REVIEW: Eve Stranger #1 is our first perfect 10 of 2019

By Zack Quaintance — Welp, it finally happened. After four full months and a few very close calls, we have our first perfect 10 comic of 2019. It is (as one has likely already surmised by this headline) Eve Stranger #1, an absolutely perfect debut comic. There’s a powerful one-two punch on the surface of this comic that really makes it go go go from the first page…

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TRADE RATING: Euthanauts is a transformative Memento mori for our time

Euthanauts Vol. 1, Ground Control is out 2/27/2019.

By Harrison Stewart — I’ve always appreciated Alan Moore’s definition of magic. Instead of focusing on specific words or iconography, he posits that magic is simply a “purposeful engagement with the phenomena and possibilities of consciousness.” I can’t say for certain whether the creators of IDW’s Euthanauts had this exact definition in mind when crafting their work, but I can say this: There is true magic at work within these pages.

Ostensibly a trippy space opera with a Gothic twist, Euthanauts defies simple classification. It isn’t quite horror, despite loving nods to genre tropes. Nor is it pure adventure, despite prevailing senses of discovery and wonder. The story floats comfortably in the middle, employing familiar trappings to introduce novel ideas.

Chief among them is the notion that we have the power to define our own relationship with death. The concept may have ancient roots in many world cultures, but there are inherent difficulties in relaying such a message to an Anglophone audience. Social and religious pressures have long rendered engagement with the subject taboo. And when we do speak of death, our lexicon is strictly pejorative. Fear of the thing is prescribed even by our language.

Keenly aware of these innate discomforts, writer Tini Howard wisely turns to humor and allegory. The dialogue snaps, moving at such a clip that any sense of disquiet never has the chance to settle. Characters feel alive and fresh, each unique yet bound by the same forces. Howard establishes deep connections with her cast simply by allowing them to breathe and hold their own opinions on the strange events unfolding.

Initially, I was frustrated by the lack of clear boundaries to the world. The exact rules and functionality of the central technology are often confusing, at times even incomprehensible. But in the end, these concerns prove to be a forest-for-the-trees situation. I was thrilled in hindsight by Howard’s resistance to heavy-handed exposition. This is a writer who not only trusts but rewards her readers’ intelligence and patience, monthly release schedule be damned.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the story’s distinction between suicide and euthanasia. Though the line is often thin, Howard walks it with the utmost nuance and grace. She carefully sidesteps the temptation to conflate the two, painting violence and despair as the cancerous agents that corrupt our ability to claim “The Good Death.” In doing so, Howard stakes out a truly unique and sympathetic position in the conversation that has become increasingly relevant to our social media saturated generation.

While Howard’s words alone would make for a fine novel, Nick Robles’ art elevates them to soaring heights. Nearly every page is a feast for the eyes, demanding your full attention and appreciation. The imagery and visual motifs are as wildly ambitious as they are effectively mesmerizing. Oftentimes, I would simply stare at a page for minutes on end, occasionally backtracking because I still couldn’t believe he’d pulled them off with such apparent ease.   

Robles masters the art of drawing your eye across the page. And that is no small feat in a book that isn’t afraid to shirk traditional panel structures. As topsy-turvy as the plot that drives them, the pages are delightfully innovative and clean. By visually melding the worlds of the living and dead, Robles puts his own stamp on the story, demonstrating the importance of writer/artist pairing in comics.

This is just a some of Euthanauts’ incredible artwork. By Nick Robles and Eva de la Cruz.

I love this book. And the experience is only enhanced by the collected edition. This is a story that is meant to be read and reread, each time offering new and exciting revelations. You’ll pick up on little nods and plot threads that seemed insignificant the first time around, only to reveal themselves upon closer examination as carefully planted seeds that will come to full bloom. Editor/curator Shelly Bond and the Black Crown imprint et al are to be commended for allowing such a potentially off-putting comic to come to print – the medium is better for it.

It was only after my third reading that I realized the impact of the spell that had been cast. The work haunted me, but I couldn’t say why. The death-positive undertones were entirely new to me, but I now stand indebted to the creators for a fabulous introduction. Though Euthanauts takes time to fully appreciate, the end result forms a delicate and sophisticated Danse Macabre that eschews morbidity for unabashed optimism. It is a timely invitation to join the conversation about the one thing which binds us all: the end. You would do well to accept.

Euthanauts, Vol. 1: Ground Control
Writer:
Tini Howard
Artist: Nick Robles
Colorist: Eva de la Cruz
Letterers: Aditya Bidikar, Neil Uyetake
Publisher: IDW - Black Crown
Release Date: 2/27/2019

Check out more installments of our TRADE RATING original graphic novel reviews!

Harrison Stewart is an aspiring human being whose goals include solving the mathematical equation for love. Follow him on Twitter for more writing stuff.

Comic of the Week: Euthanauts #5 establishes this series as a truly special comic

Euthanauts #5 is out 1/9/2019.

By d. emerson eddy — Every once in a while a comic comes along that changes the landscape. Something that redraws a neighborhood or delivers a new map. Sometimes it's just a few new houses that no one's seen before, other times it's an entire continent. Watchmen, Sandman, The Walking Dead, Hellboy, Preacher, American Flagg, The Vision, Spawn, Sin City, The Invisibles, From Hell...each of these works charted new regions and territories for comics storytelling to go into, sometimes in simple ways, other times profound. Euthanauts is one such title, charting a new course into an undiscovered country of thanateros.

This series has been one about acceptance. Of death. Of love. Of change. Of identity. Individually and all together in numerous permutations. Of Thalia coming to accept her strange nature and using it to try to help people. It spirals out into the strange, but always snaps back to stark reality.

This is never more apparent than through the artwork of Nick Robles and Eva de la Cruz. Robles is a genius of perspective and design, working through the weird of deathspace to the continued infection of Oscar's personality upon the world. His style through this series has reminded me a lot of both Jill Thompson and John Ridgway's work, with beautiful character designs, but still having a real grit to the presentation. Particularly impressive are his double page spreads, creating his own maps as Thalia and Mercy reforge their own connection and Mercy tries to explain the impossible. Atop Robles line art, de la Cruz's colours enhance and deepen the weird and mundane.

It's all grounded, though, through the narration provided by writer Tini Howard. The script is full of beautiful, mad ideas, but it's measured through simple concepts, observations of nature, tiny facts that keep us thinking about normal things while working through the connections to the stranger, broader fanciful ideas of deathspace. Or having an identity subsumed by a relative whose ego is too large to let go after he dies, whose dialogue is interestingly represented by a different font and word balloon approach from letterer Neil Uyetake. It's also often funny as hell as symbolic representations of what might happen in the real world spontaneously manifest. There's a very interesting exploration in this issue of the core concept of the title, as represented in Thalia presenting Circe's wishes for her funeral/remains to handled. To experience a happy death. And there are killer Bowie references.

