May 18, 2022

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I Hate This Place, But We Loved These Issues: Single Minded for May 18th, 2022

Some short reviews of this week's comics by Sean


I Hate This Place #1 by Kyle Starks, Artyom Topilin & Lee Loughridge and published by Skybound, an Image Comics Imprint
As soon as I heard that Kyle Starks was going to have a new horror-tinged series with Image this summer I was immediately sold on the idea. Last years's Old Head apparently was not enough for the seasoned scribe because this year he sets his sight on horror once again, and this time he's joining forces with newcomer Artyom Topilin doing illustrations. As sideways-bonkers as Starks' stab at horror in Old Head was I Hate This Place is sure to take it to the next level. Image is calling this the series "for fans of Gideon Falls and Home Sick Pilots". I'll go one step further and add Sex Criminals to that list, but instead of sex being the gag ..it's ghosts and jump-scares. 

But, to be fair, that last comparison may be a bit far-reaching for you since naming the common denominator between sex-jokes and campy-horror is this book. But if this describes you then you probably haven't read Sexcastle

Nonetheless, if you are following where I'm going with this exaltation you will not be disappointed with what you get here. The bar has already been set with comics by Kyle Starks; we know what to expect and we get what we've grown to love to not be able to live without. The piece here left to be uncertain is if the visual storytelling match the witty banter that will obviously ensue. Let me be first to tell you that after reading the debut issue we have nothing to fear, folks. Artyom Topilin is exactly the caliber artist that one would expect to see imagine a Kyle Starks story to life. We are in good hands. 

As story goes, I Hate This Place gets things going in a hurry. After a quick first page prologue (that will make sense to the reader during the splash page final reveal) we meet our main duo cast members, Gabby and Trudy. It comes to be known that Gabby will inherit a farm house, and hundreds of acres full of cows and wilderness from her great-aunt. Naturally, she takes her partner, Trudy, along for a ride that will hopefully be the beginning of the rest of their lives. 

Little do they know that the rest of their lives may not be what they are expecting. 

Kyle Starks, the scribe to the script for this series, has a way with words and a way with plot formation that always lends a hand to humor in the slightest and most unique of ways. With I Hate This Place (or ..for the collectors who seek out variants: F*ck This Place) Starks and the rest of the creative team here are on the brink of a horror book that is not only scary AF, but flat out fun too. 

All the tropes are here, folks. Every faceted horror thread that could ever be finds it’s way into this debut. Aliens, UFOs, ghosts, monsters, a haunted house, scary woods, the supernatural, and a persistently roaming slasher all make their way onto the pages in this first issue, and I’m thrilled to keep reading this story. Keep current with this one, dear comic readers. Let’s make Starks and Topilin household names. (SCC)


The Shaolin Cowboy #1 by Geof Darrow & Dave Stewart and published by Dark Horse Comics
There is a lot going on in the SCU. Wait ..the SCU? Excuse me while I say upfront my apologies for not being aware of the Shaolin Cowboy Universe. What have I been doing with myself and where have these cowboys been hiding all my life? 

Ok. First things first. I took a peak at this debut from Dark Horse out of pure curiosity based entirely off of the gorgeous cover. The hyper-texturized style that is Geof Darrow's is something that I'd like to call: my sweet spot. My general taste is a bit all over the place, but my specific taste in comic art is exactly where Geof Darrow resides. Cue my entrance and make way for another series to read. 

No harm. I read this first issue only to discover ..THAT THERE ARE OTHER SHAOLIN COWBOY COMICS!? 

Mind you, I really have no idea what else is going on in the SCU. But I really didn't mind because this was a freakin blast. Talking lizards. A roundhouse kicking Buddhist cowboy. A manbaby riding a gigantic flying jellyfish. I mean the premise cannot get much weirder. That's ok though since these landscapes are ones to get lost in and these characters are (strangely) captivating leaving me drooling for more. Oh and there are talking lizards, did I mention that part? 

I really have zero idea where this story is going, but I can tell you this: I will be reading more of this series. Both the new issues of this new chapter, and the ones from previous. This is one hell of a ride! (SCC)

May 17, 2022

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“Comics to Brighten Your Day” so says The Chandelier Man: Catch It’s for May 18th, 2022

 Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

Sean’s Picks:


My Bad TP by Mark Russell, Peter Krause, Bryce Ingman, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Joe Orsak, Paul Little & Rob Steen and published by Ahoy Comics
The Chandelier Man. Rush Hour. Acid Chimp. The Accelerator. Emperor King. Leg-Room. And many, many others. These are names for some of the characters in this hilarious and very self-aware satire on costumed crusaders fighting against the against evil-doers. If in need of a bit of a break from the dark and dreary ..reach for this one. It’ll be sure to brighten your day*. (And I promise you that this is in no way is an intended pun reaching for the likes of Chandelier Man).

*This was intended and was used to justify our Catch-it title this week . Cashing in on a good dad-joke is what we do here. 

