While attending this year’s COMIKAZE Expo, I was able to sit down and speak with a couple members of the illustrious Comic Book Men cast.
First up is the always excellent, Ming Chen.
Alright, introductions be done. Now read on and see what he had to say!
UTF: Let’s start off wit: when did you first get into comic books?
Ming Chen: I first got into it when most people did, when they were a kid. When I was in first grade a friend of mine handed me a copy of Avengers #214, and I fell in love. The cover has Iron Man being taken down by Ghost Rider. There’s like flames and I’m a first grader, I’m six, and I’m like, “What the hell is this? This is awesome!” There’s a tiger in the background, this kind of tiger lady with a bikini, I’m feeling strange feelings I’ve never felt before. I read the comic and I still have that book thirty-plus years later. That got me hooked and I’ve been a fan of comic books since. Later on I discovered Batman and Iron Man and more Avengers; Spider-Man, Superman. When you’re a kid you just get hooked. I don’t know if it was as big back then, but now you can’t get away from it when you’re a kid. You have all this merchandise, and TV shows. Back then I think it was comic books. There may have been some fringe merchandise, but I was hooked immediately.
UTF: Yeah, It’s certainly different today, because you turn any corner and all these properties you never even knew existed are being represented. You have Voltron right over there on display for people to see, and on top of that Green Hornet is back. We got Mars Attacks from IDW, all kinds of stuff still out there, still going strong.
Let me ask you this: How did you end up working at Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash?
Ming Chen: I started doing graphic design and running all of Kevin’s websites. He’s at the store forever now. Fifteen years we celebrated; fifteenth anniversary of The Stash. I just got more and more involved with the store to the point where I was pretty much in there all the time. Then, low and behold, about two years ago I got a call from Kevin, and he’s like, “Listen. This is going to sound weird, but AMC, you may have known him from The Walking Dead, wants to do a reality show and they want you on it.
“I’m like, “What are you talking about?” He’s like, “You know, a reality show, like Jersey Shore!” I’m like, “Would it be like Snookie, like I’m going to be a punched and have to get drunk?” He’s like, “No, no, no. You do what you do, you can still talk about comics and toys and all that and that’s going to be the show. I’m like, “All right.” I’m not really believing that it was going to be what it is now. It’s crazy man, when you work with Kevin anything can happen. I might go to the moon next week for all I know, he might want to send me to the moon.
UTF: That’s just awesome. I have to say that I was actually quite taken with the show because it was more or less Pawn Stars, but for the comic book fans. Not to mention, you guys are on it, and I have really enjoyed watching all of you go through your normal schtick of just ball-busting and talking, and the different events you guys have gone through. It’s been fun to watch.
I have to ask about some of the stuff that comes in the shop during the course of the episode. Is that planned in advance, or is that literally just random how that happens?
Ming Chen: They put out a casting call for people that might have interesting items, so they kind of get things that will be good. It’s not like we set up cameras and wait for people to come in. It’s like, “Hey! Anything good come in today?” “No, maybe tomorrow.” It’s a little more organized, but we really don’t know what’s coming in. We know it’s going to be some kind of interesting item. We know it’s going to be something that we probably like, and can geek out over, but we don’t know what it is. The reactions you see are real. We’re like, “Oh, my God, a lightsaber that might have been used in A New Hope. Holy crap!
UTF: My personal favorite one, the guy brought in the replica of Batmobile from the 1960’s. I was like, “No! That’s just not fair!”
Ming Chen: It was fair for me; I got to drive it [laughs]
UTF: How did that feel?
Ming Chen: It was fun. Always fun driving the Batmobile, but before I left, the guy was like, “Listen. Could you please be careful? This car cost me one hundred forty thousand dollars.” I’m like, “Yes Sir.” I just didn’t want to crash it, so I drove it like an old Asian woman.
UTF: There you go. Very careful. Very slow. Ten miles per hour below the speed limit.
Ming Chen: Exactly. I didn’t crash it and it was fun, man.
I want to take the time to thank Mr. Ming Chen for chatting with me, it was a privilege to talk to him and meet one of the legendary Comic Book Men.
But what did you guys think of the interview? Sound off with your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!