October has left us and that means it’s time to start working up an appetite for the holidays. But don’t let your stomach be the only thing you’re feeding—your brain needs some sustenance too, and what better way to feed it than with a great new graphic novel?
This month’s lineup of new hardcover (HC) and trade paperback (TP) releases include romance, adventure, time travel, and even a bit of holiday cheer, meaning there’s something for even the most voracious reader on your list.
Discover something new with one of these eleven November releases, and be sure to let us know what you’re looking forward to reading in the comments below!
(By Grant Morrison and Dan Mora. November 9 from BOOM! Studios)
It was just last week I was telling you why Klaus should be adapted into a movie, but I was getting ahead of myself, because first I need to tell you why you should read the comic.
The most obvious reason for most people is probably Grant Morrison. Morrison is one of the most celebrated authors in the medium, and this is easily one of his most fun and accessible stories. He forgoes his penchant for metafiction and instead leans on his astounding ability to synthesize and modernize mythology that he demonstrated previously in All-Star Superman. This is basically his “All-Star Santa Claus” where he takes an icon most people are all too familiar with and strips away the presumptions and the baggage to get to the root of what made the character inspiring in the first place. He takes Santa Claus—or simply “Klaus,” in this story—back to the Siberian and Nordic tales that inspired him, and makes him into a kind of warrior-pacifist, one designed and portrayed beautifully by superstar-in-the-making Dan Mora (Hexed).
Mora’s portrayal of the snowy forest-scapes and the timeless fantasy mountain town are vibrant and compelling, giving the tale a cinematic pacing while wordlessly giving you the sense that there is much more to this world to explore. He has an expert eye for action, and composes some really cinematic rooftop action sequences of Klaus saving the toyless town from tyranny and oppression. The series miserly villain you can’t help but love to hate, and the lovable cast of townsfolk will have you cheering Klaus on every page of the way. This is the perfectly-timed graphic novel for every comics fan on your list.
MOON KNIGHT, VOL. 1: LUNATIC TP
(By Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood and Jordie Bellaire. November 30 from Marvel Comics)
Moon Knight is one of my favorite Marvel characters. Reading Charlie Huston and David Finch’s brutally dark run—at an age that would’ve upset my mother, had she known—was a transformative reading experience for me, and the character has enjoyed an impressive run of quality in the decade since. Modern tales of the mercenary avatar of the moon god Khonshu have defined him by his madness, and recent runs have delved further into the roles of his trio of personalities.
Now writer Jeff Lemire (Descender) and artist Greg Smallwood (Dream Thief) are taking us farther into Marc Spector’s head than ever before in a mind-bending sandstorm of mysteries. Readers follow Moon Knight on a frantic search for a way to escape an outdated and cruel asylum run by people who may not be who they appear, in a New York that may or may not be destroyed—and who know if the whole thing is just in Marc’s head? Is Moon Knight crazy? Absolutely. The fun is in finding out how crazy.
The asylum, the Egyptian ruins and all the locales of Marc’s mind are beautifully drawn by Greg Smallwood, who demonstrates an incredible control of texture and depth, and whose characters act and emote with subtle effectiveness. He gives the book a distinct and cutting-edge visual identity through his use of negative space and innovative page layouts, and when accompanied by the deep, moody color palette of Jordie Bellaire, it makes for one of the best looking comics on the stands. Don’t miss this defining take on one of Marvel’s best characters.
ALEX+ADA DELUXE EDITION HC
(By Jonathan Luna and Sara Vaughn. November 16 from Image Comics)
Exploring the murky areas of consciousness and artificial intelligence is well-trodden ground for science-fiction writers, but when you’re talking about love, there’s no end to the ways it can be experienced. And in this this near-future tale, writer/artist Jonathan Luna (The Sword) teams with writer Sara Vaughn (Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love) to explore what falling in love with a robot might mean.
The titular Alex is a lonely, recently single guy who is gifted a companion android by his worried grandmother. The android is the other half of the title, Ada, who is intelligent, but prevented from being self-aware. Alex decides to illegally tamper with the software that prevents consciousness in order to be more connected to her and it puts both of them on a dangerous path for the sake of their unlikely love. This hardcover collection gives you the entire science-fiction romance tale in one volume, from an artist with a proven ability to create relatable, emotive characters and one of the most promising new writers in comics. Anyone with an interest in the genre should give this a shot.
THE MULTIVERSITY TP
(By Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Jim Lee, Doug Mahnke, Frank Quitely, Chris Sprouse, Ben Oliver, Cameron Stewart, and more. November 16 from DC Comics)
This is one of the best projects DC has published in years. A series of one-shot stories set on different alternate worlds in the DC multiverse each fighting a different aspect of a larger threat, The Multiversity covers all the genre weirdness, Americana iconography, and evolving history that makes DC great. Grant Morrison weaves a satisfying story experience on multiple levels, but I’ve gushed enough about Morrison lately, so let’s talk about the artists on this thing.
