For a large section of the comic book community, all one can think about right now is Comic-Con International, starting in just a few days at the San Diego Convention Center. But the most recently released round of advance solicitations show that comic book publishers are partly looking past Hall H and towards Halloween, getting their slate of October 2014 products out into the world.
Looking at the upcoming offerings from Diamond’s five “Premier Publishers” — Marvel, DC Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics and IDW Publishing — it’s clear that the month known for ghosts and goblins will be absolutely loaded with exciting events, series debuts and quirky left-of-center projects. October sees a new hero taking up the mantle of a legend, more horror than you can shake a severed limb at and a few events that will hopefully thrill fans. Here are the books and events poised to have fans buzzing — books that readers of all kinds will be debating and devouring come this October.
“Edward Scissorhands” #1 (of 5)
Writer: Kate Leth
Art: Drew Rausch
Cover: Gabriel Rodriguez
Check off this book as one we didn’t know we wanted ’til we heard about it. IDW Publishing is bravely entering the world of Tim Burton to bring readers the further tales of Edward Scissorhands. Based on the hit 1990 film starring Johnny Depp, this new title promises to explore what happened to the tragic Edward after he exiled himself at the end of the heartbreaking film. Kate Leth, creator of the brilliant webcomic “Kate or Die,” is tasked with finding more story potential in Edward. The solicitation teases readers with an exploration of other experiments created by Edward’s creator and a new female protagonist that just might be connected to Edward’s true love from the film. Could “Edward Scissorhands” by IDW herald the publication of more Tim Burton properties? We sure hope so.
“Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #1-3”
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Adam Kubert (#1-2), Leinil Yu (#3)
Covers: Jim Cheung
Marvel events such as “Civil War” and “AvX” have dealt with heroes battling heroes. Well, this time, the heroes are united and the villains have entered the fray. Rick Remender is no stranger to epic, long form stories. His “Uncanny X-Force” and “Captain America” both feature prolonged story arcs that deal in multi-layered conflicts and daring worldbuilding. Remender does event-level stories on a regular basis in his monthly titles, so the writer doing an actual event with major ramifications for the entire Marvel U promises to be nothing short of huge. Advance solicitations reveal the Red Skull wearing the armor of Onslaught, as well as major villains like Loki, Magneto, Enchantress, Doctor Doom and so many more joining the carnage. The critical response to “Original Sin” shows that Marvel seems to have a handle on how to execute these events so things don’t become redundant. It’s been a long time since one of Marvel’s events focused on the villains, some of which — thanks to their films — are now more popular than ever. With daring creators like Remender and Adam Kubert along for the ride, the war between good and evil in the Marvel Universe could be more intense than ever.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10” #8
Writer: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs, Richard Corben
Colors: Dan Jackson
Covers: Rebekah Isaacs, Steve Morris
“Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” continues to rock on at Dark Horse, so what makes this issue so special? Of course, the consistently solid creative time of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs factors into the equation, but it’s the inclusion of Richard Corben in the book that raises our horror-hungry eyebrows. Corben is one of the most well respected horror artists on the scene and whenever he lends his copious talents to a project it automatically becomes noteworthy. That this issue of “Buffy” is Corben’s first foray into the Whedonverse and that it’s a Halloween issue… well, that all just adds up to a horror event worth getting excited over. Unforgettable things occur on Halloween for Buffy and the Scoobies, but with Corben adding his talents to the book, this should be one of the most memorable Halloweens in Buffy lore.
Writer: Alex Grecian
Art: Riley Rossmo & Ivan Plascencia
Covers: Riley Rossmo & Ivan Plascencia, Ryan Stegman
“Proof” creative team Alex Grecian, Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia reunite to explore the story of one of history’s most intriguing political figures: Grigori Rasputin. Although there hasn’t been much info released yet about “Rasputin’s” plot, from the solicitation description — “Dracula at Downton Abbey” — it’s likely the comic will focus a little more on the reputed supernatural aspects of Rasputin and a little less on the political. No matter the end result, it’ll certainly be interesting to read Grecian and Rossmo’s take on how the Mad Monk brought about the downfall of the Russian Monarchy — and the creative team’s interpretation of how that period in history really went down.
“Arkham Manor” #1 & “Gotham Academy” #1
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: Shawn Crystal
Covers: Shawn Crystal, Eric Canete
Writers: Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher
Art: Karl Kerschl
Covers: Karl Kerschl, Becky Cloonan
DC shakes things up in October with a pair of very unexpected “Batman” projects. First up is “Arkham Manor,” a series where the most infamous prison in the DC Universe somehow is moved to Wayne Manor. I guess there won’t be that many escapes when Batman is headquartered right underneath the prison. Villain books are always an intriguing and risky prospect but DC is currently reaping the rewards of their hit “Harley Quinn,” so adding a book focused on the vilest denizens of Gotham all locked together in Wayne Manor makes could give fans another to dark path to travel down to satiate their appetites for insanity. Gerry Duggan brings his writing talents to DC for the first time on a book that promises to be even crazier than Duggan’s usual madman, Marvel’s Deadpool. From a prison to a school, indie darling Becky Cloonan and co-writer Brenden Fletcher bring readers “Gotham Academy,” the type of book fans of Stephanie Brown and Tim Drake have been clamoring for. While there has been no indication that Brown or Drake will be in the book, one can infer that DC will want to focus on Brown after introducing her in the pages of “Batman Eternal.” The young heroes of Gotham have always attracted a large and passionate fan base and this title, under the creative direction of a unique talent like Cloonan, could be the book fans seek out to potentially find such characters as Brown, Drake or perhaps some faces from Gotham’s past including Betty Kane, Cassandra Kain, Carrie Kelley — or maybe even a resurrected Damian Wayne. The possibilities are endless for a title that could fill the void left for those who have not yet embraced the New 52 “Teen Titans.” Fans should not only look forward to meeting old favorites, but also the creative sensibilities of Cloonan, Fletcher and artist Karl Kerschl introducing new young heroes into Batman’s world that readers can fall in love with as they have their predecessors.
