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 takes a look at Marvel's Secret Wars and the upcoming live-action Jonny Quest movie.

A couple of weeks ago (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Extinction Events"), I dealt with this year's crossover events with an emphasis on the first one out of the gate, DC's Convergence.  That means this time it's Secret Wars' turn.  After its annihilation porn setup,* as predicted the series thematically became a marriage of convenience between Game of Thrones and World of Warcraft.  So far it's been more of the former and less of the latter, for instead of the superhero slugfests you'd expect from a comic book that's AKA Battleworld there's plenty of behind the scenes court intrigue between the various recreated regions of the Marvel Universe.

Secret Wars is smarter and prettier than Convergence, but as nice as it is I was ultimately left less than impressed with its faux medieval setting and tireless world-building.  Because while it's also mildly more engaging and inventive, it's still difficult to get emotionally invested in such well-worn material, especially as it will disappear without a trace given a couple of months.

The upside to Secret Wars is that it's going to bring us a new Marvel Universe, where hopefully the publishers will finally right some egregious wrongs.  For instance, seeing as how she's already appearing everywhere and in everything maybe it's time Marvel just dropped the other shoe already and brought Gwen Stacy back to the land of the living.  And while that door is still open a crack how's about bringing finally back Happy Hogan, Tony Stark's former friend, chauffeur and bodyguard?  I choose to believe Tony wouldn't have gone off the rails so badly or so often recently if his true blue-collar, doughy sidekick had been around to call him on all of his crap.

The downside is, well the same one you always experience with these kind of events.  Right now there are quite a number of Marvel Comics that I'm not only enjoying but am actively looking forward to.  They include Spider-Woman, Hulk, Squirrel Girl, Thor, etc.  What all of these titles have in common, besides being well written and drawn, is they feature single characters unencumbered by some overarching continuity.  And for the most part they've been left alone to tell the stories the creators want to tell, without being sidetracked and shoehorned into meaningless crossovers and events.  And now all of them have been left in limbo with no guarantees they'll be coming back, and if they do what form they'll take.

And, finally, it looks like the much in development Jonny Quest live-action movie is once again inching towards production, this time with Robert Rodriguez directing (see "Robert Rodriguez On 'Jonny Quest'") and Rodriguez and Terry Rossio writing the script.  I've got nothing but respect for Rodriguez, and as previously established I consider The Adventures of Jonny Quest to be the finest animated series ever conceived by the mind of man.  So you would think this news would make me happy.  You'd think.

Mostly what we have here is a classic "I'll believe it when I see it" situation.  See, I've been down this road before; most recently it almost became a movie back in 2010 with the unlikely casting of Zac Efron as Jonny and Dwayne Johnson as Race.  Plus it's also a matter of too little information; is this version going to be a modern take on the characters, or will they actually attempt to make it a jet age period piece, like this summer's big screen The Man From U.N.C.L.E.?

But mostly I hesitate to get emotionally invested in this because 1964, the year the TV series premiered on American television, is getting to be a long time ago.  I'm increasingly concerned that not enough people even remember Jonny, and that even fewer still care.  And that the Quest Team's signature brand of heroism and scientific inquiry may be just too old fashioned for today’s audience.  Talk about feeling like a Grandpa.

* Credit where credit is due, let us acknowledge that in Secret Wars #0-1 Jonathan Hickman has written what I’m very much hoping will be the final word when it comes to the subject of the superheroic apocalypse saga.  That is at least until Kurt Busiek decides to do one in the pages of Astro City.  Because unlike everyone else who has introduced an existential threat into the genre he wasn't forced to shoehorn in a last minute save.  He wasn't required to wave it off, walk it back or otherwise somehow bring existence back from the brink.  He got to pull the trigger and kill a fictional universe.  That's got to look good on your resume.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of