Overall, Tini Howard, Nick Robles, Eva de la Cruz, and Neil Uyetake have crafted something unique here. Delving into death and dying from a different perspective that requires a bit of reflection and understanding to deal with, similar to how loss can strike us in profound and unexpected ways. All while opening up a new avenue to explore human connections and family. It's been beautiful and strange.

Euthanauts #5
Writer:
Tini Howard
Artist: Nick Robles
Colorist: Eva de la Cruz
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Publisher: IDW - Black Crown
Price: $3.99

Check out past Comic of the Week selections by d. emerson eddy on the list page.

d. emerson eddy is a student and writer of things. He fell in love with comics during Moore, Bissette, & Totleben's run on Swamp Thing and it has been a torrid affair ever since. His madness typically manifests itself on twitter @93418.

Top Comics to Buy for January 9, 2019

By Zack Quaintance — Ah, after a few weeks with a lesser volume of new comics releases, it’s nice to get back to full strength. Yes, this week’s Top Comics to Buy for January 9, 2019 involves a far higher volume of books than the last two weekly installments, once of which fell the day after Christmas and the other a day after New Years (side note: already shaking my head about next year, when both Christmas and New Years will actually be on a Wednesday, leading to a rough two-week new comics hiatus, I reckon).

Anyway, this week was great for quality as well as quantity, especially as it pertained to creator-owned comics. I think I read more Image review previews this week than I did in the past three weeks combined. So many of the series from that publisher that launched late last year continued this week, and you’ll see many of them present on our list below, along with some of the usual mainstays.

So with all that in mind, let’s get to that list of Top Comics to Buy for January 9, 2019!

Top Comics to Buy for January 9, 2019

Batman #62
Writer:
Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99
Now features the Story solicited for #61 written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads. The Eisner-winning creative team behind MISTER MIRACLE is back together as artist Mitch Gerads rejoins the Bat team for a special issue! Professor Pyg is loose in Gotham, and you know that means things are going to get weird... and bloody!
Why It’s Cool: When this run is on, it’s one of the best long-form superhero stories in comics. This week, regular series writer Tom King is joined by his Mister Miracle/Sheriff of Babylon collaborator Mitch Gerads (one of comics biggest artistic talents right now), and you know what the result is? That’s right: this run is on. Since really catching the broader industry’s attention with a 12-issue Vision maxi-series for Marvel Comics in 2015, King has had a fast rise, powered in part by his fearlessness when it comes to experimenting with comics form. This issue sees him back at it, trying a new device (second person) that to my knowledge shows up for the first time in his work here. This Batman run aspires to humanize one of the most inscrutable characters in comics, and King’s use of second person here creates an interior familiarity that is often elusive in comics. Up there with the Cold Days arc and Batman #54, this is one of the best issues of this run.

Bitter Root #3
Writers:
David F. Walker & Chuck Brown
Artist: Sanford Greene
Colorists: Rico Renzi & Sanford Greene
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
With violence erupting on the streets of Harlem and his cousin possessed by a demonic force, Cullen Sangerye reaches out for help from an estranged family member. Meanwhile, in Mississippi, Ford Sangerye fights for his life at the gateway to Hell.
Why It’s Cool: Holy cow, this is the issue where all hell breaks loose, almost literally. As we noted in our Bitter Root #1 review, this is a well-constructed comic that looks amazing. It’s also moving at a brisk pace, with this being only the third issue and so many of the conflicts that were foreshadowed early on coming to a head. It really speaks to the confidence the creative team has in this story. They know they’ve built it well, that they have the audience hooked, and so it’s time to deliver on early promises. We’ll have a Best New Image Comics of 2018 piece coming later this week, and you can damn sure expect Bitter Root to be on it.

Euthanauts #5
Writer:
Tini Howard
Artist: Nick Robles
Colorist: Eva De La Cruz
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Publisher: IDW - Black Crown
Price: $3.99
Thalia has learned that you don't get to the afterlife without breaking a few eggs and planting a few seeds. In this issue-people die. Some of them stay quiet about it. When the ego is destroyed, what remains? Find out in the final issue of our first arc, Ground Control.
Why It’s Cool: This comic has just been such a gorgeous tryst through blurred lines of life and death, and with a solicitation that promises characters will die (duh), we expect big things from the finale of this first arc. There’s been an ominous morbidity hanging over every last issue of this comic (it is called Euthanauts, after all), and if fourth issue is any indication, it’s in this chapter that the creative team will likely deliver the demise that has been foreshadowed. The only question is which member of the cast is likely to go. One last point: writer Tini Howard and artist Nick Robles both landed in our Top Comic Book Creators of 2018, and we highly recommend getting on board with their work now. There’s still time (just barely) to say you were here before they blew up.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1
Writer:
Tom Taylor
Artist: Juan Cabal
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99
Spider-Man is the worst neighbor EVER! There are always crazy villains and property damage and drama and...and he CATCHES the villains. And he tries to fix the damage and he helps carry your groceries and actually that property damage keeps the rents down. You know what? Spider-Man is the best neighbor ever and this book will give you a closer look at Spider-Man's (and Peter Parker's) neighborhood than any book ever. Also, it wouldn't be a Spider-Man adventure without a threat that could destroy not only Spider-Man, but all his neighbors.
Why It’s Cool: Writer Tom Taylor keeps getting comics that are adjacent to Big 2 flagship titles (the third X-Men book, an alternate reality Superman/Batman comic, etc.), and he in turn keeps absolutely crushing them. I fully expect his localized Spider-Man comic to be yet another example of this. I also continue to call for Taylor to get a chance to write a more prominent Marvel or DC comic, bordering on outright begging at this point.

Self / Made #2
Writer:
Mat Groom
Artist: Eduardo Ferigato
Colorist: Marcelo Costa
Letterer: A Larger World Studios’ Troy Peteri
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
With Amala's true nature revealed, her creator has just one night to figure out how and why this miracle occurred... before Amala is lost forever.
Why It’s Cool: Even though the debut issue came out at the end of last year, Self / Made by newcomers Mat Groom and Eduardo Ferigato (edited by Kyle Higgins) is my pick for best new title of early 2019. This book is just so good. The first issue was entertaining and high-concept, reeling readers in with a standard high fantasy war scenario that quickly gave way to something more complex: the characters were actually—hey! No spoilers! Anyway, this issue extends the surprise twist of the debut further, pushing it to a place where it questions the very nature of existence without sacrificing any forward plot momentum to do so. Yes, it’s only two issues old, but this book is rapidly becoming something special.  

