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10, 9, 8, 7….

Hey there, Carol and John’s Comic Shoppers. Raf here checking in before the end of 2021. It’s been a wild year, hasn’t it? We’ve all gone and grown up a little bit again. And so has the shop! We’ve hired a few new faces full-time and a fun, new, rotating cast of folks for the Weekend Warriors too. Events at the shop have been big, including our massive Free Comic Book Day with Chris Claremont we had during the summer. How crazy was that line, amiright?. And ultimately, we got to read a lot of great comics. Which, you know, is pretty cool.

I’m sure many of you are experiencing a bit of a chaotic race to the finish line, but we’ve got one last round of new comics for the year. Some new #1’s, a couple of new storylines to check out, and maybe a new indie book to spice up your life. Let’s dive in.

6, 5, 4….

DC Comics

Down in the muck, down in the swamp. New from DC’s Black Label is Swamp Thing: Green Hell, a visceral and exciting new miniseries written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Doug Mahnke. Lemire’s a popular writer, but Mahnke’s art is what has me sold on this dark and brutal new story. Mahnke’s been around for decades, and here he gets to let loose on one of DC’s most influential characters. Set in the not-so-distant future, the world’s gone to sh*t and there’s a tiny little harbor town at the edge of the world with a mysterious lighthouse. But ancient forces lie in the ground and have the power to bring back the SWAMP THING. DC is pumping out these Black Label prestige books, and each one is better than the last. If you’ve got the space to store them, I’m sorry, you have no reason to miss these.

Did you know there is only ONE book that focuses on Clark Kent Superman right now? It’s the book that started it all, and now new this week, it’s issue #1038 of Action Comics. This issue is part three of the Warworld Saga storyline. Supes isn’t my favorite character, I’m very heavy on the Bat side of things, but he is the Man of Tomorrow and a great Superman story is really something to enjoy (see also; Action Comics #775). And following up on Grant Morrison’s Superman and The Authority, AC has been a lot of fun to read. Superman and this new Authority have decided to free the inhabitants of Warworld from under the oppressive thumb of the Mongul-Who-Is, but Clark’s powers aren’t what they used to be, and it’s proven to be far more dangerous than he or the team expected. Not gonna lie, Supes and them have been getting their ass kicked. But it’s Superman, he’s going to find a way to triumph, right? I don’t know, but only one place to find out in Action Comics. The Tedesco variant is rad too!

Marvel Comics

“HOW DO YOU WIN A WAR AGAINST TIME? A special year-ending adventure that gives portents as to what is to come in the Marvel Universe over the next twelve months! Kang the Conqueror is a warrior, a destroyer, a subjugator-but even he is subject to the whims and vicissitudes of time itself. So when a parallel timeline threatens to overwrite the future Kang has fought so long and so hard to control, the master of the ages has no choice but to go to war with time itself, battling through days of tomorrow as he struggles to prevent the end of what is to come! Featuring all the major players in the Marvel pantheon!” After you read this one, ya’ll can come talk to me. We’ll have much to discuss about the ending.

Continuing the excellent Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto Daredevil run, the event series Devil’s Reign has its second issue this week. Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, is the mayor of New York and has a bold new vision for the city that includes no more vigilantes, and to do it, he’s created and enlisted his own Thunderbolts team to bring everyone down. The Marvel event of the season keeps on rolling and promises to be a bloodbath. Right on.

Small Press

The creative duo of Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins, creators of the hit horror thriller Fear Case, are back again with a new miniseries exploring the horrors of war with Apache Delivery Service. “Two haunted men are on a hunt in the jungles of Vietnam, searching for clues to a missing treasure trove of gold that was stolen from all over Asia by a Japanese general during World War II. Eventually, they find a series of hidden caves in the mountains near the coast. Bodies start showing up-murder victims and mutilated corpses. There is a rumor that the caves and gold are protected by terrifying witches that have been living in the cave system for thousands of years. As our warriors travel deeper into the mystery, they learn more disturbing facts about each other and become paranoid of one another as they get closer and closer to the gold, while, at the same time, a bizarre serial killer is hunting them down.” If it’s anything like Fear Case, this new book sounds like a winner. I’m excited to check it out.

Stray Dogs was one of our absolute favorite books of the year, mixing horror and heart in a fun way that hooked us. And now, there’s a new two-parter series starting this week with Stray Dogs: Dog Days #1. Featuring short stories about several of the dogs, this series promises to answer questions, solve mysteries that still linger, and also tug at your heart. I cried when I was a child watching the first Air Bud movie (when he leaves the dog at the island and sails away ☹), and while I’ve hardened up since then, Stray Dogs is still able to hit me in the feels. A great series and I’m sure more is on the way after this two-parter. And the series is back with an awesome horror movie variant as well.

