Home Entertainment Television Kevin Smith explains why it's called COMIC BOOK MEN

Kevin Smith explains why it's called COMIC BOOK MEN


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.

  1. “and Secret Stash is wayyyyyyy behind the times in not hiring a woman on the staff”

    Out of interest – do we have any stats on what percentage of comic book employees are women?


  2. So stupid. It’s like claiming there’s nothing that can be done because it messes up continuity. It isn’t hard or show-wrecking to include women, it’s just easier (and preferable) not to.

  3. Anyone who pays attention to the way Kevin Smith talks, tweets and writes his dialogue should not be surprised by this. He doesn’t behave like someone concerned with a woman’s perspective, unless they act and sound just like immature guys he hung out with in high school.

  4. “I’m also disappointed in him for wasting a huge opportunity to help change the way the world views geeks”

    Why? Why is that his responsibility? Has she seen his movies? Did Mallrats really change the way the world views geeks? Kevin Smith doesn’t owe anything to anyone… especially to Jill herself. Talk about condescending. She says add woman to show a “differing perspective”. Why? Because all mean think alike and have the same perspective? Talk about gender clash. How about not putting it out there that just because something is ALL MEN that there is no differing perspective. In other words, Jill just wasted a huge opportunity to help change the way the world views geeks.

  5. @Charles Knight

    Sadly, there are no decent stats on just about any aspect of comic shops – employees, product lines, customer base, even facts like the # of years the average shop has been open. None of this data is collected and quantified.

    I can answer your question about MY shop though. SHQ is male-owned, with one male and 2 female employees, all of whom work part-time.

  6. Hopefully the show can establish itself in the first season, then grow after that with more characters and introduce females. I think Kevin does respect women.

  7. This doesn’t surprise me about Smith. He’s been out of original ideas for years, and hasn’t had any success since “Clerks,” which believe it or not is almost 20 years old. Everything since has just been derivative (mostly of George Lucas’ and classic DC plots). It’s really sad to see him try and launch a reality series that steals ideas from other Jersey reality shows based on weirdo small business owners like “Brothers on Call” (DIY), “Cake Boss” (TLC ), “Jersey Couture” (Oxygen), “Jerseylicious” (The Style Network) and “Man Caves” (DIY).

    I predict this new show will last about 4 episodes, so dreaming about Season 2 makes about as much sense as the plot for “Clerks 2”.

  8. One of my LCS’s is co-owned by a woman, and it has a young female college student who works there part time. The other LCS has another young woman who works there part time, she’s also an artist (who drew a very cool Batgirl for me).

  9. I don’t think it’s Kevin Smith’s responsibility to represent women in the industry. We need to do that ourselves. I love football just as much as comics, and The League is one of the funniest shows on television. There is only one female regular cast member and she RULES. I’m sure CBM’s lady characters will, too!

  10. A better question:
    How many comics shops are co-owned or managed by a woman?

    (Yes, a spouse counts, if she works in the shop.)

    Legend Comics (Omaha)
    Night Flight (Salt Lake City)
    Tate’s (Lauderhill, FL)

  11. From those Twitter replies, it’s called Comic Book Men because it’s about 4 men. Yet he is also claiming women are being kept in reserve for season 2. Will the series title change to Comic Book People? Not likely. It will remain the same title.

    I was excited to watch this show when I first heard about it and it was called Secret Stash. Now I don’t care at all.

  12. I’ll check out the first episode of Comic Book Sausagefest, but I’m not going to hang around to watch guys talk a little too intimately about Wonder Woman.

    And it’s not like it’s Kevin Smith’s first project devoid of females. The Clerks cartoon had no female characters, and look how well that went.

  13. Green Brain Comics in Dearborn MI is co-managed by Kathie & Dan Merritt. Katie, if I remember correctly, was also the president of Friends of Lulu fo a while…

  14. The “Chinese women” in that banner add all appear to be from Bangkok, Thailand. Which is the best name for a city ever invented.

    Kevin Smith the creator was pretty interesting. Kevin Smith the Brand is a yawner.

  15. ” Kevin Smith doesn’t owe anything to anyone…”

    …except some halfway decent entertainment, which he hasn’t managed to do in several YEARS. Guy should just quit now before he wastes everyone’s time all over again.

  16. That’s a disappointing title for Smith’s new show. I expected better from a guy who has written some great women in his movies.

    But everyone here dissing Smith’s recent output obviously hasn’t seen RED STATE. It’s a huge jump in quality for the man and one of the best horror films of 2011.

  17. So this program is going to feature people walking into a comic store and (hopefully) purchasing stuff? I think the pawn shop show beat them to it.

  18. Theo16:

    Because reality TV shows aren’t really about “reality”.

    The “characters” they’ll be creating will be the “customers” who walk into the store that will help set up the situations that everyone will be dealing with.

    The employees of the store? I have no doubt they’ll be completely real. The question to ask is are they going to be aware which customers are there purely for setup or just naturally assume everyone is real?

  19. Yea Mike and Walt work there all the time and Ming is there all the time. All the customers that bring stuff in had to audition. Its kinds the same format as pawn stars and the ink shows. Maybe the pilot just didn’t work and they went with the chemistry they knew and will introduce more people in later seasons.

  20. I think I’m less bothered by the title COMIC BOOK MEN only representing a single gender than I am by it sounding like such a dumb title for a show.

  21. Thorsten Adair asked: “How many comics shops are co-owned or managed by a woman?”

    I know of one for sure.

    Comic Book Box in Rohnert Park, CA is owned (and pretty much single-handedly staffed) by Kathy Bottarini, one of the best retailers in the business.

  22. One of the men who work there asked for me to be in a scene in the show. I AM a woman. I don’t have a speaking part, but it does show the “men” hanging with a pretty (i guess i am) blonde woman and it works. Kevin Smith is a genius. Always has. The guys at Secret Stash are AMAZING. One with whom I am friends with and has a beautiful wife and kids. This is really about what these men do everyday,the bond they have, their personalities are authentic and it’s all good. Hey, aren’t you happy there is a show out there that IS about comic book lovers/comic store employee’s? It kind of sounds like it will be like “Empire Records”, something of that fashion. Because of Glee and now this show, geeks are so IN. (I married one!) So be happy that your personal intrests are going to be in a show on t.v. and shows the world why you love comics so much. Peace & Love~

  23. a better question:
    How many comics shops are co-owned or managed by a woman?

    Four Color Fantasies in Winchester, Virginia

  24. Sed JohnByrneSaysonTwitter:

    “From those Twitter replies, it’s called Comic Book Men because it’s about 4 men. Yet he is also claiming women are being kept in reserve for season 2. Will the series title change to Comic Book People? Not likely. It will remain the same title.”

    Aside from previously mentioned examples of X-MEN and MAD MEN, you also had MEN BEHAVING BADLY, which pretty much started from the premise: “women=smart; men= dumb.”

    Marginalization may not be that big a concern.

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