Comics We’re Excited About for 11/4/2015

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Heading out of October, The Paste Comics Team’s always a little crestfallen. Gone with fall’s more manageable chill goes our horror-injected one-offs, as well as our excuses to compile massive lists about those aforementioned spooky books. November, on the other hand, sucks…until we remember what the holidays ahead bring with them, and then November rules. On the way are some terrific, deluxe-bound editions of some of our favorite comics of the year. This week, DC’s Vertigo imprint is kicking the season off in a big way with not only a beautifully packaged edition of The Sandman: Overture, but a healthy serving of anticipated weekly titles. Also, we’re filling out the Guardians of the Galaxy comic squad with wrestler CM Punk’s take on Drax, and Comics Editor Sean Edgar continues his love affair with Peanuts.

As always, comment below with your own favorites.

Citizen Jack #1

Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Tommy Patterson
Publisher: Image Comics

Just in time for the first wave of election fatigue comes Sam Humphries and Tommy Patterson's Citizen Jack, a horror/comedy in which a slimy politician literally makes a deal with the devil (as opposed to the nonstop metaphorical deals-with-the-devil made by real-world policymakers). Humphries—who first made a splash with a comic about having sex with dogs, crystals and plants—is most at home on this wackier end of the storytelling spectrum. Artist Tommy Patterson proves a good choice to bring the unsettling demon Marlinspike to four-color life. In a political climate full of truly horrifying candidates, it's a comfort to follow one who's decidedly fictional. Steve Foxe

Drax #1

Writers: CM Punk, Cullen Bunn
Artist: Scott Hepburn
Publisher: Marvel Comics

A year and a half out from the blockbuster film, Drax becomes the second-to-last cinematic Guardian to spin off into his own solo series (sorry, Gamora). The big green bruiser helped kickstart the cosmic craze back in his 2005 Drax the Destroyer: Earthfall miniseries, though his recent characterization has leaned toward classic tank tropes instead of the complexity seen in that outing. The marketable draw for this issue is co-writer CM Punk, formerly of the WWE and a committed lifelong comic fan. Punk's short contributions to Thor and Vertigo anthologies prove he knows his stuff, and co-scripter Cullen Bunn and artist Scott Hepburn are both seasoned pros. Guardians fatigue might be neck-and-neck with Inhumans fatigue, but it's clear the company is committed to making these properties evergreen for generations to come. Steve Foxe

Extraordinary X-Men #1

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Publisher: Marvel Comics

It's a rough time to be an X-fan: Bendis' conclusion to his two-title run has been repeatedly delayed, leaving major plots (Iceman!?) in limbo, and the All-New, All-Different Marvel launched with a mere three X-team books (excluding two Wolverine solo vehicles). This flagship X-book from Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos might just be the best panacea for troubled mutant sympathizers. Drawing on the Claremont-perfected drama-and-conflict dynamic with a time-hopping team, Extraordinary X-Men has one strike against it—a plot involving toxic Terrigen Mists—but plenty in the win column, including dynamic art from longtime Spidey artist Ramos and a fresh new voice in Lemire, a relatively recent Marvel convert. Yes, the X seems to be on the backburner at the House of Ideas, but quality over quantity isn't always a bad thing. Steve Foxe

Joe Golem: Occult Detective #1

Writers: Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden
Artist: Patric Reynolds
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Paste got an early look at this debut issue in June, and it's unsurprisingly another quality entry in Mike Mignola's expansive, pulp-inspired corner of the Dark Horse publishing line. Co-written by frequent collaborator Christopher Golden with murky, ink-soaked pages from Aliens: Fire & Stone artist Patric Reynolds, Joe Golem leans toward the noirish end of the storytelling spectrum with morally ambiguous characters making morally compromised choices. If you enjoy the stoicism of Mignola and Golden's Baltimore stories and the pulp-era grit of Lobster Johnson, you'll find a lot to like in this supernatural tale of a sunken New York City and its newest protector. Steve Foxe
Dark Horse

Monstress #1

Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda
Publisher: Image Comics

Monstress #1 is a brief glimpse into a bittersweet, colossal mythology that looks like it's been incubating for decades. Writer Marjorie Liu lines this introductory chapter with endless streams of breadcrumbs leading to big questions and caged horrors. Straddling such real world atrocities as human trafficking and post traumatic stress disorder, the series revolves around a young "woman" on a mission against a sect of nuns who vivisect the animal-hybrid members of her race. Artist Sana Takeda's rich style employs manga features with a muted color palette for a take that's once fantastical and dystopian. In effect, Monstress offers a weird balance of elements that borrow from innocent escapism as much as brutal war drama, like some alternative reality production co-directed by Hayao Miyazaki and Takashi Miike. In other words, check it out. Sean Edgar

