Comic books can create an unlimited word of fantasy, imagination, and creativity.  Comic book stores, however, aren't quite as fascinating.  The cable series Comic Book Men covers both what buddies do and talk about all day at work, and some less-than-thrilling transactions.
Comic Book Men revolves around the workdays of Ming Chen, Walter Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, and Mike Zapcic, four friends who work at Kevin Smith's comic book tore Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash.  (Each episode begins and ends with with four chatting with Kevin Smith in a radio studio about their recent exploits.)  While the four employees shoot the breeze about their theories and opinions on comic books and their characters, each episode has them doing something together: preparing for a Kevin Smith book signing, training for a zombie marathon run, running kids' birthday parties at the Stash, etc.  They also negotiate the purchase or sale of various items for assorted customers in each episode.
Comic Book Men is a very... casual show.  There's no high drama or tension, and most of the jokes are about each other.  The transactions are pretty minor and not that interesting (seeing people haggle over $40 or $100 isn't that involving), and there's a definite silliness to most of the "big" events of each episode.  In many ways this fits Kevin Smith's style of filmmaking, as it's about some regular guys just chewing the geeky fat and hanging out, not doing much.  It's not bad -- and certainly far less manipulative than most other reality shows -- but Comic Book Men is really mildly entertaining.

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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