Catch It at the Comic Shop June 30th, 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...

Neil's Picks:

Godzilla Rivals: Vs Hedorah by Paul Allor, E.J. Su, Adam Guzowski, Nathan Widick Published by IDW
IDW seems to be going full steam ahead on their current publishing deal with Toho International with yet another new Godzilla series. Godzilla Rivals is a quarterly one-shot that features the titular Kaiju facing off against some of his familiar adversaries. Paul Allor takes on the task of writing a new account of Godzilla's battle with Hedorah aka The Smog Monster, this time set in 1970's New York. I'm always happy to see reimagined stories of Godzilla pitted against his regular foes and writer Allor is the right person for the job. Having successful runs on both GI Joe and TMNT, Allor has the experience of dealing with fan favourite franchise characters. E.J. Su (Transformers) on pencils is like the cherry on top for this comic. His passion for Kaiju, Tokusatsu characters is huge, just check out his phenomenal work over at his Instagram page. Add to that the hugely talented Guzowski (Nailbiter) talented on colours, and we hopefully have a Godzilla comic that is as entertaining as hell.

Usagi Yojimbo: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy #1 by Stan Sakai Published by IDW
I have a confession to make, I have never read a single issue of Usagi Yojimbo. Saying that leaves a bad taste in my mouth, solely down to the fact I love Japan, and especially anything related to Ronin/Samurai. So with The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy being slated as a "great place to start for any new readers" by IDW, I'm finally joining Miyamoto Usagi on his journey through Edo period Japan and I cannot wait.
Rob's Picks:

Godzilla Rivals Vs. Hedorah by Paul Allor, E.J. Su, Adam Guzowski, and Nathan Widick, published by IDW
As if New York City in the early 1970s didn't have enough problems, here comes Godzilla and Hedorah, hell-bent on destroying each other, with the city as collateral damage. As the death toll mounts, it's a race against time to stop them with some amazing philosophical complications in this debut issue for a series of one-shots where the big guy takes on some of his fiercest foes. Paul Allor is a criminally underrated writer, and this issue shows exactly why. Not only does he seamlessly put a unique stamp on a typical Godzilla movie trope, Allor also find a great way to balance the human drama with some good old fashioned monster on monster action. That's the hardest part of a kaiju story--keeping the reader or audience entertained with building-smashing blows but also ensuring there's a drama unfolding underneath. When you combine that with the revelations and decisions made by characters, it's a classic. 

The EC Archives: Saddle Justice by Johnny Craig, Graham Ingels, Marie Severin, and others, published by Dark Horse
Grab your ten gallon hat and your spurs and join some of the best creators of the 1950s as they put on a display of Westerns, a comic genre that definitely doesn't really stand the test of time, but the line art speaks for itself. Of all the old comics, these are admittedly some of the hardest to read. Like their movie counterparts from the same time period, they can be beautiful works of art, but the fictional world they portray is so unlike reality--and let's be frank, pretty offensive more often than not. At the same time, I believe strongly in recognizing and remembering history. Preserving these comics for future generations is important work, warts and all. Seeing where we came from helps us to better understand where we are going. And given these are EC comics, the quality is going to be higher than their peers, too. This is not for everyone, but I continue to appreciate the work Dark Horse and Fantagraphics are doing in keeping our comics history alive.

Mike’s Picks:

Kane and Abel by Shaky Kane and Krent Able, published by Image Comics
What a spectacular summer treat - a second dose of Shaky Kane (check out his issue of Crime Destroyer if you haven’t yet) with extra helping of Krent Able. I’ve always truly enjoyed Shaky Kane’s artwork, a clean pop-art aesthetic that feels like the midpoint between Mike Allred and Chris Ware. He definitely leans into the Allred side of that continuum, channeling (in fact, embodying) Jack Kirby for the book’s opening romp. Able contrasts Kane’s updated silver age style with his Bronze Age Marvel-meets-EC grindhouse insanity that feels like the appropriate comedown drug after reading Red Room. This book truly feels like summer, with all the contrasts that come with it - long, bright days that don’t seem to follow the same rules as normal days coupled with thick, creepy nights full of strange sounds just past your door.

Barbaric 1 by Michael Moreci and Nathan Golden, published by Vault Comics
There are few people better at exploring genre than Michael Moreci. Though he is most often associated with science fiction and horror, his foray into fantasy shows he knows how to craft a great story regardless of the format. And then there is Nate Gooden, responsible (along with Tim Daniel, featured above) for so many of the great covers Vault produces, and fresh off the excellent Dark One OGN, who gets to dig into a serialized story for the first time in years. I’ve been excited for this story since James reviewed and advance copy. Moreci has characterized this book as the type of story that truly needs the comic format to make it work. And he should know - books like Wasted Space or Hoax Hunters exemplify that categorization. From my first read of the debut issue, I would say Mike is right. It’s a book that both embodies what comics can do and celebrates the entire form.

Sean’s Picks:

White #1 by Kwanza Osajyefo, Jamal Igle & Khartoum Randolph and published by Black Mask Studios

White is the sequel to the critically acclaimed crowd funded series Black that has gone on to massive world building over at Black Mask Studios. When black people are the only ones to have superpowers in a nation riddled with a questionable history of reconciling it’s own racial inequities there’s no wonder this has become an indie comic success story. This book is more important than the fiction it tells. It’s more important than the story itself or the fantasies that come with it. The importance that lies within it is the fact that we have an all black creative team telling a story about an all black superhero universe in an all white controlled media conglomerate that mirrors our own present. As a white man asking, telling you to go get this book, I admit that by doing so the world won’t change. But maybe the momentum that comes along with the story you’re about to read will. Join me, and be part of it.

Canto & the City of Giants #3 by David M. Booher & Sebastian Piriz and published by IDW

Your favorite tin man miniature is back for another heroic if not adventurous conclusion to another lovable mini series for readers of all ages. These stories have been a treat since the first go at the world a couple years ago. Now, after two main arcs and two connecting mini series, Canto is becoming the household name he was destined to be. Whether he be slaying dragons, questing for clocks, or striking a deal with Giants there is never a dull moment and never a panel wasted. Piriz has been phenomenal as the guest illustrator in this series giving main artist Drew Zucker a break until Canto III begins. If you have not read any Canto, start here. It’s an easy 3 issue pick up. It won’t break the bank and you’ll surely fall in love with the little tin man that could.

Made In Korea #2 by Jeremy Holt, George Schall & Adam Wollet and published by Image

Jesse is a synthetic humanoid robot girl secretly stashed with a code enriching her robotic potential by a Korean employee of the corporation responsible for supplying families with a child where it is no longer possible. Jesse is by existence a proxy and her adoptive parents are unknowingly in possession of a unique species of humanoid. It’s becoming increasingly likely for a version of this brand of science fiction to be a reality in our non-fiction, and I find it curious that these stories always have a similar side eye squint of caution. After two issues of this story it feels quite ambitious and I wish it weren’t solicited for only 6 issues. That said, I’m always a sucker for robot stories of the near future. And especially when those robot stories involve said robots becoming increasingly aware of their own existence. Issue one, Jesse met her parents. In issue two, Jesse meets her ..friends?