Catch It at the Comic Shop April 14th, 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...

Sean’s Picks:

Peanuts: Scotland Bound, Charlie Brown OGN by Charles M. Schulz, Bill Melendez, Jason Cooper and Robert Pope, published by BOOM! Studios

Anytime you mention the Peanuts gang I’m all-in. The gang that the legendary Charles Schulz created are timeless American treasures that will be among the most beloved characters every child will grow up with for endless generations. It doesn’t end with those holiday TV specials, but it sure does begin there. After reading and rereading the dozens of collected volumes there are plenty of moments to cherish and enjoy. Never did I imagine I’d live to see new stories from Charlie Brown and the gang. Not until today, that is. BOOM! Studios is publishing a brand new adaptation of a newly discovered storyboard from the Schultz studios and is brought to us by the people behind Adventure Time Comics and Scooby-Doo. This time Charlie Brown convinces his friends to travel abroad so that he can meet the love of his life, a pen pal from Scotland. That rare moment of self-confidence, found here in this new Peanuts story, is what we have always hoped for in the epic sage of the perpetually sad Charlie Brown. In all those years reading along with Chuck and his gang, we’ve managed to see him muster up enough confidence to embarrass himself into a silly situation where readers of literally all ages can enjoy.

Heaven No Hell HC by Michael DeForge and published by Drawn & Quarterly 

Heaven No Hell is a collage of DeForge parables that exhibit perspective from one of the best modern day storytellers we have right now. As with most of DeForge’s work, these comic shorts come across as ambiguously atmospheric and often darkly humorous, but they always land with that familiar abstract realism we’ve come to expect and adore. This one is for the coffee table. The book guests will peruse and be catalyst to many conversations that will follow.

Home #1 by Julio Anta, Anna Wieszczyk and Bryan Valenza, published by Image

Home is a story about a mother and her son seeking refuge at the United States southwest border. Right from the start we witness Mercedes Gomez and her son Juan going through motions, traveling from Guatemala to the Reynosa-McAllen International Bridge in Mexico. There they hope to register as refugees and live with Mercedes’ sister-in-law in Houston as they make for a better life for themselves. Unfortunately for them, this new series from Image was clearly conceptualized during the refugee-unfriendly Trump-era seeing the blatantly obvious xenophobia and active dialogues separating child from family. I know nothing of this creative team but I am excited to get acquainted. The foundation to this coming-of-age story is so incredibly real that it hurts. It seriously hurts real bad. Reason for recommending this title is not so that you can be reminded (again) of how awful our border policy has been in recent years, but rather is because of the redemptive spin on the tragedy that the team add to it. This debut issue focuses almost entirely on the specific refugee story of a mother and son, and upon final page reveal you are introduced to the supernatural caveat that this miniseries is going to embrace. Clearly this book was written with a purpose, and that purpose is to give a voice to the voiceless.

Canto & the City of Giants #1 by David M Booher, Drew Zucker and Sebastian Piriz, published by IDW

Ok, folks. Canto is back! He is here again with pals Rikta and Falco. I have thoroughly enjoyed the handful of Canto series that Booher and Zucker have created thus far, and this time around Booher brings on board a new illustrator to freshen things up a bit as Sebastian Piriz provides the artwork in this debut issue to the City of Giants arc. Beginning things here we see Canto and gang riding a dragon driven wagon toting a witch toward the City of Giants as they come upon Fra and Ba ...two stranded giants’ heads held prisoner by the King and Queen of Brob (the name of said City of Giants). As previous, Canto recalls his kindled friendship with the two Giants and takes it upon himself to free them from their captivity. Canto won my heart back when he first debuted as the humbled, brave and courageous knight that he showcases himself as. These are always enjoyable reads and I recommend Canto highly for anyone looking for an uplifting, heartwarming, gentle but tragic fantasy story about a little knight who tries anything with all of his little might.

Man in the Painters Room GN by Jamison Odone and published by Black Panel Press

I wrote about this graphic biopic last year shortly after its successful Kickstarter campaign. Now it will finally have a wider release with it being available at bookstores. If you’ve ever wondered about the life of Van Gogh in his later years then this read should be of interest. It shakes off the excess and focuses on a very specific period late in the artist’s life. We see how he befriends a young child and becomes fascinated with a very specific routine. I found this book especially enjoyable and it’s great to see it getting more exposure this week. 
Kirk's Pick:
Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, Published by DC/IDW
I know I'm supposed to remind you of how great Home Sick Pilots has been (haunted houses that are also mechs are extremely my sh*t) and to pick up it's new issue this week. Or how Cantwell's turn on Iron Man has been a welcomed grounded change from the usual grand futurists arcs we've been reading from other writers the last few years (also this week). But there's this thing where two of my favorite series' of all time are combining for a crossover and I can barely focus on anything else in my life at the moment. Locke and Key/Sandman: Hell and Gone #1 releases this wednesday and the more you think about these two mythologies, it only feels natural that they would eventually meet. Though the events of this series happen under the Sandman Universe DC banner of titles, L&K creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez are firmly in the driver's seat telling this story. So on top of getting to watch them continue to build on the Locke family chronicles, we will see them tackle Neil Gaiman creations like Roderick Burgess and The Corinthian. Expect chills, tears, and me never shutting up about it.

