Catch It at the Comic Shop March 11th, 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:

History of the Marvel Universe Treasury Edition by Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez, published by Marvel Comics
I loved this comic wile the individual issues were coming out, and I think it's a series that will lend itself nicely to the oversized treasury format. This is, as the title suggests, meant to be a history of the entire Marvel universe from the beginning of the universe to the present day, and it's written by Mark Waid.  I love Waid's work as a writer, and I can't imagine a better choice for someone to take on a project like this (given Waid's famously encyclopedic superhero knowledge). The framing device is Galactus and Franklin Richards talking at the end of the current universe, as Galactus prepares Franklin to make his way into the next universe (as Galactus was the last survivor of the prior universe). Anyway, this is incredibly informative, but the real reason to pick this up is that Javier Rodriguez does absolutely stunning work in this comic. There are many, many pages where you will just want to stop and stare at the staggering images. This will make for a nice reference, and an interesting and informative read.

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang, published by First Second
I'm really curious about this one. Gene Yang is a comics creator of great (and deserved) renown. He's done some amazing books like American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints. And just wrapped up a really great, engaging and (unfortunately) timely Superman Smashes the Klan. But this is the first time (I think) he's written a story where "Gene Yang" shows up as a character.  This is a non-fiaction account of a season of the high school basketball team where he used to teach. It's not my typical read, but Yang is a fantastic writer, artist, and all-around storyteller, so my curiosity is piqued about this one.

Mike's Picks:

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang, published by First Second
I plan on buying this tomorrow, reading it immediately, and then writing a review by the weekend, so I won’t go into the backstory for why I’m excited for this book. I can say, however, that I’ve been looking forward to this for three years. Yang is a master storyteller who approaches his art with a careful simplicity that allows the depth of his characters to shine. His narrative scope is always sharply focused, but entirely transcendent. I’m mostly looking forward to this book because it will feature Yang chronicling a real season of high school basketball while detailing how Yang himself became drawn to both the sport and this team in particular. There’s something about that personal connection I find intriguing, and that I’m sure Yang found inspiring.

Gamayun Tales Volume 1: The King of Birds by Alexander Utkin, published by Nobrow
I was walking through my school library at the beginning of the year and noticed this book on display. I found the cover mesmerizing, and one day I read it after school while hunching over the bookshelf. Utkin, with whom I was entirely unfamiliarly prior, has a beautifully textured art style, like he hand drew the pages with charcoal and oil pastels. The Russian stories were entirely new to me, and Utkin’s art mesmerized with each page. Now out in paperback form, it’s worth adding to your bookshelf. Just don’t read it while hunched over. I mean, it’s not long, but I was still stiff afterwards.

The Book of Forks by Rob Davis, published by Self Made Hero
With The Book of Forks, Rob Davis completes his delightfully oddball trilogy that began with Motherless Oven. Davis contrasts the absurd with the everyday and gives his readers a heavy dose of surrealism with each page. He has a knack for comic timing and for bringing humor from juxtaposition. The world of Motherless Oven is intricately weird. Over the course of these three books, Davis has created a wild world of imagination, dense and rich in both the narrative and grahic structure.