May 10, 2022

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Eight Billion Great Ideas from Soule and Brown: Catch Its for May 11th, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

Rob's Picks:

Eight Billion Genies #1 by Charles Soule, Ryan Browne, and Chris Crank, published by Image Comics
Everyone gets one wish, and I do mean everyone in this new series by Soule and Browne, in which genies suddenly show up, but only give you one shot at your deepest desire. Naturally, this goes about as well as you'd expect when billions of people make knee-jerk reactions to their unexpected gifts. A small band in a dive bat are our protagonists, given some great not-quite-cartoony looks by Browne, who really shines in the design of the genies, who do little thing like high-fives with each other while the humans talk. There's a ton of potential in this premise and Soule's sharp dialogue works well in setting up the people we'll be following along with. I think my favorite part outside the genies, though, was the few glimpses we get of the chaos going on, from superheroes to giant monsters, in little pastiches and splash pages. Great work all around and my pick of the week.

May 5, 2022

May 3, 2022

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Happy Star Trek Day! And May the Fourth World Be With You! Catch Its for May 4th, 2002

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

James' Picks:

Metal Society #1 by Zack Kaplan, Guilherme Balbi, Marco Lesko, and Troy Peteri, published by Image/Top Cow
I really connect with Zack Kaplan's work (and not just because he's a fellow Kaplan, I swear!). He's got a knack for coming up with terrific sci-fi ideas that are detailed and engaging and also accessible. I've really enjoyed his past work like Join the Future, Eclipse, and just recently, Break Out (and he's got an upcoming Vault book that I'm very excited about). So I think he's got another winner of an idea here in Metal Society. I've read the first issue of this new miniseries and I really enjoyed it. The concept is that humanity was wiped out and robots/AI became the dominant life form on Earth. But, ten years ago, the robots decided it would be interesting to actually start bringing back humans as a species. So they're growing humans to do the work that the robots don't want to do. All of this history and story is framed around a robot vs. human boxing/MMA match. We meet the (enhanced) human competitor and her robot opponent, and start to get a really good look at the weird new society that human have been brought back into. I wasn't really familiar with the work of artist Guilherme Balbi, but I was really impressed with this first isue! I thought it looked great. Really nice linework and character design, and very strong storytelling. The action and dramatic moments all worked very well. Balbi was very nicely complemented by very strong, grounded color work from Marco Lesko, and Troy Peteri provided excellent lettering that was additive to the story. So if you're looking for a fun new sci-fi read, I'd definitely recommend Metal Society.  

 

 
Deadly Class #52 by Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and Lee Loughridge, published by Image Comics

Deadly Class has been a staple of my modern comics reading experience. I think it first came out in 2013 - 2014(?) which was around the time I met a lot of  my closest comics friends. So I tie Deadly Class to a really positive time in my comics life, also when Twitter felt like a more fun, less toxic place. Anyway, all of that is to say that I'm going to really miss Deadly Class when it's done, but I feel like the buzz around the book has ben more muted in recent years, and I kind of associate the book with another era. But I don't want to take Deadly Class for granted, nor should anyone else. It's a really remarkable comic, starting as a story about a secret high school for assassins, but becoming so much more. It's a story about love, friendship, betrayal, adolescence, self-discovery, integrity, and a whole lot more. Of all of the big Rick Remender Image books of the last decade or so, this one always fet the most personal to me and maybe that's why it resonated with me the most (though I also loved Low and Black Science, a lot). The self-loathing and depression experienced by Marcus Arguello (the main character) hit me pretty hard in recent years, as I could very much understand and appreciate those feelings (as I went through challenging times). I know I haven't been that specific about this book, but it's a really special book. It's violent, vulgar, absurd, heartbreaking, and so many more things. It's also hilarious and really moving. And it's one of the most visually distinctive books I've read, thanks to the extraordinary, groundbreaking illustration from Wes Craig, and the bonkers atmospheric colors from Lee Loughridge (and also Jordan Boyd for a significant period of time). Craig's visual style is kinetic, but that word doesn't even begin to do it justice. It's like some combination of speed metal and ADHD on the page, with some of the coolest, most visually innovative design, layout, and storytelling I've seen. And the colors from Loughridge and Boyd have been an atmospheric explosion and those colors feel like a character in their own right. Anyway, Deadly Class is an extraordinary, really special book. I'm clarly not saying "start reading with 2-3 issues to go" but I'm saying seek this book out and read it, you'll absolutely be blown away. 

The Stone King TP by Kel McDonald and Tyler Crook, published by Dark Horse
I hadn't heard of The Stone King until recently, but it looks like it will be a very fun read. There's thievery involved, and what appears to be walking stone creatures? I'm not too familiar with writer Kel McDonald's work (but they have a lot of experience in the world of fantasy and the supernatural), but I know Tyler Crook and I know that Crook does amazing, extraordinary work such as in several different Black Hammer-related stories). Crook has a wonderfully detailed painted style, and that looks to be on full display in The Stone King. This absolutely looks like a fun pickup this week. 
 

