The top 10 graphic novels of the fall are an eclectic bunch, as usual, with wide-ranging subject matter and art styles that vary from atmospheric yet detailed (Jason Latour) to the simplest of line drawings (John Porcellino). Memoir, history, superhero, experimental... anything goes.
Cartoonists Porcellino and Katie Green both struggle with OCD, and their fall comics delve into their idiosyncrasies with clear-eyed insights into their neuroses. Porcellino is a revered figure among indie comics fans for his minimalist series King Cat Comix, which is a mix of poetry and Zen koans. In The Hospital Suite, he examines a major illness and his ongoing struggles with OCD, and how both damaged his work and marriage. While line drawings appear simple, they tell the story with devastating directness. Green’s problem in Lighter than My Shadow is an eating disorder, and her cheerful, flowing art turns into something much darker as she goes down the rabbit hole of her illness.
Two books explore the formal properties of the medium to achieve a deeper meaning only discoverable using comics. Ray Fawkes’s The People Inside follows the emotional lives of a group of unrelated people by juxtaposing panels of them in a stream. Well-known illustrator Richard Maguire’s Here expands his ground-breaking story from Raw that shows all the events that occur in one specific location, from prehistoric battles to quotidian squabbles. It’s a dizzying history.
The last century’s history is examined in Sally Heathcoate: Suffragette by Mary M. Talbot with art by Kate Charlesworth and Bryan Talbot, following the adventures of a fictional suffragette as she interacts with the real politics and outrages of the period. Artist Charlesworth uses Sally’s red hair as a visual element that guides readers through the black and white tumult. Above the Dreamless Dead: WWI in Poetry and Comics is a haunting anthology of trench poetry from WWI with some of comics’ best artists interpreting the sombre and heartbreaking verse.
Kill My Mother is lighter fare, but no less observant about the human ability to create chaos. Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer’s first full-length graphic novel, written at the age of 84, is a bold, twisting story of deception and intrigue that focuses on five women across three decades.
Speaking of intrigue, Jason Aaron and Jason Latour spin a violent yarn in Southern Bastards. In Craw County, Ala., football, violence, and other masculine rituals rule life. Latour’s spare, character-drenched art captures the brutality while still allowing sympathy. Acclaimed novelist G. Willow Wilson explores a different world in Ms. Marvel: No Normal, as a teenage Muslim girl from Jersey City, N.J., who writes fan fiction, gets superpowers and has to interact with her heroes, the better known characters of the Marvel universe. It’s a smart update on superheroes that offers a welcome fresh perspective.
Finally, every season brings impressive reprint projects, but few are as epic as The Complete Zap Comix Boxed Set, which reprints the seminal underground comics of R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Gilbert Shelton, Spain Rodriguez, and others. When first published in the late ’60s these often raw stories shocked with their sexuality and dramatically changed comics. Lavishly produced, the set even brings the never published 17th issue to modern eyes. At $500, it’s for diehards only, while setting a new standard for archival comics projects.
PW’s Top 10: Comics & Graphic Novels
Above the Dreamless Dead: WWI in Poetry and Comics. Edited by Chris Duffy. Macmillan/First Second, Sept. 23
The Complete Zap Comix Boxed Set. R. Crumb, Gilbert Shelton et al. Fantagraphics, Nov. 5
Kill My Mother: A Graphic Novel. Jules Feiffer. Norton, Aug. 25
Here. Richard McGuire. Pantheon, Oct. 7
The Hospital Suite. John Porcellino. Drawn & Quarterly, Sept. 9
Lighter than My Shadow. Katie Green. Counterpoint/Soft Skull, Oct. 14
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal. G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. Marvel, Oct. 14
The People Inside. Ray Fawkes. Oni, Aug. 13
Sally Heathcoate: Suffragette. Mary M. Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, and Bryan Talbot. Dark Horse, Sept. 23
Southern Bastards, Vol. 1: Here Was a Man. Jason Aaron, Jason Latour, and Connor Willumson. Image, Oct.
Comics & Graphic Novels Listings
Sing No Evil by J.P. Ahonen and K.P. Alare (Sept. 30, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-4197-1359-0). Twenty-something guitarist Aksel and his band find themselves in a battle of the bands to save their city from supernatural forces set loose by ancient music. The key to it all could be in the music Aksel hears in his dreams—if it doesn’t drive him mad first.
