Catch It at the Comic Shop February 3rd, 2021

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...

And a big welcome to Kelli, our newest Patterer!

Kelli's Pick:

Even Though We Are Adults Vol.1 by Takako Shimura, published by Seven Sea Entertainment

Even Though We Are Adults is an upcoming title from manga author Takako Shimura. Shimura is well known for her manga Wandering Son, a gentle, sometimes humorous, heart rendering exploration of gender. Shimura’s works tell the everyday stories of LGBTQ people in Japan. Expect their newest work to follow in the footsteps of their previous manga. Even Though We Are Adults is the story of two women who think they have adulting all figured out. The two meet by chance one night at a bar and there is an instant connection, but things are more complicated than they seem. Shimura’s art style is quite minimalistic. There’s a lot of negative space; often characters are drawn independent of background, framed only by screentone or nothing at all. The narrative is driven by the dialogue as opposed to the art. There has been a proliferation of LGBTQ manga on the North American market lately. Most of it for mature readers. Shimura’s manga are slow paced and thoughtful, so expect less smut [for that look to Seven Seas’ Ghost Ship imprint] and more conversations on the human condition.

Rob's Picks:

Luna #1 by Maria Llovett, published by Boom! Studios
It's the 1960s and small commune/cults are everywhere. When a young woman stumbles upon one, however, with specific plans for sex an immortality, she's placed face to face with more than she bargained for, and getting out might not be an option. Whether it's been the extremely creepy erotic Faithless (with Brian Azarrello) or her own work on books like Heartbeat or Loud. Maria Llovet's comics are absolutely stunning. I immediately became a fan as soon as I saw her work on Faithless, and I've been so happy that Boom! and other publishers have been bringing more of her work to your local comic shop or digital device. I even did a preview of this one, I was so excited about it. Sorry to everything else coming out, but this is easily my pick of the week.

Psychodrama Illustrated #4 by Gilbert Hernandez, published by Fantagraphics
The second part of a mini-series within a series, Hernandez keeps his finger on several hot button topics, from illegal immigration to human fear to how politics takes advantage of everything. The Eisner Hall of Famer is really at the top of his game, and shows that he can really put together some deep plots among the DDDDDD-cups. I put Psychodrama Illustrated on my 2020 favorites list, and it's got a great chance of landing there again in 2021.

That Full Moon Feeling by Ashley Robin Franklin, published by Silver Sprocket
I'm really glad that the pandemic didn't take Silver Sprocket from us, because their books are always a lot of fun to read, and their stable of creators (among them Ben Passmore, Michael Sweater, Abby Jame, and Ivy Atoms) are some of my favorites working in the indie field right now. This new book is a queer romantic comic blended with the supernatural, with its short description being "A witch and a werewolf go on three disastrous dates..." and well, that's right where I can stop and know it's a book I want to read. Franklin's work features extremely bold colors and extremely emotional characters going about their zany lives for our pleasure. The dates might suck, but this book should be swiped left (or right? I don't know, I'm married!) and into your reading pile.

Maniac of New York #1 by Elliott Kalan, Andrea Mutti, and Others, published by Aftershock.
New York is the murder playground of a slasher killer that seemingly can't be stopped, so New York's Least Finest do what they do best--ignore the problem and hope people start shrugging their shoulders, move on, and update their funeral plans. That's not going to work for Gina and Zelda, two outsiders rejected by the system who are determined to do what the powers that be won't--destroy the killer once and for all. Aftershock's horror books always shine and with the linework of Andrea Mutti, this will be no exception. The premise has some lessons for our own ability to ignore the terror right in front of us, too. This should be another great mini-series from an underrated publisher.

James' Picks:

Fear Case #1 by Matt Kindt, Tyler Jenkins and Hilary Jenkins, published by Dark Horse
Fear Case could not be any more up my alley. Matt Kindt is one of my favorite creators in all of comics. I love his exploration of weird mysteries and sinister conspiracies, from Mind MGMT to Bang! to Dept. H, Kindt just has a great grasp on fundamental ideas, and storytelling methods to warp and subvert those ideas. So, in Mind MGMT he created a secret organization that is responsible for espionage and propaganda, all to keep society in order. In Bang!, he explores ideas about fiction and meta-fiction itself, brings genre tropes and characters together. And now in Fear Case, he's looking at a murder mystery that also implicates a case, literally, a case or box of some sort) that (possibly) traces its lineage all the way back to the dawn of human civilization. Whatever it is, it's been preoccupying the Secret Service as long as they have existed, and has driven some of their agents to madness. Kindt has once again paired with the supremely talented Tyler and Hilary Jenkins, with whom he previously collaborated on the excellent Grass Kings and Black Badge).  I'm a big fan of the Jenkins' work generally; it's moody and atmospheric (thanks to excellent colors from Hilary) and works perfectly in the genre mystery setting. Tyler's linework really brings this strange mystery to life; his characters are not *realistic* per se, but the world of the story feels real and true. Fear Case is a great read so far.     

