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Happy Wednesday, Carol and John’s Shoppers! With the weather heating up, so are the comics this spring. There are a few big entries from the Big Two, but there are a lot of diverse options for everyone, including some gems from small press companies this week also. Let’s see what’s up.

Marvel Comics

It’s part 2 to the current Banner of War crossover this week with Thor #25! “Banner’s newfound control of his rage is prolonging this fight more than Thor expected, and with Banner holding his own, Thor must get creative. Odin’s breakthrough look into Banner’s psyche seems to slow the violence, but will it be enough?” Plus, there’s more, with two separate backups in this jam-packed issue.

Gerry Duggan’s Savage Avengers was a shop favorite amongst the staff here, and we were all bummed to hear it was ending this past January with issue #28. We were excited to hear it was relaunching with a new #1 though, and that time is now with new writer David Depose and artist Carlos Magno. During the previous Savage Avengers run, Conan the Barbarian was brought into the modern-day, and he’s been stranded here ever since. But now he’s being hunted by a Deathlok for crimes against the timestream, and Conan along with Weapon H, Elektra’s Daredevil, Black Knight, Anti-Venom, and Cloak and Dagger are all dragged back to the Hyperborean Age for a new adventure. As a Conan fan, I’m excited to see what mess these characters can cause back in Conan’s time and the universe. You may have heard also that Marvel has now let the Conan license lapse, so we’re in the final days of Conan’s time with Marvel (again). We don’t know what that means for this new series, but by Crom, I’ll still be picking it up. It was a fun first issue!

Original creator David Michelinie returns for issue #2 of the new miniseries Venom: Lethal Protector. This week, it’s “Venom vs. Hydro-Man… for the first time! ‘Nuff said!” I’ll just leave it at that. This is a great series for fans who want a more back-to-basics approach for the symbiote.

DC Comics

“Just in time for the 20th anniversary of its launch, the acclaimed blockbuster that defined an era of Vertigo returns with an all-new 12-issue story, The Black Forest—a tale that picks up right where Fables #150 left off, providing a new entry point into the world of Fabletown! The dust has barely settled from the climactic battle between Totenkinder and Cinderella—and everything is far from happily ever after. A legendary new adversary has arrived, and he plans to get even with Geppetto for the mess that has been made of Manhattan. But it’s a new day… and with it, a new Jack in the Green has arrived in the Black Forest. And within the emergency room of a New York hospital… a Fable long thought dead returns!” I’ve never read Fables (outside of Preacher, I seem to be very lacking in my Vertigo reading), but there’s certainly a following for Fables and I may just have to give it a try sooner rather than later.

Chip Zdarsky’s Batman: The Knight series has been a great Batman origin retelling, that isn’t just dead parents and trees getting kicked in half Year One style. In this series, Bruce Wayne is traversing the globe and learning from the best of the best how to become something more than just a man, but even Bruce doesn’t know what he’s trying to become just yet. This issue finds Bruce and his friend Anton captured in a Russian prison after their escape from the cold mountains of Master Kirigi’s elite fighting school, where Bruce learned how to be a ninja. In this issue, he’ll learn how to be a superspy. I’m really enjoying this fresh take on Bruce’s origin that explains all the ways he learned how to kick ass. If you’re behind and looking to get caught up, last week DC released a reprint of issues #1-3 that you should check out if you’ve missed out so far.

Small Press

This week has a new Image #1 and it is for fans of Gideon Falls and Home Sick Pilots, it’s I Hate This Place (or F*** This Place is you pick up the B cover). “After inheriting a farmhouse, Trudy and Gabby are ready to start the next chapter of their lives together… except it’s already home to a mysterious force that’s attracted ghosts, aliens, and all kinds of supernatural beings for decades. Now, Gabby and Trudy must play by the ‘house rules’ in order to survive living among the most frightening creatures on Earth in this new series” from Kyle Starks and artist Artyom Topilin. The recent Image #1’s have all been great, and this series has been getting a lot of buzz before it’s release this week. Check it out.

