Catch It at the Comic Shop July 1st, 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:

The Goddamned: The Virgin Brides #1 by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera, published by Image Comics
I was a big fan of the first Goddamned series from the fantastic team of Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera. It was a look at the Biblical world, before the Flood. It was really a depictionof how the world had gotten so terrible that God decided that the only real option was to destroy it and start over. And it was a great series, in that the world it depicts is a truly awful place. I'd recommend that series, and I'm very excited that the team is returning to tell more stories. Presumably things will go from bad to worse in these stories as well. But Aaron and Guera are such engaging storytellers that you'll want to dive in. 

The Plot #5 by Michael Moreci, Tim Daniel, Josh Hixson, Kurt Michael Russell, and Jim Campbell, published by Vault Comics
I was a huge fan of the first arc of The Plot from the writing team of Michael Moreci and Tim Daniel, with art by Joshua Hixson, colors by Jordan Boyd, and letters by Jim Campbell. It's a fantastic, really unsettling series that has a lot to say about the very complicated legacy of family and mental illness, and also some scary-ass monsters and unsettling visuals. Well, it's back (this time with Kurt Michael Russell) and this first issue is a fantastic look at the way back history that informs the story. It's smart and creepy and looks great. You'll definitely want to pick this up.

Rob's Picks:

Jim Henson Storyteller Ghosts #3 by Michael Walsh, published by Boom! Studios
It's been awesome continuing to get new stories within the Storyteller framework, using the cool concept that did not get nearly enough television episodes to run a series of anthologies on a theme. Ghosts are a fertile field, and Michael Walsh, one of the best at drawing atmospheric books and using his art to evoke a mood. The man who helped bring the X-Files back to comics in some great stories that were far better than the reboot is a perfect person to take the reigns, writing and drawing a tale of the Banshee, but not the one you might expect. That fits the theme of Storyteller perfectly, and between haunting images and a great concept this is as good a place as any to try an issue, if you haven't yet.

Billionaire Island #2 by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh, with others, published by Ahoy Comics
Mark Russell's strength is picking apart society and pointing out our worst flaws. Billionaire Island does this in spades, showing the vile nature of people and our obsession with money. It's a pretty brutal read and won't be for everyone. But those who can face the truth placed in front of them by the closest thing we have to Jonathan Swift in the team of Russell and Pugh will find a lot to sink their teeth into. With so many pictures in real life of how the ultra-rich protected themselves in this time of Covid, the blows struck by Russell I expect will hit even harder now.

Marvel Action Classics Avengers Starring Iron Man #1 by Paul Tobin, Alvin Lee, and others, published by IDW (originally Marvel)
Call me old fashioned, but I enjoy whenever I get actual all-ages stories featuring the characters I grew up with. The stories where they're out destroying multiverses or whatever are extremely well done, and I enjoy them. But my preference is always going to be for tales of our heroes where the choices are more clear cut. Marvel Adventures was that line of books for awhile at Marvel, with great all-ages writers like Paul Tobin and Jeff Parker, among many others, at the helm. I'm super-excited to see these go back into print for another generation of kids. In these stories, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Hulk are basically a buddy comedy team, getting into superhero sitcom hijinks (like dig-sitting Cerberus) and trying their best to save the day. They're fun, laugh out loud comics, and a sheer joy that anyone can love, and are perfect for the growing reader in your life.

Sean's Picks:

Olympia #5 by Curt Pires, Tony Pires, Alex Diotto, Dee Cunniffe, & Micah Myers, published by Image Comics
Olympia is a love letter to comics and this is it’s final chapter. Think.. Last Action Hero meets the gods of the heavens as they battle over the fate of earth all because a comic book spilled it’s characters onto the real life that our protagonist, Elon, is daydreaming through. Yes, this is a comic book, about a comic book, with characters two layers deep leveling up into the book you yourself will be reading (if you so decide to take my recommendation and read it). This will soon be due for a collected volume, so be mindful of it’s release also. I had a lot of fun reading alongside Elon, and I’m certain you will also.

