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 looks at The Lego Movie and the new Ms. Marvel.
Much to my surprise I went to see The Lego Movie last night.  It was due to a  combination of having zero interest in seeing either The Olympics or The Westminster Dog Show and having a free movie ticket that's been  burning a hole in my pocket ever since I missed my chance to see the Bollywood blockbuster Dhoom 3* over Christmas.  And as previously indicated (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Opting Out"), I don't "get" the whole Lego phenomenon.  I also quoted Papercutz editor-in-chief Jim Salicrup as saying their Lego Ninjago series had been on the New York Times best-selling graphic novels list many times.  Well, not just "on;" Lego Ninjago #9: Night of the Nindroids, by Greg Farshtey and Jolyon Yates, appears at the #1 position on next week's list.
I especially don't get how a movie about colorful children's blocks is both big box office and receiving almost exclusively rave reviews.  And while, as I've said, I appreciate that I don't have to "get" everything, I have this nagging fear at the base of my brain that keeps telling me if I don't at least try to keep contemporary I'll become the old man I'm afraid I already am.  So I saw it and, almost as surprising, I enjoyed it.  The pacing admittedly is a little on the poky side, I can understand what a friend meant when he said he could hardly stay awake during it.  But eventually I was won over by the movie's wild visuals and anything goes attitude that allowed not just a featured role for Batman but guest appearances by Superman, Green Lantern and The Flash.
I'm the guy who's always going on about wanting to see something he's never seen before at the cinema, well, The Lego Movie (which I keep inadvertently calling The Logo Movie, and the sad thing is I'm not trying to be funny) is definitely that.  And almost as interesting as the movie was seeing a movie that was essentially a feature length product placement getting called out by the Fox Business channel as being "anti-business" because the bad guy is called "Lord Business."
But then you never know what someone will see in a movie.  Take, for example Disney's Frozen.  Now, I enjoyed it (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--We Don't Want Girls"), but didn't see it as being either the most Christian movie or progressive film of 2013, but lots of others have.  During the movie's showstopper, the Oscar-nominated song "Let It Go," the Elsa character sings "No right, no rules for me.  I'm free!" which I've seen interpreted online as both the character's Satan-like desire for freedom which leads her to be enslaved by sin or as her joyous coming to terms with who she is.
I "joke" about being old, but the truth is I was around in 1977 when the first Ms. Marvel #1 came out, but honestly I much prefer the one by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona that shipped last week.  Along with being very, very good it does indeed feature a cameo by the hedgehog wearing hulk hands who showed up in promotional art for the series (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Respect as a Pre-Existing Condition").  I only hope he'll become Ms. Marvel's talking animal mascot and confidante.
Ms. Marvel earned the publisher the kind of free publicity it no doubt was counting on, like a piece in The Washington Post where Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso is quoted as saying "While we don't have any market research, the eyes don't lie.  If you go to the conventions and comic book stores, more and more female readers are emerging.  They are starved for content and looking for content they can relate to."
I've only seen the first issue but I think Ms. Marvel is exactly the kind of content any new reader is looking for, female ones included.  The title has definitely gotten off to a good start, being last week's top digital selling comic for Marvel, surpassing both New Avengers and All-New X-Men, suggesting that there is an audience for this kind of content outside of comic shops.  I can only hope Marvel's confidence in the title is there six months from now, and that it can resist the temptation to clog the comic with gratuitous superhero crossovers and big event crossovers.
* The fact that I can now see first-run Indian movies at a big chain cineplex in a sleepy Ohio suburb kind of makes me feel like I'm living in a Philip K. Dick novel.  As the song Pick Yourself Up says, "Nothing's impossible, I have found…," which, frankly, is starting to freak me out.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of