Just when I needed a new manga, there’s a new one in print this week that I’ve been looking forward to for a minute, it’s Crazy Food Truck from Viz. “The owner of a food truck in a postapocalyptic world nearly runs over a naked girl sleeping in the middle of the desert. When he gives her a lift, he inadvertently takes on her baggage too – an armed militia hot on her trail… and her even more problematic appetite. If one doesn’t take him out, the other surely will!” I’m wrapping up Alita: Battle Angel, Gantz, and Chainsaw Man now, so I’m excited to get something new. I’m getting some cool Mad Max/foodie vibes from this one.

“The year is 1977. The King is dead, and the world mourns. But… When a mysterious briefcase turns up in his dressing room, Bruce, a coke-addled Elvis impersonator finds himself wedged between a Mob boss out to avenge the death of his only son, and a government conspiracy with far-reaching, world-ending ramifications, all in an attempt to discover the true identity of his father’s killer.” We don’t feature a lot from Behemoth Comics (although plenty of you are enjoying Heavy Metal Drummer at the moment), but this new trade paperback collection of Pop Star Assassin seemed too cool to pass up on. If you ask me, it looks like a blend between Scumbag and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I’m excited to read it and find out.

That’s just some of what we’ve got in store for you all this week. We’ve got plenty of cool new figures also, including plenty of Toddy Mac DC Multiverse figures (Clayface, Joker Titan, Dark Knight Returns, and Endless Winter characters to name a few), some Masters of the Universe figures, and a badass King Spawn figure that comes with his throne. If I had room for any of it, I’d probably pick up a few of these figures. Please buy them so I don’t have to fight the temptation to make room. We’ll see you all around.

Hi there, Carol and John’s Shoppers, and welcome back! Free Comic Book Day 2022 has come and gone, but we’ve got another Wednesday and more great books to talk about. The weather is too nice this week here in Cleveland, so let’s not waste any time and just get into it.

Marvel Comics Header

“CAPTAIN AMERICA SOARS AGAIN! Sam Wilson picks up the shield once more — and enters a world of trouble! Following a lead from Misty Knight, Sam intercepts a mysterious group hijacking what appears to be an empty train. As he digs deeper, he discovers that the plot may be connected to a crucial piece of Captain America history… and, surprisingly, Wakanda. The world is ready for two Captain Americas — but is Sam Wilson ready for what comes next?” Spinning out of last month’s Captain America #0, both Captain America’s will be getting their own series, with Symbol of Truth being Sam Wilson’s action-packed adventure. Look for Steve Rogers in Sentinel of Liberty next month.

To celebrate the 60th anniversaries of both Hulk and Thor, writer Donny Cates and artist Martin Coccolo are teaming up to smash the two of them together for old time’s sake. Both heroes (currently written by Cates too) have been through a lot of changes in the past couple of years, and now both new leveled-up versions of the classic characters will face off and show off their new powers and try to finally prove who’d win. This week sees the beginning of the Hulk vs Thor Banner of War crossover with the Alpha issue, followed by issues in the Hulk and Thor main series. It’s the crossover battle of the spring, and it all begins this week.

The Moon Knight Disney+ show brought a lot of attention to this classic character, and while the Moon Knight main series has been a huge success here in the shop, what we’re REALLY excited about is this newest entry in Marvel’s Black, White, and Blood series: it’s Moon Knight Black, White, and Blood. A collection of short stories written by some of Marvel’s best talents, each story is told in stark black and white with only splashes of red… which may or may not be blood. In this first issue, “Jonathan Hickman and Chris Bachalo introduce the all-different Moon Knight of the future! Marc Guggenheim and Jorge Fornés tell a Moon Knight adventure in reverse! And Murewa Ayodele and Dotun Akande team the white-clad crusader up with the Amazing Spider-Man for a harrowing night of adventure!” These BWB miniseries are pretty cool and highlight some of Marvel’s more brutal characters in great fashion.

DC Comics Header

“You know the story: an infant escapes the destruction of its home planet and is deposited on Earth to be raised by human parents. A goddess from a lost city defends truth. A Tyrannosaurus rex dons the visage of a bat to strike fear into evildoers’ hearts. This heroic trinity, alongside a league of other super-powered dinosaurs, join forces to save a prehistoric Earth from the sinister machinations of Darkseid. Wait… what? Okay, maybe you don’t know the story. So join us and bear witness to a brand-new—yet older than time—adventure and experience the Justice League as you have never seen them before!” Written by shop favorite Daniel Warren Johnson, this is one of the strangest but coolest Justice League series I can remember.

