Catch It at the Comic Shop March 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...

Beth's Picks:

Girlsplaining: A (Sorta) Memoir, by Katja Klengel, published by Archaia, division of a BOOM! Studios
This graphic novel from German cartoonist Katja Klengel will most certainly resonate with a female audience, and it should be read by any human interested in what it feels like to navigate the world as a woman. Klengel jokingly says near the beginning that her goal is to be the “Carrie Bradshaw of the comics scene,” but she surpasses that with her extremely realistic and relatable writing. As someone who has often wondered what idiot first decided it was attractive for women to be hairless like dolphins, “The Ghost of the Rusty Razor Blades” particularly resonated with me. The page where she tells off a boyfriend who complains about her leg hair — “My body, my business! Now change the channel, ‘Sailor Moon’ is on.” — is one of my new all-time favorites.

Nocterra #1, by Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey, published by Image
This is a promising debut issue for this series, set a decade after the world has been plunged into everlasting night. In this new reality, aside from it being difficult to get a tan, people also have to worry about turning into monstrosities called “shades” if they stray too far from artificial light. The pacing of the story feels cinematic as it follows Val Riggs, a trucker or “ferryman” who transports goods and people through the night for a price. Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel know how to tell a big tale with a strong emotional pull, and this creator-owned book feels like (pun intended) a bright spot in the darkness. 

Neil's Pick:

Demon Days: X-Men#1 by Peach Momoko, Published by Marvel Comics
It's only taken 9 weeks to break my rule of trade only reading in 2021 but when I saw Demon Days promo art my heart skipped a beat. The art, like a style plucked straight out of 80’s Japan and a story catering for my passion of samurai/Japanese based story telling I just had to break my rule. I’ll be honest and say Peach Momoko is someone that I didn’t have on my radar but I’m glad I now do. Nice to see that this is Peach's own universe when it comes to the X-Men so I look forward to seeing how she plays with that.

Kelli's Pick:

Ex.Mag. Vol.3 Crumbling Kingdom
Ed. by Wren McDonald
Featuring the work of Tarmasz, Patrick Crotty, Al Gofa, Delfina Pérez Adán, Valentin Seiche, Jake Terrell, Hanna K, Linnea Sterte, Geov Chouteau.
Published by Peow.
Release date: March 1 2021

I’ve never been a big anthology fan, but Peow Studio’s Ex.Mag series might covert me. I demolished their first offering Ex.Mag 1: Full Metal Dreamland in one sitting. It was just so crushable. Ex.Mag’s first volume is a hard act to follow, but Ex.Mag 3: Crumbling Kingdom does a pretty good job. The theme for vol.3 is dark fantasy. There’s an allegorical quality to the stories. Greed, vengeance, and unbridled desire are some of the underlying themes. Despite the dark fantasy genre there is humour to be found between the pages. Some of the stories were great, others meh. That’s the thing about anthologies, you might not like every contribution, but if you’re lucky, you’ll walk away having discovered a creator that totally resonates with you. For me it was Linnea Sterte. I’ve already got their independent work Stages of Rot on order at my local comic shop. Sterte’s contribution to Ex.Mag 3, An Arrow for a King, was so my jam. Their drawing gives off some serious Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind vibes. I’m talking the manga here not the anime. Although Sterte’s work was the stand out of the collection, I also really enjoyed Hanna K’s The Gargoyle Temple and Tarmasz’s Soldiers of Fortune. Peow Studio started out as a Risograph printing house, and expanded to publishing comics. The goal of the studio is to represent unknown artists working on the fringes of the industry. So if you are looking for fresh voices sing a little bit out of tune check out the Ex.Mag anthologies.

