Superheroes typically rule the summer, but now that we’re fading into the fall season, it’s important to remember that there’s much more to the comic-book medium. This month’s best offerings, for example, barely feature superheroes at all. That doesn’t mean the stories are any less engaging, of course. For one thing, these comics feature plenty of monsters, from the Aztec demons of Border Town to the real-life Nazis of The Faithful Spy. On the other side of the emotional spectrum, there’s romance, from the assorted love stories of Twisted Romance to the end of Alan Moore’s decades-long affair with superhero comics.
Below, check out EW’s list of five comics to check out this September.
Man-eaters #1 (Image)
Chelsea Cain (writer), Kate Niemczyk (artist)
Cain and Niemcyzk made waves with their 2016 Marvel comic Mockingbird, a brightly colored feminist spy story built like a series of interlocked puzzle cubes. That series faced an ignominious end after only eight issues, when a cover image featuring the protagonist wearing a “Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda” t-shirt inspired angry male fans to deluge Cain with hate messages until she was forced off Twitter for a time. But as Cain recently told EW: “Yeah! Of course I have a feminist agenda. I’ll see your outrage and raise you a Tampon Woman. What do you got, internet?”
Her newest comic with Niemczyk, Man-eaters, is an even more inspired feminist fable than Mockingbird. In this world, menstruation sometimes transforms teen girls into violent cat monsters, leading them to be arrested and persecuted as a result. It feels particularly relevant at a time when the Supreme Court might soon be in a position to change abortion law and women’s control over their own bodies. As Cain says, “this whole monster allegory felt like a very apt way to explore our fear of female sexuality and women in general.”
Pre-order Man-eaters #1 here.
Border Town #1 (DC/Vertigo)
Eric M. Esquivel (writer), Ramon Villalobos (artist)
Events escalate quickly in this extremely relevant fairy tale. Young Frank Dominguez assumes the biggest challenges of moving to Devil’s Fork, Ariz. will be making new friends and trying to avoid neo-Nazi gangs…and then the monsters start showing up. See, this town isn’t just located on the border between the United States and Mexico, but also on the border between the mortal realm and the mythical Aztec underworld. Esquivel and Villalobos do a great job in this first issue of introducing readers to an entire cast of characters, and the latter’s Frank Quitely-like art perfectly balances the contemporary political allegory with some really colorful fantasy elements.
Buy Border Town #1 here.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #2 (Top Shelf)
Alan Moore (writer), Kevin O’Neill (artist)
Alan Moore is one of the most famous names in comics, the kind of star even amateur readers could point to. His classic stories like Watchmen, From Hell, and more have reshaped the medium over the last few decades. All good things must come to an end, but at least Moore is finishing up his comics career with one last League of Extraordinary Gentlemen story alongside constant companion Kevin O’Neill. What started as a thought experiment for a Victorian-era Justice League has become a referendum on almost all popular fiction of the last two centuries. Now, Moore and O’Neill finally bring the League sensibility face-to-face with superheroes, while also revealing how and why James Bond was the ultimate villain of this story all along. This series should not be missed, and the second issue is as good a time to jump on as any, considering its promise of finally revealing the modern-day version of Captain Nemo.
Pre-order League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #2 here.
The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler (Amulet Books)
John Hendrix (writer/artist)
This is quite a time to be looking back at Nazis. A year after President Donald Trump defended Charlottesville protesters carrying swastikas, a staffer in the Department of Homeland Security resigned last month after his ties to white nationalist organizations were exposed. Whether or not this is the ‘30s all over again, Adolf Hitler seems to be on people’s tongues, making this a great time for John Hendrix’s deep look at a real-life German theologian who refused to let his conception of Christianity become an accessory to genocide against minorities. Hendrix’s beautiful blue-and-red layouts position the evolution of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s religious convictions against the historical tapestry of the Nazis’ rise. It would be a vivid read at any time, but feels especially relevant now.
Pre-order The Faithful Spy here.
Twisted Romance (Image)
Alex de Campi (writer), various artists
Romance sometimes gets overlooked as a comic genre, but this modern-day anthology is here to set the record straight. The four issues collected here, originally published in February for Valentine’s Day, include stories about the commoditization of breakups, mismatched romance between a famous guy and terribly shy girl, forbidden love in space, and the dangers of nostalgia for one’s childhood through the eyes of a princess who doesn’t want to grow up. The comic stories are written by de Campi, while Magen Cubed and Vita Ayala contribute prose stories.
Buy Twisted Romance here.