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 offers perspective on current iterations of Man-Thing, Scooby-Doo Team-Ups, and DuckTales.

Having learned his version of the swamp creature would be able to talk, and the comic would send him to Hollywood, I expressed some serious qualms about R.L. Stine’s impending version of Man-Thing (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy - Whatever Knows Fear...").  After the comic came out I came across an interview with the prolific author of young adult novels in Entertainment Weekly, "R.L. Stine talks writing Marvel’s Man-Thing: ‘It’s not just scary.’"  I just wish I could have read it first because in it, he’s quoted as saying he grew up reading the E.C. horror comics (Tales From The Crypt, The Vault of Horror)  saying he liked them because they were “very scary and very dark” but also because they had "funny twist endings..."

Which is when his Man-Thing #1 began making sense to me.  Though I know it verges on heresy in certain fan circles to confess this, I’ve never cared for E.C. Comics.  I could appreciate the quality of the art and story in them, but I could never could embrace them, especially those "funny twist endings."  Humor is, of course, entirely subjective, but at least to me, those endings weren’t so much funny but jokey, full of bad puns and desperately labored.  And like those comics, although I found Man-Thing #1 to be both well written and drawn, I didn’t care for it.

Not because it changes the fundamental nature of the character, though it definitely does; being an old comic book hand, I know these kinds of changes tend to be temporary.  And there’s even the outside chance a severe enough shakeup in status quo might give a mothballed character some much needed attention.  I just didn't find any of the “funny stuff” remotely funny.  In the EW interview Stine is quoted as saying "I made him talk so he could be sarcastic and I could make it funnier.  I always like to make things funnier."  I’ll have to take your word for it, Mr. Stine, because you couldn’t prove it by me.

One of my favorite current comics, and I don’t mean this ironically, is Scooby-Doo Team-Up.  It’s a smart and funny "kid’s comic" that specializes in pairing the Scooby Gang with a wide variety of characters from the DC/Hanna-Barbera catalog, always making sure each one looks and "sounds" the way they should.  Recently they’ve met up with everyone from the Batman: The Animated Series  version of Harley Quinn (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy - Sadly, This Is how The Old Year Passes"), Jonny Quest and Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles.  I even liked the recent two-parter where the HB Studio’s two Western crime-fighters, Quickdraw McGraw and Ricochet Rabbit, met.*

They just released Scooby-Doo Team-Up #47 featuring not just The Martian Manhunter, but cameos by many of the DC Universe’s resident aliens, starting with his usually disavowed comedy relief sidekick Zook (I really hope he doesn’t turn out to be the mystery villain).  But there’s also appearances by the Son of Saturn, Starfire (thankfully the one from Teen Titans, not Teen Titans Go!), Starman, and even Ultra the Multi-Alien.  Plus, there’s also a "torn from today’s headlines" plot about the government rounding up aliens that will (hopefully) go over the heads of younger readers.  It is, dare I say it, fun.  If you’ve been avoiding this series, you might want to give this issue a try.

Finally, I’m sure you’ve all seen the trailer for the new version of DuckTales ("First-Look Video For 'Ducktales' Reboot") and while I was kind of thrown by the simplified character design, I do like what they’ve done with the nephews and Webby, who’s been turned into the ultimate Duck fangirl.  And while I don’t want to get into a ‘thing’ with her, Donald Duck is not "one of the most daring adventurers of all time."  Donald is a frequently unemployed schlub forced to do low-paying jobs for his rich Uncle to support three kids.  Mickey Mouse is, so when is he finally going to get his animated action/adventure series (based on the Floyd Gottfredson comic strips of course)?

* Even though the story doesn't address two things.  First, for the story to occur some sort of time travel must have taken place, seeing as how both Quickdraw and Ricochet operate in the Old West and Scooby-Doo has a contemporary setting (even Scooby-Doo Apocalypse takes place nowish).  Second, one of the internal rules of the Scooby-Doo universe is only Scooby and other members of the Doo Clan can speak.  And while there may have been the occasional exception to this rule, the Gang should have at least been a bit surprised at seeing upright animals proficient with firearms.  And yes, I do think about this stuff entirely too much.

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