Catch it at the Comic Shop August 23rd, 2017

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 three single issues and one trade for your consideration, with a little bit about why we like it.

Today we introduce something we're extremely excited about: Guest Catchers!

No, not this guy:

As part of the flowing nature of this feature, we'll be asking Panel Pals of all kinds to drop by and offer this picks to you. We hope you'll enjoy seeing their varied perspectives mixing with ours.

First up is long-time Panel Pal and friend Aaron Duran!

Aaron's a comics writer and prose author, whose work in comics includes La Brujeria (a series that tackled representation in comics head-on and is a lot of fun for those who like their horror with a twist of humor). Book Two of his YA novel series Forgotten Tyrs comes out on August 26th in Portland, Oregon, and you can pick up book one here.

But that's not all for Aaron! He's part of the rotating cast for Lazarus X+66, co-writing issue 2 with Greg Rucka, which is out this Wednesday. Lazarus is a great series about a world where powerful families control things in an even more literal sense than they do in America right now. This mini-series moves things into the future, allowing Rucka to give other creators like Aaron a chance to work within the world he and Lark created. Make sure you check it out when you visit your local store on Wednesday!

You can learn more about Aaron Duran here. Now let's learn what he wants you to Catch the Comic Shop this week:

Aaron's Picks:

Hi Fi Fight Club #1 by Carly Usdin and Nina Vakueua, Published by BOOM! Box.
So here’s the thing, I never once worked in a record store and I’m even of the age where I that should have been my bread and butter. I was, however, a massive movie nerd and I was that clerk that worked in a non-corporate VHS rental store and I was the characters in Hi Fi Fight Club. Even if this comic was nothing more than a slice of life slinging product and judging customer choices, I would have enjoyed the heck out of this one. Thankfully, they do more than feed into my ever-rose-colored glasses of my youth. With a cast of fun, albeit slightly clichéd characters, Usdin and Vakueua still set a foundation for a fun little romp that I am so very looking forward to following.

Archie #23 by Mark Waid, Audrey Mok, and Kelly Fitzpatrick, Published Archie Comics.
As a rule, I’ve enjoyed all the modern relaunches from Archie Comics. They’ve maintained the concept behind Archie, while still working in some serious modern issues and authentic (even if uncomfortable) take on them. Then came the “Over the Edge” event. The writing was solid, as was the art by Pete Woods. It was the driving theme running through the arc that bugged me and then it happened. Sorry, spoilers… But, to me, they kinda’ fridged Betty so that Archie would be a better person once he came through the pain. Which brings us to issue #23. I really want to see how they can right this ship. Not saying bad or tragic things shouldn’t happen in the series, but I feel like I lived through this in the 90s and early 2000s, I don’t really want to go through it again.

Catalyst Prime Incidentals #1 by Joe Casey and Layry Stroman, Published by Lion Forge 
I’ve enjoyed watching a relatively young comic publisher take steps in creating a positive message while sticking true to honest superhero action. I’ll be honest, I am going into most of this new line having only read Superb #1. That comic dropped enough interesting bits of mystery, adventure, and intrigue to get me to jump all in with this series. It’s a diverse cast that bring their own interests and experiences into forming a team. It’s something that’s been tried before, to limited success. Something about Catalyst Prime feels different and I’m jazzed to see where this title will go. As long as we back it.

Legends of the Dark Knight Jim Aparo HC #3, Published by DC Comics
Lest one think I only snag comics from the small publisher section, I present a big fat hardcover from DC. And this isn’t to be some contrarian, not at all. It is, however, me quite unabashedly reaching into my nostalgia tank and loving it all. I grew up in the era of two Batman artists, Norm Breyfogle and Jim Aparo. I love both of these artists and whenever DC reprints stories that I’ve long since lost to time, I jump on them. Aparo was often thought of as rather static in his composition, but his characters felt larger than life. He was a mix of (then) modern sensibilities, but with style firming inspired by the Silver Age. So sure, maybe the stories weren’t the most elaborate, but you just can’t compete with this big ‘ol Batman hands reaching out from the page.

James' Picks:

The Dying and the Dead #5 by Jonathan Hickman, Ryan Bodenheim and Michael Garland, Published by Image Comics
Jonathan Hickman is my favorite writer in comics because he's a master at world building, and ambitious and complex ideas. He's not particularly known as a "character guy" but I think he does a great job defining characters through their actions.  Ryan Bodenheim is one of my favorite artists, I think he's a fantastic sequential storyteller who does both action and facial expression as well as anyone in the industry. In The Dying and the Dead, they've teamed up to tell a story which concerns World War II, the Spear of Destiny, an ancient superhuman civilization, and the fate of the world. This is a fantastic book and there aren't that many issues out so it's easy to catch up. It's big and fun and epic and worth a look.

Black Hammer #12 by Jeff Lemire and David Rubin, Published by Dark Horse Comics
Black Hammer is one of my absolute favorite comics of the past year. It's an homage to classic superhero comics, combined with a weird existential mystery. Jeff Lemire is creating an amazing world here, and has had fantastic artistic partners in this comic, first Dean Ormston and now David Rubin.  Rubin is really one of the best storytellers in comics, with fluid lines, incredible sequential storytelling, and a real sense of playfulness in his art. Black Hammer is such a compelling read.  Each of the characters serving as an analogue for another superhero, but they're their own independent characters, as the creators have given each of them a ton of depth and rich, tragic inner lives.

Dept. H #17 by Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt, Published by Dark Horse Comics
Another beautiful, haunting comic from another of my favorite creators in comics, Dept. H is a murder mystery but also an emotional journey and a near future scifi adventure. Writer-artist Matt Kindt brings his unique visual style and fantastic storytelling to this book, with fantastic collaboration in his wife Sharlene Kindt who provides gorgeous, haunting colors in the book. It's weird and complex and fun and emotional, Dept. H is a great read.