Gunning for Hits #1.jpg

Top New #1 Comics

  • Barbarella / Dejah Thoris #1

  • Captain Marvel #1

  • Criminal #1

  • Gunning for Hits #1

  • Turok #1

  • Young Justice #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Avengers #12

  • Cemetery Beach #5

  • Deathstroke #39

  • Die #2

  • Dreaming #5

  • Freeze #2

  • The Green Lantern #3

  • House Amok #4

  • Justice League #15

  • LaGuardia #2

  • Martian Manhunter #2

  • Outer Darkness #3

  • Prodigy #2

  • Thor #9

  • Unexpected #8 (final issue)

See our past top comics to buy here, and check our our reviews archive here.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.

Top Comic Book Creators of 2018

By Zack Quaintance — We’re approaching the end of our 2018 coverage, with only one more list to come (next week) after this one. As such, today we’d like to take a relatively brief look at some of the creators that made this such a special year for comics. The artists, editors, and writers below have not been chosen because they are the best at what they do, not entirely (although they are all excellent and many certainly fit that description), but instead because all of them did work that demands to be mentioned in any conversations about the past year in comics.

So, below you will find 10 favorite artists, 10 favorite writers, and six incredibly talented folks who can do it all. You will also find some names we fully expect to see on the bigger lists at this time next year, as well as a pair of editors who helped shepherd so many of our favorite 2018 books into the world. It is, simply put, an incredible time to be reading comics, and all of these lists could have been twice as long. But the hard decisions had to be made.

Without further adieu, here our the Batman’s Bookcase Top Comic Book Creators of 2018!

*SPECIAL NOTE: Deep apologies to our friends who are colorist and letterers; we didn’t have the bandwidth this year to take a deep dive into your work, but, rest assured, next year we plan to rectify this!

Top Comic Book Creators of 2018 - Artists

Bilquis Evely.

Bilquis Evely
Currently Drawing: The Dreaming

Fiona Staples
Currently Drawing: Saga (on hiatus)

Jon Davis-Hunt
Currently Drawing: The Wild Storm

Jorge Jimenez
Currently Drawing: Justice League

Juan Ferraya
Currently Drawing: Killmonger

Leslie Hung
Currently Drawing: Snotgirl

Sana Takeda.

Mitch Gerads
Currently Drawing: Unannounced collaboration with Tom King (which is probably Sgt. Rock)

Raul Allen & Patricia Martin
Currently Drawing: Livewire

Sana Takeda
Currently Drawing: Monstress

Stephanie Hans
Currently Drawing: Die

Artists to watch in 2019: Jorge Fornes, Kate Niemczyk, Laura Braga, Lisa Sterle, Nicola Scott, Nick Robles, Ramon Villalobos, and Sean Izaaske.

Top Comic Book Creators of 2018 - Editors

Adrian Wassel of Vault Comics
Comics Edited: Deep Roots, Fearscape, Friendo, Submerged, These Savage Shores

Shelly Bond of IDW Black Crown
Comics Edited: Assassanistas, Euthanauts, House Amok, Lodger, Punks Not Dead

Top Comic Book Creators of 2018 - Writers

Jason Aaron.

Al Ewing
Currently Writing: Immortal Hulk

Ann Nocenti
Currently Writing: The Seeds

Brian Michael Bendis
Currently Writing: All things Superman

Jason Aaron
Currently Writing: The Avengers, Conan the Barbarian, and Thor

Marjorie Liu
Currently Writing: Monstress

Nnedi Okorafor
Currently Writing: La Guardia, Shuri

Steve Orlando
Currently Writing: Dead Kings, Electric Warriors, Martian Manhunter

Tini Howard.

Tini Howard
Currently Writing: Age of Conan: Belit, Euthanauts, Rick and Morty

Tom Taylor
Currently Writing: Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Unannounced DC Comic

Vita Ayala
Currently Writing: Livewire, The Wilds

Writers to Watch in 2019: Alex Paknadel, Leah Williams, Mariko Tamaki, Magdalene Visaggio, Mark Russell, Michael Moreci, Stephanie Phillips, and Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler.

Top Writers/Artists

Jeff Lemire.

Daniel Warren Johnson
Work: Extremity, Murder Falcon

Joelle Jones
Work: Catwoman, Lady Killer

Jeff Lemire
Work: Black Hammer (writer only...so far), Essex County, Royal City, Sweet Tooth

Liam Sharp
Work: Brave and Bold - Batman and Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern (artist only)

Mirka Andolfo
Work: Hex Wives (artist only), Unnatural

Tillie Walden
Work: On a Sunbeam, Spinning

Check out Best Comics of 2018, #1 - #5, Best Comics of 2018, #16 - #25, and Best Comics of 2018, #6 - #15! Also, Best Single Comic Book Issues of 2018!

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.

Top Comics of 2018, #16 - #25

By Zack Quaintance —  The most difficult thing about a strong year for comics (like this one) is doing a year-end Best Of list. Now, to be sure, no one mandates websites do rankings. That would be a clear violation of civil liberties. There is, however, a part of the pop culture blogger brain that goes wild for it, whispering all year long...where does this one rank...and if you don’t satisfy that beast—well, bad things happen.

So, here we our with ours, freshly formulated for 2018 by our committee of one. Before we dive into part 1, which features in descending order selections #25 to #16 (the other two parts are coming tomorrow, worry not), let’s lay down ground rules:

  • No trades or OGNs: Building out our OGN coverage is a priority for 2019. We’re just not there yet. So, while I absolutely loved work like Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam, Box Brown’s Is This Guy For Real? The Unbelievable Andy Kaufman, and Ryan Lindsay and Eric Zawadzki’s Eternal, you won’t find them here. Ideally, next year’s we’ll have an entire post dedicated to OGNs.

  • No webcomics, manga, or newspaper strips: Again, our site is a bit deficient covering these (if you are into these things, we’d love to chat about you writing for us!). I should, of course, mention that in 2018 someone under the pen name Olivia James took over the long-running Nancy strip and did amazing things with it (Sluggo is lit), but, again, you won’t find it on our list.

  • Longevity matters: New this year, you will find what I consider a key stat—how many issues were published this year. Late debut series like Die, Electric Warriors, and Bitter Root have tons of promise. They just haven’t been around enough to be a definitive comic of 2018. Ditto for comics that ended in April or earlier.

