Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett talks about the death of The Watcher, Barbarella, and 2014 movies.
This column has spoilers about recent issues of Fantastic Four and FF.
One of my favorite Marvel characters has always been Uatu the Watcher, and not because he was a comic book fat guy, because he wasn't, always.  Admittedly by the time of the "Galactus Trilogy" in Fantastic Four, Jack Kirby seems to have forgotten he was supposed to be a lean, big-headed alien and for the next couple of decades most artists made him look like a doughy bald Rotarian in a sheet.  It wasn't hard for me to sympathize/empathize with an eternally isolated loner who vicariously lived through the characters of the Marvel Universe.  Plus he got the best line of dialogue Stan Lee ever wrote.  In Fantastic Four #49 Sue wonders how Reed can stop the "all-powerful" Silver Surfer.  The Watcher replies "All-powerful?  There is only one who deserves that name.  And His only weapon… is love."  Who knew he was a Unitarian?
But honestly I didn't think much about it when Marvel announced that its next event, "Original Sin," would involve the death of The Watcher (see "Marvel’s 'Original Sin' Crossover"), not even when they released a promotional image showing Uatu shot through the head.  Maybe because things of late have been even more dismal than usual in the Marvel Universe. 
Although the good guys "won" in the recent Infinity miniseries, you wouldn't know it from the gloomy ending; and the first issue of Inhumanity ended with the senseless death of another classic Lee/Kirby character.  And of course death isn't exactly permanent in the comics; it can even be a great career move.  Everybody loves you when you're dead; just go ask Hawkeye.
Then I read Fantastic Four #16, the last issue of the current version, and while I've been enjoying Matt Fraction's run, for some reason I never got around to reading  FF, the other Fantastic Four comic written by him.  And I seem to have missed out on a couple of things; for instance, it didn't make many headlines but in #6 Tong, one of the Future Foundation's Moloid kids, came out as transgender.  Also confirmed bachelor Uatu had found himself a nice female Watcher named Ulana and *gasp* they were going to have a baby!  I actually teared up a little as Uatu, the forever fanboy, finally found love and happiness.  The story ends with the words, "The Adventure Continues...," with The Watcher getting his brains blown out.  I can hardly wait.
One of my favorite hobby horses, upon which I have repeatedly ridden here over the years, has been my love of bande dessinee (Franco-Belgian comics), and my disappointment that they aren't more popular in America.  There are of course reasons for that:  unfamiliar characters, creators and genres, as well as the difficulty of finding a place in an already crowded market, etc.  But I'm convinced one reason that is usually overlooked is that publishers never spring for new translations and lettering.  I imagine they're considered to be an unnecessary expense, seeing as how both are already in English.  I've never let the fact no one else agreed with me dissuade me, so you can imagine the validation I felt when Humanoids announced they would be providing a new translation for a new edition of Jean-Claude Forest's Barbarella they'll be publishing later this year.
This is big news, seeing as how Barbarella is that rare European comic that actually has brand name recognition in America, as we can see from the announcement of a Barbarella TV series for the Amazon Prime streaming service (see "'Barbarella' TV Series Set Up at Amazon").  But I'm also heartened by the fact that the new translation will be done by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Ms. Marvel, Pretty Deadly).  Here's hoping this leads to the same sort of thing from other publishers.
Looking ahead, there are plenty of movies I actively want to see in 2014, including Muppets Most Wanted, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Guardians of the Galaxy and especially Big Hero 6.  Honestly, my doubts had doubts about this one, but I’ve come around, partially due to the fact I saw Frozen, and partially because Chris Williams will now be co-directing it (see "Chris Williams on 'Big Hero 6'").  I've decided that this is a sign of the studio's faith in the feature as opposed to the theory floated in various places online that it means the production is in trouble.
But on the "I completely forgot they were even making this" list are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, A Night in the Museum 3, Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, Godzilla and especially Annie.  If you've forgotten this last one as well, this version has African Americans in the principal roles with Jamie Foxx as, not Daddy Warbucks (a name presumably too dated and silly for contemporary audiences) but rather, Benjamin Stacks.  I was curious to see what ethnicities Punjab and The Asp would have in this iteration, but according to the Internet Movie Database, unfortunately, neither one will be in the movie.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of