A couple of weeks ago, I helped out a friend who organised King Con, the comic convention that was run in Kirkcaldy and it was a great wee event. While they may not have been many comic guests, there were plenty of vendors selling comics, original art and associated bits and pieces.
With the con not even started, I had already bought 10 Archie double digests so I was guaranteed a visit to Riverdale. As one of our friends was there, I also picked up the commission that I spoke about in my The Lady Is A Tramp article. And yes, the picture is even nicer in reality than it looks as a photograph. Thanks to Alvin for a great picture and thanks to Janine for a great illustration.
The con was a nice relaxed event and I enjoyed being able to chat with many of the vendors and dealers. I even ended up buying a T-shirt that reflects a fandom that I don’t speak about much and that is my enjoyment of the work of Kevin Smith. The reason for buying the shirt is that it helps supports a project called Shooting Clerks. Now those of you who know Kevin Smith and Clerks will be able to skip the next bit.
My first exposure to Kevin Smith was finding out about Chasing Amy and it was a movie that I have been meaning to watch for years. After all, it was about two guys working on comics so it was right in the ballpark for a movie that I would want to watch. For one reason or another, I never got around to watching it. So the next time Kevin Smith came to my attention was over Dogma. The reason it caught my attention was the big fuss that was being made over God being played by a woman in a mainstream movie but I had not connected the dots that this was the same Kevin Smith.
My third encounter with Kevin Smith was when I ended up watching Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back in 2002. The thought of a main actor staying silent all the way through a movie intrigued me and it passed a quiet Sunday afternoon. As a result, I carried out an internet search and then started connecting the dots that Silent Bob was the same Kevin Smith that was not only acting in these movies, but was also writing and directing them. That impressed me enough that I kept an eye out for Kevin’s work and I eventually found a copy of Dogma to watch and enjoyed it enough to go back and try out Clerks. I tried several times, but I just couldn’t get past that first 15 minutes.
So for the last 10 years, I have watched out for any news about Kevin Smith and any project he has been associated with. I saw that he did Tusk and Yoga Hosers but nothing really captured me until I found out about a show called Comic Book Men towards the end of 2016. Essentially the only way you can see the show in the UK is by streaming which is not something I recommend, but I watched the show and was instantly hooked. As a result, I was buzzing when it was announced that Ming, Bryan and Mike from the show would be at the 2017 Edinburgh Comic Con. The panel that the three did was the highlight of the con for me. However, I didn’t really twig to what Chris Downie and the Shooting Clerks team were doing at the time so their work passed me by.
Fast forward to King Con 2018 and I bumped into the Shooting Clerks team again and I now pick up on the fact that their movie is a biopic about the making of Clerks. As a thank you for helping out, our illustrous leader bought those of us that decided to stay on tickets to the special screening of Shooting Clerks. Where I had not been able to click with Clerks before, I was captured by the biopic from the first moment.
It was already quite metaphysical in the fact that I was watching a biographical movie about a movie being made, but it went even more metaphysical in that Chris and the team have over a dozen cameos from those that have been part of Kevin Smith’s life since that first movie was made and to have the actors playing the likes of Kevin’s dad (Scott Schiaffo) meet the actor playing Scott Schiaffo. Also, having young Kevin taking his comic collection to the Secret Stash was brilliantly played and I howled at Walt’s line about the pages being stuck together! It was just such stunning stuff, it blew me away. But it also inspired me in that I have gone back and I have now watched all the movies up to Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back and I am intending to watch the rest to catch up.
However, I now have some confessions to make. One is that I now see where Clerks was coming from. Second is that I am sorry Kevin, but Shooting Clerks is the better movie for me. However, I was so gratified to see that Kevin’s reaction to the movie was pretty close to mine as I have watched that episode of Comic Book Men. The third and final confession is that if I ever see a user with the name Snowball37, I am so out of there!
You can support the movie Shooting Clerks with their final edits and getting the rights to use music of the time by supporting their IndieGoGo.