And that’s a wrap on new comics for 2021! With the year wrapping up, we just ask that if you haven’t been in in a while to clear out your file by this Friday. We’ve missed a lot of you recently.

We pay taxes on all unsold inventory we have left at year’s end and would love for everybody to be caught up before 2022. We’ve still got half-off back issues for the rest of the year also, so it’s a great time to come into the shop. We’ll be CLOSED THIS SATURDAY for New Years Day, but we’ll be back OPEN THIS SUNDAY and you can expect a brand-new back issue wall rerack from John Dudas also.

You guys are all awesome for reading and caring about comic books. It’s a fun art form, and it is art, and getting to share my love for it (and hearing people mention that they read about something in “the email”) is always a funny thing. I enjoy setting aside the time to write and let everyone know what’s new and good at the shop every week. I’m excited about the new year and things we’ve got brewing in the background, let’s kick some ass in 2022. Until next time.

3, 2, 1…

Hello Cleveland! We’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Thank you for a very successful Holiday Art Show! Thanks to your support we were able to assist the Greater Cleveland Food Bank in creating 17,704 meals for those in need!

We had a very fun live stream drawing all the winners which turned into a CNJComics variety show you can still watch here on Facebook!

It’s a great way to meet the entire staff!

Thanks to all the artists who donated their time and skills, thanks to the customers for showing up and buying tickets, and my thanks to the staff for bringing it all together. Congrats to all of our winners too!

We are open regular hours till year-end with a few minor exemptions. We are closed on Christmas Day, and we will also be closed on New Year’s Day. Yes, we will be open till 8 pm on Christmas Eve for all your last-minute shopping needs. Ben has a tradition of staying till close so stop by and say hi as he sips his hot toddy. We do have gift certificates as well!

We have also decided to continue the 50% off back issues till the end of the year ending on December 31st. 
Thank you again for the support year-round. It’s been a challenging year but we’ve tried our best to adapt and overcome. From our family to yours, stay safe and enjoy the holidays with your friends and family if possible!

Good evening, Carol and John’s Comic Shoppers. First, I want to thank everyone who tuned in on Facebook Live, drew and contributed a cover, bought tickets and donated to the Cleveland Food Bank, and just came in and shopped with us last week during our Holiday Art Show. It’s an event we’re all proud to be a part of and is a pleasure for us to bring to you. But while the art show is over, don’t forget our Holiday Sale is still going on (!) through Christmas Eve this year with 50% off back issues and 10% off everything else in the shop. Including this week’s new releases! Let’s see what Comic Retail Santa brought everyone this year.

DC Comics

A fan-favorite Batman artist, now soon-to-be fan-favorite Batman writer? It worked for Sean Murphy, could it work for Jock? This week’s Batman: One Dark Knight #1, written and drawn by superstar artist Jock, puts the Dark Knight through the ultimate endurance test. There’s a dangerous new villain called E.M.P. that’s being transferred across Gotham City from Arkham to Blackgate, but when the convoy carrying the prisoner is attacked, an all-out gang war hits the streets. E.M.P. has the power to wipe out the city’s power grid, and if he does, it could leave Batman alone in the streets caught in the crossfire of all-out chaos. Can you guess what happens? Jock’s artwork never disappoints, and his writing is fantastic in this new, action-packed three-issue miniseries from DC’s Black Label.

And speaking of DC’s Black Label, one of the best series from the imprint, Catwoman Lonely City, is back this week with issue #2. Issue #1 was one of my favorite issues of the year, and I’m excited for more from this new universe. Selina Kyle is older now, and after the events of Fools’ Night that left Bruce, Gordon, Dick Grayson, and the Joker all dead and Selina in prison, she’s out and back on the streets of Gotham. And now she’s on a mission to break into the Batcave and is rounding up some familiar faces to do it. Another superstar artist pulling double duty with writing and art, Cliff Chiang nailed it with issue #1 and this series even got extended to a fourth issue. You’re definitely not going to want to miss out on this awesome Catwoman series.

But you’d have to be trying to ignore Selina this week because Batman Catwoman is also out new this week with issue #9. Tom King’s extended epilogue to his epic Batman run is rapidly approaching its climax, and things are beginning to boil over. Selina and the Joker share a secret, Phantasm is still out for blood, Bruce is still brooding, and all of it is expertly written by King. Liam Sharp has stepped in for the past few issues, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting some Knightmares vibes recently, but every issue has been a must-read every week for me. I’m excited to see what King and Sharp deliver this week.

