Can’t Wait for Comics | Batman steps into a ‘City of Madness’

Check out new comics arriving in stores this week by Christian Ward, Ethan and Naomi Sacks, Marco Lorenzana, Riley Rossmo, Robert Venditti, Mark Russell, Peter Snejbjerg, Grace Ellis, Penelope Rivera Gaylord and more.

Welcome to Can’t Wait for Comics, your guide to what comics are arriving in comic book stores, bookstores and on digital.

I’ve pulled out some of the highlights below, but for the complete list of everything you might find at your local comic shop and on digital this week, you’ll want to check out one or more of the following:

As a reminder, things can change and what you find on the above lists may differ from what’s actually arriving in your local shop. So always check with your comics retailer for the final word on availability.

Batman: City of Madness #1 (DC, $6.99): The back story on this one is that Christian Ward revealed on Twitter last year that his dream project was to do a “cosmic horror Batman” comic. Someone at DC was listening, and a little more than a year later, we have City of Madness. The story reveals the existence of “The Gotham Below,” a nightmare version of a city that wasn’t that great to begin with, where twisted versions of Batman and his enemies live and hopefully don’t escape into the real Gotham. Uh oh. Batman and the Court of Owls, who guard the doorway to the Gotham Below, team up to stop them when the door swings wide open.

The Superior Spider-Man Returns (Marvel, $6.99): 10 years ago Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman kicked off the controversial — and, eventually, acclaimedSuperior Spider-Man, which saw the dying Doctor Octopus switch his mind, Freaky Friday-style, with Peter Parker. Now Slott and Stegman, joined by Mark Bagley, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Humberto Ramos, return for a new tale starring the most superior Spider-Man of them all, prior to the return of a Superior Spider-Man ongoing series.

A Haunted Girl (Image Comics, $4.99): This four-issue miniseries written by the father/daughter team of Ethan and Naomi Sacks and drawn by Incredible Hulk artist Marco Lorenzana is about an adopted 16-year-old Japanese-American whose depression drove her to near-suicide. She’s now trying to re-integrate back into her old life as she encounters an increasingly terrifying succession of ghosts.

Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #1 (DC, $3.99): Following his return this summer in the Knight Terrors event, Wesley Dodds stars in a solo miniseries by Rob Venditti and Riley Rossmo. The plot centers on the gas Dodds uses to knock out his foes, and how earlier, deadlier versions he tested are contained in a journal that’s been stolen — so he has to hunt down the thief before they can use them.

Welcome to Riverdale #1 (Archie Comics, $3.99): “Toxic positivity gone wrong” is the theme of this new one-shot by Amy Chase and Liana Kangas. The comic features Ginger Snapp, an older character who has recently returned with new all-ages stories in Archie’s line of digest magazines. But over in the Archie Horror-verse, she’s the new girl who just moved to a Riverdale more reminiscent of The Stepford Wives.

Operation Sunshine #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99): This new miniseries is written by Henry Zebrowski and Marcus Parks, the hosts of The Last Podcast on the Left. They’re working with artist David Rubiin, colorist K.J. Diaz and letterer Ferran Delgado on a story about a group of young vampires trying to steal a mystical artifact that can turn them back into humans.

Boris Karloff’s Gold Key Mysteries #1 (Gold Key, $5.99): I spoke with several of the creators behind this resurrected Gold Key title earlier this year when it was on Kickstarter, and this week it’s making its way to comic shops. Michael Conrad, Steve Orlando, Craig Hurd-McKenny, Sergey Nazarov, Jok, Kelly Williams and more contribute to this new anthology spotlighting the horror icon.

Capwolf and the Howling Commandos #1 (Marvel, $4.99): Capwolf, the werewolf version of Captain America, was first introduced as a concept back in the early 1990s by Mark Gruenwald and Rik Levins. Marvel’s revisiting the concept, only this time it’s written by Stephanie Phillips and drawn by Carlos Magno, the story is set during World War II and the Howling Commandos are along for the ride.

Destiny Gate #1 (Image Comics, $3.99): Top Cow is teaming once again with video game designers EP1T0ME Studios to co-produce and publish this “noir thriller” comic. Writer Ryan Cady works with illustrator Christian DiBari and colorist Simon Gough on a story that involves “mind-bending horror, surrealist psychological architecture, and of course, radical art deco design.”

Saturday Morning Adventures: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Halloween Special (IDW, $6.99): Erik Burnham, Sarah Myer, Dan Schoening and more contirbute to this double-sized Halloween-themed comic featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles you remember from the 1990s animated series.

Midlife (Or How to Hero at Fifty) #1 (Image Comics, $3.99): Brian Buccellato and Stefano Simeone present the story of “a biracial 50-year-old rookie hero who accepts the challenge of using his newfound powers for good… even if he does have a bad back and creaky knees.”

Cereal (Ahoy Comics, $17.99): Sugary cereal has never been scarier than when it’s in the hands of writer/satirist Mark Russell and artist Peter Snejbjerg. Their “Cereal” serial, which first appeared in the Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of… series of miniseries, gets collected in this new edition from Ahoy. Meet the Quaker, Beau Berrie, The Brute and the vampiric Marquis de Cocoa, as well as other horror-fied versions of your favorite cereal mascots.

Diana and the Hero’s Journey (DC, $12.99): Grace Ellis and Penelope Rivera Gaylord tell the story of a young Wonder Woman — and her pet goat — who accidentally destroy the painstaking preparations for a festival celebrating the story of Hero, the first hero in Greek mythology. They are then faced with the Herculean task of cleaning up their mess.

Marvel Age Omnibus (Marvel, $125): Anyone remember Marvel Age, the hype magazine Marvel used to publish back in the 1980s? It was must reading for any Marvel fan, as they revealed new projects, interviewed creators and recruited Fred Hembeck to draw a monthly strip. It’s back in omnibus form, as Marvel collects issues #1-34 as well the first annual.

The Walking Dead 20th Anniversary Box Set (Image Comics, $125): The first issue of The Walking Dead came out 20 years (and one day) ago, on Oct. 8, 2003. To mark the occasion, Skybound has released a limited edition box set of the first eight volumes, which takes you through issue #48– roughly the first quarter of the series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.

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