Comics famously have an "unlimited special effects budget," in comparison to movies and TV. Unlike the complications of bringing certain images to life on screen, in comics, if an artist can imagine it and put it on a page, then it can be in the story. This has lead to all sorts of wild experimentation with genres in comic book form, because they'd be impossible stories to tell any other way.
Many prime examples of this are included on this list of graphic novels releasing in the month of September! We have superheroes teaming up with cartoon classics, medieval knights tangling with sciences beyond their comprehension, and aliens getting involved with politics, among many others. Just like every month, we've included trade paperbacks (TP) and hardcovers (HC), and the best collections, original graphic novels, and fresh new editions, assuring there's something here for even the pickiest of readers.
So check out the list below, and be sure to let us know if there are any graphic novels that you're currently loving in the comments. We can always use some quality recommendations.
DC MEETS HANNA-BARBERA TP
by Marc Andreyko, Jeff Parker, Dan DiDio, Mark Russell, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, James Tynion IV, Christopher Sebela, Howard Chaykin, Antony Bedard, Steve Lieber, Phil Winslade, Rick Leonardi, Scott Hanna, Ben Caldwell, Howard Porter, Mark Morales, Pier Brito & Ariel Olivetti. Cover art by Ariel Olivetti. September 20 from DC Comics.
This is one of those books that doesn't really need me to sell it to you. You're either hooked after reading the tile or you're a crazy person and you aren't. But no matter which camp you fall into, let me assure you, that you won't be disappointed by this collection.
This paperback contains all of the DC Meets Hanna-Barbera one-shots from earlier this year: Green Lantern/Space Ghost, Adam Strange/Future Quest, Booster Gold/The Flintstones and Suicide Squad/Banana Splits, along with their backup stories, featuring new takes on Top Cat, The Jetsons, Ruff and Reddy, and Snagglepuss, and amazingly, not a single story was a dud.
This is the sort of project that could slide by on the strength of its IPs and its weirdness, but each tale is approached with intelligence and delivers on the potential of both the comic book and cartoon characters it allowed to play with. Two space cops teaming up is as hot-headed but justice-focused as you might expect, while Batman meeting Top Cat is full of wit and weirdness. Each story does a great job mashing the worlds together, and may even introduce you to a couple of new characters you may not have seen before. The surprising attention to quality for this wild crossover project make it a must-buy for both superhero and classic cartoon fans.
ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN, VOL. 1 TP
by Kyle Starks. Cover art by Kyle Starks. September 27 from Image Comics.
Take a journey across the mystical land of the post-war United States with the most legendary hobo of them all: a man named Jackson, who is searching for something that no one believes exists, and the rest of the underground network of hobos—as well as the devil himself—are determined to stop him before he gets there.
Rock Candy Mountain is a rail-riding adventure unlike anything else you've experienced in comics, packed with action, interesting characters, and several trains worth of attitude. It's a goofy and defiantly odd book that is still incredibly heartfelt and laser-focused on telling a compelling story. Kyle Starks uses his deceptively simplistic art style to conjure up a world that you recognize, but also seems utterly foreign and filled with secrets around every corner. Whether you're in need of a belly-laugh or a kick in the balls, Rock Candy Mountain will deliver exactly what you need, and never in a way you'd expect.
COLOSSI, VOL. 1 TP
by Ricardo Mo, Alberto Muriel & Stelladia. Cover art by Alberto Muriel & Stelladia. September 6 from Vault Comics.
Vault Comics is a relatively new player in the genre comics scene, but even so I'll admit I was a bit slow on the uptake. But the young publisher's lineup isn't one that any science fiction or fantasy fan should sleep on, and Colossi is a great place to find out why.
This fun and original creator-owned series follows the passengers of a shuttle who are unexpectedly ripped through a wormhole and into a huge new alternate universe. Once there they must somehow fight for their survival while only being six feet tall. And threats from the outside aren't' the only ones, the stress of their situation produces danger from within as well. It's a tense, imaginative series with slick, smartly designed artwork that tells the story in an effective and exciting—nearly cinematic—way. This isn't your typical shrunken misadventure, this is high-stakes high-concept science fiction at its best.
Don't miss out on a great intro to one of comics' most interesting new publishers with the first volume of Colossi.
IRON FIST, VOL. 1: TRIAL OF THE SEVEN MASTERS TP
by Ed Brisson & Mike Perkins. Cover art by Jeff Dekal. September 6 from Marvel Comics.
Let's be honest: it's a rough time to be an Iron Fist fan. The character saw a lot (not entirely undeserved) scrutiny in the lead up to his live-action debut, and the show failed to deliver on pretty much every level. I now can't wear my Iron Fist shirt in public without having to explain that I also didn't like the show, but the comics are great.
And currently, the comics are most certainly great.
While the character may have whiffed in live action, on the comics page, Danny Rand's new series has been connecting a series of knockout punches, thanks to the top-notch new creative team of Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins. In his latest ongoing series, Iron Fist is taken to a mysterious island where he is forced to contend with its martial arts champions, and as he does so, the island's ambitions — and its connections to K'un-Lun — slowly become clear. It builds smartly on everything that has come before in Immortal Iron Fist and The Living Weapon, while also being a wildly entertaining entry point to the character. The creative team wields the genre masterfully, and Perkins gives it all the perfect tinge of noir and realism, along with some of the most astonishingly choreographed fight scenes you'll see in a superhero comic. It's everything you could want from an Iron Fist book and more.
Don't let this year go by without reading a good Iron Fist story, there's still time for redemption.
MOON KNIGHT, VOL. 3: BIRTH AND DEATH TP
by Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood & Jordie Bellaire. Cover art by Greg Smallwood & Jordie Bellaire. September 20 from Marvel Comics.
