events. Last night’s explosive episode delivered 12.1 million viewers and 7.7 million adults 18-49. The show will return for the second half of its fourth season at 9 p.m. on Sunday, February 9, followed by a new episode of Talking Dead at 10 p.m. Comic Book Men, which has been delivering 1 million viewers at midnight consistently across the first half of its third season, will also return to AMC on Sunday, February 9.
The Walking Dead continues to be the #1 show on all of television among the coveted 18-49 demographic and remains the highest-rated series in the history of cable television. The first eight episodes of its fourth season delivered an average of 13 million viewers and 8.4 million adults 18-49.
“We couldn’t be happier that audiences are continuing to respond in ever-larger numbers to the outstanding work of this amazingly talented team,” said Charlie Collier, AMC’s president. “We’re only at the mid-point of this fourth season, but I know I speak for the entire cast and crew in Atlanta when I say thank you to the fans for joining in our passion for these characters and their journey.”
Now in its third season, The Walking Dead aftershow, Talking Dead, also is seeing strong gains in viewership. The mid-season finale of Talking Dead delivered a record 6 million viewers, including 3.8 million adults 18-49. For the first eight episodes of this season, airing at 10 p.m., Talking Dead is averaging 4.5 million viewers and 3 million adults 18-49. Up +128% in viewers over the first half of season two (when it aired at 11 p.m.), and up +120% among adults 18-49. Hosted by Chris Hardwick, Talking Dead features Hardwick and fans, actors, producers and other TV enthusiasts discussing and dissecting that night’s Dead premiere. The mid-season finale episode featured cast members Scott Wilson (Hershel Greene), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene) and Robert Kirkman, executive producer of the show and creator and writer of The Walking Dead comic book.
Key Nielsen Highlights for the mid-season (season four) finale of The Walking Dead
9 pm airing – 6.5 HH rating
9 pm airing – 12.1 million viewers
9 pm airing – 7.7 million adults 18-49
Key Nielsen Highlights (averages) for the first eight episodes of The Walking Dead Season Four
9 pm airing – 6.8 HH rating
9 pm airing – 13.0 million viewers
9 pm airing – 8.4 million adults 18-49
Key Nielsen Highlights for the mid-season (season three) finale of Talking Dead
10 pm airing – 3.2 HH rating
10 pm airing – 6.0 million viewers
10 pm airing – 3.8 million adults 18-49
Key Nielsen Highlights (averages) for the first eight episodes of Talking Dead Season Three
10 pm airing – 2.4 HH rating
10 pm airing – 4.5 million viewers
10 pm airing – 3.0 million adults 18-49
Source: Nielsen Media Research fast nationals (US ratings) 12/1/13. Excludes sports programs. Growth Season 4A 10/13/13- 12/1/13 vs. 3A 10/14/12-12/2/12.
The mid-season finale of The Walking Dead also dominated TV-related social media Twitter activity, and was the #1 show of the night on Twitter across all cable and broadcast networks with 880,450 show-related Tweets from 391,210 unique authors, generating a total of 43.9 million impressions, according to Nielsen SocialGuide. Twitter activity peaked at 9:48 p.m. EST with 31,861 Tweets-per-minute, representing 83 percent of all television-related Twitter activity at that time. The Walking Dead was also the #1 program for the day in TV-related social media Twitter activity, including the mid-season finale and seven previous episodes that ran during a catch-up marathon on AMC, with the most unique authors and total Tweets. The mid-season finale also generated a number of simultaneous trending topics including #TheWalkingDead, TWD, Hershel, RIP Hershel, Not Hershel and #PrisonShowdown.
Whether commemorating favorite films from every genre and decade or creating acclaimed original programming, AMC brings to its audience something deeper, something richer, Something More. The network reigns as the only cable network in history ever to win the Emmy® Award for Outstanding Drama Series four years in a row, and five out of the last six, and boasts the most-watched drama series in basic cable history with The Walking Dead. AMC’s original drama series include Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Hell On Wheels and Low Winter Sun. The network will premiere two new drama series, Halt and Catch Fire and Turn, in 2014. AMC also explores authentic worlds with bold characters through its slate of unscripted original series including Comic Book Men, Small Town Security,Talking Dead and Freakshow. AMC is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. and its sister networks include IFC, Sundance Channel, and WE tv. AMC is available across all platforms, including on-air, online, on demand and mobile. AMC: Something More.
With Cryptozoic Man coming out this week from Dynamite Entertainment and the third season of Comic Book Men kicking off on AMC this Sunday, Cosmic Book News decided now would be a good time to catch up with Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson.
Crytpozoic Man, written by Johnson with art by Flangan, is available today in local comic shops. The four-issue series centers around Alan Ostman, a middle-aged husband/father, who sees his life quickly unravel when his daughter goes missing on a camping trip in the Pacific Northwest. After Gray aliens abduct him from a roadside bar, he learns that the fate of the world is dependent on trapping some of the world’s most legendary and enigmatic creatures.
