Jared started reading comics in earnest in late middle school/early high school when he found out that you could get collections of them at the library and read them for free. This was later compounded by learning that there was a comic book store called “Comicopia” near his high school that stocked superhero comics and indie books and manga and all sorts of neat stuff. Really, he had no choice but to commit himself to the medium then and there. He also like weird movies, semi-obscure music, and having too many hobbies at the same time, and if he let him he will tell you about all of it in appalling detail.
Amethyst #1 by Amy Reeder & Gabriela Downie
A continuation of DC’s Amethyst series from the 1980s, where Amethyst returns to Gemworld to find her kingdom destroyed and her friends missing without a trace. The highlight of this issue is Reeder’s art, which makes the comic feel current while still capturing the 1980s fantasy cartoon style that defined the original. If you’ve enjoyed similar reboots of 80s properties like IDW Jem & the Holograms series, be sure to check this one out.
Hi Score Girl by Rensuke Oshikiri (Translated by Amanda Haley, lettered by Bianca Pistillo, and edited by Tania Biswas)
Set in the early 90s, when Japan’s Bubble Economy was booming and videos games and arcades were all the rage, this manga follows the antics of two video game enthusiasts. He’s Haruo Yaguchi, a video game addict who’s good at games but has no other talents or social life to speak of. She’s Akira Oono, the uber-popular daughter of a rich family who goes to the arcade everyday to play games in secret. Together, they play games and sometimes cause trouble. Come for a glimpse into the pre-internet video game culture of 90s Japan, stay to watch the relationship grow between these two very weird teenagers.
Fantastic Four: Grimm Noir #1 by Ron Garney, Gerry Duggan, Matt Milla, & Joe Caramagna
How it took until 2020 for someone to go “Wait, Ben Grimm’s trench-coat-and-hat disguise makes him look like a PI. We should run with that” I’ll never know.* Half mystery, half dive in Ben’s psychology, this one shot is bolstered by Garney’s excellent art and Milla’s superb colors, which lead to some wonderfully striking images. An excellent self-contained story with some great lines and character interactions.
*Note: Walske is not an expert on Fantastic Four continuity. If you feel the need to correct him on this point, your comment will be noted as being technically correct before being deleted because pedantry has no place here at Walske Suggests.