Catch It at the Comic Shop December 16th, 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...

Rob's Picks:

Psychodrama Illustrated #3 by Gilbert Hernandez, published by Fantagraphics
2020 has been really awful in a lot of ways, but getting new Gilbert Hernandez is always welcome. And in single issue form, no less! Talk about old-school. This time around, the iconic creator has the first of a two-part tale that delves into real-world problems, namely the continued issues surrounding the US-Mexican border. It's an interesting choice and I'm curious to see how this works out. Hernandez's art is very distinctive, and his ability to tell a story is second to none, so no matter what, this is going to be must-reading as part of a series that (spoiler alert) is part of my 2020 Favorites list.

Miskatonic #2 by Mark Sable, Giorgio Pontrelli, Pippa Bowland. Thomas Mauer, published by Aftershock
Mystery and horror continue to build, as Miranda and Tom continue to investigate the strange set of murders in the Miskatonic Valley. But with their opinions divided on the source of the crimes, can they put together an effective investigation? Sometimes there really are things that Man just wasn't meant to know, as this lovely combination of noir detective story and good old Lovecraftian horror continues to be another great series for Aftershock. Giorgio Pontrelli's ability to switch between the (relatively) normal scenes and ramping up into the unspeakable is extremely strong, and a large part of why I'm enjoying this so much, as both a fan and a person who's written within the Mythos.

Mermaid Saga by Rumiko Takahashi, published by Viz
It's so hard to be complementary about anything in 2020, as I mentioned above. But getting these reprints of classic Takahashi manga certainly is deserving of recognition. I'm especially happy to see this one come out, because it's a very different side of Takahashi and shows why she's one of the giants of Japanese comics. Known best for her romantic farces (especially Ranma and Inuyasha), this time we're in pure horror territory, as the concept of mermaids granting immortality becomes a cruel joke. Takahashi takes her readers down some dark corridors in a great series I had a very hard time piecing together over the years. Now you don't have to! 

 Sean’s Picks: 

Stargazer 4 by Anthony Cleveland, Antonio Fuso, Stefano Simeone & Justin Birch, published by Mad Cave
Shae finally meets up with her old friends Hailey and Adriana to follow cryptic clues uncovering where her brother, Kenny, has disappeared to. Now together, they are given new clues from Ari Noonan, the conspiracy theorist podcaster, and things get wild in a hurry. The old friends are finally together but now what will they do? This series has packed a lot of story in such a short amount of time. This reads like if Spielberg were to take on an M. Knight script (..the Sixth Sense kind, not the Village kind). Check this one out if you have not started it already.

Second Coming #1 by Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk, Andy Troy & Rob Steen, published by Ahoy
Praise Sunstar! Second Coming is back for another season with Only Begotten Son! The first arc was a huge hit for me personally. Telling a story about the Almighty God sending His only Son to learn a thing or two from Earth’s mightiest hero was something that I was all-in for. After God’s Son learns... basically nothing while persisting with his forgiving ways, God proceeds to bless Sunstar and Sheila with a miracle child. Set stage for.. the only(?) begotten son. This will surely be just as hilarious as it was the first time around and will be one hell of a blasphemous good time. A review taking a deeper stab at its impact from me due out tomorrow.


Night Hunters #1 by Dave Baker, Alexis Ziritt & Robert Negrete, published by Floating World Comics
Cyberpunk seems to have struck some sort of nerve during this period of the pandemic. Cyberpunk 2077 has been getting a lot of exposure within the gaming and comics groups alike. Night Hunters #1 should fit right in with the trend, but for those who show up for the ride in the Ziritt and Baker show they’ll be amazed at what they have in their hands. It’s a story of family and loyalty while also packing a huge statement about the toxicity of law and order brought on by the temptations of police brutality. This comic is dense in subtle plot and with the as-to-be-expected amazing art from Ziritt. Quick-Hit review coming from me tomorrow. Previously available from the publisher, now it will be available from your local shop through Diamond. Seek this one out!