Season 3 of Comic Book Men premiers Sunday at midnight and promises more from Kevin, Walt, Bryan, Mike, and Ming. The comic crew are back behind the counter and in front of the microphone talking all things pop culture in addition to episodes featuring special celebrity guests, such as Lou Ferrigno appearing on Sunday, and more.
Cosmic Book News: How has it changed your life going from the guy behind the counter to being in front of millions and being the voice of comic fans everywhere with AMC’s Comic Book Men?
Walt Flanagan: Life has changed very little for me. I’m asked to speak more than I’d like but otherwise it’s pretty much the same.
Bryan Johnson: I’m more the guy behind the guy who’s behind the counter. For awhile in the ’90s I managed the Red Bank Stash then tried my hand at it again in the mid-2000s when Kevin needed someone to manage the Stash in Westwood, CA. Turns out I don’t have the disposition required to work in retail. However, I DO have the disposition required to tease and torment customers and my friends alike and get paid for it, so I would say my life has changed for the better.
Cosmic Book News: I know it’s “reality,” but can you give us any hints at all as to what is coming up in Season 3?
Walt: We have some very memorable people popping up at the The Stash this season. Some iconic ’70s faces as well as the ’90s.
Bryan: I loved shooting this season. Our Executive Producer, Brian Nashel, who came back from season one after missing out on season two due to a schedule conflict is a Jersey guy, too. Right outta the gate he shared our sense of humor and understood the tone of the show which went a long way in terms of a smooth and extremely productive relationship. This season there is a slightly looser structure to the show. We spend more time with transactions, conversations about comic related stuff and in the podcast studio.
Cosmic Book News: Will the Dynamite Entertainment Cryptozoic Man comic book mini-series rear its head again?
Walt: Yes, theCryptozoic Man comic has an episode geared around it. Look for it in your local comics shop October 9th!
Bryan: C’mon, let’s not be silly. Can you imagine if people weren’t given a follow-up to the Cryptozoic Man pitch from season two? There would be rioting in the streets. The president would declare martial law. A wave of mass suicides would overtake the country. Walt and I would hate to be held accountable for something so tragic. We decided it was easier just to revisit the storyline in season three of Comic Book Men and avoid all that bad juju.
Cosmic Book News: As your show is kind of a humorous take on the comic book world, what do you think of the current crop of comic book movies being so serious?
Walt: I really love the deadly serious tone of the current crop of comic flicks. I would love to do a 100% deadly serious episode of Comic Book Men just to freak people out.
Bryan: Anyone who watches Comic Book Men knows I’m not really into comics all that much (I know, the irony), so I don’t see many comic book movies. I tried to watch The Avengers but just couldn’t get into it.
Now, if someone decides to do a movie based on Peter Bagge’sHate, Garth Ennis’ Preacher, or Joe Hill’s Locke and Key, my butt is in a seat.
Cosmic Book News: How would you compare the comic books of today with those you grew up reading?
Walt: It’s hard to compare them. They’re so different from when I first started reading. It was so easy and cheap to get everything that came out when I was young. The storylines weren’t so dense, and the creators were creating the books for kids to young teens. Nowadays comics are mostly created for adults; it’s really like comparing apples and oranges.
Bryan: I feel like the stuff we read growing up was kind of deserving of the rep comics got as being “for kids” and not having much substance. Today, the writing and stories are so well developed and mature in theme. When you have writers like Alan Moore Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Grant Morrison, Brian K. Vaughan, etc. out there, it’s impossible for anyone to dismiss comics wholesale. These guys are true literary masters.
Cosmic Book News: Does Ming get picked on that much really, or is that just for the show?
Walt: I’m convinced Ming just wants attention — be it positive or negative as long he’s the topic of discussion, he’s happy.
Bryan: I know this may sound crazy, but I don’t feel like Ming gets picked on. Only bullies pick on other people and since neither Walt nor me are bullies, the only reasonable explanation is that Ming asks for it -nay – demands it. If you watch the show carefully, he brings most of the ridicule on himself. That being said, I love Ming, and he’s been one of my best friends for well over a decade now. Strangely, if anyone else gives Ming crap, I get very protective. I don’t like it when anyone outside our circle messes with him.
Cosmic Book News: Bryan, how did you get involved with writing and how did you choose comics as your medium? What comic book writers were your favorites as a fan?
Bryan: I’ve loved writing and telling stories as far back as I can recall. When I was twelve, I wrote a story about a substitute teacher who wasn’t all that nice to her students. The offended kids tricked her into going to the cafeteria where they proceeded to lock her in, but only after they had extinguished the oven’s pilot light and filled the room with gas. This was 1980, so unless you were clearly insane you got a trip to the principle’s office rather than the school shrink for that type of behavior. Three detentions later I wrote a story about a substitute teacher who was drugged and buried alive underneath home plate on the school baseball field. These clever students had rigged a system to deliver food/water/oxygen, so whenever they wanted, they could visit home plate and taunt the teacher for months to come. I honestly don’t know if it was my fault, but that particular sub never came back after that.