Immortal Hulk #43 by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, and Ruy Jose, published by Marvel Comics

You're probably already reading The Immortal Hulk, and if not, you've probably at least heard what a fantastic book it is. Well, I echo all of those sentiments, and there's probably not a lot I can say about this book that hasn't been said already. But one of the many things I love about this book is the incredibly detailed way in which writer Al Ewing has incorporated Hulk's continuity into the story here. The U-Foes are long-standing Hulk villains, and I love the idea that they will be brought in to act as heroes, in stopping the threat that is the Hulk. I last saw them at the beginning of Siege, causing the event (an explosion at a stadium in a fight with Volstagg) that was the pretext for the invasion of Asgard. Anyway, this is an incredible series, really a character defining run, and you should be reading it.  

Luna #1 by Maria Llovett, published by Boom! Studios

I'm not really familiar with the work of Maria Llovet, but my fellow Patterers were very excited about this one, as they're singing Llovet's praises as an artist and writer. I have to say, I get the excitement. This was a very cool series debut. Llovet is a supremely talented artist, bringing the psychedelic, hazy world of the late 60's to life. And the story so far is very intriguing; it feels like the Manson family but with some supernatural elements thrown in. This book feels weird and psychedelic and erotic and a little freaky. I'm impressed, and I'm looking forward to reading more. 

Sean's Picks:

Luna 1 by Maria Llovett and published by Boom! Studios

Llovett is fast becoming one of my favorite creators. The stories she tells are always visually cinematic and erotically sensual. This new miniseries from Boom is no different. Luna is a story that begins in a desert in the late 60s. Every cliche that would come with that phrase transpires as expected but in luscious Maria Llovett style. The page layouts.. the colors.. the immediacy of character development.. and the tastefully seductive sensuality all combine to make one of the best debuts I’ve read in years. Seriously, folks, go get this book!

Spector Inspectors 1 by Bowen McCurdy, Kaitlyn Musto & Jim Campbell, published by Boom! Box

Ghost hunters travel to Cape Grace to film their next episode at the Town Hall. Things go sideways fast and we discover the reasons for the why that is how people go missing from this haunted little town. I am unfamiliar with this creative team but I trust the Boom Box imprint with all-ages comics to introduce our little humans to widely palatable stories of fear. This was a fun first issue and I look forward to where the story goes.

Mike's Picks:

Transformers: Beast Wars 1 by Erik Burnham and Josh Burcham, published by IDW

Our friends at IDW are toying with my adolescent nostalgia this week with both a new Star Wars Adventures series debut and the trade collection of Transformers vs. Terminator on the docket. And while I intend to dive into both of those series (I lost track of TvT after the first issue), I'm going to have to hone in on this new Beast Wars series as a pick for this week. I can't count the hours I spent doing homework with Beast Wars playing on the television just over the horizon of the edge of my books. Though as some casualty of syndication, I can't say I followed the series incredibly well, likely picking up random storylines here and there depending on when I had a chance to watch, I remember being absolutely mesmerized by the show. From the fact that it resembled, but didn't directly continue, the original Transformers series, to the essentially linear episodic style of storytelling, to the innovative computer animation, everything about Beast Wars landed a certain way in my teenage wheelhouse. It felt both grown up and nostalgic, experimental but familiar. IDW has handled the entire Transformers catalog very well, continuing to produce quality comics for fifteen years, and I expect nothing but the same from Erik Burnham on this series.

After the Rain by Nnedi Okorafor, John Jennings, and David Brame, published by Abrams Comicarts

Science fiction fans know Dr. Nnedi Okorafor from the exceptional Binti series, a trilogy that demonstrated she was on the cutting edge of next generation of great sci-fi authors. Comics fans should know her from the equally exceptional Laguardia, a series that tackled an array of topics from immigration rights to speciesism. Through Abrams, a publishing house that quietly produces some of the best-designed graphic novels, Jennings and Brame bring Okorafor's dark fantasy story to a new graphic novel adaptation. Abrams has demonstrated its strength as a publisher with adapted works, most notably last year's Parable of the Sower, a worthy updating of the Octavia Butler classic. Okorafor's writing, specifically her short stories, have always felt indebted to comics, not necessarily in execution, but in concept. And there is something about this story that feels both like a modern dark fantasy story and a classic EC script combined.

Hypnotwist/Scarlet by Starlight by Gilbert Hernandez, published by Fantagraphics

It's a good week to be a Beto fan with this reprint accompanying the latest issue of Psychodrama. This new collected edition of two novellas looks beautiful, and I appreciate that Fanta chose to package it as a flip-book with each novella receiving its own featured cover. These two Fritz tales are perfect if you're not incredibly initiated into the Love and Rockets universe, or aren't up enough on things to keep up with the periodical. They highlight Gilbert's ability to tell a complete story using the graphic novella format, a format that in and of itself is becoming my favorite mode of graphic storytelling. There isn't anything wrong with the serialized Love and Rockets, but the fully formed tales are often obscured by the portioning out required by the magazine, and this is a prime example of how Beto can create a complete story while still being succinct and tight.