September is the most exciting month of new releases Image has had in ages. That’s because there’s a slew of returning favorites, some intriguing new series, and more trade paperbacks than you can shake your credit card at. This month was particularly difficult to whittle down to just ten picks- so I’m not going to. First let’s acknowledge the many exciting runner-ups that had to be cut.
As always, you can see the full solicits on the Image Comics website. I seriously recommend you do!
11. The lightning round!
I just wanted to acknowledge a bunch of other amazing books that are coming out this month, so without further ado, let’s blaze through a bunch of other exciting titles. Deep breath… and…
“Crowded” #2 is coming out. The more I think about the premise- crowd-funded assassinations- the more excited I get for this book. There’s a title called “MCMLXXV” #1, which sounds exactly like “Mage” but written by Joe Casey. I want to give a shout-out to “East of West” #40, still going strong with a landmark issue that will bring the horseman of Death face-to-face with his son. “Leviathan” #2 looks goofy, but just might bring some romance where we least expect it. “Curse Words” #16 starts a brand new arc for one of my favorite ongoing series. “Motor Crush” #12 deserves some love for boasting a badass creative team that includes Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr. “Paper Girls” #24 looks like a doozy of an issue, and that’s a series that has had its fair share of doozies. And finally, “Me the People” is a collection of political cartoons from “Y: the Last Man” co-creator Pia Guerra, who is an artist deserving more recognition.
Whoo! That was a lot. And now, back to your regularly scheduled solicits.
10. Looking for talent in all the right places
The Top Cow talent hunt is a legitimately cool thing that doesn’t get nearly enough recognition. While the Big Two are hiring young adult writers, wrestlers, and MacArthur Genius Grant winning columnists to pen their comics, Image is giving a chance to some genuinely new creators. That’s awesome, and practically unheard of in comics. It’s a real talent contest that selects winners based on their ability. That being said, I can’t tell you if this issue is going to be any good- that’s the whole point! But with a fresh voice, Aphrodite IX could be a cool character and having a female artist certainly can’t hurt. Take a chance on a comic this month, and check this issue out!
APHRODITE IX: ARES (ONE-SHOT)
WRITER: LEON GLASER
ARTIST / COVER: SARA KNAEPEN
SEPTEMBER 05 / 32 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99
An all-new one-shot from Top Cow Talent Hunt winners! In this one-shot revisiting the IXth GENERATION series, a chance encounter with Aphrodite IX makes a cyborg soldier risk everything to escape his cruel master’s domain.
9. Strong, silent, and sword-less
On the other hand, “The Walking Dead” is about as reliable as comics get. It’s been going on for nearly 200 issues, with pretty much the same few creators, and has continued to be one of the most popular comics on the stands. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve sort of drifted back and forth from the series. That’s because I’m sick of Rick’s shenanigans (#SickOfRick) and I’m really tired of Negan. You know who never overstays her welcome? Michonne. Remember her? I feel like it’s been ages since the coolest character in “The Walking Dead” got to do anything cool. Well, this could be her comeback. By taking away her iconic weapon, Kirkman just might give Michonne the spotlight she’s deserved for the last hundred or so issues.
THE WALKING DEAD #183
WRITER: ROBERT KIRKMAN
ARTIST: CHARLIE ADLARD, STEFANO GAUDIANO, CLIFF RATHBURN
COVER: CHARLIE ADLARD, DAVE STEWART
VARIANT COVER: BILL SIENKIEWICZ
SEPTEMBER 05 / 32 PAGES / BW / M / $3.99
It’s chaos in the Commonwealth… and Michonne is without her sword.
8. Waiting for trade-o
I know a lot of you out there are trade waiters- and that’s cool! It’s the 21st century and that’s a legit way to read your comics, especially because Image trades are such a good deal. The first taste is practically free as they say, and the first trade in a series usually only cost $10. There have been a lot of exciting new Image series in the last few months, and September could be your chance to catch up on them for a low price. So allow me to remind you of a couple of this column’s favorites. “Analog” is a cool, funny noir sci-fi comic. “Infidel” is a socially charged horror comic in the same vein as Get Out. “Isola” is a beautiful fairy tale with art that will take your breath away.Continued below
There are also new volumes coming out of some well-loved series. I’m personally losing it for the third volume of “Monstress,” the comic that I dreamed of in seventh grade. “Kick-Ass” has shifted gears and protagonists; this could be your introduction to Patience Lee. And finally there’s “Saga.” Do you know about “Saga?” This is the ninth volume in the series so superlatively good that I refuse to actually say anything about it. To the right fan, all of these trades are well worth your time.