When the Milestone Universe was brought back last summer, there was one title many fans felt was missing. But now the Blood Syndicate is back with their very own Season One. Wise Son and Tech-9 are back in Dakota City, but the streets have changed, and so have they, since they’ve come back from tour in Afghanistan. Since the Big Bang, there’s been rival gangs popping up on the streets of Dakota with Holocaust and his growing super-powered army vying to take control of Paris Island, a part of town where heroes like Icon and Rocket aren’t around. Wise Son and Tech-9 have secrets of their own and a role to play in the future of Paris Island as the gang war spills into the streets and threatens to tear the city apart. Did any of that make sense to you? If not, check out this first issue of Blood Syndicate and see why this series was so sorely missed during the initial relaunch of the Milestone Universe.

James Tynion IV’s Nightmare Country has become one of DC’s best surprises of the year. Playing with dreams and nightmares, thoughts and imaginations, and the monsters in our heads and in reality, this series is definitely creepy nightmare fuel indeed. Each issue features a guest artist drawing a Dreaming sequence, and issue #2 this week has Andrea Sorrentino of Gideon Falls, Primordial, and more. We’ve still got some copies of #1 in store, and this series might just be the push I need to finally read Sandman in its entirety.

Small Press Header

New from Image and the creative team behind Curse Words, Charles Soule and Ryan Browne bring you the darkly comic Eight Billion Genies. “If you had one wish… what would you wish for? Now, what if everyone else had one wish too?… At exactly the same moment, everyone on earth gets a genie and one wish. All hell breaks loose, in a very entertaining way… and that’s just the beginning. Buckle in for the wildest ride of the year!” This new 8-issue limited series has a pretty ridiculous concept, and I’m excited to see just how messed up the world turns when everyone has their way with just one wish.

Ben and John Shearer ABSOLUTELY LOVED this series. Written and drawn by Guillem March, Karmen is the story of life, death, and the afterlife and is full of intriguing twists and metaphysical musings. It’s right up there with another classic, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s Daytripper, and is an emotional and thoughtful look at life and death beautifully written and drawn by comics superstar Guillem March. We had a hard time getting restocked on issues of this miniseries, so we’re excited for the full collection to finally be available, and the dustjacket has a bonus page inserted in it too!

Frank Frazetta is the “Godfather of fantasy art” and one of the most famous illustrators of the 20th century. You’ve almost certainly seen a Frazetta painting before, regardless of how big a comic book fan you are. He’s most famous for his Conan the Barbarian paperback covers, and his art was even used for the first Wolfmother album, but his most recognizable piece is the “Death Dealer.” Now in collaboration with Sara Frazetta and the Frazetta Girls, the Death Dealer rides again in a brand-new miniseries that’ll spark a new multiverse featuring some of Frazetta’s most famous creations. This first issue is pure fantasy action and is just as awesome as the cover. My sister bought me a Frazetta calendar this past Christmas, and funny enough “Death Dealer” is this month too, my birth month.

We just wanted to say thank you to everyone who came out this past weekend for Free Comic Book Day! It was a huge success, Jim Shooter loved Cleveland, and we sold a ton of back issues. We’re mostly caught up on sleep since then, but it was all worth it. The fun continues at the shop this week, like every week, with new titles and exciting stories, so we hope to see you back around soon. Until then, take care.

Free Comic Book Day is only a few days away! We’ve got some last-minute announcements (important stuff!) so be sure to read through the whole email!

The big news is this: Shooter’s signatures will now be free. That’s right, forget what you’ve heard before. We found a way to prepay for everyone’s signatures and they’re on us. The only drag is that you’re now at a five-signature limit. We know this will bum some people out but it’s a best way to keep that line moving, which was our major complaint from Claremont’s visit. (If you are bummed out just think of all the money you saved.)

Remember that we’ve got four hundred copies of Avengers #211 to give away for free, so everyone has something to sign. It looks like Shooter will have some prints to sell as well.

Thanks to Jeff Ritchie for our photo backdrop! It was hand-drawn and there will be two hanging up for you to use.

