with artwork by Cabral
I tried watching. I really did. About 40 minutes into the show I had to give up. It had everything going for it- a sweet spot following The Walking Dead, star power meets comic cred in the form of Fanboy-gone-Hollywood Kevin Smith, and MORE advertising than the earth shattering DC Comics universe reboot last fall. What went wrong? Three things: 1) an ill-conceived format 2) lack of confidence in the content, and most importantly 3) absence of passion.
1) On the format: we had no idea where the show was going aside from the expected sophomoric humor. It’s like they didn’t know what kind of reality show they wanted to be. Game show? Desperate housewives? Later, it was like someone belatedly read The Rules on Reality Shows Handbook and said, ah, we must throw in a challenge to spice things up! We all know reality shows are not reality. Those that are, we call “documentaries.”
2) A lack of confidence that mainstream audiences might be interested in the world of comics as it is today. This is a show that went for cheap tricks and stereotypes to drum up ratings. A little respect for the audience, please. These are viewers who are already interested in zombies in comics.
3) Absence of passion. I have no doubt that these guys without the cameras around can discuss heatedly and with passion about continuity and any number of topics. And I wanted to like them, I really did. But with the cameras on them, they looked like they were singing for their supper, and they knew it. Even the Ming-baiting was pathetic.
I won’t really get into the whole treatment of women in comics thing. Anyone who has gone to a comic convention lately will laugh at you if you claim that women/girls have no interest in geek culture. And any comic book store with a modicrum of marketing sense know having women on their staff certainly does not hurt sales. I’m not sure why keeping the original lineup with Zoe Gulliksen (@bookishbelle on Twitter) would have made it any less authentic than it already was. If Kevin Smith doesn’t believe women in comic book shops is a reality, well he needs to shop at other stores besides his own.
What could have made it better? More than 8.1 million viewers watched The Walking Dead last night. This translated into 2 million viewers for CBM, and who knows how many prospective consumers of print and digital comics? Surely these viewers could have been treated to a discussion about other indie comics. You enjoy The Walking Dead? Let’s talk about American Vampire, or Chew, instead of little tidbits like who is the hottest female character (yawn.) Argue with a passion about the new Catwoman. And sure maybe a knowledgeable woman or two would’ve helped. Bring in a guest star – I mean Rachel Maddow reads comics. Hey, make them all women. Anything but this. A sorely needed and missed opportunity to get new and relapsed readers.
Let us mourn together.