The Few TP by Sean Lewis and Hayden Sherman, Published by Image Comics
I really enjoyed this series as it was coming out.  It's about a post-collapse America, and a conflict between what's left of the government and a group of rebels, and a woman caught in-between.  The Few is a smart, emotional story from writer Sean Lewis, and I think the art from Hayden Sherman is just stunning. Sherman has an early Frank Miller-like quality, but it feels like his own style. It's angular and spare and occasionally feels like Japanese wood-cuttings, the colors are similarly minimalist but very effective. The Few a smart, haunting, gorgeous work.

Scott's Picks:

Cosplayers TP by Dash Shaw, Published by Fantagraphics
Costumes have always been a part of the con scene but the rise of the cosplayers and their community over the past 20 years has been one of the most fascinating aspects of fandom.  Dash Shaw's comics have had their fun with cosplayers while embracing the spirit of these people who quite literally wear their hearts on their sleeves (that is if their costumes even have sleeves.)

Donald and Mickey #1 by Andrea Castellan, Daniel Branca, Lorenzo Pastrovicchio, Published by IDW
I've heard a lot of good stuff about IDW's current crop of Disney comics, particularly the work that's come out of Italy and Spain.  Both Branca and Pastrovicchio were Disney artists in the 1990s so this is probably some older work.  I've been reading a bit of Carl Barks and Don Rosa lately and think I'm in the mood to check out some more Disney comics.

Lazarus X+66 #2 by Greg Rucka, Aaron Duran, & Mack Chater, Published by Image Comics
I just started rereading the main Lazarus series by Rucka and Michael Lark so I'm a bit behind on this anthology-like series but I'm excited to see my old Newsarama comrade Aaron Duran (La Brujeria) getting a shot at an Image book.

Hi-Fi Fight Club #1 by Carly Usdin & Nina Vakueya, Published by Boom Studios.
Honestly, I feel like one of the biggest shortcomings in my life is that I never worked in an honest-to-goodness record store.  (And no, my years at Best Buy don't count.)  When the promotion for this comic called it a cross between Empire Records and The Baby-Sitter Club, I knew I had to check it out more for the first reference than the latter one.  There are enough musical references in Boom Studios' page for the comic that just reinforce my curiosity about the book.

Rob's Picks:

Absalom: Under a False Flag by Gordon Rennie and Tiernen Trevallion, Published by 2000AD/Rebellion.
One of the things that I tell people a lot is that if they aren't reading the work put out by 2000AD/Rebellion, they are totally missing out. It's way more than just Judge Dredd. If that's you, here's a great place to start. Absalom is a world in which England and Hell have an uneasy agreement, one that many people, including the Church, would love to upset--for their own gain, of course! Enter Inspector Harry Absalom, whose acidic wit and ruthless nature will instantly capture your attention, as he tries to keep the unearthly peace. Trevallion's artwork is nice and jagged, which is perfect for the story. I enjoyed reading this when it was coming out week-by-week. Definitely grab it in its trade incarnation, and get lured into the 2000AD world.

Heartthrob Season 2 # 3 by Christopher Sebela, Robert Wilson IV, and Nick Filardi, Published by Oni Press.
I've already talked at length about how good this series is, so just in case you haven't jumped on board, the third issue comes out today. It features Callie, a young woman with a heart transplant who believes that the spirit of her donor lives in her head (and helps her rob banks), jokes at the expense of Canada, and lots of great, elongated eyes by Wilson IV. Caper fans really should never miss an issue of this book. (Did I mention it's set in the 1970s?)

Catalyst Prime Incidentals #1 by Joe Casey and Larry Stroman, Published by Lion Forge.
I need to do a longer write-up of the new superhero universe being created by Lion Forge, but the short version is I'm really digging what they've done so far. It's not easy to get me interested in a new superhero world but they've done a good job of setting up an interesting premise, kinda like Valiant did before things expanded a bit further than I could keep up with regularly. This issue promises to being their various heroes together, and maybe they aren't all so heroic after all! If you're looking for a fresh eye at Superhero world building, give this a shot.

Moonstruck #2 by Grace Ellis and Shae Beagle, Published by Image Comics.
With Centaur friends.
Written by the co-creator of Lumberjanes.
Do I need to say anything else?
I didn't think so.

Mark's Picks:
Generation Gone #2 by Ales Kot, Andre Araújo and Chris O'Halloran. Published by Image.
With all of these creators, I've experienced their work with the Big Two, but Araújo's art in particular has become something that I've been obsessing over whenever he posts it on social media; it has an energy and a uniqueness that pops. The first issue was similarly strange and, while I have no idea where this is going, it's gorgeously dark and I'm eagerly awaiting this second issue.

Redneck #5 by Donny Cates, Lisandro Estherren and Dee Cunniffe. Published by Image/Skybound.
I initially went into this series completely blind, knowing only Donny Cates's body of work, but this series has been kicking off on every level. Estherren's art keeps it deeply personal, while adding an edge that lets you know that everyone involved in this vampire civil war is on the verge on snapping. This book feels epic, despite its small scale, and the speaks to the talent of everyone involved.

Iceman #4 by Sina Grace, Edgar Salazar, Ed Tadeo and Rachelle Rosenberg. Published by Marvel.
As soon as the first issue hit the stands, this book has embraced the idea that Iceman is building his life up from scratch; his history isn't being ignored - it's being restarted. Seeing a queer creator come onto a queer character, even one as historic as Iceman, with such a crystal-clear voice is making this the very definitive take on the character.