The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis (Oct. 7, paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-906838-81-2). In Scarper Lee’s world, parents don’t make children—children make parents, it rains knives, and household appliances have souls. There are also no birthdays, only deathdays. An odyssey through a bizarre, distorted teenage landscape.
(dist. by Diamond)
Youth Is Wasted by Noah Van Sciver (Aug. 12, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-93523327-5) collects several of Van Sciver’s outstanding short stories from his award-nominated comic book series Blammo, as well as various anthology submissions.
Soppy: A Love Story by Philippa Rice (Dec. 2, hardcover, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-4494-6106-5). From grocery shopping to silly arguments, the webcomic Soppy captures the experience of sharing a life together.
(dist. by Consortium)
Skandalon by Julie Maroh (Sept. 9, paper, $21.95, ISBN 978-1-55152-552-5). The follow-up to 2013’s New York Times bestseller Blue Is the Warmest Color is a fiery, intense story about a fallen rock star. 10,000-copy announced first printing.
(dist. by Simon & Schuster)
The Woods, Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas (Sept. 9, paper, $9.99, ISBN 978-1-60886-454-6). When 513 people vanish from Bay Point Preparatory High School in suburban Milwaukee, they find themselves in the middle of an ancient, primordial wilderness.
Hit by Bryce Carlson and Vanesa R. Del Rey (Nov. 11, paper, $9.99, ISBN 978-1-60886-403-4). A dark crime drama set in 1955 Los Angeles, and based on true events, is filled with murderers, rapists, and drug lords... and the men who will stop at nothing to bring them to justice..
The Midas Flesh, Vol. 1 by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, and Shelli Paroline (Dec. 9, paper $14.99, ISBN 978-1-60886-455-3). Fatima and her space crew have decided to return to an Earth that is sectioned off and covered in gold—to find out exactly what happened and see if they can use that knowledge against the evil empire that’s tracking them down.
(dist. by PGW)
Lighter than My Shadow by Katie Green (Oct. 14, paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-59376-544-6). A hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery from an eating disorder, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who prey on the vulnerable, and an inspiration.
Sally Heathcoate: Suffragette by Mary M. Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, and Bryan Talbot (Sept. 23, hardcover, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-61655-547-4). A tale of loyalty, love, and courage that follows the fortunes of a common housemaid swept up in the feminist militancy of early 20th-century Edwardian Britain; by the Costa Award–winning team behind Dotter of her Father’s Eye.
The Eltingville Club by Evan Dorkin (Oct. 14, hardcover, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-61655-415-6). Take-no-prisoners trivia-offs. Pill-fueled Twilight Zone marathons. Fan interventions. Here is the ultimate, hilarious word on the ugly side of fandom as four lifelong fans reveal what makes them tick.
Blacksad: Amarillo by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido. (Oct. 21, hardcover, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-61655-525-2). Hard-boiled feline detective John Blacksad is back, with a side job driving a rich Texan’s prized yellow Cadillac Eldorado across 1950s America, hitting the back roads from New Orleans to Tulsa, Okla. Before long, the car is stolen, and Blacksad finds himself mixed up in another murder.
Teen Titans: Earth One, Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire and Terry Dodson (Nov. 25, hardcover, $22.99, ISBN 978-1-4012-4556-6). DC Comics’ youngest heroes are reimagined with a new mythos in a new world. Victor Stone, Tara Markov, Joey Wilson, and Gar Logan never felt like normal kids... but they had no idea how right they were.
The Wake by Scott Snyder, illus. by Sean Murphy (Nov. 11, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-4012-4523-8). When marine biologist Lee Archer is approached by the Department of Homeland Security for help with a new threat, she’s soon plunging to the depths of the Arctic Circle to a secret, underwater oil rig filled with roughnecks and scientists on the brink of an incredible discovery.
Drawn & Quarterly
(dist. by FSG)
Bumperhead by Gilbert Hernandez (Sept. 16, hardcover, $21.95, ISBN 978-1-77046-165-9). If Marble Season celebrated the innocent, creative world of children, this is Hernandez exploring angry, troubled adolescence. Bobby Bumperhead floats through eras and jobs and school and love waiting for life to start, never noticing it passing him by.
