Comics are an Adventure, Man! Catch It for November 2

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:

Adventureman HC vol. 2 by Matt Fraction, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, and Clayton Cowles

Adventureman is is a blast of pure, pulpy, imaginative comic goodness. What's great about Adventureman is that it provides the reader with several different kinds of stories all in one. The story begins in an idealized, pulpy 1930's New York, as the city is under attack from evil invaders. But the police commissioner calls upon Adventureman and his band of science/mystical heroes to save the day. Adventureman is a classic barrel-chested, square-jawed Doc Savage type hero, and he and his allies do their best, and all appears lost...and then we realize that we've just been hearing about a story that a mom is reading with her son. It's present-day New York City, a much more mundane place. Adventureman is just a long-lost pulp-fiction character. OR IS HE??? You'll just have to keep reading to find out. I promise you'll have a great time, and you will just want to pore over the incredible art from Terry and Rachel Dodson. Seriously - the characters, the city - it's all so gorgeous. This book is a real delight.

Invisible Kingdom Library Edition HC by G. Willow Wilson, Christian Ward, and Sal Cipriano, published by Dark Horse

What if the Catholic Church and Amazon were each even more powerful than than they currently are? And what if they were outwardly opposed to one another but secretly in cahoots? And what if there were spaceships and alien races and worlds with complex social structure and gender? Well - great news - this book already exists and its fantastic. It's called Invisible Kingdom and it's one of the smartest, most interesting books of the past few years. Writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Christian Ward (that's a hell of a team!) tell a big, thought-provoking story about the intersection between commerce and religion on new worlds where the characters still feel very human. Wilson is a very talented storyteller, as she's created compelling characters with believable interactions, and she's also created a whole other world with complex systems and social structure. That's a really remarkable skill, and she does it very well. She also has done something else that I think has a high degree of difficulty, which is to make up a religion and have it make sense and feel realistic. What an amazing creative partner she has in Christian Ward. Ward has done some of the most out-there, mind-blowing art of the last 10 years (Infinite Vacation, Ody-C, Black Bolt, and more) - the art in Invisible Kingdom feels less psychedelic tr, but I'm loving the look of the book. Ward isn't just a creator of wild- out-there pages, he's also an exceptionally gifted sequential storyteller. I feel like this book was underappreciated when it was being published (first monthly, and then the third trade was published just as a trade). I'm sure this library edition will be gorgeous (Dark Horse does a great job with these), and I hope that Invisible Kingdom finds a larger audience.   

Night of the Ghoul #2 by Scott Snyder and Francesco Francavilla, published by Dark Horse
Scott Snyder and Francesco Francavilla together? On a horror comic? I've read the first issue of this series and I can tell you that it is as excellent as one would hope it would be. These two have previously worked together years ago when Snyder was writing Detective Comics. They worked on a very memorable arc called Black Mirror involving James Gordon's son. Snyder knows horror really well - some of my favorite comics by him are horror books, particularly American Vampire and Wytches. And Francavilla is an absolute master of art, and was the artist on the incredible Afterlife with Archie, a terrifying and gut-wrenching read. So the hook here in Night of the Ghoul is that there was a lost horror film from 1936 and everyone involved was killed. Someone in present day finds the reel - but the titular ghoul is very much real. I love this. I absolutely love the idea of a story involving Old Hollywood and evil magic and long-lost mysteries. This is a must-read for horror fans.

It's Lonely at the Centre of the Earth by Zoe Thorogood, published by Image Comics

Zoe Thorogood's debut was The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott, and it was a tremendously strong, extremely self-assured debut work. Billie Scott was a compelling character on a really moving, poignant journey. It's interesting to me that Thorogood started with a big fiction story and is now moving to something more personal, an autobiographical comic about a pivotal six-month period when everything was going wrong. I know this will be a compelling read, and I know that Thorogood will make this a gorgeous book where the art is both beautiful as art object, and excellent as far as storytelling. I'd recommend this and Billie Scott.