The Most Anticipated Comics of 2019, Part 1

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The Most Anticipated Comics of 2019, Part 1

You know, we considered 2018 a darn good year for comics—but we’ve already got a hunch that 2019 is going to do its best to top it in epic fashion. When we started working on our list of the Most Anticipated Comics of 2019, we expected it to top out around 40, 50 comics max, but the more we dug into what publishers like Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Lion Forge, Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, First Second and more have planned for the year, we knew we were going to have an impossible task narrowing it down. Rather than leave off dozens of notable new releases, we’ve chopped our list in half. Below you’ll find our Most Anticipated Comics of 2019…through mid-March. Check back next week for another set of entries that continues through the rest of March and onward until the end of 2019. Get your reading glasses ready—it’s going to be a hell of a year for sequential art.


AdventureTimeMSMostAnticipated.jpeg Adventure Time: Marcy & Simon
Writer: Olivia Olson
Artist: Slimm Fabert
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: January 16, 2019
The Adventure Time cartoon may have concluded, but BOOM! Studios is keeping the groundbreaking series alive and well in the comics. Adventure Time Season 11 continues Finn and Jake’s story monthly, and will soon be joined by a six-issue mini-series focusing on the reunited duo of Simon and Marceline as Simon seeks to make up for his time as the Ice King—by venturing into the Nightosphere! Former Adventure Time illustrator Slimm Fabert provides the art, joined by an exciting new writer: Olivia Olson, the voice actor of Marceline herself. Steve Foxe


BlackWidowMostAnticipated.jpeg Black Widow
Writers: Jen & Sylvia Soska
Artist: Flaviano
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Release Date: January 16, 2019
The Soska Sisters have carved out a small niche in the horror scene, and this month they’ll aim to carve a piece out of anyone in the Black Widow’s path. Former Russian agent and longtime Avenger Black Widow has rarely been guided by female creators, and while we loved Chris Samnee and Mark Waid’s go at the character, the Soska Sisters bring with them the promise of visceral, unflinching new paths for the Widow to walk. Joining the twin directing duo on art is Flaviano, whose past work with Marvel has often skewed more lighthearted than Russian blood vendettas. The Black Widow’s status in the Marvel U. since Secret Empire has been spotty: she was dead, then she was back, then she had an Infinity Stone, then she went undercover alongside Weapon H at Captain America’s behest. With any luck, Black Widow will recenter Natasha around what she does best: make bad men pay for their bad deeds. Steve Foxe


InvadersMostAnticipated.jpeg Invaders
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Carlos Magno
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Release Date: January 16, 2019
If Daredevil seems like an unexpectedly somber project for incoming writer Chip Zdarsky, what to make of his other pending Marvel launch? Invaders, timed perfectly to Marvel’s 80th-anniversary celebrations (which also sees the publisher releasing one-shot throwbacks like Crypt of Shadows and Journey Into Unknown Worlds), addresses the current dynamic between WWII allies Captain America, Winter Soldier and the original Human Torch—and their former ally Namor, who is currently in the midst of a standoff with any and all land-dwellers. James Robinson and Steve Pugh tried to make the Invaders more of a legacy title a few years back, but that take didn’t stick. Artist Carlos Magno’s name should ring familiar to readers of BOOM!’s Planet of the Apes and King Kong efforts, although he’ll now be applying his simian skills to the significantly less hirsute Sub-Mariner. Steve Foxe


TheAvantGuards_001_Cvr_A_Main_PROMO.jpg The Avant-Guards
Writer: Carly Usdin
Artist: Noah Hayes
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: January 23, 2019
Back in September, Paste broke the news that Heavy Vinyl’s Carly Usdin and Wet Hot American Summer artist Noah Hayes were poised to hit the basketball courts with The Avant-Guards, a 12-issue maxi-series from BOOM! Studios launching this month. The story takes place at the Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics, an historically all-female school more enthusiastic about the performing arts than its sports programs. Protagonist Olivia “Liv” Bates, budding actor and basketball player, doesn’t want to choose between theater and sports—and neither does new transfer student Charlie Bravo. Charlie was a star basketball player at her former school, and it quickly becomes Liv’s goal to recruit the new kid to Georgia O’Keefe’s ragtag basketball team and kickstart the first-ever basketball league for art colleges. The Avant-Guards joins Dodge City and Fence as inclusive, sports-focused series under the BOOM! banner. Steve Foxe


