Our Falltastic 2019 graphic novel & comics tpb reading list

Fall List

The Fall season is here with colder, wetter, darker days for the months ahead. To best get through, we suggest some epic comic book format reads.

While single issues only give short thrills, the thicker graphic novels and trade paperback volumes give a more fulfilling, lasting reading experience. Adding to that, seek out the new reads, giving more room for discovery and excitement on what’s fresh and best. Then maybe, share with friends!

So, venture to your favorite retail store graphic novel and trade paperback shelves (or online sources). Take a look at these 10 new books below in our curated list. Each selection is either already available, or will be due out soon. Each is based on peer reviews, personal anticipations, celebrated creative talent, interesting interpretations, awesome art, and storytelling worth attention…

Fairlady, Volume 1

unnamed (13)

Writer: Brian Schirmer
Artist: Claudia Balboni, Marissa Louise
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Retail Price: $16.99 Age Rating: 15+ Format: softcover 184 pages

Every fantasy epic ends with a war. But what happens when the war is over? After posing as a man to join the army, Jenner Faulds returns home to The Feld for a new start as a “Fairman”—a specially licensed private investigator. But sexism didn’t end on the battlefield, and as the only “Fairlady,” Jenner gets stuck with the cases nobody else wants. Hitting the streets to solve The Feld’s overlooked mysteries, Jenner finds that the smallest cases hide the biggest secrets. Collects FAIRLADY #1-5

A little something different with a mix of urban fantasy, mystery and social commentary. Each of which, this new series adds something new and thoughtful to the overall package…making this feel a bit more unique than expected.

Lifeformed Vol. 2: Hearts and Minds


Writer: Matt Mair Lowery,
Artist: Cassie Anderson
Publisher:  Dark Horse Publishing
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Retail Price: $12.99 Age Rating: 12 Page Format: softcover 200 pages

Cleo, orphaned in the wake of an alien invasion, left behind the life she knew to fight for the future of Earth. Now she and Alex, the shapeshifting rebel alien posing as her father, make a fearsome team in a guerrilla war against the invaders. But Cleo’s past is about to come back to haunt her! Lifeformed: Hearts and Minds is the second installment in the sci-fi thriller series from Matt Mair Lowery and Cassie Anderson.

I enjoyed and highly recommend the first book, Hearts and Minds. But, I felt that was a little short, and cheered to see this interesting world and development from the first book carry on.

The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs

the Man who came down the stairs

Writer/Artist: Celine Loup
Publisher: Archaia
Release Date: September 18, 2019
Retail Price: $14.99 Age Rating: 17+ Format:Hardcover, 48 pages

Emma is excited to start a family in her new home, but after her child’s birth she finds her world turning upside-down. The infant cries like it’s scared of something, or someone, and Emma’s sleepless nights quickly drive a wedge between her and her husband, who seems uncharacteristically detached. When Emma begins to see strange things in the house, the line between reality and fantasy blurs and her grasp of what’s real and what’s not becomes even more clouded. Is something unnatural haunting the nursery? And what if it also affected her husband, who ventured up into the attic when they first arrived… Inspired by the works of Shirley Jackson and Ira Levin, Celine Loup’s The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs weaves a tale of horror and suspense that captures the isolation of postpartum depression, while exploring the very real fears associated with new motherhood.

The masterful black and white art on every page is amazing and sets the mood well throughout. There is a brilliant pacing throughout, which grabs attention and takes its time on the emotional storytelling, leading to a gripping end.

The Last Space Race, Volume 1: The Pale Blue Dot

The Last Space Race

Writer: Peter Calloway
Artist: Alex Shibao
Publisher: Aftershock
Release Date: October 2nd, 2019
Retail Price: $16.99 Age Rating: 15+ Format: softcover 184 page

It started as an anomaly. An outlier in the noise that’s so common in astronomical data. But the truth sends the United States-and the world-careening into what will become humanity’s The Last Space Race . Leading the effort for the United States is one man, Sasha Balodis. A fun-loving tech billionaire turned aerospace titan, Sasha’s seemingly perfect life has been gripped by recent tragedy. Building and launching the most expensive, most ambitious and most important project in history-well, it gives him something to live for again. There’s only one thing standing in his way: his arch-rival and chief aerospace competitor, Roger Freeman.

I really enjoyed the single issues, of which this volume collects. It’s intelligent science fiction, putting more emphasis on the development and visions of space travel..but also adding drama and colorful art to enhance the ride.

X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction

X-men Grand Design

Writer/Artist: Ed Piskor
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 27th, 2019
Retail Price: $29.99 Format: Softcover, giant 120 pages

The series that has critics and fans raving returns for its final installment! The ruination of the X-Men revisited! Re-live the now-classic storylines like Mutant Massacre and The Fall of the Mutants. With appearances by Longshot, Cable, and The Marauders! Out with old and in with the Blue and Gold as the X-Men enter the radical 90s! Revisit innumerous classic storylines like the return of Jean Grey! The trial of Magneto! X-Tinction Agenda! And many, many more! With appearances by Jubilee, Gambit, and The Reavers! Brought to life by the multi-hyphenate master of graphic fiction himself, Ed Piskor!