King of Nowhere #3 by W. Maxwell Prince, Tyler Jenkins, & Hilary Jenkins, published by BOOM! Studios
As my second recommend I’d like to suggest the cleverly quirky and visually stunning masterpiece in the making: King of Nowhere. This book is everything you’d expect from the writer of Ice Cream Man if he’d team up with the famed illustration duo of Black Badge. King of Nowhere starts off with a man, Denis, waking up from a stupor we are left to only assume. He stumbles into a town (NOrth WaHEREk) after awaking in a surrounding unknown and he believes it all to be a dream. He begins to encounter all sorts of strange. This really isn’t a comic to explain in detail, it is rather one to experience yourself all on your own. With Prince manning the ship that Jenkins has been given visual passage to guide us through there really is no reason to think anyone will be disappointed in the resulting product. Go get this one!

Everything is an Emergency by Jason Adam Katzenstein, published by Harper Perennial
This one is a very painful and personal recommendation. I have a somewhat mild case of OCD that was passed down to me by my mothers side of the family. Not the kind that debilitates, but instead the kind that demands order over chaos. It was never a visible barrier keeping me from normal living but it did serve as a reminder that the order of things had much more of a control over my mental stability than I would ever like to admit. On a related note, six years ago my family suffered an unfortunate life event that pushed my wife into a prolonged period of PTSD onset OCD. It went undiagnosed for most of that time and not until recently have we begun to understand some of the reasons why life has became to be so hard. This book, Everything is an Emergency, is a visual journal into the mind of Katzenstein, someone who also struggles with the effects of having OCD. It is a graphic telling of how to understand the mental illness by one of the many talented New Yorker cartoonists. Sometimes uncomfortable but often humorous, my hope is that this book provides people a better way to understand others who feel like nothing is in control unless they themselves have that control, in that everything in a perceivable radius is under some sort of guided path. Get. This. Book.

Mike's Picks:

Psychodrama Illustrated 2 by Gilbert Hernandez, published by Fantagraphics
Look, to be fair, jumping into Psychodrama even after only one issue is a big ask in terms of immersing yourself in a world. You think DC Comics has a large backstory? Welcome to Love and Rockets. To be honest, jumping into Psychodrama Illustrated 1 without any L&R background knowledge would have been difficult, too. Frankly, it wasn’t exactly the softest landing for me, and I have been firmly planted in the world since high school. But it was weird and contemplative and surreal. Ultimately, that may very well be Beto’s end goal.

All-America Comix One-Shot by Joe Casey, Dustin Nguyen, Brad Simpson, Sonia Harris, and Rus Wooton, published by Image Comics
Captain America had The Fighting American, and now America Chavez has America Vasquez. Simon and Kirby’s Fighting American originated as a response to Marvel’s revitalized Captain America, first as an homage to their original concept before morphing into a satire. Casey’s America Vasquez is more of a riff, a “what if” kind of story. There are tons of indie superhero books that ask the same question: what would a superhero look like divorced from a superhero universe. Behind the absolutely thinnest of veils exists America Vasquez. Casey’s story is fun and engaging, and he utilizes an Instagram post style of internal narration that flows far more naturally than I can make it sound. And there’s also Dustin Nguyen, who yet again experiments with a variation of his style, channeling his Descender/Ascender collaborator Jeff Lemire dosed with a bit of Lemire’s own frequent collaborator, Andrea Sorrentino. If you’ve liked Piskor and Scioli’s more novel takes on the Marvel Universe but would prefer to dial the avant-garde down *just* a little, this will be right in your wheelhouse

Eve Stranger by Daniel Barnett, Phillip Bond, Liz Prince, Eva de la Cruz, and Jane Heir, published by Black Crown/IDW
If I had to boil Eve Stranger down to one concept, it would be momentum. This book always feels like it’s moving forward, and at break-neck, action movie pace. Eve Stranger is fundamentally a spy noir served on a retro-futuristic palette. Philip Bond, who had been exclusive to cover art for years, puts on a master class of silver-age pop art pencils. The world he and Eva de la Cruz create for Barnett’s script is just bonkers enough to keep everything delightfully off-kilter.