Ivan Reis (Justice League) channels his inner George Perez and packs a crazy amount of characters into the compacted Crisis story that bookends the series. Chris Sprouse (Tom Strong) delivers a wonderfully pulpy twist on the Justice Society, led by Doctor Fate, fighting against an invading world’s forces, and he nails the WWII-era tone of story. Ben Oliver (Batwing) creates a world that glows with youth and vanity, populated by legacy heroes from the nineties. The legendary Frank Quitely (Batman and Robin) transcends his inspiration in a structural and visual spin on Watchmen that will leave your head spinning over its attention to detail and elegant intricacy. Fight Club 2 artist Cameron Stewart breathes optimistic life into a timeless world populated by Captain Marvel and his cast, giving his issue a flawlessly classic feel that makes the character sing. Jim Lee (Justice League) draws a gleefully bleak world ruled by a Nazi Superman that oozes power and violence and is full of fun character designs. Doug Mahnke’s (Superman) art on the Ultra Comics issue is so good that the comic feels like it’s reading you right back.
There’s so much goodness in The Multiversity it’s impossible to cover it all in the space I have here. Read it and find out for yourself.
(By Mike Richardson, Gabriel Guzmán and Java Tartaglia. November 23 from Dark Horse Comics)
Full disclosure, Mike Richardson is not just the head honcho of Dark Horse, he was also the original owner of the comic book store I work at, so in a way, without him I’d be out of a job, and probably wouldn’t be talking to you about this graphic novel. But even if that wasn’t the case, I’d still be telling you to check out Echoes.
Richardson has steadily built a body of work all his own over the years at Dark Horse, with credits including The Mask and Star Wars: Crimson Empire. Most recently he teamed up with Usagi Yojimbo’s Stan Sakai for 47 Ronin, Richardson is now joining Gabriel Guzmán (Star Wars) for an intriguing new science fiction original graphic novel.
When pilot Fred Martin awakens after a strange crash, he finds himself thirty years in the past, and is presented with a decision of whether or not to kill to prevent a murder. Echoes is time travel at its most human and most relatable, presenting a scenario with consequences and pathos that readers of more restrained science fiction will enjoy.
MIGHTY THOR, VOL. 2: LORDS OF MIDGARD HC
(By Jason Aaron, Rafa Garres, Russell Dauterman and Matt Wilson. November 16 from Marvel Comics)
I’ve been a big fan of Jason Aaron’s (Southern Bastards) run on Thor ever since he launched Thor: God of Thunder with Esad Ribic back in 2012, and my love for it only has only grown as the writer’s run has continued. And while it hasn’t hit the same notes of heavy-metal brutality as that initial story, it has continued what made it work, which is a huge sense of imagination, powerful characterization, and stories of cosmic consequence. Aaron has delivered quality stories regardless of who has their hands on the hammer, and few have been better than the most recent arc which sees Thor clashing with Roxxon CEO and sometimes-minotaur Dario Agger as he deals with the fallout of his arrogance toward the Earth’s other rich supervillains. This brings the new Silver Samurai and Midas’ daughter, the Exterminatrix, down on his head, and they might just bring all of Roxxon’s floating island headquarters down with them.
The story gives series artist Russell Dauterman (Cyclops) and colorist Matt Wilson a chance to cut loose on some breathtaking action sequences, and to draw some offbeat characters that you wouldn’t expect to pop up in a Thor book. Also included in this collection is a flashback story to a time when Thor pillaged alongside Viking men, and how Loki helped one man fight back against the god of thunder. The flashback story is painted with grit and power by Rafa Garres (Jonah Hex) , and will scratch the viking itch you may have had after God of Thunder ended. This is yet another fun, powerful and great-looking volume of a run that’s sure to be looked back at as a classic.
PAPER GIRLS, VOL. 2 TP
(By Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson. November 30 from Image Comics)
I try not to repeat myself on this column, and thus far I haven’t spotlighted anything more than once. But for Paper Girls, I had to make an exception. I alerted you to the unmissable first volume back in April, and nothing has changed: it’s still a timeless tale of friendship, nostalgia, and time travel weirdness from a creative team of modern masters at their peaks. But one thing has changed since April, and that thing is Stranger Things.
