By Jason Strangis
The AMC television series Comic Book Men is currently in its fourth season. Filmed at Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey, the show stars Kevin Smith, Bryan Johnson, Walt Flanagan, Ming Chen, and Mike Zapcic.
Zapcic has been working at the famous comic book store since 2000. In addition to appearing as a regular on Comic Book Men, Zapcic hosts a weekly podcast with Chen called I Sell Comics on Smith's radio network S.I.R.: Smodcast Internet Radio.
Zapcic recently took time to chat about Comic Book Men during Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Jason Strangis: So just how did Comic Book Men get started?
Mike Zapcic: Original Media and AMC came to Kevin (Smith) and asked him if he had any ideas (for a TV show). They wanted to capitalize on The Walking Dead. Kevin said, 'Well, I've got a comic book shop. Why don't you try and find the wackiest store clerks in America.' They said, 'Why should we cast other clerks when you've got the wackiest guys already here?'
JS: How does it feel to be into the fourth season on AMC?
MZ: We're still working. No one has been fired so that's a good thing. Bryan Johnson is the one who ran the store until Walt Flanagan came in and started managing it. I started working part-time and then I became full-time, and we all ended up having a show.
JS: You guys were lucky enough to have Stan Lee make an appearance on the show. What was that day like?
MZ: Stan Lee is awesome! Stan Lee is fantastic! It was an amazing show. Stan's a great guy.
JS: What can fans expect to see for the new season?
MZ: This season we've got a lot of guest stars and pop culture people. We have Adam West, Billy Dee Williams, and a member of Run-D.M.C.
JS: Any favorite guests?
MZ: Adam West was great. I loved having Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek). And Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) was great.
JS: On your show, you guys get many offers from collectors looking to sell valuable comics. What stands out?
MZ: There was box of comics that was probably worth $750,000. It was a box full of old Golden Age books. There was the first appearance of Wonder Woman (All-Star Comics #8), the first Robin (Detective Comics #38), some Joe Palooka books. There were a lot of high-ticket items. It was awesome.
JS: Did you buy anything?
MZ: We did not. We advised him to take his collection to an auction.
JS: What's the most you've paid for comics or collectables?
MZ: Anything over a few thousand we most likely will tell people to take it to an auction so they can get their money's worth.
JS: Anything else we can look forward to this season?
MZ: Hilarity. And you're going to see some Cosplay. We go out on an adventure.
Jason Strangis is a freelance writer and longtime comic book collector currently based in Los Angeles. He loves attending comic book conventions, especially the larger ones such as San Diego, Chicago, and now Comikaze in L.A.