By Zack Quaintance — October saw the big two sort of stepping back with their superhero stuff and either lining up new books for the months to come (DC) or pushing forward with strong titles they’d launched this summer (Marvel). As a result, our list for the best new #1 comics of October 2018 is all indie stuff, which, in truth, is our favorite kind of list.
It’s also a really smart group of books this month, featuring another killer new series from Vault Comics, the latest addition to Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint, and a couple of very funny writers (Kyle Starks and Mark Russell) taking a pair of licensed properties and making top-tier comics.
Anyway, on to the books!
Shuri #1 by Nnedi Okorafor and Leonardo Romero caught me by surprise, at once capturing the tone of the character from the movie and making a comic all its own. I also think there’s a vague reference to what’s really happening in the main BP title, which, intriguing...
Also in Marvel #1s, I liked Shatterstar #1 (of 5) by Tim Seeley, Carlos Villa, and Gerardo Sandoval. Great art, and a concept that is basically Fraction/Aja’s Hawkeye, but with multiverse shenanigans...
Planet of the Apes: The Time of Man #1 was a nice surprise, too. I don’t usually pay attention to licensed property comics, but this one had an all-star lineup of writers (David F. Walker, Dan Abnett, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson) delivering vignettes. As it turns out, it was well worth my time...
Black Mask Studios is a publisher a like a great deal and maybe don’t talk about enough. I wrote about some of their books in our New Comics Discoveries October 2018, including last month’s Devil Within #1...
Infinite Dark #1 by Ryan Cady and Andrea Mutti was a somber adventure in deep space/melancholic tones...
While Dead Kings #1 was another entry in Steve Orlando’s growing canon of stories about revenge, with art by Matthew Dow Smith...
Meanwhile, the Marvel Zombie #1 one-shot was almost an anti-revenge story and very much a good time. Written by W. Maxwell Prince of Ice Cream Man and illustrated by Stefano Raffaele. A good book for Halloween but also just generally for fans of zombie fiction...
Last, here’s our **official** ranking of the X-Men: Black #1s from last month:
Emma Frost #1
On the whole, I liked X-Men: Black quite a bit and certainly more than I expected to, even if it was a little cash-grabby. I liked it in the larger context of the X-universe, because it sort of worked to rebuild the X-villains and position many of them with motives for combating the X-heroes soon, presumably in stories stemming from next week’s Uncanny X-Men #1 relaunch.
Top 5 Best New #1 Comics of October 2018
The Lodger #1
Writer: David and Maria Lapham
Artist: David Lapham
Publisher: IDW’s Black Crown Imprint
We’ve been big fans of nearly everything that veteran comic editor Shelly Bond has done with her IDW imprint Black Crown, which launched at this time last year (pre-dating our Best #1 Comics monthly series). As good as books like The Euthanuats and House Amok have been (appearing here during their own launch months), The Lodger feels like a complex and massive story all on its own. The book is the work of David and Maria Lapham, of Stray Bullets fame, and it certainly lives up to their legacy within the crime noir genre.
Simply put, The Lodger is intriguing. Previews for the title have promised a story about murder, shape shifting, transience, and travel blogging, almost as if someone pulled a set of disparate ideas out of a hat. The Laphams, however, weave it all together so well with sheer storytelling proficiency and flair, creating a world rich with mysterious characters and a forlorn tone to match the impermanence of their lives. We can’t recommend The Lodger highly enough, especially to readers who enjoy a more literary brand of comics.
Lone Ranger #1
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Bob Q
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Here we go, time to beat the Mark Russell is a genius at creating satire via seemingly taxed and maybe even corny old properties drum, again. Frankly, this could very well be the last time we point that all out, because what Mark Russell is doing with Lone Ranger has just become so commonplace for him. So then: what, you ask, is Russell doing with Lone Ranger?
Well, as hinted at above he’s using a seemingly-taxed and maybe even corny old property (this time, The Lone Ranger) to create a satire steeped in nuanced history and commentary on power structures, how the west was won, and oppressing others for the sake of your own gain. It’s similar thematic ground to Russell’s work on the phenomenal Flintstones series, and it’s as smartly-written and intensely character-driven as one of our favorite books of the year, Russell’s Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles. This, dear readers, is a smart and essential comic that you should be buying. Oh, and get ready to think about barbed wire more/differently than you ever have before.
Mars Attacks #1
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artist: Chris Schweizer
Colorist: Liz Trice Schweizer
Whoa, what is this? Two licensed properties on our best new books list in the same month? Plus also a shout out to Planet of the Apes in the quick hits section? Yes, it’s all happening, not because we’ve stopped being such severe buzzkills, but because publishers continue to put some of our absolute favorite creators on these kinds of titles. Now, we have the hilarious Kyle Starks teaming up with Chris Schweizer on a new Mars Attacks comic.
This book is great though, rich with the humor that has made Starks’ creator-owned work—including Rock Candy Mountain and Sex Castle—such an utter joy to read. Schweizer’s art is a great fit for both Starks’ sensibilities and the world of Mars Attacks, too, giving life to fearsome aliens as well as the scripts many gags. What impressed me most about this comic was how rooted in the main characters it felt, going out of its way to make us care about the old man and his son at the center of the first issue. This book is off to a great start.
Murder Falcon #1
Writer/Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics
Murder Falcon #1 is the second-ever debut comic to earn our vaunted 10/10 review, joining last month’s Fearscape #1 from Vault Comics. This book is just a perfect storm of things we enjoy: the artwork of Daniel Warren Johnson, cornball jokes about rocking super hard, and a deeply personal emotive story about loss. It’s the last item that gives this book a surprising and powerful center that has us intrigued about where this story plans to go.
These Savage Shores #1
Writer: Ram V
Artist: Sumit Kumar
Colorist: Vittoria Astone
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Vault Comics
Last (alphabetically) but certainly not least is These Savage Shores. Earlier this year, Vault Comics announced new series from four U.K.-based writers. The first three books were all great, starting with Deep Roots, and then Fearscape and Friendo. These Savage Shores is the last of the bunch to launch...and it’s also one of the best new comics of the year.
This is a vampire story steeped in imperialistic entitled oppression, from the viewpoint of the oppressor...until it suddenly swerves and takes a different approach. We don’t want to spoil things—because we really do want all of you to check this one out—but let’s just say that right up until the final pages, These Savage Shores is not what you think it is.
Check out more of our many monthly lists here.
Zack Quaintance is a tech reporter by day and freelance writer by night/weekend. He Tweets compulsively about storytelling and comics as BatmansBookcase. He also writes comics and is currently working hard to complete one.