May 25, 2021

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Catch It at the Comic Shop May 26th. 2021

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:

Shadowman #2 by Cullen Bunn, John Davis-Hunt, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles, published by Valiant
Jack isn't the only one getting taken for a ride as he heads for a literal ghost town where yet another creature from the Deadside is bound and determined to break the veil once and for all. Trapped between two worlds full of evil, Shadowman will need more than just mystical powers to stop another breach while trying to decide if he's being led by the non-existent nose in a follow-up issue that's even stronger than the first. I've mentioned before that Bunn really gets Valiant's mystical world in a way some others didn't seem to, and he's really doing a great job of keeping Jack and the reader off-balance by providing him with an unreliable narrator/partner in the form of Baron Samedi. The Baron's banter is hysterical, but reading between the lines, it's clear he's up to something. A lot of the comic effect is driven by Davis-Hunt's portrayal of the laughing loa of Death, doing some great visual pacing for Cullen's lines. He also knocking the action out of the park, too. Jack's battles are extremely well crafted, and the opening scene, leading off with Baron-as-Comic Host and transitioning into a great pre-code horror vignette, really set up the rest of the issue well. And let's not forget how Bellaire makes the ghosts feel like they're not truly there with her coloring, and Cowles' strong lettering contrasts. Shadowman is in great hands and I hope this team gets a nice, long run.

Hard-Boiled Stories from the Cat Bar by Ono Yourei, published by Yen Press
Do I really need to go past the title on this one? I mean, this is literal catnip for me, a comic set at a bar where cats co-mingle with noir hitmen and the stories that result from it. The Kitty and Me is supposed to be a neutral site, but when Undertaker (no, not that one) comes to mourn his dead cat and prep for a new job, things get complicated. It's kats and killers drawn in a slick style by Yourei, and that's a winning combination.

Classic Pulp Ghosts, Written and Illustrated by Various, remastered by Joshua Werner, published by Source Point Press
Old horror comics getting represented and given a new audience? Yeah, I'll be around for that. This is a new name to the game for me, so I'll be curious to see how his work on four old stories, including two about phantoms, compares to others. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any creator credits or sample images of the changes, so this is really a blind grab for me, but I'm always in favor of more old comics seeing the light of day. Good or bad, it's great to see history getting preserved. Hopefully, these will be some hidden gems!

Zig Zag One Shot by Will Sweeney, published by Fantagraphics
Will Sweeney takes the reader on a trip through the adventures of a sentient fungus super-agent who uses a mechanized suit to save other worlds from tyrants. If that doesn't scream FANTAGRAPHICS at the top of its lungs, I don't know what does, save maybe a Hernandez Brothers-Peter Bagge-Ed Piskor super-jam crossover. As if the premise isn't strange enough there's witchdoctors, multiple personalities, and more crammed into one twenty-four page package. If you want batshit spage-age zaniness, you've come to the right place.
 
Mike's Picks:

The Blue Flame by Christopher Cantwell and Adam Gorham, published by Vault Comics
The Blue Fame is the antidote to the superhero rut. You know what I mean - the same cycle of stories that perpetuate low stakes endless continuity year after year. Don't get me wrong - I like my superhero books just fine, but I find their impact increasingly minimal anymore. Books like The Blue Flame - self contained and purposeful - are the erstwhile remedy for that cynical cycle. Gorham's lush, Gold Key-esque Silver Age-inspired panels constitute some of the best cosmic work I've come across in some time, and Cantwell's Bronze Age deconstruction pairs wonderfully alongside it. There is an inherent contrast here - action and analysis, optimism and realism - that make the book not only worth reading, but worth remembering.

Killadelphia 13 by Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander, published by Image Comics
Speaking of taking risks, Killadelphia is a book unafraid to burn everything down. The first twelve or so issues of the series make the reader think the narrative is headed in one direction, focused on the growth of one character. Yet, with one isssue, Barnes and Alexander turn the series on its head. The premise is still there, and the horror at the core still radiates through Alexander's painterly panels, but Barnes throws the reader off-kilter enough to galvanize an already strong series that begins a new direction with this issue. 
 
Kelli's Pick:

What Did You Eat Yesterday? Vol.15, Written and Illustrated by Fumi Yoshinaga , Translated by Jocelyne Allen , Published by Kodansha
Do you enjoy eating good food? Yeah, who doesn’t? Do you like reading stories about people cooking? Great, then might I humbly suggest the series What Did You Eat Yesterday?! I love this series which is written by Fumi Yoshinaga, a veteran mangaka with a number of awards under her belt. She has a ridiculous amount of work translated into English, most notably Ōoku: The Inner Chambers.What Did You Eat Yesterday? is a humorous manga about the daily life of a middle aged gay couple working and living in Tokyo. Kenji is a hairdresser, and is totally out, while his partner Shiro, who works in a law firm, is closeted. The series was unique in Japan, when it debuted in 2007, for its realistic portrayal of a same-sex couple. Yoshinaga provides readers with a glimpse of what it’s like to live in Japan when you are gay. From renewing a lease [not at all guaranteed as a same sex couple], to navigating the innocent yet intrusive inquires of co-coworkers, to dealing with parents who don’t know how to relate to their gay offspring; Yoshinaga handles the subject with a humorous, yet gentle lens. At the centre of the story are the home cooked meals that Shiro creates for himself and Kenji. Shiro has an encyclopedic knowledge of home cooking. Sukiyaki, chestnut rice, butter cod teriyaki, kimchee stew, pound cake, and milk tea sorbet are a few of the delicacies he makes. The preparation of the meals are portrayed with enough detail that, if you wish, you could cook along with Shiro. I know because I’ve done it. It is by cooking and eating meals together that Shiro and Kenji work through everyday issues and ultimately show their love for each other. As the series progresses the stories branch out beyond the two main characters to include the joys and tribulations of their co-workers and friends. The drama in the series is pedestrian, but that is what makes it a joy to read. It’s like taking a peeking into the lives of your friends and neighbours. Humorous and a little bitter sweet, What Did You Eat Yesterday? is quintessential slice-of-life-manga. Volume 15 releases this week, with volumes 16 and 17 to follow in August and November. 
 
James' Picks:

Black Panther #25 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Daniel Acuna, Brian Stelfreeze, and Laura Martin, published by Marvel Comics
I'm sorry to see this end, but I've really enjoyed Ta-Nehisi Coates' time on the Black Panther comic. Particularly the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda story. This is an enormous, big, exciting, sci-fi story that I've really enjoyed, as Coates has really gotten the hang of comic writing, and lets the terrific artists do a lot of the work. A great thing to do when your art is provided by someone as incredible as Daniel Acuna, who does stunning work here. I look forward to reading this whole 25-issue run as a whole. I think it will stand as a terrific sci-fi superhero story, and a tale of heroism and justice.

The Other History of the DC Universe #4 by John Ridley, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Andrea Cucchi, and Jose Villarubia, published by DC Comics
Speaking of Black Panther, when Ta-Nehisi Coates leaves Black Panther, as the next writer will be John Ridley! Ridley is currently writing an incredible comic story in The Other History of the DC Universe. Well, it's not exacty a comic, more like illustrated prose, I guess. Anyway, it's incredible. This is a look at the history of the DC universe but from the POV of characters from marginalized groups, like Black Lightning and Katana. And the new issue is going to be about the life of Renee Montoya a/k/a The Question. As a Latina, Queer cop, Montoya has faced trmendus prejudice her whole life, but she has dedicated that life to keeping Gotham safe, fist as a cop and then as the detective/superhero, The Question. These stories have been powerful and illuminating, and I can't wait for the new issue.