There you have it: guiding principles of our Top Comics of 2018. Now, without further adieu, let’s get this bad hombre started!

Top Comics of 2018, #16 - #25

25. Snotgirl
Writer:
Bryan Lee O’Malley
Artist: Leslie Hung
Colorist: Mickey Quinn
Letterer: Mare Odomo
Publisher: Image Comics
Issues in 2018: 4

In 2018, Snotgirl returned from hiatus with an every-other-month schedule, which ended up spreading four issues over the year. Its steady publication schedule gave it a decidedly 2018 feel. We also saw the plot in this story evolve, using its Instagram-driven L.A. ego hellscape motif to dip a toe into ideas of the supernatural.

Moreover, this book has a singular look and feel. O’Malley’s scripting is satirical and biting, using our increasingly-intense desire to appear perfect online as fertile ground for true existential horror. More credit, however, is owed to the art of Leslie Hung and colors of Mickey Quinn. From Hung’s disheveled-yet-shapely men and women—all of whom are equally gorgeous and barely hanging on—to the vibrant greens Quinn lands somewhere between snotty and stylish, the visuals work in perfect harmony with the story. It’s really something special.    

24. Abbott
Writer:
Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivela
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Issues in 2018: 5

Our committee of one won’t be able to sum up this book better than contributing writer Maya Kesh in our Best Comics of 2018: Contributor Picks. So, go check that out. When you’re done, I’ll be here trying to add to Maya’s excellent thoughts on this series. Like our #25 pick before it, Abbott is a singular comic in everything from its protagonist to its setting to the concerns of its characters.

It’s set in the ‘70s in Detroit—a place and time dismissed as of late by most stories in pop culture. Add a black female protagonist who works as a reporter, and you’ve got a collection of story elements that stand on their own as different and intriguing. Writer Ahmed and artist Kivela don’t, however, rest on that. The story they tell is tense and mysterious, rich with themes of oppression and the paranormal. Basically, I’m with Maya when she says she hopes we haven’t seen the last of this character.

23. Long Lost Part 2
Writer:
Matthew Erman
Artist: Lisa Sterle
Publisher: Scout Comics
Issues in 2018: 5

This is, perhaps, cheating, seeing as the finale to this series is due in 2019 but I’ve already read (and loved) it. I won’t, however, let the ending slip. Long Lost is a poetic and understated story about change, the past, and family. From husband-wife team writer Matthew Erman and artist Lisa Sterle, Long Lost is a literary and confident comic with much to say about our transient generation, so bent on putting withering hometowns behind us.

And it says these things with a mix of ideas and imagery. The penultimate issue came out on 12/19, and as I wrote in my Long Lost Part 2 #5 review, it saw the creators expressing what this story is about: “Long Lost is about leaving your hometown...yet feeling a pull to return, a call home from our past. When we arrive, the place is nigh-unrecognizable. Relatives we thought we knew are so different as to be irreconcilable with who they once were in the past. They’re acting in strange ways, motivated by the hopes of enticing a magic cure for suffering, unemployment, sickness...with methods making them all uglier.” It was a great read in 2018 will be collected in trade this spring.

22. Skyward
Writer:
Joe Henderson
Artist: Lee Garbett
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: Image Comics
Issues in 2018: 9

My reaction to Skyward #1 was: where did this comic come from and how is it so polished and fully-formed? The answer on both fronts is that this book was written by Joe Henderson—a TV veteran who most recently oversaw Lucifer—who I came to find out (via the Word Balloon podcast) has a long history of involvement with comics dating back to Bendis’ message board. He’s teamed with powerhouse artist Lee Garbett on this one.

There’s a lot to like about Skyward. It’s narrative structure is ironclad, leaving no holes or lapses to distract reader attention. The science within extrapolates a world-altering event similar to how Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra did in Y: The Last Man, and it’s characters’ tones are so earnest and hopeful that one could probably even read this comic with family. It’s also kept to a regular release schedule, which is so key for creator-owned books like this one, jockeying for attention on a crowded rack.

21. Euthanauts
Writer:
Tini Howard
Artist: Nick Robles
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: IDW Black Crown
Issues in 2018: 4

This is another book that a contributor summed up so perfectly earlier this week (this time it was Allison and you can and should read it here). Yet, once again as the official committee of one, I will do my best to inject something new into this conversation. Euthanauts is, quite simply, one of the most gorgeous books on the stands. It’s the type of story you let wash over you like a poem, finding intense ideas and moments of beauty as you page through it.

Writer Tini Howard and artist Nick Robles are both powerful talents, destined for greatest things in the industry. Before they get there, however, I for one feel lucky to be around to see their beautiful book of life and death unspooling in real time. There are many great books right now on Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint (House Amok and Lodger both could have made our list had they published more issues), but Euthanauts is the crown jewel of that collection.

20. Royal City
Writer/Artist:
Jeff Lemire
Publisher: Image Comics
Issues in 2018: 7
Royal City wrapped up in August, which I found surprising, possibly because the ever-prolific Jeff Lemire (who pulls double duty here both writing and doing art) has put out so much work since this one concluded. And while a hefty volume of that work is to be celebrated (more on that as we get closer to the top), none of his stories had the intense emotional core that Royal City did.

A spiritual and semi-direct successor to Lemire’s seminal work on Essex County, this is one of the rare comics in 2018 that moved me to tears, doing so with its story of love, loss, adolescence to adulthood, and perseverance in the face of life’s small-yet-crushing defeats. I would love to get a hardcover version of these 14 issues to keep forever on my shelf, which given the space limitations that plague my collection these days, is a high compliment indeed.

19. Submerged
Writer:
Vita Ayala
Artist: Lisa Sterle
Colorist: Stelladia
Letterer: Rachel Deering
Publisher: Vault Comics
Issues in 2018: 4

The first—but certainly not the last—of the Vault Comics on our list, Submerged launched in July and concluded in December. It’s a haunting story of family discord that ultimately manifests in a tangle with mythology during one of the most dangerous storms New York City has weathered in modern history. Vita Ayala is one of the brightest rising stars in the industry, and they do incredible work with this one, expertly balancing the revelations about family backstory with the paranormal threats faced in the present by our characters.

Lisa Sterle (who you may remember early from our writeup of Long Lost) once again creates grounded-yet-disturbing imagery to go along with Ayala’s scripting. This is one of those four-part stories you’ll want to go out and get in trade, so you’ll have it to page through often at your leisure. The impression it leaves is indelible, and Ayala and Sterle are both clearly creators to watch in the coming year.

