Raf’s Featured Stocking Stuffers 12.22.21

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.