Comic Book Men has popped open its unusually-full cash register for the last time, since its cancellation by AMC – after seven seasons and 96 episodes – is now official.
Creator Kevin Smith was the bearer of bad news on his Smodcast podcast, appropriately joined by Comic Book Men stars Walt Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Michael Zapcic and Ming Chen. As Smith tells it, he received a fateful phone call from AMC president Charlie Collier, who told him straight up that the network won’t be renewing the series for an eighth season.
The cancellation of Comic Book Men represents yet another seismic shift – in the aftermath of a recent one – for AMC’s formerly untouchable Sunday night geek fuel lineup, which, in its ratings-ravaging glory days, consisted of The Walking Dead (a show on the verge of major changes), followed by postmortem chat-fest Talking Dead, and rounded out by Comic Book Men, which served as a culturally-relevant mint after viewers enjoyed the main course and dessert of the former two.
While recent events such as Kevin Smith’s near-fatal heart attack and the abuse allegations levelled at Chris Hardwick, host of its (temporarily-shelved) block-mate, Talking Dead, might have been speculated as Comic Book Men cancellation factors, Smith revealed that AMC’s reason came down to the cold fact that the show is no longer financially sustainable. Interestingly, while Smith took the news in stride, expressing gratitude for the show’s longevity, he did confess that he thought that attention from his heart attack might have bought it another season, especially since it was just four episodes shy of reaching the 100-episode benchmark.
Comic Book Men premiered on February 12, 2012, manifesting as a 30-minute reality series centered on Smith’s Red Bank, New Jersey comic book store (and perennial geek Mecca since its 1997 opening), Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. The series used elements from Pawn Stars, in which the cast of store proprietors fielded offers to buy interesting nerd culture artifacts. It also showcased geeky activities and featured the occasional high-profile guest. However, it was the chemistry in the form of banter and comic-book-related debates amongst Flanagan, Johnson, Zapcic, Chen and occasionally Smith himself that resonated with the Walking Dead viewers who opted to stick around for the show.
Indeed, today marks the sad end of an era for viewers of AMC’s The Walking Dead power block, who, just on April 8, watched the Comic Book Men Season 7 finale, unaware that it would serve as the show’s swan song.