Paper Girls #2

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Publisher: Image Comics

Last month, Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang dove into '80s Midwestern homage by introducing a sassy pack of adolescent gals on a dangerous paper route. Vaughan seems to be treating the title as a homecoming, setting the title in his native city of Cleveland and bringing back the bright-eyed cinematic adventure of Steven Spielberg and Chris Columbus. The potential alien artifacts and time twists are only reminders that the writer can paint convincing portraits of Americana no matter the decade. Artist Cliff Chiang renders the characters with sharp angles and inky textures, immersing the decade of Reagan and Walkmans with pinpoint accuracy and style. Sean Edgar

The Sandman: Overture Deluxe HC

Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: J. H. Williams III
Publisher: Vertigo/ DC Comics

Trade-waiting is controversial business in the comic world. Dilly-dally with the wrong title and there's a chance the publisher will swing the cancellation hatchet before there's a collected edition. One could hardly be blamed for holding out for this particular hardcover, though, as Vertigo will undoubtedly keep it in print for decades to come. Neil Gaiman's return to his most enduring creation carried all the risk of any highly anticipated comeback, and yet the master storyteller laughed at our doubts and delivered a fitting prequel. J. H. Williams III has crafted a six-issue statement that solidifies his place not only in this mythos, but among the all-time greatest sequential artists working in the medium. The Sandman: Overture is, quite simply, a perfect exercise in story and art. Steve Foxe

Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron

Writer/Artist: Charles M. Schulz
Publisher: Fantagraphics

Before the Star Wars marketing empire rains blankets of candy-colored lasers and limited edition…whatever, the Peanuts legacy will hold a brief window to enchant with a new CG movie of small children far more neurotic than most alcoholic poets. And despite lacking the touch of founder Charles M. Schulz, it doesn't look like it'll be yanking the proverbial football from eager movie goers. To coincide, current licenser Fantagraphics is releasing a collection of every strip that includes the titular Beagle's fantasies as a World War I fighter pilot. For a beloved series known for celebrating suburban nostalgia, these asides focus on one of the weirdest pockets of a strip that ran for half a century. Whether you're familiar with Archduke Franz Ferdinand or the proto-aerial warfare of 1915, Peanuts remains a masterful experience in any iteration. Sean Edgar

Survivors' Club #2

Writer: Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics

The debut issue of novelist Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen and Ryan Kelly's Survivors' Club was released a month ago, and the wait for issue #2 has been a struggle. After a cliffhanger ending in issue #1, I've been eager to learn more about the half support-group, half misfit gathering surrounding a handful of folks who endured demonic and horrific events. As this week's follow-up proves, this world has the potential to be a fantastical, spooky treat that's just gathering steam—and often, it's worth the price of admission for Bill Sienkiewicz's terrifying covers alone. If you're not already on-board, don't miss your chance to experience the maddening reality of a month-long wait between Survivors' Club issues. Tyler R. Kane

Unfollow #1

Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Mike Dowling
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics

When it comes to exploring the impact of short-form messages on our society, I'm in favor of pursuing the long-form discussion outside of glowing rectangles. The latest Vertigo series from writer Rob Williams and artist Mike Dowling, Unfollow will do that through the beautiful, nostalgic medium of paper. In Unfollow's case, these top-tier tweeters are dubbed "The 140," who each find themselves on the tail-end of an offer so lucrative, they'll reconsider donning Bernie Sanders attire. If Vertigo's recent debuts have been any indication, things are happening for the publisher; Unfollow #1 appears to be no exception, sporting a fully realized world from Dowling that feels almost limitless by Williams' design: after all, off-the-net readers will confirm it's not easy getting the full story behind 140 separate faces. Tyler R. Kane

Vision #1

Writer: Tom King
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Five short years ago, a Vision solo series would have been a quick and dirty cash grab to precede the character's fan-favorite role in this year's Avengers: Age of Ultron, with passable art and a forgettable plot. The creative team of writer Tom King and artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta all but assure that won't be the case today. King's short career has been marked by consistent surprise, making a sleeper hit out of C-list DC property Omega Men (even inspiring a fan campaign that extended the book's life by six issues). His take on Vision is inspired, if reminiscent of DC's Red Tornado: the android Avenger wants a normal life, so he builds a suburban robot family with all of his dynamic abilities. Combine this quirky premise with Walta's idiosyncratic art and Marvel may just have its next offbeat hit on its hands. Steve Foxe