I feel like comics chose me rather than me having chosen the medium. I got into writing comics simply by wanting to work with Walt whose art I’ve loved since we met back in 1978. Sometime in the late ’90s I’d written “Karney“, a movie script that tonally is along the lines of Tod Browning’s Freaks. After I was assured by several people in the film industry that it couldn’t be done on a low budget, I adapted it into a comic book format. Now, for those who think Walt and I got only got published because we’re friends with Kevin — nope. Knowing Kevin has absolutely opened doors, but many times those same doors hit us on the butt on our way out. We had been turned down by EVERYONE and were on the verge of self-publishing when visionary and all-around good dude Chris Ryall from IDW Publishing called and told us he dug the material and wanted to publish the book.
Cosmic Book News: Walt, how did you get involved with drawing and how did you choose comics as a medium? What comic book artists were your favorites as a fan?
Walt: As a kid I always dreamed of drawing comics; it’s really rewarding. As far as creators who inspired me? The list could go on and on but a few off the top of my head: George Perez, John Byrne, Gil Kane, Don Perlin, Tim Truman, the Buscema brothers, Ross Andru, but like I said I could list hundreds whom I adored as a kid and made me want to pick up a pencil.
Cosmic Book News: Do you guys ever visit other comic shops?
Walt: I love visiting other comic shops. I wish I had more time to travel to see other ones.
Bryan: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve begged these guys to let me fire-bomb the competition, but they’re sorta squeamish when it comes to stuff like that.
Cosmic Book News: Walt, what do you like most about Bryan’s writing?
Walt: I love Bryan’s subtle weird dialog as well as when he goes all-out weird and subtle is out the window. He really is great at doing the disturbingly twisted stuff.
Cosmic Book News: Likewise, Bryan, what do you like most about Walt’s art?
Bryan: Hands down, the originality and creativity. I know if I hand Walt a page with action as general as “Hordes of monsters descend on our hero,” every single monster on that page is going to be unique. It’s like there’s an endless procession of fucked-up creatures parading through his mind at all times.
Cosmic Book News: What’s your favorite comic book today and who are your favorite artists and writers today?
Walt: Scott Snyder, [Brian] Bendis, [Geoff] Johns are some of today’s writers whom I dig. Artists of today? Wow, so many: Jim Lee, the Kuberts, [Bryan] Hitch. I love a book called Bullet Proof Coffin by Image as well. So fun. Like a dream put to paper.
Bryan: I recently bought the hardcover collection of Locke and Key and loved it. I’ve read all of Joe [Hill’s] fiction stuff, and it’s fantastic. You really have to hand it to a guy who goes into the industry with the type of comparison he’s facing. Sure, he used his pen name to avoid that, but in today’s world that stuff doesn’t stay secret for very long. My father is Stephen King? I’m not going anywhere near a laptop. I couldn’t deal with everyone and their grandmother’s blogs opining about my work relative to my father’s. I’m glad he braved those waters though, the fiction world is far better for it.
Cosmic Book News: Is Kevin Smith working on any new comic books or films?
Walt: Kevin is working on a new film called Tusk. It sounds amazing. Cannot wait to see it. It’s gonna be brilliant.
Bryan: A few months ago Kev texted me asking me to read a script he wrote called Tusk. It’s based on a story he read about a guy who was deserted at sea for a few years and befriended a walrus. Eventually, he was rescued and once back on land missed his former companion and wanted to hire someone to live with him and act as a Walrus for a few hours a day. This entailed wearing a realistic walrus costume, making walrus noises, eating whatever the hell it is walruses eat — the full nine.
The script is phenomenal. So bizarre. It’s David Lynch meets Rob Zombie meets Kev. There’s no way it can possibly disappoint.
Cosmic Book News: Any changes coming to Comic Book Men in Season 3?
Bryan: We meet up with a few more notable guests than in past seasons but for the most part it’s pretty much the same. Lots of ball-breaking and blathering on about important stuff like “who was finer, Marcia Brady or Laurie Partridge?”
Cosmic Book News: Are you involved in any comics projects you’d like to mention?
Walt: Right now I’m drawing issue 4 of Cryptozoic Man. After that? Not sure.
Bryan: I’m presently finishing writing the fourth issue of Cryptozoic Man and after that I’m collaborating on an untitled project with my friend Jason Mewes who is completely consumed with Game Of Thrones and wants to do a comic in the same vein.
Cosmic Book News: How many more seasons would you like the Comic Book Men series to continue?
Walt: I’d love to see Comic Book Men get into Simpsons territory regarding seasons.
Bryan: I thought I’d be satisfied after we got season two thinking it would shut the mouths of the naysayers who ragged on the show and said it would get cancelled after season one. Well, season two wrapped and those same negative nellies were POSITIVE that there was no way in hell we would get a third season. I guess I want it to last as long as it takes to shut every one of their goddamn critical mouths. I don’t care if, after season 19, those same dopes are saying “C’mon, season 20?!?! NO WAY is that happening!” I’d do it just to spite them.
Cosmic Book News: Any parting thoughts?
Walt: Check out my and Bryan’s multiple award winning podcast “Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave!” on iTunes. We do it with Brian Quinn of tru TV’s Impractical Jokers. It’s free. People seem to dig it.
