Freddy Valle writes for Bleeding Cool from New York Comic Con.
Comic Book Men is a television series set in Kevin Smith's comic book shop (Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash), and shows the fun and exciting world of geekdom. The show is unscripted, and stars Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Ming Chen, Mike Zapcic.
The panel began with a sizzle reel of the seventh season premiering October 22nd on AMC. Afterwards, Kevin Smith brought out the cast, and opened the floor up for questions.
Audience members asked a range of questions, mostly light hearted. However, the tone quickly shifted once a question was directed toward Johnson about his mental health. Johnson opened up about a low point in his life, and how he had "one foot on the stool". It wasn't until Smith and all his close friends encouraged him to start a podcast (Tell 'Em Steve-Dave) where things changed. The podcast served as an outlet for Johnson to be vulnerable and discuss his issues, and thus deal with them. The panel delved more into how we as a society shouldn't be afraid to discuss any mental issues we may be struggling with. Only by confronting mental problems can we begin to find solutions.
The discussion then segued into how Smith first began pursuing film making. He talked about all the fears he faced, and growing up in a community that didn't necessarily encourage chasing one's dreams.
These honest looks into Smith and Johnson's lives made them into relatable human beings. It was inspirational to see how accepting and encouraging the discussions were, especially for any aspiring creators. Overall the panel felt like we were catching up with old friends. It was touching to have a genuine look into the lives of such highly regarded artists.