Catch It at the Comic Shop December 9th, 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:

Adventureman HC vol. 1 by Matt Fraction, Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson, and Clayton Cowles, published by Image Comics

Adventureman is one of my contenders for most purely fun comic of the year. It's written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by the Dodsons, and lettered by Clayton Cowles. So what I'm saying is, you're in incredibly capable hands with this book. What's great about this book is, well, pretty much everything. But more specifically, 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.

Home Sick Pilots #1 by Dan Watters and Casper Wijngaard, published by Image Comics

Home Sick Pilots is a very fun debut issue. This is a terrific, engaging debut that will appeal to the 90's punk rocker in all of us. There's a haunted house, rival punk bands, and humor and heart. I'm not sure if there's a soundtrack or playlist that goes with this comic but if there is I'd love to hear it. Dan Watters is a talented, accessible writer. And he's complemented perfectly by his Limbo co-creator Casper Wijngaard, whose work you would have last seen in the AMAZING Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt. Wijngaard has a  very fun, clean, accessible style with great sequentials and attractive humor - definitely in the Jamie McKelvie/Cliff Chiang neighborhood of artists (but with very much his own style). Home Sick Pilots is a strong recommendation from me. 

Crossover #2 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Dee Cunniffe, and John J. Hill, published by Image Comics

I'm super excited for issue 2 of Crossover. Not surprising, given how much I loved issue 1. This is a big, exciting series that ponders the question of what would happen if all of the various comic superheroes spilled over into our universe. The answer is "it would be horrible" but it's a lot more interesting and complicated than that. It's a fun story from Donny Cates, and the art and colors from Geoff Shaw and Dee Cunniffe are really just amazing. This is the sort of big, exciting, stroy I want from my comics.

Seven Secrets #5 by Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo, published by Boom! Studios
Boom! Studios is publishing a lot of excellent series right now from terrific creators - Something is Killing The Children, We Only Find Them When They're Dead, Once & Future, and Seven Secrets is among that terrific group of books. It's the story about a secret order that is responsible for safeguarding the world's seven great secrets. Each secret has two protectors attached to it, but someone is out to destroy the order of the Seven Secrets. Who is this foe?  And what's Caspar's story (he's our main protagonist)?  We learn all of that, and it's an engaging and sad story.  This is a really fun, action-packed comic that still makes time for strong emotional beats. I wasn't familiar with Daniele Di Nicuolo's artwork before but this artist is definitely on my radar now. The animation has a style that reminds me of classic 80's Japanese animation (Robotech, Transformers, Voltron), but not exactly. Great action and movement, and a sense of fun. Tom Taylor (X-Men Red, All-New Wolverine, DCeased) is a strong storyteller who I really trust, so I'm excited to keep reading this one.   

Beth's Pick:

Arkhamaniacs, by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, published by DC Comics

Tiny Titans was my sons’ absolute favorite comic book when they were little. They loved the silly, playful, slightly manic take the all-ages book had on the sometimes all too serious DC Universe. Today, as teenagers, they—and I—still adore the pure joy of Art and Franco’s work. Naturally, we’re pretty excited for Arkhamaniacs, where little “Brucie” Wayne investigates the strange residents of the Arkham Apartment Building. A few years ago, the team gave us their colorful take on the world of Clark Kent with Superman Family Adventures, so it’s about time they take on the world of the Bat. As Art and Franco themselves might say, “Aw yeah, Gotham!”

Mike's Picks:
Home Sick Pilots 1 by Dan Watters, Casper Wigngaard, Aditya Bidikar, and Tom Muller, published by Image Comics
If you're a fan of both the adventure narrative and visual style of Paper Girls, then I think Home Sick Pilots needs to be on your list. Watters captures a ton of character in only a short time, building necessary background and creating a new twist on the haunted house motif. There is an appropriate air of nostalgia in this book, but it’s also incredibly well executed. Wijngaard’s art is dynamic, and this debut issue feels like it only hints at how gripping the story is going to be. I have a feeling this series is going to be a big hit.

Giga 2 by Alex Paknadel, John Lê, Rosh, and Aditya Bidikar, published by Vault Comics
Yowza. I truly enjoyed the debut issue of this series, and I’m absolutely impressed with the follow up. Paknadel has a big vision, and he’s only starting to search the surface. The way he executes this rollout is superb - he channels the best elements of episodic storytelling and reveals just enough bit by bit. Lê’s art continues to impress. Along with Rosh and Bidikar, he works to make this book the exercise in contrast it needs to be. 

King of Nowhere by W. Maxwell Prince, Tyler Jenkins, and Hillary Jenkins, published by BOOM! Studios
Usually, when I recommend a collected edition, it’s because I’ve enjoyed reading it in single-issue format and I desire to pass that feeling onward. For King of Nowhere, it’s a little different. This series has been one that has been sitting in my to-read pile for far too long, and I’m reconciled to the fact that I’m just going to dive in with the trade. All of my anticipation flows from the creative team’s past efforts. Prince’s Ice Cream Man is often as sublime as it is unsettling, and the Jenkins art duo brings beautiful textures to the page, especially when Hillary puts a paintbrush in her hands. 