Kirk's Pick:

Swamp Thing #1 by Ram V, Mike Perkins and Mike Spicer, published by DC Comics
It's exciting to see DC finally taking a chance on new talent and watching it stick these last few months. Ram is in the club of writers that can write deeply personal stories (whether it's personal to him or to the characters he's penned) that have a lasting effect on the entire world he's playing in. Spinning out of the Infinite Frontier event, this 10-issue Swamp Thing series introduces Levi Kamei as the new keeper of The Green. Now if he's the new Swamp Thing, or if they are building off the ideas Alan Moore set during his run that there are multiple Swamp Things is still yet to be seen. In any case, this gives Ram and his team a fresh start to tell their own tale after coming off the excellent self-contained Catwoman #9 issue and taking over the Justice League Dark series mid-story arc. For casual readers that might be intimidated by the heavy lore and writing pedigree that come with picking up a Swamp Thing book, this starting point just might be the ticket while being a gateway to Ram's compelling indie published work.

James' Picks: 

Dead Dog's Bite #1 by Tyler Boss, published by Dark Horse

I'm a huge fan of the work of artist Tyler Boss. He drew the absolutely wonderful 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, which is an incredible, heartfelt, hilarious, and poignant story (and one of my favorite books of the decade). This is a new story that is both written and drawn by Boss, and I'm very excited to see what story he is going to tell. From the solicits, this sounds like it shouyld be a really interesting read. It's a missing persons story with a whole bunch of weirdness to it. I'm sure that whatever the story, Boss will bring his incredible eye for detail and visual humor and storytelling to the book.

Transformers '84: Secrets &Lies TP by Simon Furman and Guido Guidi, published by IDW Entertainment 

This story was a real delight. I was a Transformers fan since the very beginning, all the way back to the Spring of 1984. The first comic I ever read that really made me fall in love with comics was Transformers #1.  And while I know IDW has a history of many excellent Transformers comics over the years, they always seemed a little impenetrable to me (which I'm sure is just on me). I was excited about this comic, because it did not require me to know years of back story. This story is set immediately before the events of the original Transformers comic, and the art is absolutely evocative of that 1980's story, in the best possible way. This is an interesting and engaging story that fills in a lot of the behind the scenes and therefore adds to the original story. I loved this, and this may be my entry into more Transformers comics.

The Plot #8 by Tim Daniel, Michael Moreci, Joshua Hixson, Kurt Michael Russell, and Jim Campbell, published by Vault Comics

The Plot is a totally unsettling, terrifying series and I have absolutely loved it (my review here). It's in the category of "there's something very wrong with the house" stories, but it's a lot more than that. It's a story about family, and legacy, and what we pass on, good or bad, down the line. And about the inevitability of certain fates. The art from Joshua Hixson with colors from Jordan Boyd is absolutely freaky and terrifying. Seriously, there's some unsettling stuff, but scary in the best possible way. If you enjoy being scared and entertained, you'll love this series.

Undone by Blood: The Other Side of Eden #1 by Lonnie Nadler, Zac, Thompson, Sami Kivela, Jason Wordie, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, published by AfterShock Comics

Undone by Blood was a terrific series published last year (my review here) that told a crime story in two different time periods. There was the story in the 70's, and then the story in the old Western novel that the main character was reading. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition between the two stories. It looks like there will be different sets of character, and different settings here, but that the same general idea will be there. A story set in the 1930's, and another one set in the Old West. Nadler and Thompson are great writers and I totally trust them, as I do with respect to the entire creative team. Sami Kivela is a fantastic, detailed, engaging artist whose style works perfectly for these crime stories. Wordie colors each setting in a perfectly distinctive way that suits the time period, and Otsmane-Elhaou is a highly skilled letterer whose detail adds a lot to the storytelling. I'm sure this'll be a great read.  

Rob's Picks:
Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook by Mike Mignola, published by Dark Horse Comics
I've been looking forward to this one for a long time now. Mignola's so good at capturing an image and making it memorable from years of cover work and his Hellboy stories. It's a talent that serves him well and makes Mignola a perfect candidate for a special sketchbook. Making our days a little brighter, Mike posted sketches to his Twitter account in the darkest days of 2020 and then auctioned them off to support World Central Kitchen. It was a no-brainer to collect the sketches and now even more funds can be donated to the same charity and we get an amazing collection of characters compiled in Mignola's signature style. It's for a good cause so I'd be supportive anyway, but this is a must-have book for art and comics fans.