18. Cover
Writer:
Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Mack
Digital Coloring: Zu Orzu
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Issues in 2018: 4

I saw Brian Bendis and David Mack talk about this book during Rose City Comic Con this September in Portland. Bendis noted that most other mediums—movies, music, books, etc.—have had myriad stories told about what it’s like in their industry. Not so with comics. Cover, however, sets out to change that, detailing what it feels like to table at cons as a semi-notable pro...while also working for the CIA.

The espionage subplot is, to be sure, the engine propelling this comic further, but the emotional core has to do with artistic accomplishments and satisfaction, with finding the places where ones art ends and real life begins, with examining how much artistic achievement can wash away loneliness, solitude, and rifts between family. On top of that thematic goodness, this one is expertly rendered by Mack, who uses visual flourishes often to convey intensity of emotion.    

17. Crowded
Writer:
Christopher Sebela
Artist: Ro Stein
Inker: Ted Brandt
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Letterer: Cardinal Rae
Publisher: Image Comics
Issues in 2018: 5

After what I personally perceived as somewhat of a down year for new comics in 2017, Image (our committee of one’s favorite publisher) bounced back with a vengeance in 2018, launching a dozen new series and mini-series with major staying power (more on that next week...so stay tuned!). Chief among those great new books was Crowded from writer Christopher Sebela and artists Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell.

There was no shortage of comics this year that look at terrifying near futures. What Crowded did, however, was extrapolate a startlingly-realistic idea (crowdfunded assassination bounty apps) with as taught of a buddy-drama/chase thriller narrative as we’ve seen as of late in any medium. This is a story built to elicit white knuckles, both in terms of what’s happening on the page and what it has to say about the current direction of society.

16. Gideon Falls
Writer:
Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics
Issues in 2018: 9

This book has a special place in our committee of one’s heart: It was the first comic we ever reviewed on this site, all the way back in January. We gave it a glowing review, predicting it would become the next big Image comic. Thankfully, time was on our side. This comic—from the well-worn creative team of Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino—hit the ground running and is yet to let up.

It started as what felt like an homage to Twin Peaks. The end of the first arc and the first half of the second, however, has built this story into a creepy mystery all of its own, establishing it as something different with expert use of a dual narrative. Sorrentino’s artwork is also absolutely it’s own thing, as visionary as anything on the monthly comic stands right now. It’s 100 percent a testament to the strength of comics this year that a book as good as Gideon Falls finishes #16 overall on our list, but here we are. Oh, and worry not Lemire fans...his other work will be landing higher (much higher!) on this list.

Check back tomorrow for our Best Comics of 2018, #1 - #15! And check back later in the week for more year-end lists, including our Best Single Issues and our Top Creators of 2018!

For the history-minded readers, you can find our Top Comics of 2017, Part 1, 2 and 3 online now!

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.

Best Comics of 2018: Batman’s Bookcase Contributor Picks

By Various — Without our crack team of contributing writers, this site would just be one guy pretending to be furniture while churning out semi-coherent musings about comics. Yes, our super talented group of contributing writers are the lifeblood of Batman’s Bookcase, and as such, they have some pretty great takes about the Best Comics of 2018. From Allison continuing to surprise herself by riding hard for all things Thor to Taylor’s analytical impressions of the revived Wild Storm, there’s a lot to take in on this list.

So please now join our contributors on a trip through some of their favorite comics of 2018!

Allison Senecal

Euthanauts
Writer:
Tini Howard
Artist: Nick Robles
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: IDW Black Crown
What can I even say about this series that hasn’t already been said by people (Scott Snyder, for one) who are way cooler than me? We already know 2019 is going to be the year of writer Tini Howard, and it sure as #$&% better be the year of artist Nick Robles too (Best Layouts of 2018 Award, not a thing...but it should be). The protagonist of this comic, Thalia, is far and away my favorite original character of the year, and she is just rendered so lovingly. What a heartfelt, at times darkly funny, and just flat-out interesting comic. With its almost cheerfully morbid (not to forget the gut-punches) fixation on death, Euthanauts is in many ways the perfect comic for 2018, but it sure has a lot of great things to tell us about living too.

Mighty Thor/Thor
Writer:
Jason Aaron
Artists: Russell Dauterman, Mike del Mundo, Christian Ward, Jen Bartel, Various
Colorist: Matthew Wilson, Marco D’Alfonso
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics
If you told me a decade ago that my favorite Big 2 comic would be Thor, I’d probably laugh nervously at you, but here we are, and it is. Aaron and whichever stellar artist he happens to be collaborating with month-to-month (Dauterman, Bartel, Del Mundo, Ward, Moore, to name but a handful) knock this book out of the park every single time. No hiccups, no filler, all heart and tons of action. I’ve cried with Jane Foster, I’ve wheezed with Odinson, and vice versa. I also like the prospects for this book in 2019, because buckle up, kiddos, the War of the Realms is coming, and if you haven’t caught up on this entire Aaron run, do that now before it arrives.

Read more of Allison’s thoughts about Euthanauts and Thor!

Allison buys books professionally and comics unprofessionally. You can find her chaotic neutral Twitter feed at @maliciousglee.

Jack Sharpe

The Unexpected
Writer:
Steve Orlando
Artist: Various
Colorist: Various
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Publisher: DC Comics
DC’s New Age of Heroes line produced some great comics, even if it sadly did not have sales legs. The best comic of the line for me however was The Unexpected. This book features a very personal tale while also going all out on the cosmic side of the DCU. Writer Steve Orlando crafted an amazing tale and while it’s sad this book is ending in January, there is still more greatness to come from Orlando with Martian Manhunter, which launched in December.

Read more about The Unexpected on our reviews page!

Jack Sharpe is a huge fan of history and comics. When he's not in the trenches surrounded by history, he's reading and studying comic books. You can follow him on Twitter at @JackJacksharpe5  

Maya Kesh

Abbott
Writer:
Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivela
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
The ‘70s are my personal golden age of comics. The decade is when I began my journey, with Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane as my gateway book. In 1972 I was 8 years old. I loved bell bottom jeans, the wider the better. I even used to buy flare jeans for my daughter until one day she told me that my loving them was no reason to force them upon her. So, when I read the solicitation for Abbott, I knew I had to add it to my pull list.