Bad Reception TP by Juan Doe published by Aftershock
Juan Doe creates a work of art in this Aftershock series about fame, obsession, addiction, and murder. When a high-profile wedding set in a remote and undisclosed location turns to a bloody race to survive, the reader may become increasingly aware of the electronic device held in their hands while they read it. An unknown killer is on the loose and the hashtag marking the victims is the clue left behind linking the murders together. Bad Reception is an enjoyable who-dunnit horror story with satirical heart. It’s a statement of our addiction to our devices and the digital presence that we leave behind. I hope we see more like this from Doe.

Chasin’ the Bird by Dave Chisholm and Peter Markowski, published by Z2

This graphic novel has been teasing us for months and it is now finally available for us to hold and dig into. Chasin' the Bird tells the untold story of a jazz pioneer during his time in California, is a literal masterpiece. Who knew Charlie Parker was such a badass? Dave Chisholm’s paneling ability in his storytelling in Chasin' the Bird is among the most uniquely untraditional I’ve seen in years. The mural-like splash pages he incorporates into the story as he uses his own deep understanding of jazz music and composition give this book an edge over all the rest. This is a stunning read. Fans of Charlie Bird, listeners of jazz music, and readers of comics will all have their own reason for enjoying this book. Chisholm’s got himself a strong contender for OGN of the year, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. 

James' Picks:

Reckless HC vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, published by Image Comics

That terrific duo of Brubaker and Phillips are back at it again, telling us tales of crime and lives gone wrong. This story takes us back to the 1980's, and the tale of a man named Reckless (that's his last name). I've read some of this story and it's a lot of fun. There's crime and tragedy and mystery and loss, all in a 1980's setting that should make for some great storytelling. I love this duo and will read anything they do, so I'm excited to give this a read.

Night Hunters #1 by Dave Baker and Alexis Ziritt, published by Floating World Press
This is a very cool first issue. This is a dystopian story set in a future Caracas, Venezuela, where the corrupt police run everything and operate unchecked.'s a pretty timely story given everything going on in the country right now. And it's also an amazing-looking story thanks to the remarkable, singular work of Alexis Ziritt. Ziritt's work is big and bold and weird and feels "underground" in the best possible way. I loved his Black Mask series Space Riders, and am excited to give Night Hunters a read. 

Decorum #6 by Jonathan Hickman and Mike Huddleston, published by Image Comics

Decorum is a hugely ambitious series, that reads like it has a micro story, a macro story, and whatever the hell goes above macro. It is, on one level, the story of the galaxy's most well-mannered assassin, and her attempt to train a protege. But it's also a big story of the gaaxy in the distant future, involving the class of multiple civilizations. And it's a story of maybe some sort of Biblical galactic messiah? I don't know. Maybe. Whatever it is, it's fascinating and it looks amazing thanks to the work of Mike Huddleston.

Mike's Picks:

Post-Americana 1 by Steve Skroce, Dave Stewart, and and Fonografiks, published by Image Comics
As much fatigue I feel from post-apocalyptic stories, and as much as said fatigue has compounded with the utterly dystopic year we've all endured, there isn't much that will keep me away from a Steve Skroce book. I last enjoyed Skroce in his epic collaboration with Brian K. Vaughan, We Stand on Guard, and Post-Americana feels like a kind of spiritual successor to it. Skroce's art seems to get increasingly more detailed with each series, and it fits for the large scale of this series.

Psychodrama Illustrated 3 by Gilbert Hernandez, published by Fantagraphics
I share Rob's interest in this issue. The first two issues of Psychodrama were self-contained one-offs starring Love and Rockets regular, Fritz. Issue three features Fritz on the cover, but the solicit explains it will tackle the topical issue of the proposed border wall and the divisions within communities. I'm eager to see how Beto explores this dilemma, one that might not have been at the front of our collective minds recently. It's good timing, for sure.

Paul at Home by Michel Rabagliati, published by Drawn and Quarterly
This book was already on my radar, and my anticipation only increased after reading a review of it over this weekend. I'm no misanthrope, but I have a major soft spot for sad stories that focus on quotidian tragedy. I think Paul at Home will be right up my alley.