James' Picks:

Chariot #2 by Bryan Hill, Priscilla Petraites, and Jeff Dekal, published by AWA Studios

Two issues in and this is a very fun series.  It's a story about a super-futiristic car from the 1980's, and a badass woman whose consciousness seems to have merged with the car, and the lucky (or unlucky) guy who found and restored this incredible, weird car (like Knight Rider, if KITT were alive and a sexy 80's woman who appeared as a ghost sometimes and had a no-nonsense attitude). I really love the vibe of this series - while it takes place in the present day, it still very much has an 80's vibe to it. A very fun read so far.

Sweet Tooth: The Return #6 by Jeff Lemire and Jose Villarubia, published by DC Comics, Black Label
I was skeptical at first about Jeff Lemire returning to the world of Sweet Tooth. I thought that he did a remarkable job ending that story, and saying as much as needed to be said about that world. However, I'm quite glad I started reading this miniseries, as it's turned out to be a terrific story in its own right and a strong follow-up to the original series.  This new miniseries captures the general spirit of the original (very, very sad) series, while taking place hundreds of years later. I am curious to see how this mini wraps up, but it seems like Lemire could keep this going as a whole new series if he wanted to stay in this world. Lemire's art is better than ever, and captures sadness and loneliness and weird confusion better than just about anyone.

Mike's Picks

Heaven No Hell by Michel DeForge, published by Drawn and Quarterly
I found DeForge's Familiar Face both remarkable and unsettling, especially reading it during the height of the original pandemic lockdown, and I've been delighted by the abstract escapism of his Birds of Maine instagram comic. Heaven No Hell represents something different, though. This collection of short stories shows DeForge's range and provides some examples of more typical sequences contrasted with his trademark abstract work (exhibited by the cover image). DeForge is a master at never letting the reader get completely comfortable with his work, at least not on the first read, and the shifting styles that all work to serve the same thematic intent demonstrates not only his versatility as a creator, but also the wider connection of the veins he mines.

Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified Tesla 1 by Cynthia von Buhler, published by Titan Comics

I loved the original Minky tale, a great blend of history and a legend tied together by some absolutely stunning art that looks far more like an oil painting or stained glass window than any comic has the right to. Buhler, well known in various avant-garde circles, returns with her proto-feminist Minky for another noir romp. Having tussled with Houdini prior, Minky will find herself caught up with none other than Nicola Tesla this time around. There is already a rich history of mythologizing Tesla, and many authors have used his story as a jumping off point. I’m intrigued to see how von Buhler, who utilized both history and myth surrounding Houdini, folds Minky into this world.

Home Sick Pilots 4 by Dan Watters, Casper Wijngaard, Aditya Bidikar, and Tom Muller, published by Image Comics

There is a ton to be said about this series, and, frankly, I think it all comes down to execution. For me, it’s the way the creative team blends concepts authentically without out any of the essential elements. Home Sick Pilots is many things at once. It’s a coming of age story, a haunted house tale, and a mech narrative all informed by 90s punk rock sensibilities and vocabulary. What is impressive – and I truly think this is a hard feat to pull off – is that HSP can be these things without feeling like it pays lip service to any of them. Much of that credit belongs to Wijngaard and Bidikar who seem to keep the book tight and effortless despite the near breakneck pace Watters established for the series. With each issue, Watters peals away layers of backstory while continuing to build the tension of the story. This entire first arc has been composed of frenetic rising action, and it’s a testament to exactly what good genre work can do.

Lonely Receiver by Zac Thompson, Jen Hickman, and Simon Bowland, published by Aftershock

I am rife with anticipation to re-read this story as a collected edition. Thompson’s narrative lent itself well to the serialized format because it functioned almost as a series of vignettes as opposed to a linear narrative. And such a choice works well for a breakup story, one where you’re replaying events in your head and wondering if they happened the way you remember in some sort of forensic accounting of your romance. There are questions of reliability here, and Hickman lends a sense of paranoia to her illustrations. I’ve said it before, the burgeoning subgenre of cyberpunk love is going to explode at some point, and Lonely Receiver is a great indication of not only a particularly thoughtful work in terms of it’s philosophical implications, but also is an exemplar for how both genre fiction and sequential art aide the assessment of those implications in a way traditional realistic fiction falls short almost by design. 