The Hospital Suite by John Porcellino (Sept. 9, paper, $22.95, ISBN 978-1-77046-164-2). A revealing, heartbreaking, yet funny, story about the author’s life-altering surgery, the physical and mental health repercussions, and his lifelong struggle with OCD.
Earthling by Aisha Franz, trans. by Helge Dascher (Aug. 12, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-77046-166-6). This debut from a young German cartoonist about the world’s expectations of women follows a single mother with two teenage daughters, both on the cusp of awakening sexuality.
(dist. by Norton)
The Complete Zap Comix Boxed Set by R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Gilbert Shelton, Spain Rodriguez, Robert Williams, Victor Moscoso, Paul Mavrides, and Rick Griffin (Nov. 5, hardcover, $500, ISBN 978-1-60699-787-1). A more-than-complete collection (it includes the unpublished 17th issue!) of the quintessential underground comic book.
The Lonesome Go by Tim Lane (Sept. 7, paper, $39.99, ISBN 978-1-60699-754-3). A collection of “existential Americana” (in the vein of Edward Hopper) in short comics, broadly linked together by the experience of wandering, both literally and figuratively, this is the follow-up to the author’s Abandoned Cars.
An Age of License by Lucy Knisley (Sept. 22, paper, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-60699-768-0). Knisley (French Milk, Relish) got an opportunity that most only dream of—a travel-expenses-paid trip to Europe/Scandinavia—but her experiences are colored by anxieties, introspective self-inquiries, and quotidian revelations; an Eat, Pray, Love for the alternative comics fan.
Bumf 1: I Buggered the Kaiser by Joe Sacco (Nov. 16, paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-60699-748-2). A collection of all-new satirical short comics by Joe Sacco (Palestine, Footnotes in Gaza). Though world-famous for his serious, journalistic books, Bumf promises to go back to Sacco’s earlier days as a satirist and underground cartoonist.
Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks (Nov. 25, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-60699-790-1). A burned-out superhero comic artist goes on an adventure that spans time and space, with two female companions. Funny, erotic, and thoughtful, the story explores the pleasures, dangers, and moral consequences of fantasy.
The Way of Shadows: The Graphic Novel by Brent Weeks, adapted by Ivan Brandon, art by Andy MacDonald (Oct. 7, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-316-21298-4). A graphic novel adaptation of Weeks bestselling novels. 40,000-copy announced first printing.
The Wolf Gift: The Graphic Novel by Anne Rice, adapted by Ashley Marie Witter (Nov. 18, hardcover, $20, ISBN 978-0-316-23386-6). When reporter Reuben Golding arrives at a secluded mansion at the request of the home’s mysterious female owner, he doesn’t expect this assignment will lead to him being inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast shadowed in darkness. 40,000-copy announced first printing.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Best American Comics 2014, edited by Scott McCloud; series editor, Bill Kartalopoulos (Oct. 7, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-544-10600-0). Scott McCloud, “just about the smartest guy in comics,” according to Frank Miller, author of Sin City, picks the best graphic pieces of the year. 20,000-copy announced first printing.
Puck: What Fools These Mortals Be! edited by Michael Alexander Kahn, foreword by Bill Watterson (Sept. 24, hardcover, $59.99, ISBN 978-1-63140-046-9) is a lavish coffee-table book devoted to the most important political satire and cartoon magazine in American history.
Minimum Wage, Vol. 1: Focus on the Strange by Bob Fingerman (Oct., paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-63215-015-8). In spring of 2000, freshly separated Rob Hoffman is trying to reassemble his life. The Internet is about to erase his #1 source of income: men’s magazines. But the Internet also offers a new angle on dating, and so begins Rob’s adventures as a singleton.
Southern Bastards, Vol. 1: Here Was a Man by Jason Aaron, Jason Latour, and Connor Willumson (Oct., paper, $9.99, ISBN 978-1-63215-016-5). Earl Tubb is an angry old man with a very big stick. Euless Boss is a high school football coach with no more room in his office for trophies and no more room underneath the bleachers for burying bodies.