BuffyMostAnticipated.jpeg Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Writer: Jordie Bellaire
Artist: Dan Mora
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: January 23, 2019
Buffy. Is. Back. Written by Redlands’ Jordie Bellaire, drawn by Klaus’s Dan Mora and overseen by series creator Joss Whedon, this new take on the franchise resets the clock to the Scooby Gang’s high-school years, but with more contemporary flair. Following years of additional “seasons” at longtime publisher Dark Horse Comics, this more accessible pitch stands to attract both lapsed fans and newer generations who didn’t grow up with Sarah Michelle Gellar and company. Having gotten an early look at the first issue, it’s undeniably weird to see the recognizable likenesses of the cast, but in sometimes dramatically different roles—but that’s half the fun. Bellaire has a strong handle on character voices without coming off like a Whedon clone, and Mora continues to excel at both high school drama and thrilling throwdowns, as seen in his Power Rangers work. Slayers, vamps, witches, Watchers and innocent bystanders everywhere will want to nab this new era when it launches later this month. Steve Foxe


GuardiansMostAnticipated.jpeg Guardians of the Galaxy
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Release Date: January 23, 2019
The Donny Cates takeover continues this month as the Venom scribe reunites with his Thanos and God Country collaborator Geoff Shaw on Guardians of the Galaxy, one of Marvel’s premiere franchises. While the just-concluded Gerry Dugan era bore a strong resemblance to the charming, humor-heavy film iteration of the team, Cates and Shaw are shaking up the sizable roster with new additions like Moondragon, Darkhawk, Gladiator, Beta Ray Bill and, yes, Cosmic Ghost Rider. Guardians of the Galaxy looks to continue Thanos’ grand arc (as well as threads from Cates’s Death of the Inhumans) just in time for Avengers: Endgame synchronicity this summer. Cates’s willingness to buck expectations and Shaw’s brawny artwork position GotG as one of 2019’s biggest relaunches, and the beginning of an unpredictable new period for Marvel’s cosmic corner. Steve Foxe


NaomiMostAnticipated.jpeg Naomi
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Publisher: Wonder Comics/ DC Comics 
Release Date: January 23, 2019
Brian Michael Bendis’ Wonder Comics imprint is full of new characters—Jenny Hex, Teen Lantern, Dial H for Hero’s Miguel—but none as mysterious as Naomi, a brand-new DC protagonist getting her own series this month from Bendis, co-writer David F. Walker and artist Jamal Campbell. Walker is a trusted name even without the Bendis co-signature; he kicked off a career for himself on Shaft then had a brief run on Cyborg before impressing with Marvel’s Power Man & Iron Fist and launching the Image Comics series Bitter Root. Campbell has mostly provided short runs to both Marvel and DC on titles like Supergirl and Prowler, but his slick, cover-quality artwork has been begging for a bigger showcase. Naomi is a big question mark—the solicit text literally says “Naomi (last name?)”—and that mystery combined with this creative pedigree automatically makes her one of the most intriguing additions to the DCU in ages. Steve Foxe


AgeofXManMostAnticipated.jpeg Age of X-Man
Writers: Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Others
Artists: Ramon Rosanas, Others
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Release Date: January 30, 2019
Age of Apocalypse remains one of the most ambitious and impressive (if imperfect) events in comic history, replacing the then-most profitable line at Marvel with a whole fleet of reconfigured books for several months. The X-Men are less of a fundamental Marvel tentpole today than they were in the mid-‘90s, but that doesn’t make Age of X-Man any less bold. Spinning out of the current weekly Uncanny X-Men series, Age of X-Man is a 30-plus-issue crossover comprised of an alpha issue, six miniseries and an omega issue, all of it guided by architects Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson and written and drawn by a slew of Marvel’s current rising talent, including Leah Williams, Vita Ayala and Seanan McGuire. We don’t expect most (if any) of these dramatic overhauls to stick, but we’re all-in at the prospect of an alternate-universe X-Men moment—and the promise of big, bold newness to follow. Also worth adding to your calendar: Matt Rosenberg and Salvador Larroca’s run on Uncanny X-Men, which reunites Wolverine and Cyclops on the same X-squad for the first time in over seven years. Steve Foxe


FightClub3MostAnticipated.jpeg Fight Club 3
Writer: Chuck Palahniuk
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 30, 2019
Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club is irrefutably enshrined in the annals of modern literature, even if its themes flew over the heads of much of its bro-ier readership. Fight Club 2, Palahniuk’s unexpected comic follow-up with artist Cameron Stewart, massively expanded on the original text, giving the unnamed protagonist a name (Balthazar!) and transforming Project Mayhem into Rize or Die. Now, as Fight Club 3 kicks off, Balthazar, Marla and their first child eke out an existence in a rundown motel. Marla is pregnant with her second child, only this time, Balthazar isn’t the father…Tyler Durden is. And with a new group of deviants planning to “fine-tune” mankind, Balthazar must form an unlikely alliance with Tyler to stand in their way. Steve Foxe


