Required Reading: Comics for 10/5/2016

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Required Reading: Comics for 10/5/2016

October typically signifies the end of summer fun and the slow march of oncoming winter, but we here at Paste Comics didn’t get the memo. The Halloween month’s first Wednesday is so jam-packed with exciting new launches and notable returns that we expanded our weekly recommendation list and still couldn’t cover every book worth a glance. In addition to the titles listed in the gallery above, we’ve got Death of Hawkman taking flight, Regular Show signing off, He-Man/ Thundercats rebooting ‘80s fantasies, Romulus taking no prisoners and a gosh-darn-freaking Squirrel Girl OGN. And on a behind-the-scenes note, we’ve rebranded the weekly suggestion round-up and welcomed aboard Caitlin Rosberg to offer her thoughts on which comics constitute Required Reading each Wednesday.

Archie Meets Ramones #1

Writers: Alex Segura, Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Gisele Lagace
Publisher: Archie Comics

NYC's finest punk icons and their three-chord overtures will always live on in our hearts, but this adorable one shot will be the closest many of us will come to seeing Joey, Johnny, Tommy and Dee Dee outside of archival footage. Writers Alex Segura and Matthew Rosenberg jam out with artist Gisele Lagace for a light-hearted story about every-teen Archie and his band traveling back in time to receive some pointers from the greats. This tongue-in-cheek comic also serves as a lighter sibling to Rock 'n' Roll High School, the kitschy Roger-Corman produced '79 film that similarly saw the band in a mentorship position. Hopefully this comic has the kids—or their nostalgic dads—forming in a straight line at the comic shop. Sean Edgar

Black #1


Writer: Kwanza Osajyefo
Artist: Jamal Igle
Publisher: Black Mask

Hot on the heels of a hoodie-clad Luke Cage hitting the streets of Netflix comes Black, a bold new series that proposes Trump supporters' worst nightmare: a world where only black people get super powers. First conceived as a Kickstarter project before being picked up by upstart publisher Black Mask, Black is an unabashedly political work arriving at a fever-pitch moment, and the latest in a long tradition of comics tackling important social issues. Writer Kwanza Osajyefo may be new to the scene, but artist Jamal Igle has honed his craft over years of capes-and-tights work, helping give a polished look to this very necessary new title. If you're still hurting from the cancellation of Nighthawk, make sure Black is on your pull list. Steve Foxe

Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash

Writer/Artist: Dave McKean
Publisher: Dark Horse

Dave McKean and his mixed-media visual feasts tend to be associated with his Neil Gaiman collaborations, including all 76 covers of The Sandman and oversized graphic novels like Violent Cases, Signal To Noise and Mr. Punch. But McKean's solo efforts hold a tempo and bizarreness all their own. From the meta explorations of Cages to the hallucinogenic pornography of Celluloid, the auteur's storytelling is just as deep and engrossing as the illustrations that express it. The creator's newest project, Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash, follows the winding life of the titular 20th Century painter, who transformed the moon-like landscapes of WWI battlefields and British countryside into alien windows of startling beauty.

The similarities between both artists are undeniable: sloping, expressionist curves, borderline theatric light contrasts. They both capture the soul of a person, place or thing while avoiding its most mundane elements. But Black Dog is also a new frontier for the auteur, shaping McKean's surrealism into the nonfiction of a man's life. While there's little doubt we won't be hypnotized by the visuals, how they define the tragedy and recovery of one of the most visceral, draining wars in human history will be equally interesting. Sean Edgar

Cage #1


Writer/Artist: Genndy Tartakovsky w/ Stephen DeStefano, Scott Wills
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Cartoonist Genndy Tartakovsky has an immediately recognizable style that will remind readers of his work on groundbreaking shows like Samurai Jack. Cage has been in the works for quite some time, and much like Captain America: White, has been released at possibly the worst time imaginable—at least in terms of optics. Facing down both the release of Netflix's Luke Cage as well as David F. Walker and Stanford Greene's run on Power Man & Iron Fist, this mini runs the risk of completely bombing in the face of more nuanced explorations of race and power. Given the recent criticisms of representation at Marvel, it's a bit surprising they decided to release a book reliant almost exclusively on the old school blaxploitation stereotypes Luke Cage was long steeped in, particularly given the make up of the creative team. Even if it does end up being a mess, Tartakovsky and his team are incredible artists, so it's going to be a beautiful one. Caitlin Rosberg

Cannibal #1


Writers: Brian Buccellato & Jennifer Young
Artist: Matias Bergara
Publisher: Image Comics