“Captain America” #25
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Carlos Pacheco
Covers: Stuart Immonen, Steve McNiven
In 1969’s “Captain America” #117, Sam Wilson was introduced to the world. The hero known as the Falcon soon gained co-star status with Captain America, and later joined the Avengers, was made into an action figure by Mego, became a mutant, lost his mutant status, fought side-by-side with Bucky Barnes when the former Winter Soldier became Captain America, and recently starred in the acclaimed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” In “Captain America” #25, the next step in the evolution of Sam Wilson takes place as the hero takes up the shield and becomes Captain America! The main story here is not the new Cap’s color, but the fact that one of Marvel’s most classic and underutilized heroes is about to be given the spotlight in a way he’s never experienced. Thanks to second “Cap” film, the Falcon is more popular than ever and featuring him as the newest Captain America finally puts Sam Wilson in rare air he has deserved for decades.
Writer: Scott Snyder
Whether it’s “Severed” from Image or Vertigo’s “American Vampire,” Scott Snyder definitely has his roots in horror. In October, Snyder makes his return to Image with an all-new horror title: “Wytches” promises to do for witches what “American Vampire” did for vampires. While Snyder’s involvement — and love of horror — should be more than enough to get readers excited, there’s the added bonus of Jock on art. The artist has already provided some pretty incredible interiors and covers during his career, and “Wytches” should be no exception. Dropping just in time for Halloween, the series promises to be a visceral treat for fans of Snyder, Jock and horror comics in general. Image is the home of the world’s most famous zombies thanks to “The Walking Dead” — will witches become the next big thing for the publisher? With Snyder and Jock stirring the cauldron, it’s certainly a possibility.
“Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier” #1
Writer: Ales Kot
Art/Cover: Marco Rudy
Ales Kot and Marco Rudy’s “Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier” spins out of the aftermath of Marvel’s huge “Original Sin” summer event, sending the one-time Captain America sidekick off in a whole new direction. With espionage experience on “Secret Avengers,” there’s good reason to get excited about Ales Kot taking on the black-ops antihero. Kot has received critical acclaim for his Image Comics series “Zero” as well as his work on Marvel’s “Iron Patriot” and the aforementioned “Secret Avengers.” Promising a new intergalactic role for the Winter Solider, Kot has promised that Bucky’s new role will be intergalactic in nature, describing the series as “if the James Bond movies suddenly had access to the characters and settings of all the other great film franchises.” Look forward to seeing one of the galaxy’s most dangerous spies potentially ply his trade in every corner of the galaxy — from the home worlds of the Badoon and the Kree to the realm of Asgard and the Negative Zone.
“Earth 2: World’s End” #1-4
Writers: Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Mike Johnson
Art: Ardian Syaf, Jorge Jimenez, Eddy Barrows, Paulo Siqueira, Tyler Kirkham, Ed Benes
Covers: Ardian Syaf
The New 52’s Prime Earth brought fans “Future’s End” and now, DC’s Earth brings them “Earth 2: World’s End.” Daniel H. Wilson, Marguerite Bennett and Mike Johnson, all writers with plenty of credits but new to the event scene, will take fans on a weekly exploration of characters and locales that make up DC’s Earth 2, a concept that has won DC many an admirer since writer James Robinson introduced the concept to the New 52. DC has been doing some great and daring things with their other weekly titles, and it will be interesting to see how a weekly dose of Earth 2 goes down. There are certainly enough classic JSA characters yet to be introduced to the New 52, so perhaps “Earth 2: World’s End” could be the place fans are treated to new versions of Hourman, Doctor Mid-Nite, Johnny Thunder, Liberty Belle, Commander Steel or Wildcat. We don’t know who will be added to Earth 2, but we do know that the Earth 2 versions of Batman, Flash, Green Lantern and Dr. Fate will be front and center in addition to the recently introduced Aquawoman and the return of Power Girl and the Huntress to their original Earth. With such a large cast, “Earth 2: World’s End” could be an epic look at a parallel world featuring some of the oldest icons in comics.
That’s some October, and we didn’t even talk about “Deathlok” #1 and “Guardians 3000” #1 from Marvel, Image Comics/Skybound’s “Birthright” #1 by Joshua Williamson, Andrei Bressan and Adriano Lucas, the “Ghostbusters/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” crossover at IDW and so much more. Get ready to stay inside, put the candy bowl by the door to avoid interruptions and settle in for some truly exciting comics.