PeterCannonThunderbolt.png Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Caspar Wjingaard
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: January 30, 2019
In recent years, Kieron Gillen has been busy with work outside of the capes-and-tights genre on his creator-owned The Wicked + The Divine and his recently launched Die, as well as Marvel’s Star Wars. Artist Caspar Wjingaard, meanwhile, has put in work with Marvel on Ghost Rider and Doctor Aphra following his Image Comics debut Limbo. Gillen’s time away from superhero comics should help fuel a take on Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt that’s in direct response to the current superhero status quo. Thunderbolt himself is a bit of an odd character. He’s been around for 50 years, but is best known for his legacy: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons partially based their Watchmen character Ozymandias on Thunderbolt, while the rest of the cast took inspiration from Thunderbolt’s Charlton co-stars. Gillen and Wjingaard are ready to change that, creating a whole new supporting cast for Cannon. When the series was announced, Gillen said, “I wanted to do a state of the art, state of the superheroic nation, and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt is it. High adventure, big ideals, epic destruction, heroism, despair and nine-panel grids.” Sign us up. Josh Hilgenberg


STL106161.jpeg Wyrd
Writer: Curt Pires
Artist: Antonio Fuso
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 30, 2010
Paid police consultant Pitor Wyrd is an ageless, invincible detective called in when cases get a little too…strange. In Curt Pires and Antonio Fuso’s inaugural issue, Wyrd heads for Crimea, where an attempt at replication a certain U.S. super soldier unleashes a roaming monster and a pile of dead bodies. Pires is the author of experimental works including Pop, The Forevers, The Fiction and The Tomorrows, while Fuso most recently lent his jagged, Jock-like style to Black Mask’s Survival Fetish and AfterShock’s Clan Killers. If you’re a fan of books like Hellblazer, Injection and Global Frequency, Wyrd seems like your latest weird fix. Steve Foxe


EddieSpaghettiMostAnticipated.jpeg Eddie Spaghetti & Mr. Fibber
Writer/Artists: Rutu Modan/ Yirmi Pinkus
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Apart from its Disney Masters series, its Peanuts books and some other repackagings, Fantagraphics hasn’t published a ton for children, but the early part of this year brings two sweet and colorful Israeli books focused on nonsense. Rutu Modan’s Maya Makes a Mess (Toon Books, 2012) is one of the best kids’ comics of the past decade, rendered in Modan’s neat rainbow of colors, each of which stays right where it’s supposed to. That precision allows her to portray total chaos with aplomb. Pinkus isn’t as well known here but he, too, is adapting the work of Lea Goldberg, an Israeli children’s book author. Let’s hope this heralds more books for little ones. Hillary Brown


BSGTwilightMostAnticipated.jpeg Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Breno Tamura
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: February 6, 2019
We don’t cover Dynamite’s media licenses too often here, but the publisher has done an excellent job of injecting new life into cult favorites unlikely to get much attention on film or television. From Dark Shadows to Re-Animator to The Six Million Dollar Man, Dynamite carries a torch for fan favorites, and Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command is a particularly bright light leading sci-fi aficionados into 2019. Written by Black Star Renegades and Wasted Space author Michael Moreci and drawn by Batgirl and the Birds of Prey contributor Breno Tamura, Battlestar Galactica: Twilight Command explores a previously unseen moment in the BSG reboot universe, as a band of human survivors fight back against the Cylons in the wilds of New Caprica. If reading those words brought a nostalgic tear to your eye, place your preorders now. Steve Foxe


DaredevilZdarskyMostAnticipated.jpg Daredevil
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Release Date: February 6, 2019
We fell in love with Chip Zdarsky’s writing over the last few years thanks to his knack for fleshing out the internal emotional lives of Marvel’s leading men, including Spider-Man and Star-Lord, but Daredevil is a whole other catholic-guilt ballgame. With the exception of Mark Waid, Chris Samnee and co.’s more exuberant relaunch a few years back, Matt Murdock is generally one of the publisher’s most dour characters, with a supporting cast marked by tragedy. Daredevil, which sees Zdarsky pairing with artist Marco Checchetto—not a name often associated with lightheartedness—stands to reveal new depths for Zdarsky’s reach at Marvel, and a new, still shrouded-in-secrets era for the horned protector of Hell’s Kitchen. Steve Foxe


femalefuries2.jpeg Female Furies
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Adriana Melo
Publisher: DC Comics 
Release Date: February 6, 2019
DC Comics’ discourse-dominating Mister Miracle series just wrapped up in November, but the publisher made sure readers wouldn’t have to wait long for more of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World creations. Female Furies is a six-issue mini-series coming from writer Cecil Castellucci (Shade, The Changing Girl) and artist Adriana Melo (Plastic Man) that takes a big step back in the history of the Apokolips/New Genesis conflict, spotlighting Big Barda’s tenure as a Female Fury under the iron thumb of Granny Goodness. The Female Furies are raised since birth to stand among Apokolips’ most intimidating warriors, enduring trials by (often literal) fire to represent Darkseid on the battlefield. In Castelluccii and Melo’s series, Granny Goodness and the Furies find themselves fed up with being left behind while the men (and Parademons) go to war. Steve Foxe


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