Abbott takes place at the end of 1972 and stars a black female reporter, Elena Abbott. Reading it this year, it felt as if somebody was writing a comic book just for me. I had high expectations throughout, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Writer Saladin Ahmed doesn’t flinch from including the racism and sexism of the time. Civil Rights had passed in 1964, just 8 years prior, and the Women’s Liberation (feminism) movement was starting to make waves. This is the context the story takes place within. Elena Abbott lives in a white man’s world and those around her don’t let her forget that. She’s also grieving her husband. There is a really touching flashback with Abbott listening to John Coltrane’s jazz masterpiece A Love Supreme, perfectly rendered by artist Sami Kivela.

The story mixes the supernatural with murders in Detroit, and Abbott is on the beat trying to figure out what is going on. Kivela’s art is a perfect fit, adding a texture and personality to the setting.

The supporting characters also feel alive, giving this story another important dimension. The highest compliment I can give this book, though, is that when Abbott ended, I was left wishing for more adventures with Elena as she climbed the professional ladder and began to rebuild her personal life. This was a clear highlight of 2018, and I really hope there is a second series.

Read more of Maya Kesh’s thoughts about Superman and Lois Lane!

Maya Kesh is a lifetime comic reader and a writer whose articles often focus on how women are portrayed in comics. You can follow her on Twitter at @mayak46

The Stewart Bros.

The Weather Man
Writer:
Jody LeHeup
Artist: Nathan Fox
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics
The Weather Man by Jody Leheup and Nathan Fox combines sci-fi action with black comedy to spectacular effect. This book was one of the highlights of 2018. It also feels like it’s just warming up, and we can’t wait for what’s next.

Fearscape
Writer:
Ryan O’Sullivan
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Colorist: Vladimir Popov
Lettering: Andworld Design
Publisher: Vault Comics
Fearscape by Ryan O’Sullivan and Andrea Mutti from Vault Comics is the best comic book story about storytelling since Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Full stop. If you have ever embarked on a creative endeavor, this is a book that will speak to you.

Check out The Stewart Bros. Top 10 Comics of 2018!

Bo Stewart grinds for the Man by day so he can create comics by night. He is the lesser half of the Stewart Brothers writing team and can be found on Twitter and Instagram @stewart_bros

Taylor Pechter

Hawkman
Writer:
Robert Venditti
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Inker: Andrew Currie
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Starkings & Comicraft
Publisher: DC Comics
This is, simply put, the sleeper hit of the year. Written by Robert Venditii (Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps) and drawn by Bryan Hitch (The Authority), Hawkman explores the character of Carter Hall. It weaves a story about history and self-discovery that is intrinsic to his character. From its start back in June, this has been a must-read series. Not only is Venditti’s script immaculate in consolidating the convoluted nature of Carter’s origins, but Bryan Hitch is supplying the best artwork of his career. The art is big and cinematic, but it also contains a lot of emotion within it. I’ll be blunt: if you haven’t already, go read this series.

The Wild Storm
Writer:
Warren Ellis
Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: DC Comics
A holdover from last year, Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s gritty, stripped-down, espionage-fueled retelling of the WildStorm Universe continued to chug along in 2018, in all its greatness. Not only did we see the formation of the proto-WildCATs and John Lynch searching down his Thunderbook agents before IO could get to them, but Ellis, like always, was a master of character interactions. His injection of dark humor also added a great edge to this book. Davis-Hunt’s art work continued to be simple yet also dynamic, featuring some of the best rendering of action in the business. The end of 2018 brought us to the end of the third of four arcs for this series. With all the pieces set in place, the final arc is sure to be a doozy, and I am all here for it.

Check out Taylor Pechter’s Top 5 Comics of 2018!

Taylor Pechter is a passionate comic book fan and nerd. Find him on Twitter @TheInspecter.

So there you have it. That concludes our contributor picks for 2018. Be sure to check back next week for more year-end lists, including Best Image Comics of 2018, Top Creators of 2018, and our official overall Best Comics of 2018!

Find more from our contributing writers on our comics analysis page, and check out our Best Comics of 2017 to see how those choices have aged!

The Batman’s Bookcase contributors are a super talented bunch, and we’re very lucky that they’ve chosen our site as a regular outlet for their thoughts and feelings about comics. Check back often in 2019 for more great pieces!


Best New #1 Comics of October 2018

By Zack Quaintance — October saw the big two sort of stepping back with their superhero stuff and either lining up new books for the months to come (DC) or pushing forward with strong titles they’d launched this summer (Marvel). As a result, our list for the best new #1 comics of October 2018 is all indie stuff, which, in truth, is our favorite kind of list.

It’s also a really smart group of books this month, featuring another killer new series from Vault Comics, the latest addition to Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint, and a couple of very funny writers (Kyle Starks and Mark Russell) taking a pair of licensed properties and making top-tier comics.

Anyway, on to the books!

Quick Hits

Shuri #1 by Nnedi Okorafor and Leonardo Romero caught me by surprise, at once capturing the tone of the character from the movie and making a comic all its own. I also think there’s a vague reference to what’s really happening in the main BP title, which, intriguing...

Also in Marvel #1s, I liked Shatterstar #1 (of 5) by Tim Seeley, Carlos Villa, and Gerardo Sandoval. Great art, and a concept that is basically Fraction/Aja’s Hawkeye, but with multiverse shenanigans...

Meanwhile, contributing writer Bo Stewart dug Dead Rabbit #1, and you can check out his Dead Rabbit #1 review here...

And I had a review of Blackbird #1, another notable debut this month, steeped in neon and Southern California...

Planet of the Apes: The Time of Man #1 was a nice surprise, too. I don’t usually pay attention to licensed property comics, but this one had an all-star lineup of writers (David F. Walker, Dan Abnett, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson) delivering vignettes. As it turns out, it was well worth my time...

Black Mask Studios is a publisher a like a great deal and maybe don’t talk about enough. I wrote about some of their books in our New Comics Discoveries October 2018, including last month’s Devil Within #1...

Infinite Dark #1 by Ryan Cady and Andrea Mutti was a somber adventure in deep space/melancholic tones...

While Dead Kings #1 was another entry in Steve Orlando’s growing canon of stories about revenge, with art by Matthew Dow Smith...

Meanwhile, the Marvel Zombie #1 one-shot was almost an anti-revenge story and very much a good time. Written by W. Maxwell Prince of Ice Cream Man and illustrated by Stefano Raffaele. A good book for Halloween but also just generally for fans of zombie fiction...