Bryan: Check out Comic Book Men on October 13th on AMC and listen to “Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave!” TESD is near and dear to my heart and the podcast that Comic Book Men is primarily based upon. Oh yeah, follow me on Twitter a @tellemstevedave. Ming has more followers than I do and it makes me nauseous.
“Cryptozoic Man” #1 hits Wednesday, October 9th! “Comic Book Men” premiers Sunday at midnight on AMC!
Amid the announcements of Dynamite Entertainment at SDCC, CEO/Publisher Nick Barrucci has revealed that the company will be publishing Cryptozoic Man, the comic book project featured in an episode of the AMC television serie,s Comic Book Men.
To separate reality from “reality,” Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer hunted down one of the stars of the show, comic book writer Bryan Johnson, to exclusively get the 411 on the SDCC news.
Cosmic Book News: Bryan, this is all very surreal. How did an episode plot device from AMC‘s Comic Book Men become an actual Dynamite comic?
Bryan Johnson: Walt [Flanagan] and I had done two comic series for IDW Publishing in the past and we’d been talking about doing a new project which at first, we were going to self-publish. After some discussion, we thought it may be interesting to see if one of the bigger publishers would be willing to hear our pitch on an episode of Comic Book Men. The idea was to give viewers a glimpse (albeit somewhat untraditional) into the process of making a comic book from concept to completion. The flipside of that was running the risk of having our work rejected in a VERY public forum. Proposing the book on the show also gave us the opportunity to make the presentation much bigger than it would have been otherwise. It’s unlikely we would have gone the route of a pitch tape and wrangling Stan Lee to do the narration had we traveled the self-publishing route.
CBN: Any chance that this whole realization of the book may in fact wind up as part of a TV series? (laughs)
Bryan Johnson: We have the reality end nailed down and will be revisiting the storyline in Season 3, but who knows? Maybe AMC is looking to produce a mini-series about Bigfoot and his buddies running afoul of a hostile race of inter-dimensional creatures.
CBN: For the uninitiated, who — or what — is the Cryptozoic Man?
Bryan Johnson: The Cryptozoic Man was once a normal, everyday guy named Jack Gimlin. After Jack’s daughter goes missing on a camping trip, his life falls apart. One night after Jack gets his ass handed to him by a bully in a tavern parking lot, he’s abducted by aliens. Turns out the aliens harbor a dark secret, the fate of Jack’s daughter. If he agrees to allow himself to be medically transformed into a weapon they’ll use to defeat an enemy who threatens the destruction of their race, the aliens promise to reunite father and daughter. The result: Cryptozoic Man, a patchwork monstrosity comprised of pieces of several legendary cryptids.
CBN: How does this four issue mini-series for Dynamite differ from what we know about the book from the show?
Bryan Johnson: Since the time allotted to present the idea was so limited on the show, we weren’t really able to explore the finer points of the story. Most everything we had planned back then and everything we discussed in that episode is still in effect.
CBN: What are your inspirations for the book? Any particular comic or something from other media?
Bryan Johnson: Both Walt and myself were huge fans of the Leonard Nimoy narrated ’70’s TV show In Search of. The premise of the show was quite simply exploring the unknown. Now sometimes the “unknown” was extraterrestrials, Bigfoot, the Bermuda Triangle … THOSE were the edge-of-your-seat episodes. Unfortunately sometimes you’d encounter real clunkers … Episodes focusing on subjects like King Tut’s tomb or Easter Island. I’m happy to have grown up during that time period. Without constant media saturation, you had the opportunity to exist as a relatively naive kid. When I heard the Killer Bees were making their way to the United States, I went Defcon One. For better or worse, your imagination was on overdrive at all times because there wasn’t an internet that could immediately debunk whatever bogeyman was currently haunting your dreams.
CBN: What particular challenges will your protagonist face in the mini?
Bryan Johnson: The most interesting challenge Jack faces is how to face the minutia of day-to-day life after having lost a child. Walt’s a father and I’m so close to my seven-year-old niece that she calls me ‘Dada’. Like most parents, neither of us could conceive of how difficult, if not impossible, that situation would be to deal with. Jack has the added burden of having been the last one to see his daughter alive while they were on a camping trip together. Needless to say, more than a few suspicious glances are cast in his direction.
CBN: Tell me about the art of your cohort, Walt Flanagan.
Bryan Johnson: Ehhh … it’s okay, I suppose …
… But seriously, I’ve been a fan of Walt’s art since the fifth grade. He was the new kid in school and one day in class he drew a picture of a big old butt sporting googly eyes and a crazy smile. Underneath the picture he’d written “Wild Ass.” Much like the scene in Jerry Maguire, he had me at “Wild Ass.”
Fast forward to our thirties and that kid is a professional comic book artist. I love … LOVE Walt’s art. He’s one of those guys his neighbors would describe as “that quiet, polite boy.” Thankfully, instead of burying bodies in his crawlspace he puts pencil to paper and comes up with the most wonderful demonic and depraved images you could hope to imagine. I was looking at a particular page from Cryptozoic Man the other day and marveled at the number of unique monsters he came up with. I’m a fan of the grotesque and depraved so Walt’s my man.
