Another gender clash in the comics world….so soon??? YES.
The title and trailers for that Kevin Smith Secret Stash comic book store show we mentioned a while ago have been revealed and it’s called COMIC BOOK MEN, a fact which saddened Jill Pantozzi — she and other comics-wise females had auditioned for the show:
Yes, I’m disappointed in Smith for taking the show in this direction but I’m also disappointed in him for wasting a huge opportunity to help change the way the world views geeks. It’s not that I think Smith is some bastion for geek women but I know he’s a fairly enlightened individual (even if that doesn’t always show in his films). He named his daughter Harley Quinn after all, you can’t tell me she isn’t being brought up as a geek girl. And as far as television and movie marketing go, isn’t it sort of the norm to add a woman to a male ensemble cast? Especially to reality shows? I’m not saying Smith should have added a female to pander to the male audience, I just think it would have been nothing but a benefit to the show to have at least one knowledgeable woman there to add to the conversation and perhaps, show a differing perspective.
Comics writer and TV host Zoë Gulliksen also auditioned and made the first cut in a pilot…but not the final cut for the show which airs February 12/ right after The Walking Dead.
UPDATE: I’ve actually been enjoined to remove my quote and photo of Zoë because they were perceived as a slam. My intent was actually the opposite but in the light of morning I can see it was open to interpretation.
Just to make myself clear the picture I had was of an attractive young woman sitting in a comic shop with an adorable French bulldog. In my considerable experience with the media, I think attractive young women and adorable bulldogs havea higher Q factor than bearded dudes talking about comics, so I would concur with Kevin Smith’s judgement: Zoë Gulliksen would have been a PERFECT castmember for a show set in a comic book shop.
Anyway, this did seem like a bit of a wasted opportunity to present a 21st century view of the comic book world. There are two trailers for the show below, and one of them even plays with the whole “Comics men never touch women!” idea.
On Twitter, Kevin Smith responded to some of the complaints:
Via @ActionChick “Then why did you bother auditioning some women?” Because there are women in the show, just not on Stash at the staff.
Via @slackerheroes “Then why is it called Comic Book MEN?” Because it’s about four grown males who work at the Stash, I’m guessing… #wtf
Via @TheNerdyBird “Why No Women in COMIC BOOK MEN” Saving them for season 2, to have somewhere to go story-wise. Season 1, we meet the guys.
Although we here at the Beat would much rather see a coed comic shop — and Secret Stash is wayyyyyyy behind the times in not hiring a woman on the staff — we do get his point. This is TV we’re talking about, people. You know, the medium that produced WIFE SWAP and CHEATERS and ROCK OF LOVE and CELEBRITY REHAB. This is not a verdant steppe of subtlety and progressive thinking. It’s all rockfisted stereotypes and preconceived notions — you know, like the idea that guys who work in comics shops can’t meet girls.
That said…we’ll be watching. The actual execution could go any which way. We do like some of our reality TV here at Stately Beat Manor. Our love of KITCHEN NIGHTMARES is well documented. We’ve been known to sneak a look at AMERICAN IDOL. FMB has got us addicted to STORAGE WARS which sounds like a sad show about people’s lost stuff but is actually a funny show about competitive people who annoy and distrust one another.
So yeah, a show about a comics shop is bound to feature awkward social interaction and anal tendencies…but hopefully Smith has a grasp of the wider possibilities.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.