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 trip through 60s comic revivals, the upcoming DC manga release, how Disney took movie cues from Marvel, and the death of Stephen Hawking.

After Batman ‘66 Meets Wonder Woman ‘77 bent the premise of the brand by taking it outside of its designated decade, I had thought that the brand might have run out of suitable franchises for it to mash up with. Clearly, this is not the case because mixing the brand with the Archie characters (see "Batman and Robin Team Up with Archie") is a genuinely inspired idea.  Being set in the 60’s leaves me hoping there will be appearances by either the Superteens or the Agents of R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E, if not both.  The first issue of Archie Meets Batman 66 is shipping on July 18th, which just so happens to be my birthday.  It's nice to know that I'll be getting at least one present.

Speaking of the Superteens, according to the piece on the CBR website, "Archie’s Superteens vs. Crusaders: Riverdale Goes Superhero," they will definitely have a comic of their own out this summer: Archie’s Superteens vs. Crusaders.  It’s a two-issue series written by Ian Flynn, David Williams, Gary Martin, and illustrated by Kelsey Shannon, David Williams, Gary Martin and Jack Morell.  I'm on record as being a fan of the current Crusaders series (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--The Cold Equation"), and from the preview pages posted online this comic will look equally as good.  For hardcore superhero enthusiasts, if the covers for the first two issues are to be believed, this series will feature a different Crusaders lineup.  Guys like me can expect to see appearances by Mr. Justice, The Hangman, The Fox, etc. and, somehow, both the Golden Age Comet and the rather sad 60s version, who had a rainbow-encrusted space pith helmet and a pencil thin mustache.

Back in 2017 (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy - Heart, Humor, Hope, Heroics, and Optimism") I wrote how in hopes of getting Japanese audiences better acquainted with the DC heroes before the then-upcoming Wonder Woman and Justice League movies, DC was creating a manga serial titled Batman and the Justice League to run in the Japanese anthology Champion Red.  At the time I wondered when it would be translated and published in America.  And thanks to The Bleeding Cool piece "DC Comics to Publish English Translation of Batman & the Justice League Manga" I know that in October, DC will be publishing it in a single volume, Batman & The Justice League Vol. 1.

I came across an interesting piece on the NPR website, by Christabel Nsiah-Buadi titled "Imagining--Yet Again--A New Disney Heroine."  The author says that by making the black female characters Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time and Shuri from Black Panther smart, outspoken and self-assured, Disney reimagined "what it means to be a female hero."  And as to why Disney did that, Nsiah-Buadi says it came down to two things, the first being obvious, the second of which surprised me.

The first: money. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, "Latinos account for 23 percent of frequent movie-goers, while African- Americans, and Asians represent a combined 26 percent of frequent movie-goers."  Dr. Ana-Christina Ramón, co-author of the annual Hollywood Diversity Report, is quoted as saying that while “Disney might be aware of the social implications of the movies it makes,” they’re also aware of what’s "going to improve the bottom line."  Or, as Nsiah-Buadi puts it, "...bringing Meg and Shuri to the big screen made business sense."

The second, surprisingly: Marvel. The piece states "when it came to racial diversity," Disney "took the hint from the success of its superhero movies."  Ramon is also quoted as saying "the comic book franchise [had] been established already, so [Disney could] slowly bring in diversity with secondary characters throughout these stories... [They introduced] Falcon, [an African-American character] played by Anthony Mackie — he's the sidekick to Captain America. So they introduced a little diversity, but they [didn't] make it the main plotline."

Finally, I feel compelled to acknowledge the passing of renowned theoretical physicist                  Professor Stephen Hawking.  While I cannot speak with any authority about his work involving black holes,* I can say that through appearances on The Big Bang Theory (where he was dubbed “the wheelchair dude who invented time”) and The Simpsons, he made an outstanding ambassador for science.

* Not that I’m capable of ever understanding it, I am intensely interested in the recent story from USA Today, "Do we live in a multiverse?  Stephen Hawking submitted a final paper days before his death."  Hawking is the co-author on the paper, "which lays the framework for how researchers could someday test the ‘multiverse’ theory, or the existence of an infinite number of universes in addition to our own,"  I know it’s unlikely but I’m hoping that in my lifetime someone does use it to confirm the theory, because It would be so cool to be able to tell people I knew it all along.

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