CBN: Does it seem to you the comic book market is opening up to more off-beat concepts like Cryptozoic Man? It has humor, horror, sci-fi and even family drama of a sort.
Bryan Johnson: Concepts like Cryptozoic Man are never going to best the mainstays of the medium. Fanboys do love their tights and capes, don’t they? However, I think as long as writers of note and talent, guys like Joe Hill, show interest in writing comics that aren’t necessarily hero-centric the audience will be willing to give non-traditional comic book storylines a read.
I’m not a cape and tights guy (outside the bedroom, that is) which is why when I read I’m drawn to titles like Preacher, DMZ, Y The Last Man, Locke and Key … etc, etc.
CBN: What do you want readers to take away from this mini?
Bryan Johnson: Our goal with Cryptozoic Man is fairly modest. We want people to walk away feeling that they got a great story and some fantastic art … bang for your buck. I realize that I’m not part of the mainstream which while imposed by my clear lack of mainstream appeal actually has worked to my benefit. Whether it’s Vulgar, a movie I wrote and directed for Lion’s Gate, Comic Book Men, our podcast Tell ‘Em, Steve Dave, or Cryptozoic Man, I get to write what I’d want to read, I make jokes that I think are funny, we say what we want (without cursing) on Comic Book Men. I’m a firm believer in do it for you first. There ARE other people out there who will “get it.” The best part of doing it your way is you never walk away feeling like you tried to appeal to an audience against your better judgment and failed. Ultimately your audience should be you and if other people want to join in along the way, the more the merrier.
Bryan Johnson: I’m hoping we can get to season twenty-three of Comic Book Men so I can retire having never fully committed to a “real” job. I mean, c’mon. I get paid to make fun of my friends and customers, something I’d be doing for free anyway. Actually, can you strike that last sentence? I don’t want AMC finding out they don’t really need to pay me.
Other than planning to turn Comic Book Men into the longest running reality series of all time, I’ll be working on another comic series with my friend Jason Mewes once Cryptozoic Man is finished, doing live shows under the Why Bry banner with Kevin, and continuing on with my favorite project, Tell ‘Em, Steve Dave with Walt and our friend and well-known Impractical Joker, Brian Quinn. We’re @TellEmSteveDave on twitter, BTW. I saw you don’t follow us. What’s up with that?
CBN: Twitter? I’m 55; I can barely send emails and am still trying to figure out pencil sharpeners! (laughs) Finally, ever think of changing the name of the AMC show to COSMIC Book Men? (laughs)
Bryan Johnson: No, Byron, I haven’t.
(Editor’s Note: We now follow them on Twitter – Cosmic Man Matt)
Cosmic Book News would like to thank Bryan Johnson for answering our questions during his busy schedule. Also thanks to Dynamite’s own Nick Buccarri and Keith Davidsen who helped make this interview possible.
We get word today that AMC has renewed three of its shows with Talking Dead, Comic Book Men, and new to this year, Freakshow.
Talking Dead is the one hour live show following The Walking Dead that is hosted by Chris Hardwick and features various guests discussing TWD and more. It’s risen in popularity as it is benefitted by following The Walking Dead, and has recently been upgraded from being a half-hour show to a full hour.
Comic Book Men follows Kevin Smith’s comic book shop, Jay and Bob’s Secret Stash, and the workers who go about their daily routines at the shop with various skits mixed in. The gang from Comic Book Men are also working on their own comic,The Cryptozoic Man.
Freakshow is the newest show amongst the three that follows a Circus-like family of entertainers.
Here’s the official info on the renewals from AMC:
· “Talking Dead” renewed for a third season
Produced by: Embassy Row; Executive Producers: Michael Davies and Jen Kelly
AMC’s live after show, hosted by Chris Hardwick (Nerdist; G4), serves as a platform for discussion of the network’s hit series “The Walking Dead.”
· “Comic Book Men” renewed for a third season
Produced by Original Media (“LA Ink,” “Storm Chasers,” “Swamp People”); Executive Producers: Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy), Charlie Corwin, Elyse Seiden (Red State) and Brian Nashel
The series follows the crew of fan boys from Kevin Smith’s iconic comic shop, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, as they geek-out over rare memorabilia and discover treasures of the comic collecting world.
· “Freakshow” renewed for a second season
Produced by Endemol USA; Executive Producers:R. Greg Johnston and Todd Ray
“Freakshow” follows Todd Ray’s quirky family business — the Venice Beach Freakshow. Leaving behind a successful career in the music industry, Todd realized his true passion: bringing together all things bizarre and unique, including two-headed animals, strange artifacts, eccentric performers and human wonders.
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:6328:]]The gang that makes up Comic Book Men, the show on AMC that Cosmic Book News loved to rag on (at first!), will see their own comic book, The Cryptozoic Man, published from Dynamite Entertainment.
On the latest episode of Comic Book Men, Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Mike Zapcic and Ming Chen, pitched The Cryptozoic Man with the help of a very special guest — legendary creator Stan “The Man” Lee.
