Comics We’re Excited About for 9/23/2015

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Like with movies, TV shows, music, it happens, okay? This week’s a light one in the comics world. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still great offerings from some of our favorite comics providers. Vertigo is releasing a lost collection of Neil Gaiman and Toby Litt-penned bookend issues in Free Country: A Tale of the Children’s Crusade and we also get another dose of Paste Comics editor Sean Edgar’s current favorite thing in the illustrated world, Over the Garden Wall.

Take a look at our own favorites below, and share your own in the comments section.



Free Country: A Tale of the Children’s Crusade

Writers: Neil Gaiman, Toby Litt, Alisa Kwitney, Jamie Delano
Artists: Peter Gross, Chris Bachalo, Peter Snejbjerg, Mike Barreiro
Publisher: Vertigo/ DC Comics

Who knows what made 2015 the right time to re-release the 20-year-old bookend issues of Vertigo’s one and only proper crossover? Toby Litt, here scripting a new bridge story to replace the five annuals not reprinted in this hardcover, didn’t find much traction for his recently concluded Dead Boy Detectives series, and Neil Gaiman’s ritually late Sandman: Overture doesn’t seem to particularly relate to the story of a magical realm run by perpetual children. Perhaps this is prelude to more Tim Hunter, the boy Mage name-checked in the solicit text—or maybe a keen-eyed staffer simply realized the imprint was sitting on prime vintage Gaiman. Whatever the reason, fans who mourn the days when Swamp Thing and Animal Man frolicked on the mature reader side of the line should appreciate this forgotten gem, now with additional art from Vertigo stalwart Peter Gross. Steve Foxe


Fury S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary #1

Writer: David Walker
Artist: Lee Ferguson
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Longtime Marvel fans have been hesitant to accept the younger Nick Fury in his father’s role, seeing it as more of a quick and dirty appeal to movie fans than a natural narrative growth (they aren’t wrong), and if there’s anything writer David Walker seems to enjoy, it’s a challenge. Walker proved his chops on Shaft for Dynamite, a character frequently dismissed as an outdated joke, before getting scouted by DC to finally give Cyborg his own much-requested solo series. Despite added pressure from both readers eager for diverse representation and basement-dwelling neckbeards convinced that any series not starring a straight white male is just pandering to “SJWs,” early reviews have been largely positive, and Cyborg doesn’t seem to face imminent cancellation like some of its critically acclaimed DC You brethren. With slick line work from recent Flash Gordon penciller Lee Ferguson, this one-shot may finally be what solidifies Nick Fury Jr. in the hearts of True Believers. Steve Foxe


Hellboy in Hell #8

Writer/Artist: Mike Mignola
Publisher: Dark Horse

Mike Mignola’s recent descent into the abyss has yielded horrors far more dire than giants, vampires or zombie gorillas. Namely? Distant relatives. Former paranormal hero Hellboy has slowly climbed up (down?) his family tree, discovering a demonic lineage inside the geography of hell. Ignorance is bliss, especially when Satan pops up at your family barbecue. The second and final chapter of “The Hounds of Pluto” diagnoses the spectral parasite slowly leaching Hellboy’s life-force away, while also pulling back the camera to reveal hidden players and threats. Plot specifics aside, it’s a comic drawn by Mike Mignola. His angular, shadow-drenched pages belong in anyone’s pull list, forming one of the most atmospheric renditions of the pit since Gustave Dore helped an Italian satirist named Dante illustrate a few of his poems. Sean Edgar



The Nameless #5

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Publisher: Image Comics

When Grant Morrison promised that The Nameless would be his first true horror story, he wasn’t lying: artist Chris Burnham has been given enough cosmic body horror material to turn even the most lead-lined of stomachs. Morrison completionists who don’t mind the occasional bisected male genital should find plenty of the Scot’s standard metaphysical musings to distract from the gore, though. Solicits have been dodgy about whether or not the series is ongoing (not uncommon for prestige Image projects by busy creators), further muddied by this likely penultimate issue’s promise to “reveal all.” Such revelations typically beget madness in stories like this, so readers can only hope to survive the experience with their sanity intact. Steve Foxe



The New Deal HC

Writer/Artist: Richard Case
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Jonathan Case’s Dear Creature remains one of the most underrated comics of the last five years: an emotionally complex beachside love story told in a gorgeous monochrome that would make any Universal Monsters movie gray with envy. Without a lagoon creature gracing the cover, The New Deal probably won’t fare much better than its predecessor in reaching uninterested readers, but Case’s charmingly heightened dialogue and eye for era-appropriate detail promise to make this story of a theft at a high-end hotel more than worth its cover price. An Eisner winner for Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, Case promises a delicate examination of race, class, and gender to accompany the book’s madcap heist hijinks. Steve Foxe



Over the Garden Wall #2

Writer: Patrick McHale
Artist: Jim Campbell
Publisher: KaBOOM!

Wildly unpredictable and ever charming, the original Over the Garden Wall cartoon miniseries moved at a breakneck pace through gorgeous set pieces rooted in folklore and fairy tales. As step-brothers Wirt and Greg sought home, a parade of eccentric characters passed through their lives. But one cameo has stood out prominently in retrospect: Fred, the sociopathic talking horse. Who is he? Where did he come from? Why’s he perpetually looking to steal and swaggle? Is he related to Cyril Proudbottom Original showrunner Patrick McHale and storyboard artist Jim Campbell answer these queries in the second chapter of their comic spinoff, offering a bittersweet, spooky tale of one equine’s fall from grace. Full of hilarious non sequiturs and radiant glimpses of wisdom—a formula that worked well for McHale during his Adventure Time tenure—this comic offers one last chance to travel one of our favorite roads less traveled. Sean Edgar



Public Relations #1

Writers: Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus
Artist: David Hahn

Maybe the starched white-on-black workplace environment isn’t the sexiest comics landscape, nor does the majestic field of public relations seem like it might present a fertile environment for monthly adventure. But the first issue of Public Relations, which also marks the first release from Devil’s Due/1First Comics, is set to change that with a fantasy-filled PR-centered procedural. And, yeah, if you’re scratching your head at the description, I am too—but with a gorgeous cover from Black Canary artist Annie Wu and a premise that’s piqued my interest for an ongoing series, I’ll be adding this one to my stack this week. Tyler R. Kane