Another masterpiece by Ed Piskor highlighting the absurd modern mythology of Marvel’s long-running Mutant team. This one covering the overdeveloped and ridiculously complex late 80’s and early 90’s era, but told in a surreal linear fashion that somehow makes sense…or not.

Ascender Volume 1: The Haunted Galaxy


Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October 23nd, 2019
Retail Price: $9.99 Age Rating: M Format: softcover 136 pages

10 years after the conclusion of Descender, magic has taken the place of machinery, and the rules are very different indeed. Mila, daughter of Andy and Effie, spends her days exploring the lonely wilds of the planet Sampson and trying to stay out of the clutches of the evil disciples of the all-powerful vampire witch known only as Mother. But, just like her parents, Mila doesn’t like to play by the rules, and when a certain robot pal of her dad’s shows up, nothing will ever be the same!

While this series takes place after Descender, one can really enjoy this series as a fresh stanadlone series on its own. Jeff Lemire’s writing and Dustin Nguyen’s art mix perfectly together, with an awesome sci-fantasy setting that one can get lost in.

False Knees: An Illustrated Guide to Animal Behavior

False Knees

Writer/Artist: Joshua Barkman
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Release Date: October 15th, 2019
Retail Price: $14.99 Format: paperback 144 pages

Based on Joshua Barkman’s popular webcomic by the same name, False Knees is animal humor taken to a very absurd, darkly delightful place. In Barkman’s debut print collection, False Knees fans will find old favorites along with an abundance of all-new material. Featuring creatures found in the author’s native Ontario, this always sharp, sometimes head-scratchingly bizarre collection of comics offers a view into the secret, surprisingly insightful world of blue jays, squirrels, geese, wolves, and rabbits.

I love the webcomic shorts, and cheered to see these now made available to the print audience. Also this makes an awesome gift or brilliant book to leave on any coffee table!

Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Creation Myths: The Complete Collection


Writer: Brian Froud, Brian Holguin, Joshua Dysart, Matthew Dow Smith,
Artist: Alex Sheikman
Publisher: Archaia 
Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Retail Price: $39.99 Age Format: Hardcover 288 pages

Brian Froud, legendary conceptual designer of the beloved Jim Henson fantasy film The Dark Crystal, returns to the world he helped create in this official prequel trilogy to the cult-classic film. Collected for the first time in one oversized edition, this series reveals the definitive origins of the Skeksis, Mystics, Gelfling, and the Dark Crystal itself while introducing all new characters in an epic spanning thousands of years.

Definitely for the hardcore Dark Crystal fans out there. But, with the new Netflix series gaining new fans and bringing back an appreciation of the old, there’s a lot of new exploration into Jim Henson’s weirdest world, and this book looks to really go deep.

Black Hammer: Streets of Spiral

Black Hammer Streets of Spiral.jpg

Writer: (various)
Artist: (various)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics 
Release Date: September 11th, 2019
Retail Price: $19.99 Format: Softcover 128 pages

A Lovecraftian teen decides she will do anything to make herself ”normal,” a bizarre witch guides her guests through her house of horrors, and an all-star slate of guest artists illustrate a bizarre adventure with Colonial Weird on the farm. Also featuring a complete world guide to the Black Hammer universe and its characters. Collects: Black Hammer: Giant Sized Annual, Black Hammer: Cthu- Louise, World of Black Hammer, and material from Free Comic Book Day 2019.

A series of short yet memorable tales set throughout the expansive world of Black Hammer comics. Much like the other stories in the Black Hammer series, the stories can be enjoyed each on their own. But, this is also a good introduction into the highly underrated universe of Black Hammer.

Rusty Brown

Rusty Brown

Writer/Artist: Chris Ware
Publisher: Pantheon 
Release Date: September 24th, 2019
Retail Price: $35.00 Format: Hardcover 356 pages

Rusty Brown is a fully interactive, full-color articulation of the time-space interrelationships of three complete consciousnesses in the first half of a single midwestern American day and the tiny piece of human grit about which they involuntarily orbit. A sprawling, special snowflake accumulation of the biggest themes and the smallest moments of life, Rusty Brown literately and literally aims at nothing less than the coalescence of one half of all of existence into a single museum-quality picture story, expertly arranged to present the most convincingly ineffable and empathetic illusion of experience for both life-curious readers and traditional fans of standard reality. From childhood to old age, no frozen plotline is left unthawed in the entangled stories of a child who awakens without superpowers, a teen who matures into a paternal despot, a father who stores his emotional regrets on the surface of Mars and a late-middle-aged woman who seeks the love of only one other person on planet Earth.

Chris Ware’s work on the Acme Novelty Library is well-deserved for its award-wining attention, because it’s brilliant. But, also Chris Ware puts heavy attention into evoking a mix of emotions, which is a lasting treat for this new work, said to be in process for over 16 years.

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