Comic Book Men star, Ming Chen, talks about trying to bring the Stash into the social-media age, meeting comic greats like Stan Lee in-person and his favorite “Netflix and chill” movie.
Q: In the latest episode, we see you using your selfie stick around the Stash (much to Walt’s chagrin!). Does your social media activity actually bring in any new people to the Stash?
A: Oh, for sure. I have a big social media presence. All the kids are using Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, SnapChat… I’m all over it! It’s basically free marketing and — I’m not gonna lie — I like the attention! I think I’m a 14-year-old teenager at heart. It seems like anytime I give anyone a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on at the store, it’s pretty well received. If people can’t be here, I like giving them the next best thing.
Q: You’ve met some amazing people on the show. Have you had a favorite moment with the guests?
A: Stan Lee is the obvious one. I don’t even call him “The Man,” I call him a god among men. He just has this presence. That’s a moment I’ll look back on in 40 to 50 years, and not only be able to talk about with my grandkids, but to show them as well. We’ve also had two comic greats on the show this season: Jim Lee and John Romita Jr. Those were guys I really grew up admiring. I’m still in awe of their abilities to create worlds and images that just jump off the page. To meet them and discover that they’re both normal, down-to-earth guys who are just extremely talented, was really cool. You never think as a kid that you’ll grow up to meet guys like that — it’s amazing.
Q: Did you learn anything new from talking with them?
A: You grow up and you think these guys are just born with this talent. To hear their stories about how they were up and coming, how it wasn’t easy, how they had to work just as hard as anybody else did, that was really inspiring! I used to think they were born with a pencil in their hand and were just off and running. But, of course, that’s not the case.
Q: Is there a key issue that’s near and dear to your heart?
A: I’m a Wolverine fan, and The Incredible Hulk #181 is his first true full appearance. So that really gets my heart pumping. Of course, everyone knows that now it’s so hard to find that one not bagged and boarded and priced over $700 anymore. But that’s what I love about comics, besides the stories. It’s amazing that a pulpy, printed comic book issue could be worth that much, but they are.
Q: Speaking of key issues, in an earlier episode, someone proposes with The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. Does that kind of stuff happen often?
A: That was the first proposal at the Stash! I think now that people have seen it, more people will try to attempt it. We’ve had people plan to do it, but they wanted Kevin there and that complicated it, whereas this guy just came in and did it. I thought it was great! It was a very touching moment. Even more shocking was that Walt gave the issue away to them for free! We have had weddings at the Stash, though. Kevin’s an ordained minister and, shortly after, Mike and Bryan got ordained as well. So now, there’s actually more ordained ministers at the Stash than not! Kevin did marry a couple here at the store. Some people consider the Stash a kind of church!
Q: What have been some of your favorite items that came into the Stash?
A: One item that came in during a recent episode, the Inigo Montoya sword, is up there. I’m a huge The Princess Bride fan, and my wife is an even bigger fan; we sort of bonded over that while we were dating. It’s a great date movie! It’s a great “Netflix and chill” movie, if you know what I’m saying.
Q: In that episode, you and Walt agree that if you can’t sell the sword at the Stash within a certain time period, you have to buy it back. Did you end up selling it before the deadline?
A: No, we still have it! The clock is ticking. I’m going to be owning a new The Princess Bride sword pretty soon, which I’m fine with… but I’d rather sell it!
Comic Book Men airs Sundays at Midnight/11c.Read More