New Must-Read Comic Books for Fall 2013
Our comic book fall preview is a veritable grab bag: You can update your shelves with the latest installments of your favorite superhero series. Allie Brosh and Yasmine Surovec's much-loved observational webcomics are now available in print collections. Cassandra Jean collaborates with Ransom Riggs to translate his creepy bestseller "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" to graphic novel form. Then, there's Eisner winner Gene Luen Yang, who examines the Boxer Rebellion through not one, but two companion graphic novels. Our list of must-read comics and graphic novels for fall proves that comic books are about superheroes--and much, much more.
September concludes another season of summer blockbusters, and yet, there's no shortage of cosmic adventure and entertaining action sequences in the pages of "Guardians of the Galaxy." The superhero space opera combines the words of Brian Michael Bendis ("Secret Invasion") with the art of Steve McNiven ("Civil War") and Sara Pichelli ("Spider-Men") to reintroduce the interstellar conflicts of the Marvel universe. After the King of Spartax declares the Earth off-limits to the Council of Galactic Empires, it's up to Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, Rocket Raccoon and, yes, Tony Stark to once again defend the planet against alien invasion.
Oh my glob, you better be ready for some adventure, because it's time to travel back to the gender-swapped land of Ooo. When the evil Ice Queen kidnaps a pride of fire lion cubs, Fionna and Cake enlist the help of the Flame Prince, Marshall Lee and Prince Bubblegum to save them. This mathematical miniseries is written and illustrated by the multi-faceted Natasha Allegri, who created these genderbent characters as well as the supremely awesome cartoon "Bee and PuppyCat."
"American Born Chinese" author Gene Luen Yang brings to life the Boxer Rebellion through two parallel graphic novels, each focusing on a different side of the conflict in their examination of rebellion and extremism. In "Boxers," Little Bao leads an army of "boxers"--commoners trained in kung-fu--against "foreign devils" who have invaded their shores with Christianity. The companion novel, "Saints," presents the same rebellion through the eyes of a "secondary devil"--Vibiana, a Chinese girl who has converted to Christianity--as she struggles with her conflicting loyalties.
From its parodies of Tumblr to those perfectly constructed panel layouts, "Young Avengers" is, by far, one of the coolest comic books to hit shelves this fall. It boasts a nightclub fight sequence, A-list cameos, a tiny version of Loki, undead parents, an interdimensional parasite monster lady and one great soundtrack. And just like their Britpop love letter comic "Phonogram," Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have again created a book that's stylized and idiosyncratic without being fake, mashing up the best parts of being a superhero with the worst parts of being a teenager.
The first "Cat vs. Human" collection introduced readers to Yasmine Surovec's so-ridiculous-it-has-to-be-true webcomic of the same name. Whether or not you're familiar with her wry observations on the idiosyncracies of felines and their oddball owners, you'll delight in this second volume, which affectionately recalls adjusting one's sleeping positions for cat cuddles and becoming a human scratching post. Through witty diagrams and mostly nonverbal cartoons, Surovec taps into the crazy cat lady in all of us.
Ransom Riggs' debut novel, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2012, thanks in part to its inspired use of vintage photographs to supplement the story of a young boy who follows clues in the photos to discover a Welsh orphanage filled with children with unusual abilities. Now, Yen Press has given the book its signature manga spin, illustrated by artist Cassandra Jean, who illustrated the graphic novel version of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's "Beautiful Creatures." While you're waiting for the sequel "Hollow City," enjoy this fresh take on Riggs' eerie tale.
Ever since the launch of the New 52, Brian Azzarello has kept Wonder Woman on the ropes: She's endured attacks from Hades and Poseidon, she's challenged the wrath of Hera and she's faced down her treacherous siblings on Mount Olympus. It's been an exciting, entertaining look at the Amazon princess, thanks in part to Cliff Chiang's kinetic artwork. But now, her fast-paced refresher course in Greek mythology is at an end, and Diana must face the New Gods before taking the war to her enemies.
Allie Brosh's artistic style and storytelling manner may initially come across as distractingly hyperactive, but it's this lack of pretension that has made her webcomic "Hyperbole and a Half" so universally relatable among millions of readers. This first volume collects reader favorites detailing Brosh's childhood antics, from an adverse reaction to wisdom teeth removal to dealing with a mentally challenged dog. Also included are Brosh's candid discussions of the anxiety and depression issues that temporarily derailed her from continuing the comic.
The Night of the Owls is over and it's time for a certain clown prince of crime to make his triumphant return to Gotham. After an extreme face-lift and a yearlong absence, the Joker finally returns in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's ambitious crossover event. This time around, Mr. J knows to target the entire Bat family, picking them off one by one, in an attempt to simplify his twisted relationship with Batman. Nobody is safe--not even beloved-butler-and-then-some-Alfred.