4 Comic Books That Are Perfect for the Fall Season
I don’t know about for you, but for me, Fall conjures to mind red, brown, and yellow leaves layering upon the streets of New York City, masking the quotidian eyesores of plastic bottles, pizza crusts, and nameless paraphernalia whose grimy details I will spare you from learning. It also conjures up pumpkin spice lattes and candy corn. Now I ask you this, when enjoying your pumpkin spice lattes and candy corn (and no need to be embarrassed; it’s a well known fact that everybody loves this perfect 1-2 combo), is there no better activity to partake in than reading a good comic…or watching a good a movie…or spending time quality with a good friend? For the purposes of this article, we’re talking about reading a good comic. With the previous clause taken as a given, I now ask you, what comic book should you read? To which I will reply before you even have a chance to think, “THESE FOUR”:
Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
The dark, beautiful stylized aesthetic of the whole Sandman series makes it the perfect read for any colder, drearier months–but, if I had to choose one graphic novel for you to sink your candy corn-covered-teeth into, it would undoubtedly be the first one. Preludes and Nocturnes has everything you could hope for in a Fall read: a sombre tone, the legions of hell, one of the most uncomfortable and unfogrettable diner scenes that you’ve seen in any medium, and “perhaps misguided” appearances from classic DC characters such as the Martian Manhunter and Batman which may or may not clash with the otherwise anything but classic universe which is Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. Stylistic inconsistencies set aside, the graphic novel, which centers around Morpheus the lord of dreams, is full of fun literary and comic book references that are sure to get everyone’s goat. Gaiman’s world is beautifully rendered by Sam Keith, Mike Dringenberg, Malcom Jones III, and Dave McKean, resulting in an ink-stained reverie that is also part nightmare.
Batman: The Long Halloween
I know, I might be drawing some flack for this one. After all, like Sandman, much of the Batman canon is fit for the vespers of the fall season. “Why not choose Arkham Asylum or The Killing Joke or The Dark Night Strikes Again,” I can hear the internet zinging away in Medium responses and WordPress comments. But no, I’ll stick to my guns on this one. We find our hero still in his early days of crimefighting and so still wanting the grizzled resolve that makes him so formidable in his later years. Batman must partner with bosom friends Harvey Dent and Captain James Gordon in order to stop a killer name Holiday, who *drum roll* kills people on holidays *gasp!* Fortunately it looks like he sticks to those bread-and-butter Anglo-American holidays–namely Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Halloween–so we needn’t worry about murders on Yom Kippur, Eid or Diwali. Adding to the festive cheer is an impressive menagerie of Batman villains including Scarecrow, the Joker, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, and *drum roll* eventually Two-Face *gasp!*
Owls, politics, people who wear costumes but are self-conscious about wearing them, a world poised on the brink of destruction–what about Watchmen doesn’t merit it as the perfect Fall/Election Season read? Forget about the turmoil in our world, there’s another one where we can find it. Alan Moore’s story is by this point almost as much of a staple of American Literature as is Huckleberry Fin–which is passing ironic given the British team behind its genesis. No doubt Zack Snyder’s cinematic adaptation did much to bring it to the mainstream spotlight. Watchmen for me takes on a very personal tone, as it largely centers around my current home of New York City in all of its seedy glory. We are indeed talking about your grandfather’s New York City: graffiti-laden subways, violent gangs, equally as violent cops, rain, grime, the works. For those uninitiated with the opus, Watchmen is about a group of superheroes who (for the most part) don’t actually have superheroes but do have strength, numbers, and tech. We find our main characters in their twilight years. The age of independent superheroes is now of the past. Today, the only legal superheroes are the ones who are backed by the government–sound familiar? *Cough* Marvel Civil War *Uncough*. What we get is as much a philosophical treatise on power, responsibility, intervention, and ethics as we do get a totally absorbing read. One thing in particular that makes this piece a keeper for the dreary months is it’s overarching meditation on nostalgia. Ah…nostalgia. Speaking of–
The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye
Forget what you know about the TV show, the graphic novel is where this one all started. We’re talking about one of the OG zombie comics out there, which shot for a concept and nailed it. We have a relatable sheriff’s deputy who wakes up in a hospital to find that the world has become overrun by zombies–whether or not this opening sequence was created in inspiration or in isolation from 28 Days Later I will leave to you. What unfolds is a beautifully stylized black-and-white depiction of a man trying to make his way through the post-apocalyptic mush to save his wife and kids. What’s so great about the story (and has heretofore been harped upon greatly in zombie literature) is that although the zombies are scary, it’s the completely alive humans which are most terrifying. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I will tell you that I cried.
Thanks for reading. I’m dying to know, what comic books would you like to see added to this list?