The comic industry—and publisher Image Comics in particular—is no stranger to humans devouring other humans, but the flesh-eaters of The Walking Dead at least have the excuse of being undead. Not so much in Brian Buccellato, Jennifer Young and Matias Bergara's Cannibal, where a disease compels otherwise sane residents of a Florida bayou town to go full Donner Party on their neighbors. Paste chatted with Buccellato and Young over e-mail last month, and the writing duo promised more swamp-set bloodletting in the issues to come as the backwater community attempts to deal with the dietary disaster in its midst, cleanly rendered by relative newcomer Bergara's confident line. Steve Foxe

Champions #1


Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Publisher: Marvel Comics

After undergoing a civil war of its own, the Mark Waid-written All-New, All-Different Avengers has broken off into the forthcoming adjective-less Avengers and this week's Champions, an all-teen squad reclaiming a fan-favorite title long lost in legal limbo. ANADA members Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man and Nova are joined here by the Totally Awesome Hulk (Korean-American teen genius Amadeus Cho), Cyclops (the time-traveling teenage version) and Viv Vision (why aren't you reading Vision!?), drawn by Young Justice's own Humberto Ramos, who brings his well-honed flair for teen-team action to the book. It'll be a shame to lose the intergenerational dynamics of the latest Avengers incarnation, but Waid's Marvel track record bodes well for champions of the Marvel Universe's younger heroes. Steve Foxe

Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1


Writer: Sarah Vaughn
Artist: Lan Medina
Publisher: DC Comics

Sarah Vaughn is no stranger to romance comics or stories with emotional weight, with contributions to titles like Fresh Romance and Alex + Ada, which she co-created. Dealing with someone else's intellectual property is another task entirely, but she's got an incredible team working with her on this new gothic horror romance starring Boston "Deadman" Brand and a slew of original characters. Lan Medina, perhaps best known for his lush work on Fables, lends his immense talent to a book that, thanks to Vaughn as well as colorist José Villarrubia and letterer Janice Chiang, looks rich and textured. Fans of DC Bombshells will love the retro styling, readers missing Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV's Constantine will dig the hauntings and lovers of both will appreciate the multiple LGBTQ+ characters. The 48-page issues are ideal for newcomers and it's only a three-chapter miniseries, so buy it for your favorite Bronte enthusiast. Caitlin Rosberg

Death of X #1


Writers: Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule
Artist: Aaron Kuder
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Following the current state of mutant affairs requires equal parts masochism and blind optimism, as all signs point to Marvel downplaying the Children of the Atom in favor of the Terrigen-spawned Inhumans. With only four titles currently under the X-umbrella, the mutant realm of the Marvel U. launches into the first of two back-to-back mini-events with Death of X, the ominously titled Charles Soule/Jeff Lemire/Aaron Kuder jam that promises to finally reveal what happened to Cyclops following the multiverse-shattering Secret Wars. Soule is, of course, the scribe behind Uncanny Inhumans, as well as the upcoming Inhumans vs. X-Men, so expect Scott Summers' fate to somehow involve Marvel's new genetic wonder children. If nothing else, Aaron Kuder is a welcome addition to Marvel after years of honing his Quitely-like skills at DC, and this event, as worrying as it may be, should look astonishing. Steve Foxe

Enchanted Tiki Room #1


Writer: Jon Adams
Artist: Horacio Domingues
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Few could have guessed that Disney Kingdoms would follow The Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with Enchanted Tiki Room, a non-ride attraction centered around talking animatronic birds, but the mini-imprint has earned enough goodwill to give this humorous avian tale a shot. Writer Jonathan Adams and artist Horacio Domingues will be the first Disney Kingdoms creators to lean more toward the cartoon side of Disney with their island full of chatty parrots and living Tiki sculptures, which bodes well for the book being an all-ages offering for—let's remind ourselves—Disney's core audience of actual children, a readership otherwise underserved at Marvel. Steve Foxe

Green Valley #1

Writer: Max Landis
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Publisher: Image/Skybound

Pop culture enfant terrible Max Landis returns to sequential art after an innovative run dissecting Superman in the American Alien maxiseries, moving onto fantasy to see what other genres he can mix, match and stretch. In its first issue, Green Valley is an incredibly entertaining Medieval romp drawn with bright energy and pinpoint emotion by Giuseppe Camuncoli. The tale of a group of nearly invincible knights who may or may not fall from grace, the characters, dialogue and plot embrace Landis' restless energy. The most shocking thing the writer could do would be to write a thoroughly traditional tale at this point, but we look forward to seeing what rugs Landis pulls from our feet in future issues. Sean Edgar