Hot Jams, Cool Picks - Catch It at the Comic Shop July 21st, 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...

James' Picks:

Dark Blood #1 by LaToya Morgan and Walt Barna, published by Boom! Studios
I'm really intrigued by this one. A man is granted the power to change history. It seems like a story that reckons with race and racism, and imagines maybe a secret history or alternate history where things could be different? I don't know a lot about this but the premise seems very cool, and I am always happy to check out new voices.

Moon Knight #1 by Jed MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio, published by Marvel Comics

Since the Ellis/Shalvey/Bellaire series, I've really come to love Moon Knight as a character and so I feel like I need to check out any new Moon Knight series. Particularly any one that involves "Mr. Knight", Moon Knight's super cool persona that wears a white business suit. I don't know much about the creative team here but I always want to give a new Moon Knight series a chance. As an aside, if you've never read the Lemire/Smallwood Moon Knight series, you really must. It's incredible.  

Big Hard Sex Criminals Vol. 3 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, published by Image Comics

I absolutely adored Sex Criminals, but ayt a certain point I stopped reading it monthly, decided it would read better collected. This has proven to be the case. It's an extraordinary series, and I'm thrilled to finally see how it wrapped up. While the premise and the story were often outrageous, this is a comic that isn't just trying to shock people. It's a really deep exploration of relationships, depression, neuroses, self-hatred, and how it is we manage to forge connections with other people. Plus also all of the sex jokes.

Superman: Woman of Tomorrow #2 by Tom King and Bilquis Evely, published by DC Comics

I wasn't sure what to expect but this series took me by surprise in a wonderful way. This story involves Supergirl on a world with a red sun, so she doesn't have her super powers. So she's not on Earth and she's not super-powered, and not surrounded by any other heroes. So the question is who is Supergirl when she's not all of those other things. She takes on (reluctantly) the quest of a local girl to seek revenge for the death of her father, and we get to see Supergirl take on a very different challenge than the usual. This is off to a great start, and it is an absolutely incredible-looking book, thanks to the wonderful work of Bilquis Evely. She does lovely, detailed work. You should be reading this book.

Mike's Picks:

Blue and Gold 1 by Dan Jurgens and Ryan Sook
I mean, the cover says it all doesn't it? About time Booster and Beetle have their own book. Damn straight. I'll tell you something - I'm not reading nearly as much DC as I did in my heyday, but I am loving the approach the publisher is taking with some of the different series staring some of their more minor characters, and these are two of my favorite.

One Line by Ray Fawkes, published by Oni Press
Holy smokes. I'm about halfway through this book, and I've got to say: it's an experience. I'm not sure I've ever really encountered a book like this before. Fawkes is working in sequences of nine-panel grids spread over two pages (so, really eighteen-panel grids) to tell a series of generational tales. It's complex, but the exercise of reading it forces you to consider the construction of the page and the economy of storytelling Fawkes must employ to fit his story into this structure.

Celestia by Manuele Fior, published by Fantagraphics
Celestia is a wonderfully constructed science fiction/fantasy take on a resistance story that has just enough of a peculiar resembles to our world that it makes for a surreal and trippy read. Fior's panels feel like an animated movie come to life, reminding me of an imported story I'd see on off-hours Nickelodeon when I was young. 

Sean’s Picks:

Bermuda #1 by John Layman, Nick Bradshaw & Len O’Grady and published by IDW

Fresh concepts at IDW don’t come often enough. But when they do ..they catch my attention and I check them out. This one in particular grabbed my eye with its impeccable linework on the cover art. Nick Bradshaw’s art is something to take notice. And he’s perfect to pen the story that Layman is telling that involves rich kids on an island in the Bermuda Triangle, Fish-People, and a fast-talking local who calls herself: Bermuda. Ok, Layman & Co. I’m paying attention. I’m anxious to see where this story is gonna take me. 

Celestia HC by Manuele Fior & translated by Jaime Richards and published by Fantagraphics

I received my preordered copy in the mail on Monday. I have only barely started to look at the brilliance that is Manuele Fior’s artwork. This newly translated English version of Celestia is a personal peak in anticipated 2021 releases. I hope to dive deeper with a more deserving review soon. But at this point all I can bring to the conversation is that Celestia is now widely available in English and we all must pencil in the necessary errand amidst that midweek routine we collectively find ourselves in. 

No. 5 GN Vol.1 by Taiyo Matsumoto and published by Viz

Hi. My name is Sean and I am new here. Manga is an area I feel very intimated but with some loose recommendations from fellow Panel Patter folks combined with my own research of Taiyo Matsumoto’s amazing art I found myself with a copy of No. 5 in my Amazon cart. The story sounds very post-dystopian or pre-post-apocalyptic if that’s even a thing. Nonetheless it captured my interest immediately when I read the solicit. And upon seeing Matsumoto’s art it was a done deal. I’m gonna dive into this manga series organically from the very first volume.

Rachel's Pick:
Sweet Paprika by Mirka Andolfo, Simon Tessuto, and Fabio Amelia, variant covers by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau, Peach Momoko, published by Image Comics
It's tough to introduce a female character who is rude, demanding, and assertive without making her unlikeable. Mirka Andolfo manages to not only make Paprika, the main character in Sweet Paprika, intriguing but she also makes us understand why Paprika is the way she is. As Paprika herself explains, "I am just a little bit of a superbitch [...] at least I'm SUPER." Andolfo's characters are sexier and better dressed than most of their American contemporaries, and they also take their coffee drinking more seriously. She draws female breasts and hips in a more realistic manner than most comic artists. It's nice to see characters depicted with bosoms that don't just look like melons shoved under a sweater. Sweet Paprika is set in the publishing world on New York City where everyone is either an angel with a halo or a devil with horns and a forked tail. Both angels and demons get along just fine and even traffic lights and teddy bears have their own sets of angel wings or devil horns. The coloring by Simon Tessuto evokes a candy store and is so fun to look at. Be aware that there is nudity and sex, so you may not want to read the issue while on the bus. If you like The Bolder Type, The Devil Wears Prada, and Younger, you will probably enjoy Sweet Paprika. Just like a good latte, Sweet Paprika is caffeinated,  frothy, and hot.