7. Black Death: World Tour
The last of the “Wicked + Divine” historical specials! We recently were treated to a stunning montage that covered all of human history in the pages of the series proper. One of the most intriguing images was a panel from Fourteenth Century Europe. It comes right after the Black Death. Do you know about that one? It was an epidemic that killed something like a third of the entire population of Europe, and some believe the death toll was twice that! “WicDiv” focuses on moments of cultural upheaval, and the Great Plague was one of the most destabilizing moments of human history. Religious movements rose and fell, and people forged completely new identities. All of this is fertile ground for the themes of this series. Plus, the main character is a nun who becomes Lucifer. Surely this issue won’t be mining that character for symbolism.
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE 1373 (ONE-SHOT)
WRITER: KIERON GILLEN
ARTIST / VARIANT COVER: RYAN KELLY
COVER: JAMIE MCKELVIE, MATT WILSON
SEPTEMBER 26 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
“THE TRANSUBSTANTIATION OF LUCIFER” The final THE WICKED + THE DIVINE historical special plunges into the shadow of life after the Black Death. KIERON GILLEN gets back together with THREE collaborator RYAN KELLY to tell the story of penitent nun Lucifer hearing the confession of penitent murderer Ananke. Yes, everyone will be sorry.
6. Sex, Drugs, and Comic Books
You probably already know if you’re a fan of Brubaker and Phillips. Their collaborations have ranged from superhero stories to Lovecraftian horror, grounded human drama to Archie parody, but everything they do is united by a distinct style. The word is noir, and from the art to the writing, they are the leading comic team for the style. This is their first original graphic novel. That’s exciting in and of itself. I’m more intrigued by the premise. The team is bringing their sensibilities to a new sort of story. Instead of spies and criminals, this is the story of a teenage girl seduced by the drug-fueled creativity of artists. It sounds smaller than their previous stories, and that sounds totally rad to me.
MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES OGN HC
WRITER: ED BRUBAKER
ARTIST / COVER: SEAN PHILLIPS
OCTOBER 10 / 72 PAGES / FC / M / $16.99
The first original graphic novel from the bestselling creators of CRIMINAL, KILL OR BE KILLED, THE FADE OUT and FATALE. Teenage Ellie has always had romantic ideas about drug addicts, those tragic artistic souls drawn to needles and pills have been an obsession since the death of her junkie mother ten years ago. But when Ellie lands in an upscale rehab clinic where nothing is what it appears to be… she’ll find another more dangerous romance, and find out how easily drugs and murder go hand-in-hand. MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES is a seductive coming-of-age story, a pop and drug culture-fueled tale of a young girl seeking darkness… and what she finds there. A gorgeous must-have hardback from the award-winning team of ED BRUBAKER and SEAN PHILLIPS, with acclaimed color artist ELIZABETH BREITWEISER.
5. Fight Night: Battle Royale
Ah Skottie Young. His cute style has graced countless baby-themed variant covers. (Seriously, I tried counting them and could not). This new series doesn’t seem like a stylistic departure at all, but the setup is new ground for Young. It’s a wacky take on the popular kids-fight-to-the-death genre, only made adorable. You know the score: alliances will be made and broken, the stakes will be raised, and the survivors will learn important lessons about themselves. Only this book turns the premise on its ear as only Skottie Young can do. It takes place in a town called Rottenville. That sort of spells out the entire tongue-in-cheek tone of the entire venture. The book is rated E for Everyone, so I don’t think anyone will actually die, but who knows?Continued below
BULLY WARS #1
WRITER: SKOTTIE YOUNG
ARTIST / COVER: AARON CONLEY
VARIANT COVER: SKOTTIE YOUNG, SCOTT BROWN
SEPTEMBER 05 / 32 PAGES / FC / E / $3.99
I HATE FAIRYLAND and Deadpool writer SKOTTIE YOUNG and artist AARON CONLEY (Sabertooth Swordsman, Rocket Raccoon & Groot) team up for a hilarious all-new, all-ages ONGOING SERIES! Rufus, the biggest bully in Rottenville since kindergarten, suddenly goes from bully to bullied on the first day of high school. He’s forced to make a shaky pact with his favorite geeks: Spencer and his twin sibling besties, Edith and Ernie. Together they’ll have to find a way to survive the Hunger Games-like contest known simply as the BULLY WARS—where the winner will rule the school
4. Dark, gritty rodents
Owen Gieni has brought the one thing “Rat Queens” had been missing: consistency. Having a continuous artist for more than an arc has given this series the direction it needed. A series of sort-of connected adventures has been leading to a big apocalyptic climax, but Kurtis Wiebe has wisely kept the conflict very personal. “Rat Queens” is on top of its game more than ever. This solicit promises a dark, gritty tonal reboot, but knowing “Rat Queens” that’s probably half the joke. From the shadowy cover to the promise that “the Rat Queens decide it’s time to put the carefree days of their past behind them,” I’ve got a feeling there’s a big twist is coming. After all, the real Rat Queens were the friends we made along the way.
