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 writes about Big Hero 6 and other movies based on comics.

I've been writing about Big Hero 6 for well over a year now so it should come as no big surprise that I'm writing about it again now that I've finally seen the movie.  Don't worry, I won't be reviewing it, other than to say I really wanted to love it but didn't.  I don't know why; it's certainly beautiful and beautifully done.  And being a big guy myself, of course I loved Baymax (I'll be spending the next two months fighting the urge to get myself a plush version of him).  Mostly I just liked, admired and appreciated it enough that I want to see it a second time on the big screen.  And that's a big thing for me these days.

In particular I couldn't help but admire the way the movie celebrates science and remade the Big 6 into science heroes.*  If America is ever going to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world again it needs to a much better job promoting education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  And while there are all sorts of programs out there doing just that, when it comes to winning young hearts and minds nothing quite beats having the #1 movie in America.

Remember how I said the character Aunt Cass would have a tattoo (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy—Toons with Tats")?  Well, she wasn't the only one.  One of the (many) interesting things I learned reading Jessica Julius' book The Art of Big Hero 6 was that both Go-Go and Fred were supposed to have them too.  But, as per predictable, apparently someone at Disney got cold feet and they didn't make it into the finished film.  The time for toons with tats still hasn’t come; not yet anyway.

The holiday season officially began when two weeks ago I went to work feeling so rough, raw and just generally out of it I just couldn't fathom why so many of my co-workers were dressed in costumes.  It was only when I was about half way up the elevator that it finally dawned on me that it was Halloween.  One of them, dressed as V from V for Vendetta (the movie version, given the number of plastic knives he was accessorized with), went around passing out treats.  I wanted to tell him the graphic novel was better, but I instead I just took the cookies.  They were pretty good.


One instance when the movie actually is better than the graphic novel?  Snowpiercer.  I enjoyed the graphic novel written by Jacques Lob and Benjamin Legrand and drawn by Jean-Marc Rochette (see "Review: 'Snowpiercer Vol. 1: The Escape' HC"), but had no plans to see the movie based on it.  Until it became available via Netflix Instant Streaming that is.  It's decidedly different from the graphic novel but also a substantial improvement on it on almost every level.  For starters the premise seems more plausible here, the plot more believable, the social commentary less trenchant and the characters more relatable.  Plus it's also beautifully filmed, full of unexpected moments and has some top-notch action.

Well it turns out I didn't have to wait two years to see it.  Antboy, the Danish film based on the comic book of the same name (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Here Comes Antboy") is now available via Netflix instant streaming.  It's an enjoyable kids film that deals with the well-trod tropes of the superhero with both humor and a certain amount of respect, but frankly I was even more impressed by how skillful the English dubbing was.  At this rate it's only a matter of time until I'll be able to watch an English language version of Les Taxis Rouges, the film based on the graphic novel The Red Taxis by Peyo, creator of The Smurfs.

A while ago I wrote about how Stand By Me Doraemon, a 3D CG movie featuring the iconic robot cat, was doing better in Japan than Transformers 4 (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--The Things I Don't Know").  I probably shouldn't be surprised by this but according to a review of it that appeared in Variety, they’ve produced an English dubbed version (featuring the voices from the Doraemon series that's been running on Disney XD) and it's on its way to a theater near you.  Or, more likely, Netflix instant streaming.

* Alan Moore may have coined that term for Tom Strong and the rest of his America's Best Comics characters, but Paul Pope has also used it to describe Haggard West in his graphic novel Battling Boy.  But when I Googled "science hero" two unexpected things popped up:

  1. Publisher New Haven Comics is publishing a science fiction anthology called Science Hero and has trademarked the title.

A Korean comic book version of Ben 10 I didn't know existed which looks just weird, and nice, enough that I kind of wish IDW would get the English language rights.  However I must strenuously object to the fact the internet considers someone who in all of his various incarnations has shown nothing but contempt for education, reading and even common sense a "science hero."

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