Autumn is a time for change, and we’re not just talking about the leaves or a shift away from summer sun. Our 20 picks innovate and reinvent, telling stories we’re not used to or reimagining others in surprising and creative ways.
This fall brings us, for one, DJANGO/ZORRO, the gory gun-slinging graphic novel result of a partnership between Quentin Tarantino and Matt Wagner, which envisions a sequel to DJANGO UNCHAINED featuring the classic Western swordsmith.
The shift in seasons also hearkens a shift towards inclusivity in comics. Steve Orlando’s VIRGIL tells a familiar story of a wronged cop, betrayed by his own force and seeking revenge for his loved one --- but Orlando sets his story in Jamaica, and Virgil’s force only turns against him when he’s outed as gay after living closeted for thirty years. VIRGIL’s visuals are striking, and this fresh take on the revenge narrative is culturally relevant, hard-hitting and absolutely crucial.
Dystopia also gets a vital new perspective this fall with Kelly Sue DeConnick’s BITCH PLANET, a response to exploitative misogynist media tropes. DeConnick imagines a not-too-distant future in which a woman's failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords will result in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy...and what follows is sure to engage any reader.
We also see a collection of the classic ASTRO-BOY, with nearly seven hundred pages of our favorite little robot, and the bedtime stories of our childhood brought to life in beautifully immersive graphic novel form with FABLE COMICS. Quite differently, MEGG & MOGG IN AMSTERDAM have nothing to hide, and the innovative Simon Hanselmann uses illustration to depict the world in all its mess and glory. Megg and Mogg bring the bitter grunge of a mid-twenties lack of ambition into a narrative and a humor that’s almost heartbreaking in a darkly engaging way.
From the Paul Pope's THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WEST to Jennifer Hayden’s poignant and witty telling of her experiences with her breasts from adolescence to cancer in THE STORY OF MY TITS, this autumn is a time of change. This bookshelf is all about breathing life into older conventions and shining the light on the stories in the corners that deserve a chance. We hope you find quite a few titles you enjoy!
Also be sure to check out Jessica Abel’s timely and detailed graphic analysis of new radio and podcasting, OUT ON THE WIRE: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio, which released on August 25th. While it just missed our cut-off date for this feature, this is a terrific work that fans of Ira Glass and Serial --- or Scott McCloud --- shouldn’t miss.