Rob's Picks:
Eros Psyche #2 by Maria Llovet, published by Ablaze Comics
Sara's made it into The Rose, but that might not necessarily be good for her health. As we saw from the first issue, something's not quite right at the school and now that she's a part of their student body Sara's going to find out things are far darker than they first appeared to be. Love is blind, but Sara might end up a literal representation if she's not careful. As usual, superstar artist Maria Llovet knocks the illustrations out of the park with her uncanny ability to draw some of the sexiest gothic horror of all time, both here and across her other works. She's a singular talent and her stories keep me on the edge of my seat every time I read them. I'm so glad to see more of her work getting published--and even happier that the quality of all of them is spectacular.

Flash Forward An Illustrated Guide to Possible (and Not So Possible) Tomorrows by Box Brown, Julia Gfrorer, Ben Passmore, Sophie Goldstein, Matt Lubchansky, Amelia Onorato, Blue Deliquanti, Ziyed Y. Ayoub, John Jennings, Maki NAro, Kate Sherridan, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Zach Weinersmith, Chris Jones, and Rose Eveleth, published by Abrams
A Passel of Panel Pals and their talented friends come together to work with podcaster Roe Eveleth to provide the reader with hints of a not-so-distant future that can either be really cool (Robot Bodies! Undersea Cities! Less Need to Sleep!) or really terrifying (Robot Bodies! Permanent Lie Detectors! Less Need to Sleep!), and perhaps a little of both--if they can ever happen at all. While some offer glimpses of the mix of good and bad of technology, like being able to live (but also hurt people) on the Moon, others (Will there come a day when we can't tell real videos from faked ones?) are s terrifying I barely want to consider them. Unfortunately, that last one is something we're already seeing, as the future quickly becomes now. This is a thought-provoking book with amazing creators and really keeps the cutting edge of graphic nonfiction moving forward. I hope to have a longer piece on this one soon, but wanted to ensure everyone knows about it now!

Night Marchers and other Oceanian Stories, A Cautionary Fables & Fairytales Book, by Various Creators, Edited by Kel McDonald, Kate Ashwin, and Sloane Leong, published by Iron Circus
Originally a Kickstarter created by Prolific Panel Pal Kel McDonald, this edition of the Cautionary Fables & Fairytales series, the fourth in the line, features stories from multiple Oceanian communities. Reminding me of the books of lore and legend I was read to (and then read myself) from all over the world, Kel and her fellow editors picked people whose variety of skills and styles match these really cool--and often creepy--fables. It's really awesome that Iron Circus is reprinting them for a new set of readers. If you didn't get the original edition like I did, don't miss out on this second chance if you enjoy folklore even half as much as I do.

Peanuts: Scotland Bound, Charlie Brown by Charles Schulz, Bill Melendez, Jason Cooper, and Robert Pope, published by Boom! Studios
Someone found an unproduced Peanuts special from the dream team of Schulz and Melendez. This is not a drill. We have new, Schultz-based Peanuts material in our lives. It's what we all desperately need right now, and I don't even care that for some people, Charlie Brown and Snoopy are nothing but corporate symbols. If you grew up with them the way I did, they're comfort food, and getting some right from their original creators brings me nothing but great joy. Adapting this story for comics are Jason Cooper and Robert Pope, who have extensive experience making all-ages material sing, with Adventure Time and Scooby Doo respectively. It seems Charlie Brown's pencil pal in Scotland is a lassie, and he's mustered up the courage to go see her, bringing along his conscience Linus and his critic Lucy along for the ride. Schroeder and Snoopy round out the cast as we see Charlie Brown try to break out of his shell, but we all know how this one ends, right? Sometimes you just can't escape yourself, no matter how far you travel. I can't wait to sit down and savor this one over a box of zingers.

Doctor Who: Missy #1 by Jody Houser, Roberta Ingranata, and Others, published by Titan Comics
The Master, currently (I think?) incarnated as Missy, is one of the most iconic foes in all of Doctor Who, plaguing doctors of all shapes and sizes across space and time. One of the best at currently writing Doctor Who, Jody Houser gets to celebrate the Master's 50th anniversary by pitting Master Against Doctor in an incarnation-spanning scheme that might see them winning once and for all. I'm a sucker for seeing Doctor 3 get more love, and the Pertwee/Delgado combo still remains my favorite Doctor/Master pairing. With Houser at the helm and good likenesses from Ingranata, this should be a great treat for longtime fans of the show.
Neil's Pick:
Guardians of the Galaxy #13 by Al Ewing, Juan Frigeri, Federico Blee Published by Marvel Comics
Since the days after Annihilation I've had somewhat of love/hate relationship with Guardians of the Galaxy stories. Annihilation is one of my all-time favourite stories and one that hasn't been beat since...within the Marvel Cosmic universe before anyone questions me. So yeah, I've not been grabbed by any Guardians storylines for a hell of a long time. Thankfully I have a good friend who has a bigger passion for the Guardians than I have and he's informed me that this could be the perfect jumping on point. Al Ewing's writing is definitely a major plus point, as his current We Only Find Them When They're Dead (Boom) is a wonderful indie space opera of a story along with his huge Immortal Hulk run the Guardians are surely in good hands.