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 offers up his annual article about the upcoming Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

We're about a week away from Thanksgiving, that national secular celebration of (hopefully) sincere gratitude and appreciation. I’m lucky enough to have not just one but two Thanksgivings with family and friends to look forward to, for which I am genuinely grateful. But, regular readers of these things (see “Thanks For Everything”), know I also celebrate by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon.

I’ve always looked to the parade as not just an entertaining diversion but as a microcosm of what’s going on in American popular culture in these peculiar times; and that includes comics (kind of). But ultimately, the Parade is about branding and getting your brand in front of a largely receptive captive audience, and for this, the Parade’s 96th year, there will be five new balloons, each promoting a popular franchise.

New balloons for 2023 include Stuart the Minion (Titan Comics has published a series of Minions graphic novels by Stephane Lapuss, Renaud Collin, and Didier Ah-Koon) and a balloon of Greg from Jeff Kinney’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid book series (which is a hybrid combination of prose and pictures rather than comics). Then there’s Bluey, an Australian preschool animated television series that’s currently running on Disney+; a show I only knew existed because of a recent kerfuffle over an episode that was briefly banned by Disney because it involved “fluffing” (look it up).

And finally, there’s Baby Shark, from the Nickelodeon show Baby Shark’s Big Show, and Dino, a new version of the mascot of the Sinclair Oil Company who has previously made 21 appearances in the parade. The Parade also features returning favorites such as Chase from Paw Patrol, Astronaut Snoopy, Pikachu, SpongeBob SquarePants, Grogu (a.k.a. Baby Yoda), and Goku in his Super Saiyan Blue form from the film Dragon Ball Super: Broly.

When it comes to the Parade I’m pretty solidly a balloon guy, but being a big fan of classic comic strips,this year there is one float that kind of interests me the one promoting the Netflix film, Slumberland. It's a live-action musical film loosely based on the classic comic strip Little Nemo by Winsor McCay featuring Jason Momoa as Flip and actress Marlow Barkley as a gender-flipped Nemo named Nema.

The parade begins on November 24 at 9 a.m. and can be viewed on NBC as well as the Peacock streaming platform.

Then, there’s  the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon, a yearly event going back decades. What makes this year’s marathon special is it's being billed as the “Surgically Enhanced” Marathon because, in the words of series creator Joel Hodgson, "These 'Surgically Enhanced' episodes have had their visual components upgraded to 1080p from the original 480p. Strangely, the MST3K Surgically Enhanced process also gives the upscaled films a distinctive 'new car' smell."

It also features new host segments by series regulars Felicia Day and Rebecca Hanson that will run between the ten episodes of the show being shown, two of which (as well as a short) come from the series' current Season 13 which will be seen for the first time outside of their new streaming platform the Gizmoplex.  This year’s titles include The Sword and the Dragon, The Starfighters, Catalina Caper, Horror of Party Beach, Santo in the Treasure of Dracula, Beyond Atlantis, Warrior of the Lost World, City Limits, Parts: The Clonus Horror, Mitchell and the short Sleep for Health.  So, for anyone who has been wanting to check out these new episodes for free, here’s your chance. The Marathon begins at 7 am EST on Shout Factory TV.

And finally, back in October during ICv2’s Gift Week (see “Just The Right Thing''), on my list of potential gifts was the Comic Book Scented Candle, whose scent of ink, paper, and newsprint supposedly brought “back those childhood memories”.  But I forgot to send an image for it, and this is something worth seeing. So, better late than never, here it is.

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