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RED BANK: FACADE REPAIR UNDERWAY

21 broad 071216

rb 21 broad 071116 2The sidewalk and parking spots in front of 21 Broad Street in Red Bank remained blocked off Tuesday morning, one day after a 12-foot long section of the facade broke off from above a third-story window and crashed to the sidewalk.

Assistant construction code official John Drucker tells redbankgreen the piece that fell was a plaster-covered cap that broke off after the wood beneath it rotted away. A contractor was on the scene Tuesday morning with a lift to remove the additional capping above the third-floor windows and to check the integrity of the overall facade, he said. The building, which has been vacant since the departure of Agostino Antiques in 2012, is being used temporarily for the shooting of next season’s ‘Comic Book Men’ on AMC. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: PIECE OF FACADE BREAKS OFF

rb 21 broad 071116 1rb 21 broad 071116 2No injuries occurred as a piece of the facade at 21 Broad Street in Red Bank broke off from above a second-story window and crashed to the sidewalk around 10 a.m. Monday.

The long-vacant building, formerly home to Agostino Antiques, is being used temporarily for the shooting of next season’s ‘Comic Book Men’ on AMC. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: HOLY DOUBLETAKE! IT’S BATMAN!

rb batman 081414 6rb batman 081414 2Spoiler alert for fans of the cable show ‘Comic Book Men,’ shot in and around Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash on Broad Street in Red Bank: a future episode will feature a race between the Batmobile and the Green Hornet’s Black Beauty, shot Thursday afternoon on Bridge Avenue in Gotham Red Bank.

And who was riding shotgun for a faux Batman? None other than onetime Batman portrayer Adam West himself, now 85 years old. Andres Verde of Red Bank, above, got a selfie with West, following one take of the low-speed race. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: TWO GO THE DISTANCE FOR CHARITY

MingNicoleCOMIC BOOK MEN’s Ming Chen and fellow marathon runner Nicole Corre kick off their charity run of the San Francisco Marathon with an event at Jamian’s Food and Drink on Thursday, June 26.

Longtime habitues of Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash know Ming Chen as “weekend man” at Kevin Smith’s Lourdes-like grotto of pop pilgrimage — and the burgeoning fanbase of the Smith-produced AMC series know Ming as one of the Comic Book Men who’ve helped put Red Bank on the map of the multiverse for comix culture. But if you haven’t known Chen as a Marathon Man, then an upcoming event on Thursday, June 26 is designed to make the public aware that, when it comes to philanthropy, Chen is in it for the duration.

Hosted at Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street, the “Not So Ordinary Fundraiser” party serves as the official kick-off to Ming and Nicole Run San Francisco, an endeavor in which Chen and fellow endurance runner Nicole Corre will take part in the upcoming San Francisco Marathon, scheduled for July 27.

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RED BANK: STASH YIELDS MORE BUDS

rob bruce 101511Robert Bruce at a Glen Goldbaum fashion event in Red Bank in 2011. A regular on “Comic Book Men,” set at the Broad Street store below, he’s about to get his own show on AMC. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

comic book men 072712The Red Bank comic book juggernaut Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash continues to add to its amazing superpowers.

Comic Book Men,” an unscripted TV show about buying and selling comic books that’s based in the Broad Street store, has been picked up for a fourth season by the AMC network, according an entertainment industry report.

It’s also spawned a new show starring borough resident Robert Bruce, a regular on “Comic Book Men.” And it looks like progenitor-of-all-things-Stashian Kevin Smith will get one, too.

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RED BANK: SUPERMOM TO ‘COMIC BOOK MEN’

Kimberlee Thornton, self-styled “production mom” for the reality show “Comic Book Men,” rocks a superhero cape on Broad Street in Red Bank Monday to mark the start of taping for the show’s third season. “Comic Book Men,” set in film director Kevin Smith‘s Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, will again run on the AMC cable channel in the fall, having moved last season from Sunday nights to Thursdays. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: MING CHEN FLIES WITHOUT A CAPE

Ming Chen, right, talking smod with Michael Zapcic at Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash last month.  (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

Bites2_SmallAMC’s Comic Book Men, a reality TV show set at Red Bank’s Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash that airs its season finale tonight, features a cast renowned for snide and jaded banter on the world of comic books, movies, and television.

Throughout their playful, occasionally ball-busting discussions conducted online on ‘smodcasts‘ that anchor the show, store employee Ming Chen tends to be the brunt of the jokes due to his laid-back, friendly and unassuming disposition.

Chen, 38, started on his path to comic book heaven in 1996, while attending the University of Michigan. There, he studied everything from economics to organic chemistry, until he found himself skipping class to follow his true passion: web design. Chen says he “fell backwards” into his life as a professional nerd after he created a fan website for Kevin Smith’s movie ‘Clerks,’ which prompted Smith to offer him an internship. Since then, Chen has formed lifelong friendships with Smith and the cast, which includes Bryan Johnson, Michael Zapcic, Walt Flanagan, and “Steve-Dave.” This chemistry, Chen says, is what creates the show’s natural feel.

redbankgreen sat down with Chen, who also hosts the show “Puck Nuts” and is often featured on the podcast “Tell ‘em Steve-Dave,” for an installment of our infrequent Human Bites feature, which focuses on people and their passions.

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IN ASBURY AND IN PRINT: RATS AND BARFLIES

Cliff Galbraith with his two recent comic books, above, and talking with fan John Hanley on Broad Street, below. (Click to enlarge)

This Saturday, a pair of Red Bank comic book aficionados – dealer and Comic Book Men star Robert Bruce, and author/illustrator Cliff Galbraith – are putting on Asbury Park Comic Con 2, reprising an event they debuted in May. redbankgreen spoke with Galbraith recently about his own relationship with the printed form of his work.

By JOHN T. WARD

It took a kind of SMACK! to the head, but Red Bank’s Cliff Galbraith learned his lesson:

When it comes to comic books, the web isn’t nirvana.

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STASHERS AMPED FOR REALITY TV DEBUT

Michael Zapcic with Thomas Mumme, left, during Thursday’s live ‘SModcast’ at Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. Below: Kevin Smith on the center monitor during a taping earlier this week in Red Bank. (Photo below courtesy of Robert Bruce. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Michael Zapcic had the “really surreal” experience earlier this week of walking past Madison Square Garden, glancing up at the massive Jumbotron and seeing a commercial for ‘Comic Book Men,’ a new cable show in which he appears as himself: a self-described comic book geek.

“I’m like holy crap! It’s them! It’s us!” he recalled Thursday, in the tone of an average, fedora-wearing citizen spotting a caped man flying overhead.

Life in the mini-Gotham that is Red Bank may never be the same.

Only, yeah, it will be exactly the same, because ‘Comic Book Men’ is a reality show, one focused on the daily interplay of three employees of  “possibly the world’s most famous comic book store” – Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash on Broad Street, where the show is set.

Over six episodes, four opinionated, superabsorbent sponges of superheroism – Zapcic, Ming Chen and Walt Flanagan, plus original store manager Bryan Johnson – spend a lot of time  “just arguing about stupid movie plot points, which happens every day without cameras anyway,” says Chen.

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