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DF Interview: Walt Flanagan discusses Comic Book Men, more
By Byron Brewer
Actor, song writer, reality television personality, podcaster. Walt Flanagan wears many hats, but he is most at home either behind a comic book artist’s drafting board or smelling new comics in the store he manages, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Oh, yeah. He is also the lead star in AMC’s Comic Book Men, which premiered to much success in February 2012 and is getting ready for its fourth season in October.
Flanagan has had the opportunity to view the comic book industry from many perspectives. Dynamite Forces caught up with the multi-talented Walt at a random comic book store and quizzed him about everything.
Here is what we found out.
Dynamic Forces: Walt, how has it changed your life going from the guy behind the counter to being in front of millions and being the voice of comics fans everywhere?
Walt Flanagan: Well, I'd never consider my voice as representing anyone's opinion but my own. As far as being in front of "millions"? I don't really even think about it. I assume everyone coming into the Stash is not aware the shop and the people running it are the focus of a TV show.
DF: I know it's "reality," but can you give us any hints at all as to what is coming up in Season 4 of Comic Book Men?
Walt Flanagan: Hmmm, how about cowboys, standing up to Skynet and some possible iconic faces showing up at the Stash.
DF: Broken record: Will the Cryptozoic Man mini-series rear its head ever again?
Walt Flanagan: Talks of any sequel? Yes, many talks have happened since the series ended … just need some time to squeeze it in.
DF: As your show is kind of a humorous take on the comic book world, what do you think of the current crop of comic book movies?
Walt Flanagan: I think that we are seeing the dreams of every comic fan come true with Marvel's flicks. The continuity, the respect for the history … Marvel Studios as well as the X-Men franchise have done an amazing tribute in capturing the essence of the House of Ideas.
DF: How would you compare the comic books of today with those you grew up reading?
Walt Flanagan: I think there are more top quality books on the stands at this point more than anytime in comic book history ... but I still find myself excited to see a collection of some series I read as kid get collected in a hardcover or trade paperback.
DF: Does Ming get picked on that much really, or is that just for the show?
Walt Flanagan: It's funny. Some people see it as "being picked on," others see it as how big brothers treat they're little brothers. I never had a brother so I've adopted Bry, Mike and Ming in my mind as my brothers. I love those guys and we truly are a family and I think we show affection for each other by busting each others’ chops. No one is immune to taking some ribbing -- including myself -- and I wouldn't have it any other way.
DF: Walt, how did you get involved with drawing and how did you choose comics as a medium?
Walt Flanagan: I've always had comics in my life. My earliest memories are of a giant cardboard box at the foot of my bed filled with comics. I started drawing the images in those comics before I could actually read them.
DF: What comic book artists were your favorites as a fan?
Walt Flanagan: So, so many: George Perez, John Byrne, Jim Aparo, the Buscema brothers [John and Sal], Jim Starlin, Ross Andru, Keith Giffen, Don Perlin, Gene Colan, Frank Miller, Tim Truman and of course Jack Kirby.
And I'm forgetting tons more.
DF: Do you guys ever visit other comic shops and maybe pick up some tips for the Secret Stash?
Walt Flanagan: Of course. Visiting another shop is still one of my favorite things to do.
DF: What do you like most about Bryan Johnson's writing?
Walt Flanagan: How weird and disturbing it can be. He really can make me go, “Wow, that's messed up!" (laughs)
DF: What's your favorite comic book today and who are your favorite artists and writers today?
Walt Flanagan: Scott Snyder and Greg Capulo on Batman, [Brian] Posehn on Deadpool, and the new Harley Quinn has been great!
DF: Kevin Smith working on any new comic books or films?
Walt Flanagan: He is! Batman ‘66 Meets the Green Hornet has just dropped and his new film, Tusk, will soon be released. It is crazy good!
DF: Any changes coming to Comic Book Men in Season 4?
Walt Flanagan: I hope not. Why mess with a good thing?
DF: Are you involved in any comics projects you'd like to mention?
Walt Flanagan: Not at the moment.
DF: How many more seasons would you like the Comic Book Men series continue?
Walt Flanagan: Until we come close to catching The Simpsons in terms of total seasons.
DF: Any parting thoughts?
Walt Flanagan: Look for Comic Book Men Season 4 in October on AMC.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Walt Flanagan for taking time out of his super-media schedule to answer our questions. Oh, and look for “Comic Book Men” Season 4 in October on AMC.
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