AMC released the clip from the episode where we see Stan Lee introducing The Cryptozoic Man which is an amalgamation of various horror creatures set in the vibe of Swamp Thing, but the kicker is the creature is a superhero.
After the video, Walt Flanagan, manager of Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, pitched the five issue series in which Dynamite Entertainment CEO Nick Barrucci gave it the approval.
Here’s The Cryptozoic Man video from AMC and Comic Book Men:
Things seemed to turn around for the show, which is set in Smith’s comic book shop in New Jersey, and it has this year as well.
It follows The Walking Dead talk show, Talking Dead, Sunday nights on AMC, and features just about everything you expect from a comic book store.
The cast is made up of Kevin Smith’s long time friends Walt Flanagan, who runs the shop, and Bryan Johnson, a guy who doesn’t work there, but hangs out (oh, and he’s kind of a d*ck). Then there is Mike Zapcic, think Cliff from Cheers, and Ming Chen, another recruit.
Ming is made out to be the “little brother,” always getting picked on, at the butt of jokes, and – at times – seemingly not too bright.
However, Ming recently spoke about his opinions on comic book movies and Star Wars, and actually sounds like a pretty knowledgeable guy (though Walt might not agree!).
Some of the more interesting tidbits are Ming’s thoughts on last year’s Green Lantern movie as well as the Justice League movie.
Ming thinks WB was headed in the right direction for Green Lantern, in that it was a big budget special effects movie, but as most seem to agree, the story was lacking.
It’s all story. Working with Kevin [Smith], the tip he’s always giving aspiring filmmakers is [to] make sure your script is bulletproof. Everything else will fall into place. But the script is your foundation, your building block. If you can’t get that right, nothing else will be right, either. I think that was kind of proven in the Green Lantern movie with Ryan Reynolds. The script just wasn’t there. They threw all the money at the effects and everything, but the script just wasn’t there.
Regarding the Justice League movie, Ming thinks they should go the route of Marvel and build up to the movie, instead of, say, launching with Justice League right away.
It would be great if they could follow the Marvel blueprint: setting up the origin stories with the individual movies, and then when you get to the team-up movie, you already kind of know what happened, so you can just get right to the action. I don’t know… at this point , I don’t think they’re going to bring Ryan Reynolds back as Green Lantern. I don’t know how they ‘re going to do it. They don’t have much time if they want to keep up with Marvel. But I think it can be done. It can definitely be done. It all depends on the right scripts.
While we’ve heard just about every name attached to the new Star Wars movies, Ming offers some of his own choices, and their pretty big names.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Joss Whedon grab hold of one of those. Not all three. I think they should probably switch off directors for the three … If James Cameron directed a Star Wars, it’d be interesting to see. He can definitely keep the storyline action-oriented. It’s the non-action stuff that you have to worry about.
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1665:]]The show we here at Cosmic Book News loved to hate, AMC and Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men, has been renewed for a second season.
I should reword that and state, “the show we loved to hate for the first half of the season,” because in all honestly Comic Book Men did improve with the remaining few episodes.
AMC announced the renewal of the second season of Comic Book Men today, which centers around Smith’s New Jersey comic shop, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash.
“Pinch my fat ass, ’cause I must be dreaming! A thousand thank you’s wouldn’t cover the gratitude I’m feeling right now. And as you might imagine, everyone at SModcast Pictures is in love with everyone at AMC today! Rest assured, Walt, Bry, Mike, Ming and I are suited up and ready to hit the ice for our second season with Team AMC,” Smith said at AMC.com.
In related news, Chris Hardwick’s Talking Dead has been renewed for a second season as well. The live call-in talk show focuses on AMC and Robert Kirkman’s hit show, The Walking Dead.
AMC stated both Comic Book Men and Talking Dead will consist of 16 half-hour episodes. More than likely they will be on the same schedule as last year, Sundays with The Walking Dead and feature split seasons as well.
Cosmic Book News will keep you updated when more becomes available.
We’re back for the Season Finale! The score thus far for Season 1: the Jersey Boys are 2 wins – 3 losses. Will tonights season finale get them back to 500? Will we get Empire or Menace?! With expectations high after watching Hugo and The Walking DeadSeason Finale back-to-back â€” mee-sa am watch-eedasaysonefinal-ee!!
In walks a girl whom is very, very out of her element doing a wonderful thingâ€‰â€”â€‰looking for a gift for her husband…in a comic shop (..ahem…hey wife..if you actually read this take note..). And Walt shows us he’s a hopeless romantic by directing the young lady to some classic Spidey tales of love lost. We then set the stage for this week’s hijinks – tattoo’s for all <sigh> – hopefully this bodes well. Back at the stash, the guys have the will to turn down an overpriced lantern.
Time for the tattoo idea round table: Walt goes satanic; Ming gets talked out of Robinson’s Starman and sets his sights on the family crest; Mike plans on a superman tramp stamp accompanying his wife’s name, and Bryan has the idea of his niece, as a zombie, riding a tricycle. Definitely not the most popular idea at the table.
