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 reminds us he warned of the dangers of a nude scene in a Batman comic, talks about the new digital comics announcement, X-Babies, the new Disney comics, and American editions of Euro-comics:

When someone gives you the very thing you've been asking for the least you can do is say thanks, so a most sincere thank you is due Erica Jeffrey of Cinebook who went out of her way to acknowledge me in her announcement the publisher had acquired the rights to Spirou.  Which does make me most happy as the absence of English translations of the series has been a major source of frustration for me, especially knowing that they exist in India.*

I frequently gripe about the quality of the translations of European comics so it good to know so much attention is given to them in the Cinebook editions (I especially enjoy the ones done for Blake & Mortimer).  In the past I've gone as far as to suggest Tintin be "adapted" for the U.S. market but no Ugly American is I; I also want them as faithful to the originals as possible.  To give you an idea of what I definitely don't want I present into evidence this adaptation of Asterix that ran in the British comic Valiant in the early 60's (I got this image from the frequently hilarious Stupid Comics website).

It's been a real banner week for me getting what I want; last week I begged Boom! Studios to publish Wizards of Mickey in their then still theoretical line of Disney Comics.  Then over the weekend it was announced (a) the rumors were true and (b) their first issue of Mickey Mouse & Friends would contain the first part of that series.  Plus Walt Disney's Comics & Stories will feature another multi-part Italian series Ultraheroes which recasts the classic Disney characters as superheroes.

And while still planning to publish Disney material for collectors the actual comics will, according to Boom! Studio's co-founder Ross Richie, be a "modern presence creative take on these classic characters that can connect with kids today."  He also said "the Mickey stories that we're putting together are really going to surprise people.  It's very fresh and cool and is going to be a lot of fun."  In short, they sound like everything I'd want a Disney comic to be.

Now all we have to do is order them.

I know it would be easy not to; back when I worked at Dark Star Books we referred to comics like these as "Would Anybody Miss These," meaning comics nobody would miss if they somehow failed to show up on Wednesday.  In times like these we're all looking for ways to trim our Diamond orders and it's certainly true Disney comics have never done particularly well in the direct sales market.

But given all this publicity and the subject matter of these comics (superheroes and epic fantasy) they just might be Disney comics that could appeal to a wider audience than you'd expect.  So I hope most of you will order them along the lines of the Muppet/Pixar comics because I want them to be a success, partially because I still want a Phineas & Ferb comic book.  To quote their Wikipedia entry, "Comic books are being produced, supervised by the writers";  no doubt these were intended for the international market but that could change, couldn't it?

A lot of news came out of Heroescon but I've got to comment on the upcoming X-Babies miniseries by Greg Schigiel and Jacob Chabot featuring (to quote the Marvel website) "the pantheon of Star Comics."  You've got to admire Schigiel's sheer audacity (almost nothing surprises me anymore but I did not see this coming) and the way Chabot has redesigned  Planet Terry, Top Dog, Wally Wizard, etc. to maximize their tween appeal.  If nothing else it proves if you're a Marvel character there's always hope you'll be revived.  Stay strong Terry Vance, Schoolboy Sleuth; it's only a matter of time.

Of course the Longbox Digital Comics announcement got my attention; it certainly sounds good but without being able to test drive their system (and I'd very much like to) my only real question is about (as Robot 6 of Comic Book Resources put it) 'the potential for block and subscription pricing'.  Longbox likes the iTunes analogy, fine for the casual reader, but the career fan is going to need something closer to the Netflix model.

In my column of 8/28/2008, "Most Naked Batman Comics Ever," I talked about Batman Confidential #18 which featured lots and lots of strategically positioned naked people, Batgirl included.  Well the inevitable happened.  According to "Mom Finds Nude Scene in Batman" by Lindsay Ruebens which appeared in the June 20th edition of The Charlotte Observer, a local woman bought the comic for a dime at a library for her son.  She was outraged.  I can't blame her.

And in case you missed it Wolverine did show up in the Amazing Spider-Man comic strip, so hilariously off model you've got to wonder if Larry Lieber had ever seen an image of the character.  Here his muttonchops go past his jaw, almost touching his soul patch and turning the whole thing into a beard.  But somebody else is to blame for inexplicably coloring his hair blue-black.

* From the publisher Euro Books which also offers English translations of Herge's Quick & Flupke.  Hopefully someone will produce American versions of both that it and Herge's The Adventures of Jo, Zette and Jocko before the first Tintin movie is released.

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