April 26, 2022

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Catch It for April 27, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

Rob's Picks:

Godzilla Rivals vs King Ghidorah #1 by Adam Gorham, Adam Guzowski, and Nathan Widick, published by IDW
What's more destructive than Godzilla? How about a Martian invasion? The Earth looks like it's going to be toast, until Godzilla shows up to crash the war. Except this time, even he's outmatched in an interstellar knock down, drag out fight that pits Godzilla against one of his most devastating foes--King Ghidorah! This is a total romp of a comic, despite containing a lot of dialogue. Gorham keeps things moving at a fast clip, with a lot of explosions, Godzilla battling everything from flying saucers to giant praying manti to of course, King Ghidorah himself. Meanwhile, humanity turns to Dr. Hu for help and his plan is just as bombastic as any evil mad scientist's ever. That also leads to some fun scenery-chewing, which isn't easy to pull off in the comics. Gorham's art makes the monsters feel really huge, which is awesome. Because he's packing so much into the book, sometimes the panels are a little cramped under the extensive word balloons. A clear fan of the mythos and the movies, Gorham's love-letter to the over-the-top Toho films is clear. This is yet another great Godzilla book for IDW.

April 21, 2022

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This Looks Cool: Shima’s Lost Lad London

Lost Lad London story/art: Shinya Shima published by Yen Press | Release Date: May 2022 

First off, look at those cover designs. They are stunning, I love them! I want framed versions of them up on my walls. Shinya Shima’s Lost Lad London is a murder mystery set on the streets of London. According to Yen Press: “A murder on the London Underground and a mysterious bloody knife draw a regular university student and a grizzled New Scotland Yard detective into a web of crime and suspense”.

I don’t know, I get some major Luther vibes from the cover and some of the sample pages that I’ve seen on Amazon Japan. The art is very stylized, some of the panels remind me of linocut or woodcut prints, which makes sense considering the rich history that woodcut and woodblock printing has in Japan. I’ll definitely have this one on my radar. It is nice to see more mystery and suspense manga getting picked up by publishers. The author has an IG account if you want to check them out and get a feel for the art style. The manga is in black and white and not colour though, just keep that in mind while you are perusing the IG feed. There are a few colour pages in the Japanese version, hopefully Yen Press keeps those in the English edition

April 19, 2022

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[insert 4/20 joke here]...Catch It for April 20th, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

James' Picks:

Asadora vol. 5 TPB by Naoki Urasawa, published by Viz Media

Asadora is a current manga from Naoki Urasawa, which is really all you need to know. But let me give you a little more detail. Urasawa is the legendary creator behind Pluto, 20th Century Boys, and other amazing stories. Urasawa's art is wonderfully engaging and he's an incredible storyteller. His stories have big, epic scope, but never at the expense of chracter growth and development. Asadora tells the story of a remarkable girl (now teen) who survived a deadly storm that might have been a Kaiju attack, and grows up to become an ace pilot. And is just generally awesome. It's an incredibly engaging story, and I guarantee you'll love it. 

April 14, 2022

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This Looks Cool: Yoshimizu’s Hen Kai Pan


Hen Kai Pan story and art by Eldo Yoshimizu | Published by Titan Comics

Some earth activists wear Birkenstocks, and some wear leather, swig bourbon and smoke Che cigarettes. Yoshimizu falls into the latter category. The author of Ryuko and the illustrator of Gamma Draconis has created a new manga that grapples with the pressing issues of our times. Hen Kai Pan, in Yoshimizu’s words, is a response to “issues such as climate change, food crises and deforestation.”

The idea for the story started with a question: What if the Earth had a will of it’s own? What would happen if that will manifested, how would it react to humanity and the destruction that we unleash on the planet? Hen Kai Pan tells the story of Earth’s five guardian spirits as they grapple with the question, what to do about humankind. As they argue about the solution, one of them Nila decides to take matters into her own hands. In biblical style, she decides to wipe the planet clean of not just humans, but all life in general.

I wish I could post some of Yoshimizu’s colour illustrations for Hen Kai Pan, but copyright laws prevent me. He has a bunch on Twitter, though, so you can check them out there. What I can post are some interiors from the manga. The first thing that attracted me to Hen Kai Pan, back before I knew the premise of the story, was the universality of the characters. I was drawn to an illustration of a beautiful black woman with three heads and six arms. I was intrigued by the image and took note of the name Hen Kai Pan. Later, I came across an illustration of what looked like a young Inuk woman, then another picture that looked like a portrait of an indigenous man, perhaps from South America. All were connected by the name Hen Kai Pan.



I was honestly surprised that a manga artist was working on a manga that featured people of colour. I have shelves of manga, and only one series has POC characters. I was also attracted to Yoshimizu’s art style. I really love the use of ink wash in his panels. The technique really allows him to capture various skin tones, and it lends a softness and realism to his work, especially when he is rendering animals. Hen Kai Pan is slated to be released this week on April 12th. Hopefully my busy work schedule will abate enough to allow me to write a longer review of the manga once I’ve read it. Fingers crossed!

