October is going to be another big month for comics. New York Comic Con begins later this week, bringing with it all kinds of previews of upcoming comics, cartoons, and superhero stories (stay tuned to EW for more coverage as that all unfolds). On top of that, it’s October, and the Halloween month always ushers in a hunger for spooky and atmospheric stories.
In that regard, this month’s slate of comics will certainly not disappoint. There are plenty of witches and devils to be found on the page this October, as well as something even stranger: The full history of professional wrestling.
Below, check out EW’s recommendations for what comics to look for this month.
Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman: The Witching Hour (DC)
James Tynion IV (writer), Alvaro Martinez (artist)
Within the span of just three issues, DC’s new Justice League Dark series has already set the stakes as high as possible for its magical superheroes. Magic itself is under attack, and now Zatanna can’t even speak one of her trademark backwards spells without invoking the monstrous Otherkin. Recently, the only thing that saved this fledgling team from the demonic Upside Down Man was Wonder Woman’s unexpected burst of magical power. This month, the team will explore the nature of Diana’s previously hidden connection to magic in a five-issue crossover spanning this month’s issues of Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman, along with two bookend one-shots.
This investigation will bring them face-to-face with the ancient witch goddess Hecate, rendered in terrifying, three-headed form by Martinez’s gorgeously unnerving art. But of course, the most important element of constructing such a grand magical horror story for this Halloween month is using a character who doesn’t know what to expect — which is one reason why Tynion was so keen to have Wonder Woman lead these mystical misfits.
“The magical side of the DC Universe has fans like me who know these strange characters backwards and forwards, but to do a horror story you need to center it on people who still have things to discover, where it’s still a mystery to them,” Tynion told EW in July. “The idea of creating a situation that would make Diana afraid, when you know how fearless and powerful she is, that makes it scary and makes the fear real to the reader.”
Lucifer #1 (DC/Vertigo)
Dan Watters (writer), Max Fiumara and Sebastian Fiumara (artists)
Lucifer stories have been told before. Neil Gaiman first introduced this David Bowie-esque devil in the pages of his iconic Sandman series, after which Mike Carey picked up the torch for a 75-issue solo Lucifer comic. Most recently, this version of Lucifer has even made it to TV (coming soon to a Netflix near you). Now, Lucifer is back in comics (as part of the greater Sandman Universe revival at DC/Vertigo), and it’s a credit to Watters and the Fiumara’s that it already feels significantly different than what’s come before.
Whereas Lucifer Morningstar is usually a brilliant manipulator staying two steps ahead of everyone around him, this series finds the devil in a dark place. Blinded, bedraggled, tortured, and imprisoned by unknown assailants in an unknown locale, Lucifer is still as as righteously indignant as ever. But this time, his rage against the machine is played for dark absurdity rather than romantic tragedy; at one point in the first issue, Watters overlays epic Paradise Lost quotes about Lucifer’s rebellion against a surreal sequence of the modern Lucifer getting beaten and humiliated by his captors.
“We’re taking this figure who’s always been so furious about the world despite being this Apollonian beauty, and seeing how does he react when he actually does start to fall apart?” Watters told EW in August.
The first issue of Lucifer sets up lots of new characters and concepts that will surely be parceled out over the next few months, but already it rewards rereading like any good Sandman-affiliated comic. Plus, the Fiumaras’ art is full of just enough strange monsters to keep you adequately spooked during this Halloween month.
Pre-order Lucifer #1 here.
Blackbird #1 (Image Comics)
Sam Humphries (writer), Jen Bartel (artist)
Over the past few years, Bartel has become a red-hot artist much in demand for variant covers and prints, with her booth often drawing crowds of fans at comic conventions. Blackbird is her very first monthly comic (at one point she was attached to a Storm comic for Marvel alongside Ta-Nehisi Coates, but those plans appear to have been scuttled for now) and is set to bring together all her favorite things to draw: Demons, monsters, magical symbols, and most importantly, hot people kissing.
The story of Blackbird follows a young woman named Nina Rodriguez as she realizes there’s an entire magical world hiding underneath the veneer of Los Angeles. She’s correct, but no one else believes her, which adds a layer of allegory. Humphries and Bartel told the L.A. Times that they wanted to present a vision of L.A. like the one actually experienced by long-time residents like them, rather than the typical pop culture stereotype of beaches and Hollywood.
Pre-order Blackbird #1 here.
Shuri #1 (Marvel)
Nnedi Okorafor (writer), Leonardo Romero (artist)
Everyone’s favorite character from Black Panther has never had her own self-titled comic series before, but that changes this month. Nnedi Okorafor has already written a few Black Panther comics over the past year, so no one is better set up to reconcile the film and comic versions of Shuri. While Letitia Wright’s Shuri was a precocious tech genius, Shuri has typically been portrayed as a dignified royal in the comics — sometimes even more regal and self-serious than T’Challa himself. But now that Ta-Nehisi Coates’ latest Black Panther series has sent T’Challa off into space, there’s only one woman who can keep peace in Wakanda — if she can stop meddling with her inventions long enough, that is.
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther film adaptation introduced a lot of new ideas and characterizations into Wakanda. Between Shuri and Marvel’s just-announced Killmonger series, it will be interesting to see how much of those reimaginings can be translated back into the comics.
Pre-order Shuri #1 here.
The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling (Ten Speed Press)
Aubrey Sitterson (writer), Chris Moreno (artist)
“Is everything wrestling?” Jeremy Gordon asked in the headline of a 2016 opinion piece for the New York Times. The two years since those words were published have often seemed to answer that question with a resounding “yes.” Every day, it seems, our culture slides ever more into the blurry synthesis between fiction and reality that defines professional wrestling. After all, Donald Trump is in the White House, which makes him the first-ever President of the United States to also be a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.
This new graphic novel from Sitterson and Moreno offers an engaging and entertaining history of wrestling, from its origins in post-Civil War America to the modern era of John Cena. It provides an introduction to the culture for newcomers and a much-needed lesson for anyone trying to find their footing in our strange new zeitgeist.
Pre-order The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling here.