When Netflix's Stranger Things released, there were immediate comparisons drawn to Paper Girls and numerous “read this after Stranger Things” articles pointed at Paper Girls with neon arrows. And those people weren’t wrong. Paper Girls captures all of the same heart, sense of wonder, and longing for childhood adventure that Stranger Things does, but I’m going to go a step further and say that it’s better. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Stranger Things, I just love Paper Girls more. It’s a heck of a lot weirder, the girl gang protagonists are refreshingly different leads, and there’s more depth to the mystery of it all. So if you loved Stranger Things, get ready, because if you pick up Paper Girls, I bet you’ll love it even more.
FLASH BY MANAPUL AND BUCCELLATO OMNIBUS HC
(By Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato and more. November 16 from DC Comics)
Flash Fact: Barry Allen was dead for a really long time.
With a third season of a television show getting going, a movie in (admittedly troubled) pre-production, and the lead role in the Rebirthed and acclaimed The Flash comic book, it’s easy to forget. But he was. For almost thirty years, Barry Allen was one of the rare superheroes who stayed dead. And so when he was finally brought back just before Flashpoint, it fell to the creative team of the New 52’s The Flash to truly define the Barry Allen of the 21st Century.
Enter Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. A rare team of co-writers that was also an artist-colorist team, they were tasked with creating a modern version of Barry, and they did so by creating one of the most entertaining—and certainly the best-looking—books of the New 52 era. There’s an intriguing mix of old and new in both the stories and the visuals. Barry retained his role as a police officer, but he was given more of a three-dimensional personality. They created new villains with personal connections to Barry while updating and reimagining all the classic Rogues in ways that don’t lose their colorfulness. The unpredictable and dynamic panel layouts, title splashes and ink washes will have readers recalling the work of Will Eisner, while the portrayals of speed and movement demonstrate a healthy manga influence, creating one of the most visually compelling superhero books on the stands, as one expects for the Scarlet Speedster. This massive tome collects Manapul and Buccellato’s entire run, and is the perfect thing to leave under the tree for the Flash fan on your list.
ARCHIE, VOL. 2 TP
(By Mark Waid, Veronica Fish, Thomas Pitilli, and Ryan Jampole. November 30 from Archie Comics)
I, like a lot of people, was pretty skeptical when the re-designed Archie was revealed. Even though I often leave it out of my comic book reader origin story, if I was being truly honest, my first comic—my first many comics—were Archie digests used to pacify me long enough to get through a grocery shopping trip. I ate them up. They were simple but entertaining, and you always knew what you were going to get. Those digests, like the town Riverdale and its inhabitants, never changed, and I never wanted it to. So a new, modern take on Archie? And it’s the official version now? No thanks, said my inner ten year old.
But luckily, I was very wrong. The modern revision of Archie has been pitch-perfect, retaining the Americana heart, the innocence, the drama, and the laughs that made the gang so endearing, but it has all been given a fresh coat of paint. All the characters you know and love are here, and if anything, you may come to appreciate them even more, now that they look like kids of today, and not of half a century ago. This new series has breathed new life into a franchise that no one thought change was necessary for, and you’ll be glad you gave it a shot. I know I am.
A.D.: AFTER DEATH, BOOK 1
(By Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire. November 23 from Image Comics)
The term “graphic novel” is pretty loose. Where’s the dividing line between comic book and graphic novel? Is it based on length? On serialization? On content? No can really seem to agree, and so I’m going to use that leeway to go ahead and say that since it’s a prestige-format three-book trilogy, that A.D.: After Death counts.
This fascinating project from superstar creators Scott Snyder (All-Star Batman) and Jeff Lemire (Descender) asks what would happen to a human race that beat death and broke free from the constraints of mortality. And those aren’t the only constraints being broken.
A.D. is also an interesting exercise in form, as the books will contain a mix of comics pages and painted illustrations by Lemire—who is returning to art after being focused on writing recently—and prose pages by Snyder. This comic is setting out to break the mold in every conceivable way, and you shouldn’t miss your chance to come along for the ride.
TRISH TRASH: ROLLERGIRL OF MARS, VOL. 1 HC
(By Jessica Abel. November 15 from Papercutz)
This is one of those great comics that you really only need to read the title to sell you. Set on a newly-colonized Mars two hundred years in the future, a young girl named Trish dreams of escaping her life of poverty and hardship by becoming a star hoverderby competitor. With her parents long since missing, and her aunt struggling to make it on her moisture farm, and a dying Martian showing up at her door, Trish has a lot on her plate, but her determination will set her out on a bold adventure to escape her circumstances and find her dreams.
This fun new all-ages graphic novel comes from the critically acclaimed mind of Jessica Abel (Out on the Wire), who both writes and draws this relevant, imaginative and exciting first entry in a new trilogy. A perfect new read for fans of all ages and persuasions.