Last, here’s our **official** ranking of the X-Men: Black #1s from last month:
Mojo #1
Emma Frost #1
Juggernaut #1
Magneto #1
Mystique #1
On the whole, I liked X-Men: Black quite a bit and certainly more than I expected to, even if it was a little cash-grabby. I liked it in the larger context of the X-universe, because it sort of worked to rebuild the X-villains and position many of them with motives for combating the X-heroes soon, presumably in stories stemming from next week’s Uncanny X-Men #1 relaunch.

Top 5 Best New #1 Comics of October 2018

The Lodger #1
Writer: David and Maria Lapham
Artist: David Lapham
Publisher: IDW’s Black Crown Imprint
Price: $3.99
We’ve been big fans of nearly everything that veteran comic editor Shelly Bond has done with her IDW imprint Black Crown, which launched at this time last year (pre-dating our Best #1 Comics monthly series). As good as books like The Euthanuats and House Amok have been (appearing here during their own launch months), The Lodger feels like a complex and massive story all on its own. The book is the work of David and Maria Lapham, of Stray Bullets fame, and it certainly lives up to their legacy within the crime noir genre.

Simply put, The Lodger is intriguing. Previews for the title have promised a story about murder, shape shifting, transience, and travel blogging, almost as if someone pulled a set of disparate ideas out of a hat. The Laphams, however, weave it all together so well with sheer storytelling proficiency and flair, creating a world rich with mysterious characters and a forlorn tone to match the impermanence of their lives. We can’t recommend The Lodger highly enough, especially to readers who enjoy a more literary brand of comics.  

Lone Ranger #1
Writer:
Mark Russell
Artist: Bob Q
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamite
Price: $3.99
Here we go, time to beat the Mark Russell is a genius at creating satire via seemingly taxed and maybe even corny old properties drum, again. Frankly, this could very well be the last time we point that all out, because what Mark Russell is doing with Lone Ranger has just become so commonplace for him. So then: what, you ask, is Russell doing with Lone Ranger?

Well, as hinted at above he’s using a seemingly-taxed and maybe even corny old property (this time, The Lone Ranger) to create a satire steeped in nuanced history and commentary on power structures, how the west was won, and oppressing others for the sake of your own gain. It’s similar thematic ground to Russell’s work on the phenomenal Flintstones series, and it’s as smartly-written and intensely character-driven as one of our favorite books of the year, Russell’s Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles. This, dear readers, is a smart and essential comic that you should be buying. Oh, and get ready to think about barbed wire more/differently than you ever have before.

Mars Attacks #1
Writer:
Kyle Starks
Artist: Chris Schweizer
Colorist: Liz Trice Schweizer
Publisher: Dynamite
Price: $3.99
Whoa, what is this? Two licensed properties on our best new books list in the same month? Plus also a shout out to Planet of the Apes in the quick hits section? Yes, it’s all happening, not because we’ve stopped being such severe buzzkills, but because publishers continue to put some of our absolute favorite creators on these kinds of titles. Now, we have the hilarious Kyle Starks teaming up with Chris Schweizer on a new Mars Attacks comic.

This book is great though, rich with the humor that has made Starks’ creator-owned work—including Rock Candy Mountain and Sex Castle—such an utter joy to read. Schweizer’s art is a great fit for both Starks’ sensibilities and the world of Mars Attacks, too, giving life to fearsome aliens as well as the scripts many gags. What impressed me most about this comic was how rooted in the main characters it felt, going out of its way to make us care about the old man and his son at the center of the first issue. This book is off to a great start.

Murder Falcon #1
Writer/Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
Murder Falcon #1 is the second-ever debut comic to earn our vaunted 10/10 review, joining last month’s Fearscape #1 from Vault Comics. This book is just a perfect storm of things we enjoy: the artwork of Daniel Warren Johnson, cornball jokes about rocking super hard, and a deeply personal emotive story about loss. It’s the last item that gives this book a surprising and powerful center that has us intrigued about where this story plans to go.

These Savage Shores #1
Writer: Ram V
Artist: Sumit Kumar
Colorist: Vittoria Astone
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Vault Comics
Price: $3.99
Last (alphabetically) but certainly not least is These Savage Shores. Earlier this year, Vault Comics announced new series from four U.K.-based writers. The first three books were all great, starting with Deep Roots, and then Fearscape and Friendo. These Savage Shores is the last of the bunch to launch...and it’s also one of the best new comics of the year.

This is a vampire story steeped in imperialistic entitled oppression, from the viewpoint of the oppressor...until it suddenly swerves and takes a different approach. We don’t want to spoil things—because we really do want all of you to check this one out—but let’s just say that right up until the final pages, These Savage Shores is not what you think it is.   

Check out more of our many monthly lists here.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase. He also writes comics and is currently working hard to complete one.

REVIEW: The Lodger #1 Sees the Laphams Do Small-Town American Darkness Via Travel Blogging and Crime Noir

The Lodger #1 is out 10/24.

By Zack Quaintance — Comics can seem infinite. The personal tastes and reading histories that belong to fans of this medium are as varied as any I’ve yet encountered. Both film and literature have canons, bodies of work widely considered to be the most important or influential. These are, essentially, lists of works that all serious fans of those mediums should aspire to experience. Comics, however, doesn’t have that.

Now to get to my point: if it did, my sense is that David and Maria Lapham’s long-running crime noir book Stray Bullets would without question be part of any comic book canon. Furthermore, this is all a long-winded way to establish that I, in fact, have not yet read it (although, now that I’ve officially finished Sandman, maybe Stray Bullets should be next). So, I can’t talk or write intelligently about how their newest comic, The Lodger, fits into their body of work. Consider this intro a disclaimer.

What I can say/writer, however, is that I found this book immensely intriguing, a mysterious and well-crafted introductory issue that works in equal parts to establish a set of thematic interest (small-town American darkness, crime noir, travel blogging, drifting) and a number of questions (what the holy hell is going on and who exactly are our two main characters?). What is perhaps most consequential and worthy of discussion in this comic is its framing device.

This is my first experience actually reading the Laphams’ work, after hearing it discussed often in laudatory tones, and I found it to be as literary as most of the works folks tend to casually canonize. The framing device sees them writing a travel blog. It’s heavy on prose, which is always a dicey proposition for writers in the graphic medium. I find that often times prose-heavy comics are bloated, like the writer is so thrilled to have a little extra space that they lose their capacity for self-editing; that they forget how to be concise. Not so in The Lodger.  