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Matt Kindt launches new Dark Horse imprint! The return of MIND MGMT!!

Comics creator extraordinaire Matt Kindt is going to be launching a new imprint at Dark Horse and I’m beyond excited by this announcement. Kindt has, for many years, consistently been one of my favorite creators in all of comics. He’s got a huge imagination, is an incredible artist, and a phenomenal overall storyteller. And I particularly love his specific, weird sensibility. He takes his stories to all sorts of unusual places, regardless of whether he or another talented artist is drawing the comic. I’ve loved his work in MIND MGMT, Dept. H, Black Badge, Divinity, Super Spy, Ether, Bang!, and many other series. 

April 12, 2022

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April comics bring...we dunno, more Comics? Catch It for April 13th, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

Rob's Picks:
 
Mamo by Sas Milledge, published by Boom! Studios
A young witch who escaped her small town life is dragged back in by a series of potential disasters occurring in the village after the death of the town's old witch, her grandmother. Now she has to choose between the freedom she's always wanted and saving people caught up in a bony web not of their own making. And if it wasn't bad enough, the witch's long-time friend is a part of the mystery. Old feelings stir right back up in good and bad ways in this story about self-discovery and self-determination. Milledge's plotting is really spectacular here, as you are both able to figure out what's going on and be able to be surprised by points along the way and the ending resolution. Their linework flows across the page, with interesting choices in terms of the panel constructions and some really pretty splash pages. A great spring read with a good beverage and the sun shining.
 

April 7, 2022

April 5, 2022

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Take a bite out of comics! Catch It for April 6, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

 James' Picks:

West of Sundown #1 by Tim Seeley, Aaron Campbell, Jim Terry and Triona Farrell, published by Vault Comics

I've read the first issue of West of Sundown and I can tell you that it's a very fun read. If you're looking for engaging, entertaining new horror, this is a great place to start. This is set in the 19th century, but feels very accessible to me. It concerns a vampire who awakens in the midst of the Civil War, and the soldier who digs her up from where she's buried. We move to 10 years later, and this soldier is her attendant, helping her find meals where she can, based on the unjust high society of 1870's New York City (spoiler, there are plenty of bad people to dine on). But there's a threat to them as well, and they leave New York and head back to her ancestral home in the Southwest. This story (from Tim Seeley and Aaron Campbell) was very engaging (and the dialogue really worked for me) and I also very much enjoyed the art. I didn't know Jim Terry's work before but he does a good job working in a slightly exaggerated, gritty style that works well for the sometimes gruesome setting. There's violence, but this isn't a splatter comic. Terry's has a great art partner in Triona Farrell on colors. The colors feel appropriately muted for a sometimes grimy 19th century story, but absolutely do a great job accentuating any violence and bringing the story to life generally. I really enjoyed this and will be curious to read more. 

April 4, 2022

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A Conversation with Norm Konyu About 2D and The Junction


Recently I had the pleasure of corresponding with the author and artist of the upcoming Titan release for The Junction. Our conversation visited all corners of the discussion you’d expect from two guys talking shop about the thing that they love: animation. Oh ..and we also had time to discuss some of the elements behind his making The Junction, the deeply intimate and dark story of mystery and grief and how we cope. 

The Junction is available everywhere beginning tomorrow, April 5th. 

March 31, 2022

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This Looks Cool: English Release for The Solitary Gourmet


After many years of waiting for The Solitary Gourmet to be published in English, I gave up and ordered it in German. Armed with two years of high school German language classes and my yellow Langenscheidt pocket dictionary, I attempted to follow the protagonist Gorō Inogashira as he travelled around Japan. 

March 29, 2022

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Take Me Down to Astro City: Catch It for March 30th, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

James' Picks:

Astro City: That Was Then and Astro City Metrobook Vol. 1 TP, each by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross, published by Image Comics

Astro City is a really great, special series and I’m thrilled it’s back. When I was first really getting into comics as an adult, Astro City was one of the first comics I read, and it was a great entree to superhero comics and comics generally. Astro City was sort of a response to the grim and gritty comics of the 80’s and their less good, more cynical successors. At least, that’s how I read it. That’s not to say that bad or dark things don’t happen in Astro City. But it’s a complex, fully realized world that’s bursting with great stories and great ideas. So, a boring question to me is “what would it be like if there were actually superheroes in the REAL world.”  That question just doesn’t interest me, and thankfully that’s not the question that Astro City asks. Instead, Astro City asks a far more interesting question which is “what would it be like to actually live in a world full of larger than life superheroes?” What would it be like to be a cop or a call center operation, or just someone living in a city full of colorful super people?  And the wonderful team of Kurt Busiek writing and Brent Anderson has done that skillfully, over many years. Always with amazing covers from Alex Ross. Anywa, this book is always a treat, and this week you can both (1) catch up on the first few arcs of the story in a new paperback collection, and (2) read the start of a whole new story.  I plan on doing both!

