The best new comics to read in September: Stories of swords and magic
As the summer of 2020 turns into fall, pop culture is trying to figure out ways to overcome the slump that has afflicted every industry in the year of COVID-19. A new Christopher Nolan movie is in theaters, kind of? More importantly, there are a bunch of new comics out this month, and you don't necessarily have to leave your house to enjoy them! There are also plenty of exciting new projects to check out on Kickstarter, which has provided a space for writers and artists to create crowdfunded comics during the COVID crunch.
Below, check out EW's roundup of new comics to read this September.
The Department of Truth (Image)
James Tynion IV (writer), Martin Simmonds (artist)
In the months since EW published a first look at The Department of Truth, the most deranged internet conspiracy theory of our day has somehow gotten even more popular. That context makes this feel like a great time to dive into a new comic series that imagines if every conspiracy theory was true. Well, fine, it's a bit more complicated than that, but still The Department of Truth (the title of which refers to a fictional government agency tasked with fighting conspiracies before they get too popular) is a story for our zeitgeist. Simmonds' art invokes Bill Sienkiewicz and channels the distorting effect conspiracies can have, when you lose track of what's reality and what's fiction. Even as Tynion takes on big mainstream comics like Batman, it's awesome to see him still doing interesting independent work like this.
The Department of Truth #1 is available Sept. 30.
John Constantine, Hellblazer: Marks of Woe (DC Comics)
Si Spurrier (writer), Aaron Campbell (artist)
This isn't the John Constantine you're used to. Sure, he's still a magical conman who wears a beige trench coat while smoking one cigarette after another, but the creative team of the latest John Constantine, Hellblazer comic has come up with a unique angle on the character. This is the version of Constantine glimpsed in the apocalyptic far-future battle from the original The Books of Magic graphic novel, brought back in time to see if his wisdom and experience can help him live a better life. As part of the Sandman Universe, this incarnation of Hellblazer has more connections to other parts of that line, such as the current Books of Magic series. It's also written by Si Spurrier, who just came off a great run on the line's flagship title, The Dreaming, and continues to prove he's one of the best fantasy comic writers working today (he even reunited with Matias Bergara, his former Coda collaborator and EW's favorite comic artist of 2019, for the latest issue). Coming off Infidel, artist Aaron Campbell certainly captures supernatural horror, such as the angels who skin "criminals" alive in a London park and the local gang lord who operates technology with a dead man's hand.
The series has unfortunately been announced that it will stop after 12 issues, as COVID-19 continues to wreak chaos on the comics industry. But now that the first collection is out this month, you can get a taste of this great dark fantasy for yourselves. John Constantine, Hellblazer: Marks of Woe is available Sept. 29.
The Incal 40th-anniversary edition (Humanoids)
Alejandro Jodorowsky (writer), Moebius (artist)
As we approach the release of the upcoming Dune film from director Denis Villeneuve, it's worth taking a moment to reflect on the first attempt to adapt Dune. As detailed in the 2013 documentary Jodorowsky's Dune, that first adaptation was helmed by surrealist director Alejandro Jodorowsky, who recruited legendary French comic artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud to create thousands of concept drawings and storyboards. After the movie ultimately failed to materialize, Jodorowsky and Moebius instead poured many of their designs and concepts into a comic called The Incal. First published in 1980, The Incal is a legendary sci-fi comic about the adventures of a down-on-his-luck detective named John DiFool making his way through a degenerate dystopia. Whether you're an established fan of this iconic book that would go on to influence sci-fi like Blade Runner and Akira, or someone who's never had the chance to pick it up before, this month's 40th-anniversary publication from Humanoids offers a perfect chance to experience this masterpiece.
The 40th-anniversary publication of The Incal is available Sept. 8.
Witches of Brooklyn (Penguin Random House)
Sophie Escabase (writer/artist)
"Brooklyn witches." It's become almost an epithet for a certain type of young person who lives in New York and is really into tattoos, Tarot, and tea (and maybe sometimes tries to hex the moon). But when young Effie is dropped on her aunts' doorstep one night after losing her mother, she discovers a whole new definition of Brooklyn witch. Her aunts assist all kinds of clients with metaphysical problems, from nearby neighbors to huge pop stars. Creator Sophie Escabase's expressive art gives Witches of Brooklyn a cute vibe that also differentiates from just being a Sabrina ripoff.
Witches of Brooklyn is available now.
X of Swords: Creation #1 (Marvel)
Jonathan Hickman (writer), Pepe Larraz (artist)
A little more than a year after writer Jonathan Hickman took over Marvel's X-Men comics with a bang, the line is ready for its first big crossover. The X-Men are well-known for their big crossover events dating back decades, so it will be fun to see Hickman and the other current X-creators try their hand at one — especially one with such an outrageous, fun-sounding concept.
Who doesn't like swords? The X-Men mythology is certainly filled with enough of them (from Magik's Soulsword to Wolverine's Muramasa Blade) to justify the concept. The story also seems set to explore Apocalypse's original Four Horsemen and the ancient split between Krakoa and Arakko, hints about which have been dropped ever since Hickman's House of X/Powers of X duology that kicked off this new era last year (and happened to be EW's favorite comic of 2019). The fact that House of X artist Pepe Larraz is back to help with these framing issues is also very exciting. Bring on the swords!
X of Swords: Creation #1 is available Sept. 23. Check out the full publication schedule for the crossover here.