Back at the Stash, Walt proves he’s not a Barbie girl. But, Bryan decides his niece may really like them. And with a single picture, we get a glimpse of a big heart behind that big ole beard. Cut to tattoo interlude as we pick things back up at the tattoo parlor with the guys prepping, well, at least 3 of them â€” minus Walt. Tattoo time! The 3 Amigos get inked and plan their verbal revenge on Walt. That big rotten chicken!
Pawn Store time once again with a mixed bundle of comics, we learn a bit about comics, and witness borderline “creepy uncle” assault. The next day, Walt walks in and and reveals his evil ink laden plan to trick the guys into getting tattoos while he is scot-free. The tats are revealed, and we get the full view of of that big bearded heart as Bryan reveals his tattoo to his wonderful niece.
After a weak start to the season, we end the back half season strong. Even after all my ranting and raving I’m willing to give this show my continued support, and we can only hope they ink a deal for Season 2.
Back for Episode #5! Will the Jersey Boys continue the momentum from episode #4, or did I lose 2 hours of my life today?
It’s Con time folks! Not San Diego, no..no..no… it’s Jersey…. at an Elks lodge. I have to say, I took a walk down memory lane on this set of segments….as I can remember setting up a table at the local Polish Falcon’s Club myself. OH the memories..and the BO. The boys pack up the mini-van and head out for the con. Road trip! Some typical comic conversation and debate ensues on the way and we finally arrive…but….unknown to the guys, the show’s been canceled. Ultimate anticipation, but horrible disappointment…kinda like the first three episodes.
Time for Plan B, local garage sale’n. Our heroes find a big stack of some old 12 cent comics, a hand full of old Mego dolls and some knick-knacks that Bryan picks up. Nice finds! Back at the Stash, and Enter the Bruce. Walt has him in to check out the box of garage sale treasures and we bear witness to a big rarity…..Bryan Johnson speechless. Why you say? Because the Frankenstein bike decoration he purchased is the best find of the day. Rob Bruce empties his pockets for the insanely rare find and we wrap up this weeks episode.
The Pawn Stars segments in the Stash weren’t as strong as past episodes, but the theme of rare and unusual was pretty Geek educational albeit a bit dainty.
Not as strong as an episode as four, but my personal favorite so far. This episode was really grounded in what I was hoping for at the beginning of this series. We get a true glimpse into the hobby culture via these four relatable guys. I really connected with this episode because I’ve literally had my own personal version of this episode back in the day. Relatable, enjoyable and entertaining. The shows finally hit its stride and stopped Con-ing us out of our time.
We’ll be back for next week for the season finale!
Another week, another episode of AMC’s Comic Book Men. Will my disappointment for the first 2 episodes and my downright nerd-rage for episode 3 continue? Will assuming that Kevin would, via this show, assume his geek-given lineage as rightful heir to the pop-culture kingdom get the best of me again? Will after watching last week’s The Talking Dead leave me wishing that Patton Oswald ran in and decapitated Smith and Hartwick screaming “There can be only one!!” I prepped for this week’s episode by playing Duke Nukem Forever and watching Afflek’sDaredevil while drinking Budweiser Chelada. I’m ready! Allons-y!
Open with the now standard question of the week and throw in early Ming beating. The show gets rolling with a good segment focusing on a comic couple expanding their collection with the purchase of Giant Size X-Men, Hulk 180 and 181. On to the episode’s sub-theme with a short conversation on the impact of family and wives on comic collecting. We continue with a Godzilla sized segment of Hipsters vs. Robert Bruce. Bruce always wins. He needs to be a bigger part of this show, period. Now on to the antics with Ming’s Zombie publicity stunt. But unfortunately the makeup turns out more They Live than The Walking Dead. Thankfully we are quickly back to the books, and the people with another girl in the shop with a well loved longbox of silver age goodness. The show continues with another tortured soul’s story of an old relationship, the impact on his hobby and buying back his manhood. Robert Bruce and a friend return with some incredible original Silver Surfer artwork, Walt almost passes out, but Ming closes the deal for him. In the end, the Zombie antics fail the show and The Stash. Thank God is was a minor part of this week’s show.
I also listened to Episode #3 of the companion podcast this week and I have to say I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The guys just sat around, let their personalities shine and discussed the merits of Lethal Weapon and their thoughts on past, present and future Batman castings. For the better, the podcast seems to have gone back to the non-affected pre-AMC/CBM roots.
This podcast and this weeks episode were a step in the right direction. It went to show that if you take this fun and talented group of guys and focus on the content and not the antics, you can create something enjoyable. Best episode thus far….or maybe that’s the Cheladatalkin‘.
The episode title this week was very appropriate, because like a Zombie, the show is still shambling aimlessly, but just may have finally stumbled across some brains.
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:756:]]We’re back for episode 3, hoping that this show turns the corner.
Two episodes in, I’m actually surprised this hasn’t been pulled off the air. But we’re comic book fans! If we can put up with five dollar comics, endless variant covers and CGC grading ruining the hobby we love – we can keep watching this can’t we! What else was there to watch this Sunday anyway.
