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 talks about Doom Patrol, DuckTales, and Alley Oop.

Promo image from upcoming episode
Two weeks ago (see “Confessions of a Comic Book Guy - Scooby-Doo Meets Flex Mentallo”) I wrote about The Doom Patrol’s DC Universe series and noted that while their current comic series is ending with #12, which is shipping today, the characters had guest-starred in the latest issue of Scooby-Doo Team-Up.  Seeing as how it featured a cameo by Danny the Street, a character from Grant Morrison’s run on the Doom Patrol comic, I semi-seriously wondered if the next issue would guest star Flex Mentallo.  Much to my disbelief, it actually did.

While Flex had to endure derision from Robotman and jokes from the Scooby Gang, he maintained his dignity and proved instrumental in the battle against The Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, an appropriately oddball DP villain from the 60’s. The issue featured a brief appearance by Crazy Jane, who will be on the streaming Doom Patrol series.  Which lead me to think, does this mean that Flex might appear on it as well?  I know it's really, really unlikely, but then again, so was this.

Last week’s episode of DuckTales, “The Hidden Depths of Cousin Fethry!” featured the first animated appearance of a Duck family member essentially unknown in the United States.  I was vaguely aware Fethry was created by the Disney Studio to appear in European Disney comics* and had even read a handful of Donald Duck stories featuring him in IDW’s Disney comics, but I have to confess, I never got why the character was so popular overseas.

I found I much preferred the animated version. While still the family "oddball," instead of being prone to New-Agey beliefs Fethry is more of a fringe citizen scientist.  And I can’t say if this was Disney’s intent, but as written Fethry seems somewhere on the autism spectrum.  At least it's easy to read him that way, given the plot involves nerdy Huey becoming afraid he's inherited his cousin’s "eccentricities" before he and his brother Dewey learn to accept Fethry.  Which while pat, is a message kids really should hear.

According to a piece on the CBR website, “DuckTales: Who’s New On Season 2 of the Disney Channel Revival” we’ll be also be seeing such Disney characters as Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles of The Three Caballeros and...Bubba the Caveduck.  If you’re not familiar, like Gizmoduck he appeared in later episodes of the original DuckTales, and like Gizmoduck, I found his antics wore thin pretty quick.  But as I’ve learned (see “Confessions of a Comic Book Guy - The Importance of Being Gizmoduck”), you never know how much impact a cartoon character might have on its intended audience; kids.  So, it's entirely possible this will be good news...for someone.

A story I missed while recuperating (see “Confessions of a Comic Book Guy - In Full Recovery Mode”) surprisingly made the pages of The New York Times, “Alley Oop’s Team Steps Down, but Comic Strip May Still Have a Future.”  In August the creative team of Jack and Carole Bender announced their retirement and on September 1st their last original strip ran.  But, encouraged by the revival of the strip Nancy, John Glynn, president, and editorial director of Andrews McMeel Syndication, felt the feature might still have a future. He’s quoted as saying, “It’s exciting for me to think about these older features that have some brand equity that a lot of people still enjoy.”

On the other hand, I was fairly convinced that Alley Oop had gone the way of Mutt and Jeff, and if the strip continued to exist it would only be as an endless series of reprints.  So I was taken aback when I saw another NYT piece, ‘Alley Oop Will Return (Spoiler Alert)” It turns out the strip wasn’t dead, only sleeping, and will return in January with the creative team of writer Joey Alison Sayers and artist Jonathan Lemon.  As the article points out, the strip is (surprisingly) still running in 600 newspapers.  Which as my friend Tom Mason has pointed out, is "a lot of syndicate money to leave on the table by canceling the strip."

The new version of Oop will run seven days a weeks and the Sundays “will tell the story of Li’l Oop, a new preteen version of Alley Oop that will focus on his early middle-school years”.  Sayers has said she hopes to add more humor, which would be fine by me, seeing as how it's always been a humorous adventure strip.  I just hope she remembers the adventure part and doesn't plan on turning it into a gag-a-day strip for millennials.

*Bonus Fun Fact: According to the DuckTales Wiki, writer Dick Kinney and artist Al Hubbard “created the character to be a beatnik.” Hollywood has never gotten The Beats right, my favorite example of this being the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of the 1960 movie The Beatniks. And even though he’s competing with Maynard C. Krebs (the “inspiration” for Scooby-Doo's Shaggy) from The Dobie Gillis Show, Fethry might well be the least authentic “beatnik” ever.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.