March 22, 2022

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NOW THAT'S What We Call Great Comics: Catch Its for March 23rd, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

Rob's Picks:
 

NOW Anthology #11 by Various Creators including Josh Simmons, Tim Lane, Baptiste Virot, Stacy Gougoulis, Natalia Novia, and Ariel Lopez V, published by Fantagraphics 
Fantagraphics' signature anthology series enters 2022 with its 11th issue, and it's just as good as ever, as editor Eric Reynolds scours the world for amazing creators old and new to put together 128 pages of top-notch talent working in a short-form format. Anchored by Gougoulis' "Mandorla," in which colors and visual patterns play a dazzling, engrossing role (despite the restrained art style, the pages really give a strong sense of movement and the panel constructions are so cool!), this is one of the best issues yet, which is saying something. Other cool bits are Tim Lane's "Junkman" which has a real Charles Burns feel about it, the series of shorts from Virot, in which the color is eye-popping, and Novia/Lopez V's "Mission: E5" which feels like Box Brown did a jam comic with William Cardini. I love when creators explore like this, especially in an anthology. If you haven't tried this anthology yet, NOW's the time.

March 17, 2022

March 15, 2022

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Awesome Trade Paperback Winds from Aftershock, Dark Horse, and Others: Catch It for March 16th, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

Rob's Picks:

Bunny Mask Vol 1 TP by Paul Tobin, Andrea Mutti, and Taylor Esposito published by Aftershock
One of my favorite comics from 2021 gets the trade paperback treatment this week, with underrated for his horror work Paul Tobin collaborating with amazing artist Andrea Mutti and letterer Taylor Esposito on Bunny Mask, with its only fault really being that it's only gone four issues so far. (There's more coming, but I want it NOW!.) I'll quote myself here for those who haven't seen my previous comments: "A creature that wears a bunny mask haunts a man who got involved with a murder years ago and still carries some of the trauma from it. In fact, he might be romantically involved with her, assuming he's not just going completely insane. Mutti, really outdoes himself on this one, showing the disruptions the monster brings with some amazing visual scenes of psychological horror. But when the time comes to go full on violence and gore, he's just as ready in his depictions." A deeply disturbing book that has the rare honor of being one of the few horror books I refused to read right before bed! Check it out now, but be ready to look over your shoulder a lot afterwards...

March 10, 2022

March 8, 2022

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Pick up some Sweet Comics! Catch It for March 9th, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

Rachel's Pick:

Sweet Paprika #8 by Mirka Andolfo, Simon Tessuto, and Fabio Amelia, published by Image Comics
In every romance novel there comes a point when the main couple has a reckoning about their relationship. Sometimes they break up, sometimes infidelity is suspected, and sometimes one of them gets a once-in-a-life opportunity to work in the Galapagos Islands (I still miss Schitt's Creek, all the more so because they showed that love and attraction aren't enough to make a relationship work). Clearly Paprika and Dill's "arrangement" as it had been set up was never going to make it. Previously, Paprika wasn't treating Dill with respect or considering his needs. In this issue, we see some of the fallout from the breakup. We see Paprika take responsibility for her behavior toward Dill, who may be a himbo but who still deserves compassion just like anyone else. What I've enjoyed about Sweet Paprika from the very start is that unlike a lot of Hollywood romantic comedies, there is realistic growth in the characters. Throughout the series we've seen the effects that characters' relationships with their parents have on their dating lives, and this issue offers up even more of this. Mirka Andolfo's art continues to be wonderful and joyful. She does a great job with representing many different types of bodies. She's also skilled at including humorous, wordless panels. And as always, Bean the dog is incredibly cute.

March 3, 2022

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This Looks Cool: Aaron Duran, Sara Soler, and Jaime Martinez Start Spring off with "Season of the Bruja" from Oni Press


I'm not even going to pretend to be neutral on this one.

I've known my friend Aaron for a long time, going back even before we lived in the same city together. We both worked for Newsarama for awhile, too. Along the way, I've seen my friend work hard to be a new voice in comics, one that's been sorely needed. When he was included in the Lazarus world, I was so incredibly happy, because I knew just how good a writer Aaron is, and getting a high-profile gig gave others a chance to see what I'd been seeing all along.

That's why I'm absolutely over the moon happy when Oni announced Season of the Bruja by Aaron, Sara Soler on line and colors, and Jaime Martinez lettering. At long last, my friend was getting the big push he so richly deserves.

