Happy New Year, and Happy New Comic Book Day CNJ Shoppers! I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year’s celebration. It was laid back for me; my parents came into town and we played Cards Against Humanity with my girlfriend, which was fun, but I did not realize how sick and twisted my mom could be. And I always thought my sense of humor came from my dad! As the holidays wind down, and we all get back to our regularly scheduled lives, we’ve got some great comics this week at the shop to help escape some of those back-to-reality blues. We’ve got a few finales, some new happenings in Gotham City, and also a fan favorite Image book back with a new one-shot. Let’s jump into things.

Marvel Comics

The finale to Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men run, it’s Inferno #4 this week. Hickman has introduced a whole lot of new ideas and concepts to the mutant universe, and now he brings the story he began way back in House and Powers of X to a close. Mystique’s wife Destiny is back and on the Quiet Council of Krakoa, but Charles, Erik, and Moira couldn’t be less thrilled about it. The three of them have been playing with fire for far too long, keeping secrets and playing by their own rules, and they might not be the only ones who get burned in the end. I’m excited to see things wrap up before the X-line moves onto its next phase in the coming months.

The Darkhold miniseries has been exciting, with an Alpha issue kicking things off followed by several dark one-shots that showed some of our favorite Marvel heroes corrupted as we’ve seen before, but now there is only Omega. The Darkhold Omega brings together Spider-Man, Black Bolt, Blade, Wasp, and Iron Man to try to finally defeat the dread elder god Chthon, and this book also promises to introduce a new hero to the fold. After the final pages of Timeless last week, I’ve really got my eyes peeled on what’s coming up in the Marvel Universe. 

It’s been one of the more popular current trends in comics, the color-toned miniseries, and this week it’s Elektra stepping into the Black, White, and Blood spotlight. “Fact • noun • fakt – Definition of Fact 1 a: something that has actual existence b: an actual occurrence c: ELEKTRA NATCHIOS IS THE BEST ASSASSIN IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE!” Issue one features stories written by Declan Shalvey, Leonardo Romero, and Charles Soule and art from Mark Bagley, Romero, and Simone D’Armini. And a variant cover from Mirka Andolfo!

DC Comics

Tom Taylor’s epic fantasy reimagining of the DC Universe continues this week in Dark Knights of Steel #3. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more are all cast in a time of sword and shield, and all-out war is brewing between the House of El and the Kingdom of Storms. Both sides have suffered casualties, but now Bruce is closing in on a secret that will change everything. Taylor is a shop favorite and we’ll rep just about anything he does, especially his work at DC at the moment. We’re only a few issues into this 12-issue maxiseries, but honestly, not enough people are reading this right now. It’s terrific and full of surprises and twists, and after the cliffhanger from the last issue, I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next. Get on it!

After the events of A-Day and Fear State, Gotham has been through a whole hell of a lot. But now “The Tower” begins. A new 12-part weekly storyline told through the pages of Detective Comics begins this week with issue #1047. “Arkham Asylum has fallen, and in its place, Arkham Tower has risen in the heart of the city, a pitch made by the mysterious Dr. Wear. Unlike the Asylum, Dr. Wear promises his methods and drug treatments will heal Gotham’s criminally inclined for good—a claim that skeptics like Deb Donovan and the Bat-Family don’t believe. There’s something wrong with the tower, with Dr. Wear’s methods—and with Batman away from Gotham City, the rest of the Bat-Family is going to find out what… but not before everything explodes.” Mariko Tamaki continues her groundbreaking run on Detective, and stepping in for art this issue is Ivan Reis. We also have a new 12-part backup storyline debuting in this issue called “House of Gotham” that explores the connection between Batman and Arkham Asylum and their shared impact on the city. A new beginning for Gotham and the Bat-Family.

Small Press

Nocterra is Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel’s action horror thrill ride that just recently wrapped up it’s first story arc, and now returns this week with a special one-shot that details the origin of the mysterious and sinister Black Top Bill. This special is drawn by the legendary Denys Cowan and is perfect for fans of Nocterra, or those looking to check out the universe before the series comes back with its second story arc next month. The first trade paperback is also available now too in the store.

“Three dead bodies lay in a rural morgue – all murdered in the span of three weeks. It’s up to two detectives from opposite sides of the tracks to determine who put them there, if the murders are linked and what, if anything, they have to do with a pair of dueling car dealerships. A dark comedy mystery thriller by Jeff McComsey (Grendel, Kentucky) and Mike Deodato Jr. (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Resistance) that is inspired by an outlandish true crime story, The Fourth Man story will keep you guessing till the last page.” AWA has been putting out some fantastic stories recently, and The Fourth Man looks to keep that streak going. It’s a new four-issue mini that is giving me some cool Fargo vibes. Definitely worth a check for the first issue.

Frontiersman has been my top underrated indie book of the past few months. A superhero story that’s not hung up on the capes and heroics of its characters, but the relationships and history between our lead hero, the Frontiersman, and his friends and foes. Each issue so far has had a villain of the week feel, but with fun twists and great world-building. The Frontiersman is older now and making a statement about the world, but characters from his past keep showing up and reminding him just what it means to be a hero. Issue #4 is this week, and I’m eagerly waiting for the trade paperback to come out so more of you can read it. Keep an eye out for this one, it’s really good.

And those are just some of the new comics to kick-off 2022. One thing I hope everyone does this year is try something new, both inside the comic shop and out. To kick off my year, I wanted to try getting into a new hobby. All the guys at the shop are big Lego nuts, but they’re a little too expensive for me and take up a lot of space too. And since I’m the resident manga and anime guy apparently at the shop, I decided to lean into it and get my first couple Gunpla kits. AND I AM HOOKED. I’m already planning my next kit to build. We hope to see you all around this week, have a good one.

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!

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