Comic Book Men

Q&A – Michael Zapcic (Comic Book Men)

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Comic Book Men‘s Michael Zapcic helps run the Secret Stash and hosts the podcast I Sell Comics! In this interview with AMCtv.com, he talks about the public perception of comic book culture, his most prized collectible, and the dirty secret in Superman’s past.

Q: How much did your I Sell Comics! podcast prepare you for being on TV?

A: Surprisingly it helped a lot, except there are cameras in your face. When you’re doing a podcast, the Internet has the advantage of allowing most people to be at least a little anonymous. But once you’re out in front of the camera, pretty much all bets are off.

Q: Were you able to get to a point where you forgot the cameras were there?

A: We didn’t so much forget the cameras were there, but we were able to use them to our advantage as far as being able to tell a story. If you talk to Bryan [Johnson] or Walt [Flanagan], they’ll tell you I tell a looong story. It’s just the way my mind works. I don’t go from point A to point B, I have to take the scenic route. I found myself censoring me a little bit. Not even censoring, just being very aware that you don’t have a lot of time and you gotta get as much information out as you can in a short period of time. I learned how to be less boring, or at least I hope I did.

Q: What are some common misconceptions of comic book culture that the show dispels?

A: That people who enjoy comic books are basically overweight nerds who live in their parents’ basement. I would have to say that 95% of our customers aren’t that guy — we’re not the comic book guy from The Simpsons. A lot of them are intelligent and hold down fairly well-respected jobs. We have a customer who is a psychiatrist who reads comic books on the fly. Even he is a little spooked by being typecast as a comic book nerd.

Q: What are some common perceptions the show will confirm?

A: That most of us comic book nerds are really passionate about what we like and what we dislike. We are very opinionated. And knowledgeable.

Q: Rumor has it you know everything about comics. What’s the most obscure piece of knowledge you have that would shock most people?

A: That Superman was originally not supposed to be a superhero. He was supposed to be a super villain, and he looked more like Lex Luthor than Christopher Reeve. He was supposed to be a guy who was trying to conquer the world, and he wasn’t physically powerful — he was mentally powerful.

VIDEO: Who Are the Comic Book Men?

Q: What’s your most prized piece of memorabilia?

A: It would have to be a Superman statue that my wife bought me for, I believe, our first wedding anniversary. It has sentimental value through the roof. It goes for about $200, but the sentimental value makes it priceless to me. That’s the one thing I would never sell.

Q: Where did she get it?

A: Oddly enough, at the Secret Stash. She went behind my back to Walt to get it.

Q: What’s the weirdest collector’s item you’ve ever seen in the shop?

A: Walt got his hands on a Spider-Man asthma inhaler. It was British, and they thought that maybe it could remove some of the stigma of being asthmatic for British children. I hope that’s what they thought, rather than, “Wow, we’re gonna make a million bucks off all the asthmatic kids in Britain.” Walt got his hands on it, I believe, in 2002, and it stayed in here for about six months. Then someone with asthma came in and bought it. I didn’t check to see if they were British or not.

Q: In the first episode, you’re pretty impressed with the Bob Kane drawing of Batman. Has a customer ever brought something in which you bought for yourself?

A: Yes, actually, there was a time or two that I have purchased things for myself. Never behind the Stash’s back, but I bought some comic books to fill in some holes in my collection. I bought a run of Ultimate Spider-Man comics, and I think The Walking Dead #1. It flew under everyone’s radar because it’s a smaller print company — Image Comics at that time was not as big as it is now, and a lot of stuff fell through the cracks.

Q: You also reveal that Catwoman is your favorite super babe. Who’s second
place?

A: Does my wife count? Always cover my bases. If it has to be a four-color heroine, I like what Kevin [Smith] did with the Black Cat. That’s kinda weird that I’m focusing on feline ladies.

Q: You mentioned you have kids. Do they love comic books, too?

A: They love their cartoons and they’re slowly getting into comic books. Neither one has the same passion I did when I was their age. But you know what? I still love them.

Click here to read an interview with Comic Book Men executive producer Kevin Smith

Filed under: Comic Book Men, Interviews

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On April 28th, our commenting features will become unavailable while we upgrade the site. We apologize for the inconvenience. Commenting and the Talk forum will relaunch along with a range of new site features early next month. If you would like to be notified when commenting and the Talk forum have relaunched you can sign up for our newsletter here.

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