21st Century Comics, 20th Century People: Catch It's for August 17th, 2022

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:

20th Century Men #1 from Deniz Camp, S. Morian, and Aditya Bidikar, published by Image Comics

I don't know a ton about this book, but the preview art I've seen from S. Morian looks really great. This looks to be a big, sprawling, ambitious story about war and geopolitics, and super-soldiers, and mechanized armies. A love a big geopolitical story, particularly when it weaves history and sci-fi elements together (like Manhattan Projects). This looks like a fun read (also, not to be confused with 20th Century Boys, the amazing manga). 

Echolands HC Vol. 1 by J.H. Williams, W. Haden Blackman, Dave Stewart, and Todd Klein, published by Image Comics
Echolands is a fun, literary series in the tradition of Sandman and The Unwritten. It’s also one of the most astounding looking comics that I have read in the past few years. Every one of the pages in the comic will leave you mouth agape. To start, the book is presented in a landscape format and often the action takes place across both pages, giving this comic an incredible sense of scope and distance between points. J.H. Williams is an absolute master illustrator, coming up with endlessly inventive panel layout and design. He’s also just a fantastic sequential storyteller, so all of those artistic flourishes are not at the expense of storytelling. Dave Stewart colors this book, and it's some of the most incredible color work I’ve seen. I can’t even imagine how much time it takes to color this book. The story involves many different characters that come from many different fictional universes, whether those are comic books, fairytales, or something else. Each of the characters isn’t just colored distinctively, but they look like they are from different universes, and Stewart, does this across the entire book. Echolands is an absolute delight to read, and I highly recommend it.

Barbaric: Axe to Grind #1 by Michael Moreci, Nathan Gooden, Addison Duke, and Jim Campbell, published by Vault Comics
Barbaric (from the excellent creative team of writer Michael Moreci, artist Nathan Gooden, colorist Addison Duke, and letterer Jim Campbell) is a terrific fantasy series, and I loved the first arc, so I am excited to pick up the first issue of the new one. Particularly for someone like me who isn't much into fantasy stories. I think this story feels less to me like a “fantasy story” than it feels like “a strong story being told in a fantasy setting”. It’s an insightful, funny, entertaining story. But the reason you should pick this story up in comic form (apart from the simple fact that that’s the format it’s in) is the art. This comic bursts with life (and death!) and energy thanks to the work of Gooden and Addison Duke on colors. Gooden has a fantastic style. It's incredibly compelling, muscular, brutal linework, an immensely appealing style. Not to be super cliché, but it's very metal. This book is an absolute blast and you should pick it up (my issue 1 review here).