Shutter, Vol. 1 by Joe Keatinge, Leila Del Duca, and Owen Gieni (Nov., paper, $9.99, ISBN 978-1-63215-145-2). Kate Kristopher, once the most famous explorer of an Earth far more fantastic than the one we know, is forced to return to the adventurous life she left behind when a family secret threatens to destroy everything she’s spent her life protecting.
Starlight by Mark Millar, Goran Parlov, and Ive Svorcina (Nov. 19, paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-63215-017-2). Forty years ago, Duke McQueen saved an alien world from destruction. Back on Earth, nobody believed his story. Now his kids are grown, his wife has died, and life has little to offer.
Outcast by Robert Kirkman, Paul Azaceta, and Elizabeth Breitweiser (Oct., paper, $9.99) The new horror series from Kirkman, the Walking Dead creator. Kyle Barnes has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and now he needs answers. Unfortunately, what he uncovers along the way could bring about the end of life on Earth as we know it.
(dist. by Consortium)
Baby Bjornstrand by Renee French (Sept. 9, paper, $20, ISBN 978-1-927668-13-9) is like a monster movie written by Beckett and presented in delightfully delicate, and slightly diabolical, pencil drawings.
Distance Mover by Patrick Kyle (Sept. 9, paper, $20, ISBN 978-1-927668-08-5). Imagine Dr. Who designed by Joan Miró, and you’ll have a sense of this art house sci-fi adventure.
Above the Dreamless Dead: WWI in Poetry and Comics, edited by Chris Duffy (Sept. 23, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-62672-065-7). The Trench Poets were soldier-poets dispatching their verse from the front lines of WWI. Twenty poems are interpreted in comics form by some of today’s leading cartoonists.
How the World Was: A California Childhood by Emmanuel Guibert, trans. by Kathryn M. Pulver (Aug. 12, paper, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-59643-664-0). Following up his volume on Alan Cope’s life in WWII, Guibert presents a visually splendid, poetic portrait of Cope’s California childhood during the Great Depression.
(dist. by Diamond)
Doomboy, Vol. 1 by Tony Sandoval (Oct. 28, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-9913324-7-2). A lonely, metal-obsessed teen sends a heartfelt song to his missing beloved, then finds that his music has been rebroadcast to the entire city. Only his best friend knows that he is really the mysterious rock god and anonymous legend known as “Doomboy.”
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Oct. 14, paper, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-7851-5408-2). Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City, N.J., until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who is the new Ms. Marvel?
Moon Knight, Vol. 1: From the Dead by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire (Nov. 11, paper, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-7851-8878-0). Marc Spector is Moon Knight—or is he? It’s hard to tell these days, especially when New York’s wildest vigilante protects the street with two-fisted justice and three different personalities.
Silver Surfer, Vol. 1: New Dawn by Dan Slott, Mike Allred, and Laura Allred (Nov. 11, paper, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-7851-8878-0). The universe is big, bigger than you could ever imagine. And the Silver Surfer, lone sentinel of the skyways, is about to discover that the best way to see it is with someone else.
(dist. by Consortium)
On the Books: A Graphic Tale of Working Woes at NYC’s Strand Bookstore by Greg Farrell (Oct. 1, paper, $11.95, ISBN 978-1-62106-010-9). A firsthand, graphic account of the labor struggle at New York City’s Strand bookstore by a former employee.
Street View by Pascal Rabaté (Nov. 1, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-56163-908-3). A series of double-page spreads of exactly the same set of row houses, each window telling a story as day and night progress.
Invincible Days by Patrick Atangan (Sept. 1, hardcover, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-56163-901-4). This collection of short stories forms a singular narrative that reveals the tiny moments when one realizes one is at the precious end-days of youth.
Beauty by Hubert, illus. by Kerascoet (Oct. 1, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-56163-894-9). A breathtaking and thought-provoking new graphic novel by the authors of Miss Don’t Touch Me. When the repulsively ugly Coddie is turned beautiful by a grateful fairy, she does not understand the poisonous nature of her wish.
(dist. by Consortium)
Art Schooled by Jamie Coe (Nov. 11, paper, $22.95, ISBN 978-1-907704-82-6). Daniel Stope is a smalltown guy with dreams of becoming an artist. His enrollment at art school and subsequent move to the city opens up a world of exciting possibilities.
