July 28, 2020

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Catch It at the Comic Shop July 29th, 2020

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:

Pulp HC by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Jacob Phillips, published by Image Comics
Pulp is a wonderful, self-contained read. I'm a huge fan of any Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips project, whether it take place in the Criminal universe or otherwise. But this feels pretty special. It concerns a pulp novelist in the 1930's who has a real connection to the sorts of Old West stories he tells, and a Pinkerton agent who used to be on his trail many decades before. That's all I want to say about it. This is a great read, and the art and coloring from Sean and Jacob Phillips is really fantastic. They work together seamlessly as a team. As do, of course, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. This one is engaging, dramatic, sad, and just a terrific read.

Wonder Woman #759 by Mariko Tamaki, Mikel Janin, and Jordie Bellaire, published by DC Comics
I haven't really read Wonder Woman comics since Greg Rucka was writing them a few years ago. Those were good, but I honestly haven't *loved* a Wonder Woman comic since the New 52 Azzarrello/Chiang days. Now those were some really cool comics.  But I'm on board for this creative team. I loved Mikel Janin's work during the Tom King Batman run. And Mariko Tamaki is one of the very best writers out there right now. This year's Eisner awards confirm it! She was my favorite writer last year, with Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, and X:23. In each case she told terrific stories that also helped me engage with the interior emotional lives of the characters, so I'm excited to see what she brings to Wonder Woman

Black Stars Above vol. 1 by Lonnie Nadler, Jenna Cha, Brad Simpson, and Hassan Ostmane-Elhaou, published by Vault Comics
Cosmic sci-fi horror is an easy sale for me, and Black Stars Above is a great example of it. I reviewed this comic when issue 3 came out back in January, and I loved it. It's the best kind of horror for me, which is to say that it invokes a feeling of cosmic existential dread. It's set in rural Canada in 1887, which definitely makes for a lonely, weird setting, and the art from Jenna Cha really suits this story perfectly. It feels cold and barren, and is a perfect read if you want to be freaked out.

Rob's Picks:

Flapper Queens Women Cartoonists of Jazz Age by Trina Robbins, published by Fantagraphics
In addition to being a great cartoonist in her own right, Trina Robbins is a wonderful comics historian specializing in the history of women in comics. Here's another entry in that series, this time going back to the 1920s to bring to light the work of creators that most people (including me) aren't familiar with. She also extends the definition to not just comics, which I think is pretty cool. These books are always great and I can't wait to read it.

Black Magick #12 by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott, published by Image
Rowan Black is a witch who is also a cop. Her special skills help her in her role as a keeper of the peace, but as time has gone on, the line is blurring too much and the forces both within and without the department are coming for her. With so much power coming at her, Rowan may not be able to survive this third volume of a series I never thought I'd get to see back again. Rucka does a great job with this kind of character, even if it can be a little similar at times to his other women-as-badass-investigators series. Combined with Nicola Scott's art, which switches from the macabre to the mundane at the drop of a hat, you have a horror noir that's right up my alley, and possibly yours, too.

Sean's Pick:

Hedra by Jesse Lonergan, published by Image Comics
Newcomer to comics, Jesse Lonergan is impressive here in Hedra with geometric heights of ambition taken as he explores the comics medium. This one-shot comic tells the story of a space explorer leaving a war torn earth in search of what can only be assumed as life, or a more peaceful or habitable place. As the story travels onward, across each page, we are taken on a journey like none other. Lonergan’s acute eye for storytelling detail among the abundant geometric corners of the pages give us many new ways to find story in literally every page. Oftentimes, these opportunities to find hidden idiosyncrasies among the story can bring you back to the start of the page only to start over once more. A cyclical effect of being essentially trapped within a moment makes this an even more impressive book. This is a very strong debut and one not to be overlooked. Keep your eye on Lonergan, and keep your eye in the sky for what he might do next. For there’s no telling what else he can do with a comic if this is what he decided as his debut.

Mike's Pick: 

Hedra by Jesse Lonergan, published by Image Comics
Hedra is a beautiful comic, a convergence of abstract formalism with pulp science fiction. Without words, Jesse Lonergan tells a beautiful adventure in space, but it’s the forms of the book that make it stand out for me. Hedra is an exercise in geometrics, and I found the layers of shape in the book mesmerizing.