Nocterra #1, by Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey, published by Image
"The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow" is a cruel lie in Val's world, where something not only made the sun go away but also turns anyone who stays in the darkness too long into a hideous creature. Survivors like Val and her brother Em wear as much light as possible and try to keep the forces of darkness at bay. When Em gets ill, only a risky venture for an urban legend sanctuary can save him. It's a bleak future that's well-crafted by Snyder and Daniel.  Both are long-time Batman veterans getting a chance to team up on an indie horror book, and both of their styles are on full display here. Snyder’s very talkative, explaining as much as possible as this first issue rushes together. Meanwhile, Daniel's linework is still in superhero mode, and I'm hoping his and Morey can morph from slick lines to more creepy, atmospheric pages. That's a minor complaint, though--the art makes good scene choices and of course the monsters are scary as all hell. Once the team settles in, this has a good shot at being one of the best horror books of 2021.

Sean’s Picks:

Undone by Blood Other Side of Eden #1 by Lonnie Nadler, Sami Kivela, published by Aftershock

George Carlin once said that when he was a kid, if a guy got killed in a western he always wondered who got his horse. For me.. in the Undone by Blood comic saga.. I wonder who winds up with the paperback. In the first.. series? ..season? ..arc? Oh, I give up. I don’t know what to call these things anymore. In this latest chapter (ah, yes.. there’s the descriptor) of the Undone by Blood story we follow yet another vengeful mission guided by a clenched western paperback. Last time we saw events unfold as Ethel Grady Lane strolled through a town looking to solve the murder of her family. It was told alongside prose that acted in itself as character to the plot with our Ethel holding that very book along the way. This time we are introduced to Silvano, a man on a mission yo get back what was taken—- all while holding that western on his side. This unique brand of storytelling in the genre of a western caught me by complete surprise the first time, and I am without hesitation queuing myself up for this one. And if you don’t also then.. we’ll give you a fair trail, Pilgrim, followed by a first class hangin’.

Dead Dog’s Bite by Tyler Boss, published by Dark Horse

The solicits call this one Twin Peaks meets Lady Bird and that all but seals the deal for me on this debut from Dark Horse. Upon discovery of it being a comic written and illustrated by Tyler Boss I had no more energy left to resist temptation. Strap me in and tap the vein, I’m very ready for the next thing from the illustrator and co-creator of 4 Kids Walk into a Bank. It’s a story of a lost person and how to go about finding them when no one seems to have the desire—- or so it seems. I anticipate the art to be usual Ty Boss but the narrative is where I’m unsure. Sharpening his chops as writer for the first time, I expect this miniseries to hit hard and hit fast. 

Mike's Picks:

America Chavez: Made in the USA by 
Kalinda Vazquez and Carlos E. Gomez, published by Marvel Comics
In a better world, we'd have more America Chavez comics, so I think we can all agree that whatever America Chavez comics do arrive on stands are required reading. To be fair, I have absolutely no idea what this series is "about," but I'm here for it.

Swamp Thing 1 by Ram V, Mike Perkins, and Aditya Bidikar, published by DC Comics
We have been fortunate to get some previews of what Ram's Swamp Thing would be, starting with his run on Justice League Dark that featured Swampy as a part of the ensemble cast, but it was this fall's Swamp Thing Halloween Special anthology anchored by Ram and Perkins that focused on the mythology of the Swamp Thing while still emphasizing his existential burdens that would hint most at what the duo would explore in both the Future State mini and this new ongoing. Ram has been on a hot streak for a while, and Mike Perkins has a style that recalls classic Swamp Thing artists like Bernie Wrightson and Rick Veitch while feeling more refined and modern. And that's what I'm most down for in this series, the idea of a Swamp Thing series that embraces the roots of the character and charts a new territory. 

Rick and Morty: Jerryboree! by Grace Thomas and Gina Allnat, published by Oni Press
Is Jerry the best character on Rick and Morty or the worst? Or both? At the same time? Jerry is all of us and yet none of us, confined to the fringes while at at the center of it all. Oni's Rick and Morty comics have been fantastic and offer a great dose of the show during the time between seasons.