Marx by Corrine Maier, illus. by Anne Simon (Oct. 14, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-907704-83-3) is the pair’s collection of graphic novels exploring lives of controversial and outspoken figures.
Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City by Pierre Christin and Olivier Balez (Nov. 11, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-907704-96-3). From the subway to the skyscraper, from Manhattan’s financial district to Long Island, every inch of New York tells the story of one man’s mind.
Kill My Mother: A Graphic Novel by Jules Feiffer (Aug. 25, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-87140-314-8) is the first graphic novel by the legendary American cartoonist. When three daunting dolls intersect with one hapless heroine and a hard-boiled PI, deception, betrayal, and murder stalk every mean street.
I Was the Cat by Paul Tobin and Benjamin Dewey (Aug. 6, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-62010-139-1). Journalist Allison Breaking receives an offer from a mysterious stranger named Burma to write his memoirs, and it’s an offer she can’t refuse—even though he’s a cat. And this cat has stories to tell about how he (over the course of a few lifetimes) has shaped the world.
The People Inside by Ray Fawkes (Aug. 13, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-62010-168-1) looks at the lives and relationships of 24 individuals in a way only the medium of sequential art could. Relationships change, grow, and end, but the one thing that always remains is the person inside who defines both ourselves and our liaisons.
Shoplifter by Michael Cho (Sept. 2, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-0-307-91173-5). Corinna Park used to have big plans, but she’s been working at the same advertising agency for the past five years. Corinna knows there must be more to life, and she faces the same question as does everyone in her generation: how to find it?
Sugar Skull by Charles Burns (Dec. 2, hardcover, $23, ISBN 978-0-307-90790-5). The long, strange trip that began in X’ed Out and continued in The Hive reaches its mind-bending, heartbreaking end, but not before Doug is forced to deal with the lie he’s been telling himself since the beginning.
Here by Richard McGuire (Oct. 7, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-375-40650-8). In this story of a corner of a room and the events that happened in that space while moving forward and backward in time, the book experiments with the formal properties of comics, using multiple panels to convey the different moments in time. 25,000-copy announced first printing.
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins (Oct. 7, hardcover, $20, ISBN 978-1-250-05039-7). In this fairy tale for adults, on the island of Here, conduct is orderly, lawns are neat, and citizen Dave is most fastidious of them all. But on one fateful day, his life is upended by an unstoppable beard.
Zenith: Phase 1 by Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell (Oct., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-78108-276-8). Morrison’s first comics masterpiece has been unavailable to trade for 20 years, but is republished in a stunning new hardcover edition.
The Mammoth Book of Cult Comics by Ilya (Dec. 2, paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-0-7624-5468-6) brings back lost classics from recent decades of underground and independent British and American comic-strip art.
Simon & Schuster
Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World by Monte Beauchamp (Sept. 2, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-4516-4919-2). A first-of-its-kind collection of graphic biographies of the visionary artists who pioneered the modern era of comics, drawn by today’s foremost illustrators.
Rai, Vol. 1: Welcome to New Japan by Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain (Oct. 14, paper, $9.99, ISBN 978-1-939346-41-4). In the year 4001, the first murder in a thousand years can only be solved by the folk hero known as Rai.
Yukarism, Vol. 1 by Chika Shiomi (Dec. 2, paper, $9.99, ISBN 978-1-4215-7590-2). Because of his ability to return to his past life, Yukari Kobayakawa unravels the karmic relationship with a beautiful classmate
Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1 by Yusei Matsui (Dec. 2, paper, $9.99, ISBN 978-1-4215-7607-7) is a dark comedy about junior high school students who have a new teacher: an alien octopus with bizarre powers and unlimited strength, who’s just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the Earth—unless they can take him out first.
World Trigger, Vol. 1 by Daisuke Ashihara (Oct. 7, paper, $9.99, ISBN 978-1-4215-7764-7). Osamu Mikumo isn’t the most elite warrior, but along with his neighbor and friend Yuma and the help of co-opted alien weapons, he will do his best to defeat an invasion of aliens from another dimension.