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 news out of Toy Fair.

I may be a Comic Book Guy I’m also a toy guy.  Back in the days when action figures were king and I was working at Dark Star Books in Yellow Springs, Ohio I faithfully followed all the trades (Toyfare, Action Figure Digest, Action Figure News & Toy Review, etc.), dutifully studied the action figure section of each month’s Diamond Previews and helped with their ordering.  Though I was always more of an appreciative observer than what you’d call an actual collector, I even bought a few for myself.  But I did dream that one day I would use my store credentials to attend Toy Fair and return weighed down with bags of swag and stories from inside the industry.

Naturally, that never happened and over the years I found myself increasingly disconnected from the toy market, both personally and professionally.  It was a combination of fatigue, cost and upkeep -- it became clear no matter how “cool” a figure was it would quickly become another dust collector I had to find display space for.  Though an added factor is I’ve somehow never “gotten” why Legos is such a global phenomenon; and while we sell a lot of them at Super-Fly Comics & Games, I’ve likewise never understood the appeal of Funko POP! Vinyl figures. 

I had even forgotten when Toy Fair was held, which is why I was genuinely surprised when pieces about it started appearing on ICv2 last week.  And as I went through the photo galleries I had to admit action figures had gotten better looking during the years I wasn't paying attention to them.  I saw McFarlane was still putting out good looking hyper-realistic figures, but was also producing some wonderfully on-model figures based on animated series with relatively simple designs like South Park, Rick and Morty and Steven Universe.

And while I certainly liked the Mattel DC figures I saw, for me the highlight of the show was Hasbro’s Marvel line, including figures from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (for some reason the line includes Marvel UK’s Death’s Head II, who I really hope is in the movie at least somewhere in the background, though I kind of doubt it).  And from the wide variety of Baby Groot* merchandise on display, it’s abundantly clear everyone understands who was the breakout star of the first movie.

As a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 I couldn’t go without mentioning that there will finally, finally, be an MST3K comic book.  Not only that, but the deal with Dark Horse also includes unspecified “licensed merchandise” (see “Dark Horse Partners With 'MST3K'"). Which I can only hope means action figures of Joel, Mike and the ‘bots.  As I’ve written here before (see “Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--The Power of Comics”) there once was almost an MST3K comic back in the 90’s, featuring Mike and the ‘bots riffing on Gold Key and Dell comics the company had the rights to.  And while that’s the obvious way for Dark Horse to go as well (and they do have access to the old science fiction/fantasy anthology series Adventures Into The Unknown and Forbidden Worlds), frankly I’d much prefer to see Tom Servo and Crow go on solo adventures.  Hopefully drawn by Steve Vance, who did those great MST3K DVD covers.

And if you somehow haven’t heard, and it was reported everywhere from The Hollywood Reporter to The Christian Post to (I swear) The Brooklyn Vegan, it was finally announced by Netflix the 11th Season of MST3K will debut on Friday, April 14, 2017.  There are fourteen installments (“experiments” if you’re a fan, “episodes” if you’re not) that will be available for immediate binge-watching.  You can of course dole them out on a weekly basis, so the fun will last longer.  You can do that; I won’t, but then, I’ve been waiting to see this for decades.

And, finally, one show that could really use a toy line is Disney’s XD’s Star vs. The Forces of Evil, the animated series about a rule/role-breaking magical princess.  There’s a wide selection of shirts and ancillary merchandise (laptop skins, stickers, notebooks etc.), but no toys.  Which seems to be a missed opportunity to make both a lot of money and a lot of little girls happy (not to mention a great many random supposed adults). 

According to a Tweet by show creator Daron Nefcy Season Three starts this summer and Season Four was just announced via The Hollywood Reporter.  Season Two ended on Monday and while I watched the episode “Just Friends,” I completely missed that as a piece on the Glamour website put it, “Progress: A Disney XD Cartoon Just showed its First Same-Sex Kiss.”  To give this groundbreaking moment some context, while attending a concert Star’s best friend Marco kisses his girlfriend Jackie while couples around them do the same thing, including at least two confirmed same-sex ones.  Clearly, it wasn’t supposed to be a big deal, it was just, there.

*After seeing all the Groot merchandise it finally occurred to me Marvel has a hidden asset when it comes to representation and inclusion; Groot.   Groot is a tree and being one is neither a he nor she, making Groot agender and most likely asexual. (lthough  in the comics  Mantis ended up marrying a telepathic alien plant which had taken up residence in the reanimated body of the third-string Avenger The Swordsman.  But I kind of doubt that’s going to happen in the movie, though it would definitely be interesting if it did.)

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