Catch It at the Comic Shop December 23rd, 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:

Heartthrob Vol 3 TP by Chris Sebela, Robert Wilson IV, Nick Filardi, and Crank!, published by Oni Press
All good things must come to an end, and when you're already living on borrowed time from a "borrowed" heart, it's time to make the most of what you have. Callie's tried to get out of her criminal ways, but sometimes you have no choice but to finish what you started. As a reader, I'm very glad to see this series get a chance to wrap up as a digital first now moved to print for the trade. Sebela/Wilson/Filardi/Crank! have put together a really fun period piece that has the vibe of any good heist story but, if you'll pardon the pun, also contains a lot of heart. It's always great to see Panel Pal Robert's work on a series, with his distinctive lines and great panel construction, and Filardi once again gives this a great looking sheen. Great stuff to end your year with!

King-Size Conan #1 by Roy Thomas, Steve McNiven, Kevin Eastman, Kurt Busiek, Pete Woods, Chris Claremont, Roberto de la Torre, Jesus Seiz, and others, published by Marvel Comics
Marvel's done pretty well by Conan so far since they got the rights back and haven't been shy about keeping him in the spotlight. This celebration, with Roy Thomas (one of the best to adapt Robert E. Howard) back to do a new story alongside Steve McNiven, along with work by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' own Kevin Eastman (which Marvel PR says is his first Marvel story!), another long-time Howard adapter in Kurt Busiek (with Pete Woods) and even a Claremont story that I suspect is probably a reprint, but you never know. Even if the others are mostly reprints, too (I can't tell by the copy), this is a great way to see top talents on an iconic character. When you finish, don't forget to grab Jim Zub's ongoing, for more barbarian fun.

Department of Truth #4 by James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds, and Aditya Bidikar, published by Image Comics (or so they'd like you to believe!)
The Department takes on yet another huge threat to the idea of truth when it appears they go straight for the throat of Q-Anon and a reporter's dalliance with their conspiracies that threatens to tear reality apart. This series is just so darn good, and because it's so mind-twisting, it's very hard to pin down exactly why. The high concept is just so good, and unlike lesser writers, Tynion is managing to pull it off so far. It's very hard to Philip K. Dick-style work in comics and Tynion's partners in crime, Martin Simmonds and Aditya Bidikar, really are outdoing themselves. While Bidikar is always a great letterer, I had no idea that Simmonds had a Bill Sienkiewicz side to his style. It's outstanding and really brings this one from "pretty good" to (spoiler here) one of my favorites of 2020. Don't sleep on this one, or you might get erased from existence! (Maybe not, but you will be missing out on a damn good comic.)

Tales from the Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death #4 by Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, INJ Culbard, and Nate Piekos, published by Dark Horse
Klaus is in over his head--even more so than usual--as he gets mixed into deadly Hollywood grudges that make his grifting more dangerous than just getting murdered by a vampire chimp with a grudge. Oh, and there's a Vampire Amusement Park mixed in, too. This is goofy and fun and frequent 2000AD Artist INJ Culbard does amazing work on a much more lighthearted work than I'm used to seeing him do. His artistic comedic timing punctuates the jokes that just keep getting more and more absurd as this series keeps going. It's not a secret this spins a bit more from the TV show than the comics, where Seance is a scene-stealer. Who cares? It's a ton of fun anyway. Hopefully this isn't the last Umbrella Academy mini we get from Dark Horse.

James' Picks:

Gideon Falls #27 by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Dave Stewart, published by Image Comics
It's all been leading up to this, the giant-size finale of a fantastic series. If you're new to Gideon Falls, this would not be a very good place to start. What I'll tell you is that this starts as a sort of religious horror story and also a psychological horror story. You eventually realize that it's both, but it's also much more vast of a story, encompassing all of space and time and some big ideas. But also rooted in some characters that just want to get home, and to feel at peace.  The art in Gideon Falls is always amazing thanks to the spectacular pairing of Andrea Sorrentino and Dave Stewart. This is a creepy and sometimes legit terrifying series, and it's an absolute must-read. 
The Picture of Everything Else by Dan Watters and Kishore Mohan, published by Vault Comics
I know almost nothing about this comic, but it's weird and scary and it's Dan Watters, and so I'm in. Watters wrote Deep Roots, which I absolutely loved. More recently, his new book Home Sick Pilots came out, and I really enjoyed the first issue. And I've loved the Vault Horror books so far (The Plot, Black Stars Above). So what I'm saying is, I'm excited for this, and you should be too.
The Seeds TP by Ann Nocenti and David Aja, published by Dark Horse
I only read the first issue of this series but I'm excited to read it collected. From what I remember it was super weird. The World is dying out, and there are aliens on Earth, preserving what appears to be DNA samples of humans. Maybe they can grow better ones someplace else. I don't exactly know what's going on, but I can tell you that this sotry is big and ambitious and weird and interesting. And that it's brought to life by the incomparable David Aja, who's doing really interesting and really different things than what he did in Hawkeye.  What I'm saying is that this is worth a look.

Mike's Picks

A Dark Interlude 2 by Ryan O'Sullivan, Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov, and Andworld, published by Vault Comics

Sullivan returned to the world of Fearscape with A Dark Interlude, deepening the mythology he built in the predecessor title. The trick for the first issue, that I reviewed last month, was to find a way to both continue the original story and add new wrinkles, hence creating the sequel that isn't a sequel. And yes, it is a sequel. But that's fine, because the concept is rich, and Henry Henry deserves all the exposure he can get. Issue two starts to make good on the promise that we'll see a reckoning for all the chaos Henry Henry unleashed during Fearscape.

The Picture of Everything Else 1 by Dan Watters, Kishore Mohan, and Aditya Bidikar, published by Vault Comics

This week marks a two-for with Vault and the White Noise gang, with both titles embracing literary allusion. Watters joins with Kishore Mohan, whose dark, painterly style is perfectly suited for a supernatural Victorian mystery. Watters harnesses Wilde's notion that art ties us to ourselves and adds a horrific twist. You can tell that, for as dark a premise as it is, Watters is having fun with this script, hamming up the Victorian dialogue and leaning directly into the morbid notion that a piece of art can seal our fate.