Marvel Comics

Oh, and would you look at that? Hot off the heels of his stellar showing at the Art Show this past week, with not one, but two covers in the show, Conan is back and is king in this new six-issue miniseries, King Conan written by Jason Aaron. Reuniting the team of Aaron and artist Mahmud Asrar, this epic new tale is set further in Conan’s life than any tale before and finds the King of Aquilonia sailing westward in search of new land and adventure, but sees the Cimmerian come across a foe that threatens to destroy everything. Of course, I’m excited, and this series also represents a new step in my comic book collecting history; for the first time ever, I’m down for every single variant and have first dibs on them. Conan, what is best in life?

“AN ALL-NEW SERIES STARRING THE AVENGERS OF THE MULTIVERSE! On a quest for cosmic vengeance, Ghost Rider finds himself roaring through the wasteland on a ruined Earth, where the great age of heroes never came to be, where hope is a four-letter word and where his only ally in the coming battle against the greatest villains any universe has ever seen is the world’s most wanted archaeologist, Tony Stark… the Invincible Ant-Man. Spinning out of the cataclysmic events of AVENGERS #750 and operating in lockstep with the prime AVENGERS series, the next great Avengers saga begins here, as the Mightiest Heroes of every Earth begin to assemble.” Jason Aaron doesn’t just have a beard like Santa; he’s also got the magic and is bringing it this week with two awesome new series with King Conan and Avengers Forever hitting the new comic table just in time for Christmas. Hell yeah!

And also, back this week is the continuation of John Ridley’s new run on Black Panther with issue #2. Ridley has become one of my favorite new superhero writers recently with hits like The Other History of the DC Universe and I Am Batman, and his first issue of Black Panther did not disappoint. T’Challa has to round up his Wakandan sleeper agents across the globe before the assassins targeting them get to them first, but there are too many questions; why are there assassins after the Wakanda agents, who are they, and how do the assassins even know about them in the first place? T’Challa’s got secrets, but how long can he keep them hidden? This series is a slick, espionage action-thriller set in the Marvel Universe and a lot of fun. Get caught up now.

Small Press

Rick Remender’s latest series, A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance, has become a shop favorite, leaving every one of us clawing at our copies after each issue needing more. This series is direct and quick, moves at a truly breakneck pace for comics, and pulls no punches. We’re still trying to figure out just what exactly is going on, who the good guys are, and who are the bad. We are excited to see what comes next in issue #3 this week. John Wick meets Twin Peaks? Maybe, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Italian writer/artist Mirka Andolfo has delivered some great works recently with titles such as Unnatural, Mercy, and Deep Beyond, but her latest series, Sweet Paprika, has been my absolute favorite so far. I’m a sucker for romantic comedies (Chasing Amy is my favorite movie), and Sweet Paprika has been the best new one I’ve read in some time. Paprika is a sexually repressed publishing executive who’s trying to break out of her shell and live a little, but can’t get over the hump. But when a hunky entertainment exec comes around all bets are off. It’s light, fun, sexy, and always a highlight for me every week it comes out and a welcome change of pace from my usual pull. Issue #6 is the end of the first story arc, and a trade paperback is coming soon, but I’m unfortunately an issue behind at the moment because I’ve got to be a stickler for my variant and it’s currently lost in the mail. Come on Diamond, find my cover E for issue #5, and let me get caught up!

And capping off a stellar final week before Christmas is an awesome new hardcover from Vault Comics; it’s Barbaric: Book One. This was a fun action romp in the same style as Conan and Thor, but with a mix of more humor and gore that only the minds at Vault Comics could produce. “Owen the Barbarian has been cursed to do good with what remains of his life. His bloodthirsty weapon, Axe, has become his moral compass with a drinking problem. Together they wander the realm, foredoomed to help any who seek assistance. But there is one thing Owen hates more than a life with rules: Witches.” Barbaric is a violent and hilarious book finally collected in one hardcover.

And that’s it for new releases this week. Our hours this week will look a little different. We’ll be open every day like usual with regular store hours, but will be closed on Christmas Day this Saturday. All this week we’ll have our sale also, 50% off back issues and 10% everything else. And then we’ll be back open on Sunday the 26th and ready to cash in your gift certificates to the shop 😊. From everyone at Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop, we wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. We’ll see you around. Save some eggnog for me.

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