Rob's Picks:

Penultiman #3 by Tom Peyer, Alan Robinson, and Others, published by Ahoy
Life can't get much worse for our hero(?). After being rejected by his people (again) he finds that a damned robot is better at being him than *he* is. Maybe one of those self-help books will make a difference. (Spoiler Alert: Nope) Tom Peyer continues to knock off-the-wall concepts out of the park, making things really suck for this guy who should be happy but can't get over himself, despite his strengths. Apparently, with great power comes great self-loathing--and a lot of jokes, too. Alan Robinson's's linework continues to complement the series' tone as the team makes the Kick-Me sign on Penultiman's back even bigger and better than before.

Bill and Ted are Doomed #4 by Evan Dorkin and Roger Langridge (with Ed Solomon), published by Dark Horse
The cover should be enough to justify one more plus for this Most Excellent series as it comes to a close with Bill and Ted trying to evade Trolls (the kinda-good kind, not the internet variety) and we get amazing concepts like the Necronmiclown band, because Evan and Rogers are international treasures who should be multi-millionaires. In the meantime, watch as they get even sillier than usual (which is saying something for the people behind Milk and Cheese and Fred the Clown), with the verbal and visual jokes coming so fast you might even miss the nice tribute to the late George Carlin we get at the end. I don't want to spoil antyhing else, but it would be Mecha-Bogus if you miss this one, trust me.

Conan the Barbarian #17 by Jim Zub, Roge Antonio, and Others, published by Marvel Comics
Fresh off a brutal battle, everyone's favorite official Cimmerian stalks away with a coveted--and cursed prize! Whose will is stronger? My money's on the Barbarian, but it's not going to be easy. As a long-time fan of Robert E. Howard and Conan as a character, I admit that I've probably slept on this one a bit too much and not shouted it out more often. Panel Pal Jim Zub, a man who has come a long way from the days of trying to get marks to buy Skullkickers out of Artist's Alley (and I am so very glad he did, all those years ago!), clearly loves this setting and the works of Howard about as much as anyone out there. He's got the cadence of the old stories down without sounding like a pale echo and the personality of his Conan is spot-on, with speech updated just a bit to keep the dialogue fresh as well. Roge Antonio's art on the series works well, giving a fine. clear sense of the action. It's not as polished as some of his predecessors, but as with Zub's words, the style is updated but fits well with what's come before. Conan's a great character in great hands right now. Check it out!

No Matter How I Look At It It’s You Guys’ Fault I’m Not Popular Volume 17 by Nico Tanigawa, published by Yen Press
Tomoko and company are on summer break and really need to study. But come on, you know darn well that's never going to happen. Not with this group. Nico Tanigawa has gotten a lot of mileage of out of the antics of these kids who frankly aren't always the most likely teens in a manga series, and it's not quite time to stop the fun yet. Part of the fun of this book is seeing how wrong things go, and I'm sure this volume will be no exception.

Sean’s Picks:

Terminal Punks 2 by Matthew Erman, Shelby Criswell & Micah Myers, published by Mad Cave
We last left our band of gutter punks wandering aimlessly in a quarantined airport completely oblivious to what was going on. With mutated animal monster things roaming the facility’s terminals and a band who is determined to rock the casbah, this comic is a wild thrill ride. A greedy mega capitalistic antagonist lurking around makes me assume that Terminal Punks has got a bit more to say than just sight gags and punk references, and I’m sticking around for the encore.

Home Sick Pilots 1 by Dan Watters, Caspar Wijngaard & Aditya Bidikar, published by Image
It’s the mid-90s and a haunted house walks.. yes, walks across California with a punk rock princess trapped inside. Sometimes a debut lands in a way that most others just cannot, and I have a feeling that this is gonna be one such title. If you mix punk rock mishaps with haunted house tropes and high school shenanigans then you’re sure to have enough of a hook to bring your audience back for more. And if this first issue is any indication for an encore then I’ll be damned if I’m gonna skip out and beat the crowd. I’m sticking around, front row, fist in the air, waiting for what happens next.

Red Mother 11 by Jeremy Haun, Danny Luckert & Eleven, published by Boom!
If you’ve been reading this book then you know why this issue is such a big deal. Our lead, Daisy, finally faces the Red Mother. Will we find out why her life has been such a devastation? Will questions finally begin to be answered? Will the Smiling Man make yet another scary AF cameo? This is one of the best titles on the stands right now and it needs to be recognized for the story it is. The Red Mother is a sleeper hit in the horror genre and I hope more people start to take notice.