March 1, 2022

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The Nice Comics on the Shelf: Catch It for March 2, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

Rachel's Pick:

The Wrong Earth: Trapped on Teen Planet #1. Written by Gail Simone with art by Bill Morrison, Walter Geovani, and Rob Lean, colors by Andy Troy, and lettering by Rob Steen
Honestly, the reason why I picked this up is because it was written by Gail Simone, whose work I love. The first couple of pages gave me pause as it focuses on some corrupt, violent cops chasing down a seemingly innocent man. Lately, this is the last type of thing that I want to read. Thankfully, the tone very quickly lightens, especially once we and the characters are whisked away to Sun Valley, a 1950’s era all-American town that looks just like Riverdale from the Archie comics I devoured in my youth. Simone’s irreverent, witty, and occasionally fourth-wall breaking humor was exactly what I needed this week. The art is great across the board, especially the Sun Valley section, which was done by Bill Morrison. If you need some escapism, pick up The Wrong Earth: Trapped on Teen Planet. 

February 28, 2022

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Advance Review: Radio Spaceman is Rapid Fire Pulpy Goodness from Mignola and Company

 
Radio Spaceman #1
Written by Mike Mignola
Line Art by Greg Hinkle
Color Art by Dave Stewart
Lettering by Clem Robins
Published by Dark Horse Comics

When an outpost in space needs a hero to help it, they turn to the only person who can save the day--an old man who pilots a suit that looks like a Scooby Doo villain and bashes things with hammers in this absolute delight of a comic that was everything I'd hoped it would be when I first saw the previews.

A few mild spoilers after the jump, just to warn you.

February 24, 2022

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This Looks Cool: Jim Rugg brings the "Grand Design" treatment to the Hulk!

Welcome to a new feature we're trying out here at Panel Patter, "This Looks Cool!" It's a chance for us to highlight an upcoming series we think Panel Patter readers might be interested in checking out and putting on their advanced pull lists.  

I have loved the Marvel "Grand Design" books so far. Ed Piskor did three whole volumes about the X-Men, and Tom Scioli did an amazing volume about the Fantastic Four. Marvel is really working to bring in visionary independent artists to tell the stories of their greatest characters, in a new way. The newest addition to this collection will be Hulk: Grand Design from creator Jim Rugg. I mostly know Rugg from the incredible series of Street Angel comics. Street Angel is Jesse Sanchez, a homeless teen who defeats bullies, solves crimes, and has all sorts of incredible adventures on her skateboard. Rugg is an exceptional story teller and these stories always have a ton of heart in addition to as-kicking action. I think he'll be a great choice to take on the Hulk.


JAN220934
(W) Jim Rugg (A/CA) Jim Rugg

The acclaimed Grand Design franchise continues! Writer/artist Jim Rugg follows in the tradition of Ed Piskor and Tom Scioli by unfurling the full saga of THE INCREDIBLE HULK, from the very beginning to the present! Witness the biggest moments in the Hulk's history through the eyes of a single visionary storyteller!

RATED T

In Shops: Mar 16, 2022


February 23, 2022

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You Had Rob at "Kaiju": Single Minded on February 23rd, 2022

Some short reviews of this week's comics by ROB and SEAN


Kingjira: Hungry Like a Monster
By Marco Fontanili
Published by Scout Comics

A giant monster is chowing down on a city (as is their wont) but sometimes even Kaiju have a craving, as we see in this hilarious, brilliantly illustrated one-shot by Marco Fontanili.

February 22, 2022

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Department of Truthful Comics, Real and Fictional: Catch Its for February 23rd, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

James' Picks:

Olympia HC by Bastien Vives, Florent Ruppert, and Jerome Mulot, published by Fantagraphics
The Grande Odalisque was one of my favorite comics of 2021. It was a sexy, stylish, action-packed heist story, and some daring art thieves trying to steal some of the most famous pieces of art in the world. And the great news is that the creative team is back for more! In Olympia, there are new heists, more art to be stolen, and presumably more action, drama, and intrigue. This series is an absolute blast, and anyone who loves a good heist movie should pick this up.

February 17, 2022

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This Looks Cool: The Kill Lock Returns With The Artisan Wraith

 Welcome to a new feature we're trying out here at Panel Patter, "This Looks Cool!" It's a chance for us to highlight an upcoming series we think Panel Patter readers might be interested in checking out and putting on their advanced pull lists. 



I cannot tell you how happy I am to hear that the quirky quintet that was the kill lock in 2020 is back with a sequel. The barbaric and dark humored adventurous story by Transformer mainstay, Livio Ramondelli, banded together a cast of unlikely and unsung anti-heroes that immediately stole my heart. I fell for all four of those despicable and beautifully flawed delinquents. Steady those quivering knees, folks. The Kill Lock has circled back.

February 16, 2022

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Hard Truths Made Sexy in Sweet Paprika Vol.1


Sweet Paprika Vol.1
by Mirka Andolfo, Simon Tessuto, and Fabio Amelia published by Image Comics

One of my least favorite tropes in romance novels and movies is that of the uptight, high-powered woman whose focus is on her career. In comes the handsome, laid-back man, perhaps played by mid-career Matthew McConaughey, to show her how to stop and smell the roses. The woman usually ends up leaving her job, getting married to the good-looking man, having kids, and leaving everything that she spent years working for behind.