Luna has been working hard putting together our biggest play area ever!

More big news! Back Issues will be 50% off all weekend starting on Thursday! (Come in early on Thursday or later on Sunday if you want to shop without the crowds!)

Even more exciting is that we have twenty vendors lined up in the Free Comic Book room! Free sketches are unfortunately a thing of the past, but we’ve got a fun pop culture “farmers market’ for you to look at while your kids are playing. (Some legacy artists may still be doing sketches but don’t expect it.)

Here’s the lineup:

Our own Jameson Campbell will be signing the FCBD lithographs from 10am till noon. He’s got 100 to give away for free, then you’ve got to get one with a purchase back at the comic shop.

“Jameson is a graphic designer, photographer, video game collector, and lifetime Spider-Man fan. 2022’s poster marks the 10th years of making custom lithographs for the event:

Word is that Luna will be taking his spot at noon and drawing “rainbows and kitties”. Try and catch her before she bails!

Brian Gleine: “Every new project I make is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. #humblebrag Enamel pins, comics, children’s books, prints, stickers, and various nonsense. Master of None? More like Master of FUN.”

CHOD: “CHOD does drawings, paintings, comics, sculptures and whatever art medium to create monstery goodness. Every once in a while, he will do art about something else, but it always goes back to monsters, fun, fun monsters.”

Jeff Ritchie: “Jeff Ritchie is a freelance artist living in Lakewood Ohio. Geeky fun prints, stickers and original art will be up for sale at his table.”

J.J. Lendl: “J.J. Lendl is a Lakewood-based artist and designer known for his film and TV posters and comic book cover art. He’s created official artwork for Star Wars, the MCU, The X-Files, Star Trek, and more, with clients including Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, Marvel, IDW Comics, and CBS Studios.”

Ashley Ribblett: “Hello hello! I’m a queer artist livin’ in Lakewood makin’ pins, zines, and all kinds of weird camp and horror-related art. If that’s your vibe come holler at me and let’s make it weird!”

Ashley Ross: “Ashley is a tattoo artist out of Cleveland who splits her time between the shop and creating fantastic pop culture inspired plush dolls, stickers and more! Inspired by TV, films, and fandoms there is sure to be something she creates that appeals to everyone.”

Heather Curtiss (aka TipToppedArt): “Heather is a self-taught artist who enjoys drawing whimsical creatures, working mostly in watercolors and acrylics. She will have numerous prints and a few originals for sale.”

Sergio Andujar II and Rick Sans: “SergAndDestroy is a creative from the Cleveland area. He specializes in illustration, graffiti, graphic design and designer toys.” “Rick is a creative professional, lifelong artist and musician. Fan of anything creative, weird and unusual. Known for customizing and creating art toys, painting on records and any other surface.”

Addy Neilson: “Tangled Earth Arts specializes in fantasy, pop-culture, and gaming themed jewelry and art. Each piece is handmade and designed for the discerning geek.”

Perris Mackey: “Pop culture nostalgia packed into unique handmade collages”

Phil Fried: “I will be doing free sketches on backing boards and selling prints and original art as well.  I am also available for commissions as well.  Thanks and I look forward to seeing you there!!”

David Franklin: “David is founder of Boo’s Dismay Art! I draw and paint, as well as make decals and work with other mediums!”

Katie Avila: ‘Katie Brain Projector are playful illustrations that always incorporate a bit of the weird and ridiculous. I’ll have prints, stickers, and greeting cards of pop culture mashups and original artwork and characters.’

Our two organizers (who will also have tables) are Kristen and Sean Burns: “Kristen is a maker of geeky, silly, and spooky soaps and art, and Sean is a Cleveland area artist, musician, and designer into Retro Futurist Sci-fi Inspired Art.”

Other vendors include Circe Ceramics, Lashanta Knowles, and Andrew Stewart!

Please throw as much money around the vending space as possible! Use the money you saved on signatures!

Carol will also be joining us Saturday morning, so be sure to get there early!

Okay, everyone! That’s it! We’re looking good so get your costume ready and we’ll see you on Saturday! Excelsior!

Just follow the signs to your free comics on Free Comic Book Day!

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