RAT QUEENS VOL. 2 #11
WRITER: KURTIS J. WIEBE
ARTIST / COVER / VARIANT COVER: OWEN GIENI
SEPTEMBER 12 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
“THE INFERNAL PATH,” Part One Still reeling from the revelation that Dee shattered and changed reality, the Rat Queens decide it’s time to put the carefree days of their past behind them. But, in a bizarre twist of fate, a nearly forgotten former member of the Rat Queens arrives on their doorstep. Ships with two covers–Cover B will be the first of five connected parts.
3. Questions are a burden to others; answers a prison for oneself
And now, “something completely different.” That’s what this solicit promises. I don’t know about that, but I do know I give every Warren Ellis book a chance. It’s not that I like every comic that Ellis has ever written, but they’ve never failed to get me thinking. Ellis is the rare writer who has continued to be a provocateur and a renegade for decades. Even his mainstream comics work, like “Moon Knight” and “Karnak” has been weird and sort of uncomfortable. “Cemetery Beach” sounds uncomfortable to the extreme, which is why I’m so into it. Teamed up with his “Trees” artist Jason Howard, it sounds like a combination between Shutter Island and Borderlands which are maybe the two most tonally dissonant things I can imagine. What I do know is that nobody does comic book madness better than Ellis, and this looks like he’s plunging headfirst into lunacy.
CEMETERY BEACH #1
WRITER: WARREN ELLIS
ARTIST / COVER: JASON HOWARD
SEPTEMBER 12 / 32 PAGES / FC / M / $3.99
From the creators of the acclaimed TREES graphic novels, which are currently being adapted for television, comes something completely different. A professional pathfinder, his only ally a disaffected young murderess, breaks out of a torture cell in pursuit of his worst extraction scenario ever: escaping on foot across a sprawling and secret off-world colony established a hundred years ago and filled with generations of lunatics. WARREN ELLIS & JASON HOWARD ignite a high-speed new action serial.
2. Perchance to dream
There are a lot of great reasons to love “Sleepless.” It’s got a great story, beautiful art, and a rich world full of a sort of melancholic fantasy. There’s something hard to describe about the tone of “Sleepless.” Even when the stakes are high, the story has an almost dream-like pacing to it. That’s what has me so excited about issue #7. There’s going to be a time jump! Now, there are lots of reasons to jump ahead in a story, but doing so unarguably changes the pace of the story. We’re dealing with not just the immediate consequences, but the long term repercussions of Poppy’s choices as well. The series shines when its characters are forced to reconcile with the political, and its looking like the new arc of “Sleepless” is throwing its heroes into the deep end. What was already a gorgeous book is ready to embrace an exciting new energy.Continued below
WRITER: SARAH VAUGHN
ARTIST / COVER: LEILA DEL DUCA, ALISSA SALLAH
SEPTEMBER 12 / 32 PAGES / FC / T / $3.99
Nearly a year has passed, and much has changed for Poppy. But now she needs to make an important decision about her future without Cyrenic.
1. Make you work hard, make you spend hard
We don’t deserve a new Chelsea Cain comic. We really fucked it up the first time around. What should have been a genius miniseries about bio-terrorism, spies, and corgis turned into a centerpiece of the culture wars, and that was before the results of the 2016 election. Cain is done with patiently waiting around for someone to ask her about her feminist agenda. She’s announcing it to the world, and it looks bonkers. The story? Basically, girls on their period become literal monsters, in this case were-cats. Holy shit. And Cain is reuniting with her “Mockingbird” team including artist Kate Niemczyk, to deliver to us, the undeserving public, a new magnum opus. Oh what’s that? You need more convincing. Well, for a dollar more, you can pick up the first issue with a glitter cover. A glitter cover.
I swear to Jack Kirby above, if a single one of you tries to harass Chelsea Cain this time, I’m driving to your house and ripping up all your “X-Men” and “Batman” comics. Please just let us have this.
WRITER: CHELSEA CAIN
ARTIST: KATE NIEMCZYK
COVER: LIA MITERNIQUE
SEPTEMBER 26 / 24 PAGES / FC / T+ / $3.99
Eisner-nominated and New York Times bestselling thriller writer CHELSEA CAIN returns to comics with a new ONGOING SERIES! A mutation in Toxoplasmosis causes menstruating women to turn into ferocious killer wildcats—easily provoked and extremely dangerous. As panic spreads and paranoia takes root, the fate of the world rides on the shoulders of one twelve-year-old girl. Part Cat People, part The Handmaid’s Tale, MAN-EATERS will have everyone talking. From the creative team behind the Eisner-nominated series Mockingbird: writer CHELSEA CAIN, artist KATE NIEMCZYK, colorist RACHELLE ROSENBERG, letterer JOE CARAMAGNA, and joined by LIA MITERNIQUE, KATIE LANE, and STELLA GREENVOSS. This September… the cat wants in.