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 retro-ization of DC’s superhero costumes, Minnie’s new star and comics about her, and the upcoming Marvel Super Hero Adventures.

Back in 2010 (see “Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Return of the Yellow Circle”), I reported that the long-absent yellow round thing (aka “the yellow circle,” sometimes referred to as either an ellipse or oval) would once again encircle Batman’s chest insignia in the then-upcoming pages of Batman: The Return.  Which it did, briefly, after which it disappeared again, but then DC never promised it would be permanent.

Well, it made an unexpected appearance last week in Doomsday Clock* #3 by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, and Brad Anderson, and this time it looks like it might be around a bit longer.  At the very least according to the story “Yellow Oval Confirmed to Return to Batman’s Costume” on, the change will be reflected in Batman's appearances in all upcoming DC titles.  All of which is fine with me, but I do find it at least a little suspicious that its latest return has "coincidentally" coincided with Superman getting his red trunks back.  Is this just really a coincidence or does it imply that more DC superheroes will be regaining their retro looks?

You might have missed it, but as the headline of the piece in Variety put it, on January 22nd “Minnie Mouse, Iconic Toon, Finally Gets a Star of Her Own.”  It was quite a to-do and among the presenters was singer Katy Perry wearing a period-looking dress and hat festooned with Minnie's signature red polka dots.  The article described Minnie as being an “animated film, TV and fashion icon” as well as a “licensing powerhouse.”  All of which is undoubtedly true, but once again I reflected that besides being Mickey's girlfriend, Minnie still didn't seem to have much of an identity of her own.

But being a comic book guy, my initial reaction was, "Where are all the Minnie Mouse comics?”  I don't believe I had ever come across a Minnie solo story in an American Disney comic.  Then I began to wonder if Minnie had ever her own solo adventures in her own magazine, anywhere else in the world. And as usual when I have a question like this I went to the always reliable Disney Comics Worldwide website where I learned the answer was, surprisingly, yes.

Minnie has had her own magazine or comic book (if not both) in countries like France, Germany, and Italy, but not in America, which to me sure seems like Disney is leaving money on the table.  Though to be fair we currently do have the Minnie and Daisy Best Friends Forever graphic novels published by Papercutz, the fourth volume of which, United Skates, is shipping in February.  In this series the focus is on school, low key adventures and female friendship and the stories are well done and a lot of fun.  But I do wonder sometimes if the girls reading them would actively object if Minnie chased a ghost or routed a mad scientist every once in a while.  You know, the way Mickey does.

I'm always interested in comics for kids, especially when Marvel or DC try to market their superheroes to them.  Marvel hasn’t managed to do that successfully since they published Super Spidey Stories back in the 70s  But as this preview shows (see “Preview:  Marvel Super Hero Adventures”), they’re going to try again  

Marvel Super-Hero Adventures is part of a larger initiative directed at preschoolers which also has an animated component.  But I'm more concerned with the comics, which will feature interiors by Jim McCann and Dario Brizuela and covers by the always wonderful Gurihiru.  I have to confess, the so-called Minimate style art (in anime this is known as SD or super deformed) kind of gives me the willies.  But I'm clearly not the droids they're looking for with this title, and it's entirely possible that the art will appeal to younger readers.  But I do have to admit I definitely appreciate seeing the usually grumpy Marvel characters with big smiles on their faces.

*For those lucky enough to have not grown up under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation, the actual Doomsday Clock is, to quote Wikipedia, “a symbol which represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe.”  The term has been in the news a lot lately, as in the headline of a recent story that appeared on the Oregon Live website which suggests “The Doomsday Clock just moved; It’s now 2 minutes to ‘midnight’, the symbolic hour of the apocalypse.” You can’t buy this kind of free publicity so if DC isn’t planning to spin a title off of the Doomsday Clock comic, they really should.  Maybe it’s time to revive the old Quality Comics character The Clock as The Doomsday Clock.  In the old days the character was just a standard masked millionaire playboy that fought crime, but of course The Doomsday Clock would have to be substantially more...explosive.

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