On Thursday, Comix Asylum’s Kwame Mason had the chance to talk with Mike Zapcic about the 4th season of Comic Book Men, which kicks off on Sunday (Midnight on AMC).
Kwame: Do you mind if I call you Michael, or Mike, Or Mikey, or just Mikelicious
MZ: (Laughs) You know I’m tempted with the Mikelicious but you can call me Mike or Michael or whatever you’re comfortable with.
CA: We’ll have to talk a little bit about hockey in a little bit.
MZ: I’m not the hockey fan in the store.
CA: Do you get blasted for not being a hockey fan? Everybody there is a hockey fan.
MZ: Not really. You know, I can hold my own when we go to a hockey game. I like being in the arena, I’m not a professional sports guy. It was huge when I was a kid, but not so much anymore.
CA: Got you. You know I wanted to ask you what’s the connection between the whole group, and how you guys kind of are connected to the Jay and Silent Bob characters.
MZ: Well, actually, Kevin bought the store. It was a comic book store in Red Bank called Comicology. He wanted Walt to run it, but he had Brian run it while he was trying to get Walt to run it and Brian’s ill-suited for retail… or interacting with the public. So, he finally convinced Walt to come here, so Walt started running it. I was actually a reservist here for a very long time, and Walt needed a hand on… I think it was two days out of the month, and somehow I parlayed that into a full time gig.
CA: And how long have you known Kevin?
MZ: Since I started working here. I used to go to his store and he would be jockeying the register every once in a while but until I started working here, very little.
CA: So what are we going to see this season?
MZ: What are you going to see? What won’t you see this season? Comics, toys, celebrity guests. I mean, it’s all over the place!
CA: Now, when you talk about celebrity guests, who’s a celebrity guest that came in that made you say “Wow”?
MZ: Well, since they’ve already been announced, most of them, I’ve gotta say that the one that made my heart go pitter-pat a little bit faster was Adam West [CA: Oh, wow!]. And Adam West actually called me a “poor deluded child.” So, that made my day. I was like, alright! Everyone that came in was awesome.
CA: Did Adam West do the Batusi?
MZ: No, no, he’s gettin’ up there. He could throw a hip! You don’t want that!
CA: Where did you get your passion for comics?
MZ: Actually, my brother David. He borrowed a stack of old Marvel comics from a friend of his and he happened to leave them just lying around. I think I was a three years old, and I thought that they were so cool that I grabbed my mother’s scissors and I started cuttin’ out the scenes in there that I liked the best. Now he had to go and pay for all of these comic books that I’d destroyed. So, that was my way of getting an instant collection… And that’s how I learned to read.
CA: Comics, that’s how you learned to read?
MZ: Oh, yeah. I learned to read when I was three, so yeah.
CA: Cool. Are you an artist yourself? Have you drawn or written any comic books?
MZ: I’m not. I’m actually working on a script right now. Ming Chen and I are going to do a book and record hearkening back to the 70’s.
CA: Can you tell us a little bit about it?
MZ: Sure! It’s… Actually the script is three quarters done. I don’t want to jinx it too much, but it’s my love letter to the silver and copper age of comics. The comics that I grew up with. So anyone who’s a fan of nostalgia….(you’re) probably going to love this.
CA: Well, I hope when you get that done you’ll allow us to do an exclusive and talk to you guys and get it out to our readers.
MZ: Ooo, very nice. Well, actually, it’s going to be a Kickstarter, so…
CA: Ok, well we gotta make sure that we promote that on our Comix Asylum site.
CA: What would you say is your favourite comic of all time, and your favourite character of all time?
MZ: Oh, that’s a tough one. [CA: Yeah, I know.] Favourite comic? I’ll give you a couple. I’ll let you pick and choose which one should be my favourite. I was a huge fan of the All-Star Comics run back in the 70’s. Wally Wood and Keith Giffen. And it introduced Power Girl to the world. I’m also a huge fan of the Byrne and Claremont run of X-Men. And New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez.
Actually, I can give you all three of my favourite characters from there: Nightwing, Cyclops, and Power Girl.
CA: Nice, so would you say those are your top three favourite characters?
MZ: Yeah. They’re the… Almost the… Yeah, those are my top three.
CA: Now what about Cyclops do you appreciate so much about his character?
MZ: Cyclops was always a skinny guy who was very introverted. You know, very stoic and that’s how I felt growing up. You know, skinny, the skinny guy with brown hair… Always wore sunglasses. I never really wore sunglasses because I’d always lose ‘em. But, you know…
CA: Did you think the show would become such a hit?
MZ: Is it a hit? Can we get that… It’s a Guinness Book of World Records hit?
CA: I think… I would call it a hit. I would say it’s a hit.
CA: It’s one of those shows that, in my opinion, you either like it or you hate it. You know what I mean? There’s no in between. I figured you’re gonna stay with it, you know?
MZ: (Laughs) Awesome. Well, let’s put it this way. We have a blast doin’ it. And if that’s any indicator, then from pretty much day one, I knew that was gonna be… I knew it wasn’t for everybody, but I knew that the people that would get it, would get it hard.
CA: Exactly. Well, Mike, thank you very much for taking the time out, man. I really appreciate it.
MZ: It was my pleasure. Thank you for the kind words. We appreciate it!
CA: Good luck in the future!
MZ: Fantastic, thank you so much!
Season 4 of Comic Book Men premieres this Sunday at midnight on AMC.