This framing advice reads like a first-person short story, the sort that fills readers in on details and also makes ample use of unreliable narration through the lens of whoever is talking. The Laphams go on to make expert use of the comic book medium, tying the visuals abstractly into said narration in a way that enhances the puzzling nature of this entire story. Simply put, this is the sort of comic made exclusively for comics, the work of veteran creators bent on exploring some of the graphic sequential mediums untapped potential. It’s an ambitious book, one that deftly completes a high-wire act that requires withholding crucial information without disorienting its readers. It’s complex stuff, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Overall: Along with Euthanauts and House Amok, The Lodger is part of the Black Crown imprint’s second wave of titles, and boy is it something to behold. These are complex comic books for smart readers, and I can’t recommend them all enough. 9.0/10

The Lodger #1
Writer:
David and Maria Lapham
Artist: David Lapham
Publisher: IDW’s Black Crown Imprint
Price: $3.99

For more comic book reviews, check out our review archives.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.

Top Comics to Buy for October 3, 2018

By Zack Quaintance — Fall has always been the time of year that I most closely associate with reading comic books. I’m from the Midwest (Chicago suburbs, to be exact), and the weather in that part of the country turns windy and chilled in October, with the leaves changing colors and falling from the trees as winter bears down upon us. Furnaces go on, jackets and sweaters come out, and time for reading, writing, and introspection goes way up. It’s great.

It’s also (obviously) Halloween month, and it’s always fun to see what comics publishers do around that. This week, our Top Comics to Buy for October 3, 2018 certainly has some scary stuff in store for readers, from ongoing fantastic work out of IDW’s Black Crown imprint to a weekly month-long crossover that takes Wonder Woman into some of the scarier spaces in the DCU. The end result is another very strong week for comics readers in a year that’s been full of those.

Let’s check it out!

Top Comics to Buy for October 3, 201

Blackbird #1 (Read our review)
Writer:
Sam Humphries
Artist: Jen Bartel
Layout Artist: Paul Reinwand
Colorists: Nayoung Wilson, Jen Bartel
Letterer: Jodi Wynne
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
In this neo-noir fantasy, Nina Rodriguez is positive that a secret magic world ruled by ruthless cabals is hiding just beneath the veneer of Los Angeles. The problem: everyone thinks she's crazy. The bigger problem: she's not crazy - she's right. Can she unravel the mystery before the Great Beast catches up with her?
Why It’s Cool: This is a gorgeous book with an aesthetic that contrasts its tone in a way that does real work for the overall mood of the story, making it feel alternately vibrant and forlorn. There’s a grandiose vision at work here, and, after a great first issue, we’re super excited to see where it goes.

Euthanauts #3
Writer:
Tini Howard
Artist: Nick Robles
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: IDW - Black Crown
Price: $3.99
There's nothing worse than someone coming into your life and solving all your problems. The mess of inheritance burdens Thalia with the ghosts of Mercy's past while Indigo presents the future. Saga meets The Sandman in a series that explores death, dynasties, and psychonautic mindspaces.
Why It’s Cool: The first two issues of Euthanuats were a fantastic 1-2 punch of intriguing premise and structural composition that seemed to set this book up for a lengthy run. With fantastic Nick Robles art and Tini Howard doing her best to find poignant space between life and death, we’re so happy this book seems poised to be around for a while to come.

House Amok #2
Writer:
Christopher Sebela
Artist: Shawn McManus
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: IDW - Black Crown
Price: $3.99
The Sandifers weren't always nuts. They were made that way, by stories, conspiracies and coincidence. As Dylan continues to recount how she spent her summer vacation full of murder, the truth behind how she and her family infected each other with madness come out. Secrets and blood run deep, but family is forever, no matter how deranged they might be.
Why It’s Cool: House Amok #1 was as dark a tale of childhood as we’ve come across in recent memory, using assured narration to examine ways that young realities are inherently shaped by parents, and what happens when those parents doing the shaping have unhinged and dangerous views. Simply put, House Amok seems to be a horror book wherein the main characters are the ones enacting the horrors, and what’s at stake is innocence.

Lone Ranger #1
Writer:
Mark Russell
Artist: Bob Q.
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Dynamite
Price: $3.99
A sparking new adventure from multiple Eisner Award nominee MARK RUSSELL (The Flintstones) and BOB Q (The Green Hornet '66 Meets The Spirit)! 1883. The advent of barbed wire is creating havoc in the Texas panhandle. A corrupted state senator conspires with dirty ranchers to make land unnavigable for open rangers and native tribes, passing new laws allowing cattlemen to kill anyone caught cutting the wire. Good people are getting hurt, and The Lone Ranger must act. But to truly stop this rampant villainy, he'll need to go all the way to the top, and rely on an old friend for help... Featuring a brilliant silver foil logo!
Why It’s Cool: Writer Mark Russell is easily one of the keenest satirists tell stories in any medium, and with his past fantastic work on licensed properties like The Flintstones and Snagglepuss, he’s shown a preternatural aptitude for taking old franchises or characters and finding new ground that’s searingly relevant for 2018. We expect no less from Lone Ranger, a franchise primed for that sort of handling if ever there was one.

Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark: Witching Hour #1
Writer:
James Tynion IV
Artist: Jesus Merino
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99
Hecate, the witch-goddess of magic, always knew a day would come when the monsters she stole her magic from would return. Now she must activate the Witchmarked, humans within whom she secreted vast stores of power. And the most powerful of the Witchmarked? Wonder Woman!
Why It’s Cool: We’ve been loving all things Justice League since Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Josh Williamson redirected the line with the No Justice weekly event, spinning out a main Justice League title, a cosmic Justice League Odyssey book, and, our personal favorite, the mythic and magical Justice League Dark. This October, Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman will be telling a five-part Witching Hour story, and it starts here! We’re so there for this one...

Top New #1 Comics for October 3, 2018

  • Batman and The Maxx: Arkham Dreams #1

  • Dead Rabbit #1

  • Death Orb #1

  • Errand Boys #1

  • Jook Joint #1

  • Lollipop Kids #1

  • Shatterstar #1

  • Sparrowhawk #1

  • Umbrella Academy Hotel Oblivion #1

  • What If? Spider-Man #1

  • What If? X-Men #1

  • X-Men: Black - Magneto #1

Others Receiving Votes

  • Batman #56

  • Border Town #2

  • Cosmic Ghost Rider #4

  • Death of the Inhumans #4

  • Deep Roots #4

  • Eclipse #11

  • Green Arrow #45

  • Justice League #9

  • Magic Order #4

  • Nightwing #50

  • Paper Girls #25

  • Tony Stark: Iron Man #4

  • The Unexpected #5

  • Walk Through Hell #5

  • Walking Dead #184

See our past top comics to buy here, and check our our reviews archive here.

Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by  night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase.