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.
Aggretsuko #2 by Jarrett Williams, Sarah Stern, & CRANK!
More hilarious adventures of Retsuko, everyone’s favorite office-working red panda who sings death metal at karaoke to relax after a trying day. In this issue, Retsuko’s attempts to expand her wardrobe are interrupted by her fashionable coworker Tsunoda, who drags her along on her own, very expensive shopping spree. If you’ve seen the show and know what Tsunoda is like, then you can guess how well that goes. The karaoke scene at the end of the issue is a particular highlight and Williams does a wonderful job of invoking the show’s designs while still putting his own spin and energy into them. An excellent self-contained story overall.
Knight of the Ice by Yayoi Ogawa (Translation by Rose Padgett, lettering by Jennifer Skarupa, & edited by Tiff Ferentini)
From the author of josie classic Tramps Like Us (recently rereleased digitally by Kodansha as You’re My Pet), this rom-com will give you all the soapy romantic intrigue and drama you could want. He’s a professional figure skater and secret nerd who’s on his way to conquering the figure skating world! She works at a magazine and keeps getting dragged to his skating meets because she once cast a fake spell on him for good luck and he actually skated better after it! She has a hot boss! He’s kinda jealous of the hot boss! She might be in love with him, he is definitely in love with her! Also: the art is very good and the skating sequences are a lot of fun. Read it today!
Meanwhile (10th Anniversary Edition) by Jason Shiga
Meanwhile, the only choose-your-own-adventure comic book (that I know of) is back! 3,856 story possibilities (so says the cover), ranging from the mundane to the horrifying to the absurd! Now made with convenient page tabs to make it easier for you to follow the path you want. Hours of fun! In the patterned Shiga style! Get it now! (And also pick up Shiga’s book Demon while you’re at it, Demon is very good.)
Sub-Mariner: Marvel Snapshots by Alan Brennert, Jerry Ordway, Espen Grundetjern, & Travis Lanham
The new newest of Marvel’s many, many series celebrating 25th anniversary of Marvels, this one-shot focuses on Betty Dean, New York policewoman and girlfriend of Namor the Sub-Mariner, as she deals with the effects of psychological fallout from World War II have had on her family and friends. A nice trip to the Palisades Amusement Park is spoiled by a foe of Namor’s attacking the park, although the bigger problem may be with Namor himself. Very much in the spirit of the original Marvels, Brennert writes an excellent story that is clearly littered with references to events from WWII-era Marvel/Timely comics while always feeling accessible and readable and is smarly paired with Ordway’s art, one of the masters of invoking that pre-1950s feeling in superhero comics. Even if retro-oriented superhero stories aren’t your thing, this one is well worth a read.