When we initially met Paprika, the main character in Mirka Andolfo’s Sweet Paprika, I was worried that this uptight, high-powered COO of a publishing company was going to be taught by himbo Dill that she needed to relax, let down her hair, and trust in a man if she wanted to have a good life. Luckily, even though Dill is much better than Paprika in having sexy fun, he isn’t really any happier than Paprika. Yes, he’s having a lot of no-string hookups with attractive women, but they want nothing to do with him socially. Both of these people are unfulfilled and both have something to teach the other.

The art is bright and colorful, and the horned and haloed inanimate objects add a lot of fun to the world of Sweet Paprika. Unlike some comic artists whose female characters are Xerox copies of each other, Andolfo depicts female and male angels and demons of all sizes and shapes. The sex scenes are steamy, but plenty of attention and care is paid to the rest of the world as well, especially the fashion, architecture, and interior design of the offices and apartments of the characters. The outfits are wonderful, and show a European sensibility. At times it feels more like reading an issue of Vogue than a comic book. Refreshingly, most of the characters (with one notable exception noted below) aren’t very judgmental about sex. I appreciate Andolfo's commitment to ensuring that all of the characters are named after herbs, spices, or other food-related names (for example, Dill’s adoptive father, Pickle). There are many meals, muffins, coffees, and alcoholic beverages that are lovingly drawn and colored, which makes sense in a title that spends a lot of time on pleasurable activities.  

While a lot of her underlings don’t like Paprika because she often acts like a horned Miranda Priestly, the one who seems the most disgusted by her is her own father.  As a conservative judge, her father views Paprika as a slut. He yells at a kindergarten-aged Paprika that she will surely get knocked up in middle school if she doesn’t stop making her dolls kiss. Years later, he’s scolding her for not having kids yet. He looks down on everything from what she wears to how much she works. There is no pleasing him because he has no respect for her autonomy. I think that a lot of readers may have had similar experiences with their own fathers. Much of Paprika’s sexual hang ups are due to her father’s judgmental, and sexist behavior. Yes, Paprika can be awful to her employees, but when you see the dynamic with her father it’s easy to see that his emotional abuse has colored how she sees her coworkers and employees. What her father says is exactly what parents (especially fathers) still say to their daughters—but almost never to their sons.

It's elements like Paprika’s relationship with her father that comment on how much of society refuses to let women be open about their sexuality. I can see Sweet Paprika being an empowering read for college-aged readers, note that the frequent nudity and cursing likely make this a title that may not be suitable for younger readers.  As I noted in my review of the first volume, if you like The Bolder Type, The Devil Wears Prada, and Younger, you will probably like Sweet Paprika. This comic is more than just a gorgeously illustrated, sexy read. It also has an important message to convey about being open with yourself and others.

Sweet Paprika Vol.1 is available now







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Pocket Change & Vampires: Single Minded February 16th, 2022

Some Short Reviews of This Week's Comics by Rob & Sean


Silver Coin #9
Written by Vita Ayala
Line Art and Letters by Michael Walsh
Color Art by Michael Walsh and Toni Marie Griffin
Published by Image Comics

A corrupt local Detective is so far gone he shakes down a local homeless drug addict for his last coin. Unfortunately for him, it's the bad penny that keeps turning up and will soon turn his life upside down in another issue of the loosely themed horror anthology Silver Coin.

February 15, 2022

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A Crowded week of comics! Catch It at the Comic Shop February 16th, 2022

Welcome to Catch it at the Comic Shop, where the Panel Patter team looks at what's coming out at your favorite store or digital device this week. Each one of us that participates picks up to five items due out this week, with a little bit about why we like them. (NOTE: We use solicitation material for this, so if we miss creators, please talk to your publisher!) Sometimes we might only have a few items to share, other weeks, keeping it to five will make for hard choices. Here's what the team wanted to highlight this week...

James' Picks:

Crowded TP vol. 3 by Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell, published by Image Comics

Crowded is a really fun comic, set in a ridiculous world (basically our own) that I wrote about previously. This is a fantastic comic and I'm excited to pick up the next (and final?) arc. It's got hilarious dialogue and great characterization, and gorgeous, hilarious, action-packed art from the always great art team of Ro Stein and Ted Brandt, and colorist Triona Farrell. Here's what I said previously about the world of Crowded:

The government allows Reapr (a crowdfunding assassination app) to exist. It started when some cabinet members were assassinated and it was traced back to a crowdfunding campaign. The government couldn’t stop it, it became popular. They tried everything but couldn’t shut it down. Anyone can start a campaign on anyone, and if you get a second person to fund it you’re in business. Anyone can collect on a campaign by killing the target. But after the campaign is over, you can’t start another one against the person. Law enforcement couldn’t stop it so now they just allow it and penalize it with red tape. In Crowded, everyone is trying to kill Charlotte Ellison (Charlie). Someone has started a Reapr campaign against her and the total is quickly over a million dollars. Charlie finds Vita on Dfend to hire her as a bodyguard. Charlie lives entirely in the gig economy. She drives for Muver and Drift. She rents out her car to people on Wheelsy. She rented an old dress out to someone on Kloset. She walks dogs on Dogstroll. She babysits on Citysitter and loans money on Moneyfriender. She tutors calculus. She spends time with folks on Palrent. And everyone wants to kill her. All sorts of craziness ensues.