So apparently September is the month that my proclivity toward Marvel characters who are avatars of a mystical force becomes evident, but I am not ashamed.
There have been a ton of good Moon Knight comics, particularly recently. Huston and Finch, Remender and Opeña, Ellis and Shalvey, and many others have made Moon Knight into the type of series that creators only take on if they're bringing their A-game, and I'm happy to report that Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood and Jordie Bellaire were more than up to the challenge.
This volume wraps the creative team's run, as Marc Spector finally begins to piece his identity back together and is forced to confront the truth about his own mental health, and about Khonshu, the Egyptian god to whom he pledged his life. It's a surreal, strange, and cerebral trip through the mind of one of the most broken heroes out there. But with the subtle scripts of Lemire, the innovative negative space-heavy layouts and hauntingly real pencils of Greg Smallwood, and the dreamy, eye-catching colors of Bellaire, this story beautifully transcends itself to tell both a great superhero story and a moving tale of a very brave man's struggle to accept his mental illness.
This was a criminally overlooked series while it was running, but for my money, it was one of the best series Marvel has published in a while.
KONG OF SKULL ISLAND, VOL. 2 TP
by James Asmus, Carlos Magno & Brad Simpson. Cover art by Nick Robles. September 6 from BOOM! Studios
This series was one of the biggest surprises of the last year for me. Admittedly, I'm not the world's biggest King Kong fan, but this was easily one of the most compelling uses of the mythology that I've seen in any medium. Kong of Skull Island told the tale of two warring tribes as they're forced to unite and flee — along with their specially bred fighting animals known as Kong — through dangerous waters and end up inevitably on the beaches of the violent and ageless Skull Island.
The second arc follows the fragile new civilization the survivors are trying to establish, as they try to hold it together against divisive ambitions from within and prehistoric creatures from without. The new leaders also disagree on the place — if any — that Kong have in the new world they're building. It's a fascinating exploration of a society coping with massive upheaval that is both hopeful and tragic. This series also features some of the most breathtakingly detailed pencils you'll find in a comic book, thanks to Carlos Magno, who brings the chaos of Skull Island to vibrant life. Both volumes of this series are more than worth picking up for fans both old and new of the world of King Kong.
GREEN VALLEY HC
by Max Landis, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cliff Rathburn & Jean-Francois Beaulieu. Cover art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cliff Rathburn & Jean-Francois Beaulieu. September 27 from Image Comics.
The Knights of Kelodia are pretty great. Maybe not as great as they say they are, but still. Pretty great all the same. So when the people of Green Valley send for the knights to help them slay a dark wizard and his dragons, they think they can handle it—those things aren't real, after all.
What comes next is a genre-bending tale unlike any other that sees a group of warriors forced to confront their mortality and their reality in a way that no one else in history has. It's hard to discuss this comic without ruining the twist, but trust me when I say it's ridiculously great, and makes for a boldly unique and epic exploration of its genres. Max Landis delivers a script filled with wit and heart for his first creator-owned comic work, and Giuseppe Camuncoli illustrates a beautifully imagined medieval world and pulls off some truly jaw-dropping visual feats. Spectacular widescreen action and touching moments of humanity are crafted equally carefully by this creative team, all building to a finale that must be seen to be believed. Fantasy and science-fiction fans alike absolutely cannot miss the highly-original, rollicking good time that is Green Valley.
SAUCER COUNTRY TP
by Paul Cornell & Ryan Kelly. Cover art by Ryan Kelly. September 13 from IDW Publishing.
IDW has already abducted readers with a new series, Saucer State, and now they're bringing the original back into print! Saucer Country was originally published by Vertigo in 2012, and followed New Mexico Governor Arcadia Alvarado as she rode the campaign trail toward the presidency, all while trying to use her power to find out the truth behind what she believes was her abduction by aliens. Her search uncovers more questions and puts her in more danger than she ever expected, as she finds out what her place in the universe really is.
Paul Cornell writes a love letter to the absurd and wonderful legends of UFOs and grey men, and Ryan Kelly illustrates the eclectic cast as crackling with personality, and makes their world feel lived-in and full of mystery. Saucer Country is the perfect blend of politics, paranoia, and the extra-planetary that's sure to unite fans of X-Files, West Wing, People of Earth, and House of Cards alike. The first series lasted 14 issues (all collected here) before being prematurely cancelled, but as already mentioned, the sequel has already started, assuring that Saucer Country gets a shot at the ending it deserves, and assuring that readers get a second chance to probe the best UFO comic of them all.
EXTREMITY, VOL. 1: ARTIST TP
by Daniel Warren Johnson & Mike Spicer. Cover art by Daniel Warren Johnson & Mike Spicer. September 6 from Image Comics.
There's nothing else quite like Extremity currently inhabiting comic book shops, but there really ought to be. So what exactly is Extremity?
Extremity is many things. It's a stunningly drawn tribute to the science-fantasy comics of Japan and Europe. It's a high-flying action-adventure in a beautifully imaginative new world. It's also a heartbreakingly tragic tale about the lengths some men will be driven to by their pain, and the futility of revenge. Writer-artist Daniel Warren Johnson has created a world of floating islands and flying machines, warring tribes and wondrous creatures, that feels utterly unique while at the same time wearing its influences on its sleeve.
Extremity follows a young woman named Thea, a gifted artist who lost her drawing hand and her mother in a raid on her village by an enemy tribe, igniting a bottomless rage and thirst for vengeance in her father, the clan leader. He molds his daughter into hardened warrior, and leads his people to bloody war with its neighbors, actions that have some truly seismic and unforeseen consequences. While it has some of the most spectacular action scenes on comic shelves, Extremity is also a vulnerable and timely exploration of violence, and the consequences of unwavering belief.
Hands down one of the best series of the year. Read it.