Rachel Killed It on The Beat’s Manga Panel and also Some Picks - Catch It at the Comic Shop July 28th, 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...

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.

Mike’s Picks:

Darkwing Duck: Just Us Justice Ducks, published by Fantagraphics
I absolutely adored the Disney Afternoon cartoon block. Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers, Talespin, Goof Troop, and my personal favorite, Darkwing Duck, all arrive in one packed collection. Pulled from various early 90s magazines like Disney Adventures, this collection transported me back thirty years to when I’d rush into the house after school and spread my homework out on the kitchen table to complete it while watching Darkwing Duck and company on a tiny 13 inch television.

Superman: Son of Kal-El 1 by Tom Taylor and John Timms, published by DC Comics

I’ll be honest when I say that I wasn’t thrilled when Jonathan Kent was arbitrarily aged up. I liked the character the way Peter Tomasi had rendered him, as a kid who was coming to grips with newly realized immense powers while still figuring out how to grow up. But, those times are gone, and I’ve grown accustomed to the new incarnation. But that’s all besides the point. The real draw on this book for me is the creative team. Tom Taylor has been writing the best superhero comics for some time now, and there is no one better equipped to re-imagine or revamp a character than the man who brought us Injustice and All New Wolverine. He challenged what we know about some of the biggest names in comics and proved that some of the best stories are the ones we’d least suspect. John Timms brings a special aesthetic to the book. He’s elongated, angular shapes add to the futuristic sci-fi feel of the book.

Wonder Woman: Black and Gold 2, by a whole bunch of awesome people, published by DC Comics
Listen, there is a Tillie Walden story in this book. If you need to know more, I think Mariko Tamaki and Jamie McElvie are doing a story together. I mean, come on.

Sean’s Picks:

Groo Meets Tarzan #1 by Sergio Aragonés, Mark Evanier, Thomas Yates, Tom Luth, Stan Sakai & Adam Pruett and published by Dark Horse

Groot and Harley crossovers to the curb. This one is about to blow your mind. Groo meeting Tarzan, how has this not happened yet?! Fear not fellow comic readers, the consummate crossover event of the summer is upon us. We waste nearly no time settling ourselves in a hyper-aware story about getting this crossover to exist. Half the fun of this issue are the pages that comprise of our creative team making a comic about themselves coming up with the idea for a comic about that crossover. Tomorrow you will all be in for a treat as a prime member of our team features this Dark Horse miniseries debut at length. This is a comic to get excited about. This is why we read them. Now is when you go get a copy. 

If UR Stabby HC by Kaz Windness and published by Hermes Press
Not gonna lie here. This one is a complete stab in the dark. (See what I did there? Huh? Did ya?) Browsing through the releases this week and I got glimpse of a cover with a goth-riddled and grumpy unicorn standing on a pile of skulls underneath a gray toned rainbow set between two dark rain clouds and it just seemed like the right fit for my Monday morning. I feel you, Stabby. I feel you. I’m new to Hermes Press and to the work of Kaz, but you better believe I’m gonna poke my nose around awhile and see what other all-ages goth goodness I can get my hands on. 

Grumpy Monkey Vol.1 Freshly Squeezed by Suzanne and Max Lang and published by Random House Studio
Here’s another one for the kids in your life. (Or for you if you’re anything like me and enjoy a good YA graphic novel every now and then). So our title character, the grumpy monkey himself, is named Jim Panzee (hilarious, I know ..but the absurdity and laughs do not stop there). This OGN is silly with heart and life lessons and it will have your little ones excited to read again. And good news because it looks like this is going to be an ongoing title at Random House. Just as Mr. Panzee did for the Lang’s on the New York times best seller list, I’d be willing to bet that this is going to continue that endeavor.

James' Picks:

Beta Ray Bill #5 by Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer, published by Marvel Comics
This has been a really wonderful read, With Daniel Warren Johnson's typically wonderful blend of bombastic action and really heartfelt storytelling. Johnson excels at all aspects of storytelling, as this story has really pulled me into the mindset of Beta Ray Bill, a terrific character that frankly I haven't given much thought to. But really, Johnson (with fantastic, striking colors from Mike Spicer) does incredible artistic work here. There are pages in this series you'll want to linger over. This is a must-read.

The Blue Flame #3 by Christopher Cantwell, Adam Gorham, K. Michael Russell, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, published by Vault Comics
The Blue Flame is a really special series, and one of the strongest debuts of 2021 (my issue 1 review here). It's a big cosmic superhero story, but it's also a story of a local guy turned vigilante, and it's also a story about all of humanity. So yeah, it's big. The art from Adam Gorham runs the spectrum from deftly portraying intimate moments, to some of the most epic cosmic stuff you'll see. The colors from K. Michael Russell and the fun lettering from Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou really add to this. 

Barbaric #3 by Michael Moreci, Nathan Gooden, Addison Duke, and Jim Campbell, published by Vault Comics
Speaking of incredibly strong debut issues of Vault comics, there's also a new issue of Barbaric this week. I absolutely adored the first issue of this series (my issue 1 review here), as it has action, humor, emotion, and works perfectly as a fantasy series for people like me who are not really into fantasy stuff. It's got a barbarian named Owen, a talking axe, a witch, dragons, and smart social comentary. The art from Nathan Gooden is really wonderful and dynamic, along with excellent colors from Addison Duke and letters from Jim Campbell. This is a first rate creative team, and this is a special book. You need to get on board.