February 14, 2022

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Creepy Cute Stabby Chic: the Dwellings #3 Fundrazr Campaign


Creepy cute. Stabby chic. Bloody adorable! These sweet-but-swearing cartoon characters pulled from the mind of Jay Stephens are back and ready to drag us back into a haunting familiar scare. Dwellings, a horror comic anthology series that is definitely-not-for-kids-but-looks-like-it-should-be, is back in another fundraiser campaign with a third issue opening for pre-orders tomorrow.

All looks fine and well in the town of Elwich, but readers beware. There are plenty of cute jump scares and body horror  along with well-timed dark comedy to turn this Saturday morning-cartoon-look-alike comic into something unlike you’ve ever seen. Even if you think you’ve seen this all done before, you haven’t. Jay Stephens and Black Eye Comics know exactly how to make a comic like Dwellings work. 


The first issue of Dwellings, given the title “They Know”, immediately let’s reader know what kind of comic twill be as soon as you open it up. The inside front cover is jam packed full of 2”x 3” in-world and situationally related product advertisements for what you are about to journey through. And that’s before we even begin digging in to the story. And I do mean ..digging in.

As suggested by the issue’s title, and a very specifically charged and immediate encounter between a couple characters (one who we quickly will get to know), the mystery of what they know, as insinuated by the title, becomes revealed. Oh, and there’s smiling, cackling, eye-socket gouging crows. 
 

Moving narrative along to the second issue, things get ..more adorable. If retro horror chic or dressing up body horror in all sorts of creepy cute ways is not your thing then this may not be a crowdfunding campaign that suits you, but if it is then you’re in for a massive treat. “Second Tongue” is the title for issue two and despite how adorable the art remains, the story (set in Elwich once again) turns up the heat. Things get scary-weird, and remains tastefully done.

Absurd violence, gruesome body horror, turns and twists involving the occult, all the ingredients you’d expect from a comic resembling anything else is all here in Dwellings. Dark comedy, bloody cute characters, in-world fake advertising, yellow-tinted pulp page interiors, all within thirty-plus pages of some of the best horror I’ve read. The presentation of the comic is so sweet you’re bound to get diabetes, but with enough horror to have you never look the same way at a crow again. 


The third issue, “Quiet Suki”, opens for pre-order in a crowdfunding campaign with plenty of stretch goals to choose from. Get the trading cards. Take part in the EC horror variant raffle. Pick up the risograph print or mini movie poster. There’s also original Dwellings art pages! So many add-on’s!

Sign on early and spread the word that the town of Elwich has more story to tell. This time it’s told in part by a hand puppet that won’t shut up.

My browser is cued up. How about yours. Get in. Get yours. Read Dwellings. Read more comics. 

The Dwellings #3 fundrazr campaign begins Tuesday, February 15th at 8am.

Sneak Peak of “Quiet Suki” pgs 1-4





February 10, 2022

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This Looks Cool: Image's Ghost Cage features the return of Nick Dragotta to monthly comics!

Welcome to a new feature we're trying out here at Panel Patter, "This Looks Cool!" It's a chance for us to highlight an upcoming series we think Panel Patter readers might be interested in checking out and putting on their advanced pull lists.

Did you read East of West? If not, stop what you're doing right now and go read the entire 45-isue story. East of West (written by Jonathan Hickman, with art by Nick Dragotta and colors by Frank Martin) is one of my favorite comics ever and was on my list of favorite comics of the decade. Dragotta has an amazing, kinetic style, with some of the coolest visuals I've literally ever seen in a comic. He's a master of action, and tension. His style feels manga-influenced but is immediately recognizable as his own thing. But I don't think I'd seen any comics work from Dragotta in a little while, so I'm thrilled to see him return, even if this is just a short series of a few issues. The premise sounds very cool. Also, this book has letters and design by Rus Wooton, covers colored by Frank Martin, and edits by David Brothers. That's a fantastic team. Get this comic!

JAN220084
(W) Nick Dragotta, Caleb Goellner (A/CA) Nick Dragotta

The highly anticipated follow-up project from critically lauded EAST OF WEST artist NICK DRAGOTTA!

This ALL-NEW, EXTRA-LENGTH LIMITED SERIES teams artistic dynamo DRAGOTTA with rising-star writer CALEB GOELLNER (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures). When his megacorp power plant falls under attack by terrorists, the super-scientist who revolutionized and controls all energy on Earth sends his ultimate creation (and an adequate employee) in to destroy his most monstrous secrets.

In Shops: Mar 23, 2022