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, Steve Bennett contemplates the announcement of a Tom Swift series.

A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that in the next season of The CW's Nancy Drew series there would be an episode featuring Tom Swift that would serve as a “backdoor pilot” for a proposed spinoff series that would follow the “serialized adventures of the billionaire inventor who is thrust into a world of sci-fi conspiracy and unexplained phenomena after the shocking disappearance of his father”.  Oh, and this time he would be black and gay.

Given the success the network has had with its “Arrow-verse'' and “Archieverse” series it’s not surprising The CW would want to try and jumpstart a "Drew-niverse".  However, they trying to start one with the Tom Swift character.  He may very well be an iconic character, but because he hasn’t been adapted into movies, TV, and comics (like Dynamite’s Nancy Drew: The Death of Nancy Drew series, the final issue of which shipped last week) he hasn’t been embedded into popular culture the same way Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys are.

For those unfamiliar with his franchise, there have been six different Tom Swift book series and in the series, the character has been reinvented to fit the times. It’s too deep a dive to get into all of them, but in the first one that ran between 1910 and 1941 where Tom was the embodiment of the Thomas Edison-esque plucky lone inventor.  And in the current one, Tom Swift Inventors' Academy Tom attends a super science Hogwarts, the Swift Academy of Science and Technology.  Which, I have to confess, I didn’t know existed until I started researching this column.

One problem with The CW doing a media franchise-shared universe featuring characters who, like Nancy Drew, appeared in adventure book series published by the Stratemeyer Syndicate is,  after you do Tom and The Hardy Boys, there aren’t a lot of characters to choose from. Most of their early book series was based on what was then bleeding-edge technology like planes (Ted Scott Flying Stories), trains. (Ralph of the Railroad), and automobiles (Motor Boys).

After Tom Swift, the Bobbsey Twins have the most brand name recognition, and I have no doubt The CW could turn the exceedingly mild small town adventures of a pair of fraternal twins into a sweaty soap.  After all, look what they did to Riverdale!  Then there’s, boy explorer Don Sturdy, the self-explanatory Christopher Cool, Teen Agent, and of course Bomba the Jungle Boy, who briefly had his own DC comic back in the 60s.  And if The CW isn’t interested in spinning any of these off into TV shows, I’d really like to see Dynamite Entertainment adapt the properties into comics.

If you missed the news that Tom Swift is now (potentially) black and gay, it’s understandable; the story didn’t get nearly as much media attention as you would expect.  In fact, as far as I can tell so far, there hasn’t been any notable online commentary on it.  It's likely due to the fact it’s happening to Tom Swift.  If this was, say Joe Hardy, I’m guessing a lot of people would have something to say about that.

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