Once again we start with nerd banter and the podcast opening with the geek question of the week. Back to the shop with the guys buying some lady’s collection of books, and Walt’s quote of the week “not everybody can be into something as cool as comics.” Well, dammit Walt, SHOW US WHY!!! We pick things up with the guys creating the stash’s first commercial — begin brainstorming — none of them can even answer the questions of “what are the kids into these days”…well that kinda sums things up. The director chosen for the commercial is none other than Bryan Johnson (Sidebar: If you haven’t seen the movie Vulgar, go check it out and you’ll understand why this is a complete waste of talent). Then to the Stash for another customer looking to sell a collection, then back to creating the commercial, “Crazy Eddie Style.” Enter a chick with a Mega-Mohawk trying to sell her Megatron statue. Walt gets hypnotized by her seizure inducing hair and pays too much. Back to the commercial and back to humiliating poor Ming. Cut to another faux Pawn Stars segment, more commercial creation and podcast banter. And then in walks the high point of the show, a customer with an incredible collection of comics. The collection actually includes All-Star Comics #8, the first appearance of Wonder Woman, Detective Comics #38, the first appearance of Robin, among other fine gems worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The guys give him great advice to leave and go directly to an auction house. We’re treated to the final cut of the commercial and the episode wraps up…better than the first, lower than the second.
At the end of the day, what I really wanted from this show was it to simply capture the atmosphere of every Wednesday, at every comic shop across the nation, where comic book fans come together to pick up the latest issues of the stories they love. Working a local shop back in my 20’s, it was real reality TV. It was always a great sight to see businessmen, kids, parents, Doctors, Drop outs, all coming together, putting their differences aside and talking up the hobby they love. Maybe even visits from a couple comics creators or a great sit down interview by Kevin, like he did with with Stan the Man in Mutants Monsters & Marvels; somewhere in the multiverse that version of the show is happening.
This past week I also checked out the show’s companion podcast. Compared to the rest of the S.I.R. podcast network, this overly scripted 30 minutes is the absolute worst. It has no business being on the same network where Mewes and Smith recapped Jay’s rock bottom drug days for months, and Kevin wrapping that chapter up by letting Jay know, all while holding back tears, that the podcast (“Jay & Silent Bob Get Old”) was done out of love, true friendship and public accountability to keep him sober.
Kevin, if you’re really Galactus as your depicted in the show’s opening – please devour this show and start over, because this 60 minutes of dog feces while the guys create “30 seconds of dog feces” isn’t working. I’ll keep watching and writing Cosmic Book readers so you don’t have to. And if your only tuning in to this show to catch the The Walking Dead previews, your time is better spent checking out The Doc’s latest article you poor sheep, and let him shepard you away to greener pastures.
After last week’s midseason premiere of The Walking Dead, Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men hit the airways. I was really looking forward to a show that would spotlight our glorious hobby while adding in all the hilarity of a Kevin Smith production. But, alas, I apparently set my standards too high. By the first commercial break I was pretty much over the Pawn Stars duplicate, looking only forward to the following week’s preview for The Walking Dead!
Yes, AMC put the preview for episode nine of The Walking Dead in the first commercial break of Comic Book Men. Smart, very smart actually! How better to spike the ratings of a brand new show than to pull along the enraptured audience from one of their smash hit series! Just embed the previews for the next week within the new show’s commercial break, instead of at the conclusion of said show as per usual, and you have an instant ratings cushion! Brilliant for them, not so much for us. I would really love to see how drastic the ratings fell immediately after The Walking Dead preview concluded — because I was out of there faster than a fat kid in dodge ball!
So, I was thrilled this week as episode nine of The Walking Dead concluded, and we were graced with previews for episode ten immediately after! Until, AMC revealed that a sneak peak of episode ten would be shown during Comic Book Men! “Noooo! Well, I guess I could watch until the first commercial break,” I slyly convinced myself. But as I watched Kevin Smith and his collection of oddities amuse themselves with discussions of future self defilement and which super powers they would like to have, I realized I had been herded into a corral once again. If donkey wants the carrot, he pulls the wagon I guess! So, as the first and second commercial breaks fell by the wayside I looked at the clock. Finally, thirty-six minutes into this mind numbing “comic book show” I was given what I had come for — The Walking Dead sneak peak! All twenty-five seconds of it! I had spent thirty-six minutes watching forty-somethings attempt to play hockey, for a whopping twenty-five seconds of my favorite show! I will admit it openly, you got me AMC — but never again!
We here at the CBN offices offer to you a vast array of comic book, movie, game and television information. So, if you don’t enjoy having to wade through shows that you could care less about just to get your fix of the ones you do — I suggest this. Check out your favorite previews and sneak peaks here! Why should a mediocre show get trumped up ratings just because you want to see something from another show?! Let it falter, let the creators know that their product is not as good as the numbers show so that they can make it a better product! I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith, from his movies to the comics he has done, but this show just is not good, and it should not reap the rewards from a highly better show. AMC is smart, let’s be smarter and not fall into the trap they have set for us again. If you like Comic Book Men, great, enjoy it, but if the only reason you have it on is to see snippets of The Walking Dead — turn the channel! We will have it all for you here later and you won’t have to feel like a sheep anymore!