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Underrated: Autumnlands: Woodland Creatures

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Autumnlands: Woodland Creatures


A few weeks ago I wrote about the first volume of The Autumnlands  in this column (which you can find in a horribly typo filled post here because apparently I forgot to spell check). I was quite taken with the book, and remarkably surprised that I’d never come across the story before, and as I’m sure you’ve figured out, I picked up the second trade. This time for full price.

The second trade, Woodland Creatures picks up, with the aftermath of the bridge battle sending Dusty and Learoyd left abandoned on the ground as the rest of the citizens are rehomed.

Whereas the first volume touched on the divide of rich and poor in a class-based society, the second really drives home the differences between the magic users and the rest of the woodland creatures, culminating in a shocking and remarkably relevant commentary on the imposition of one’s will over another.

Slavery, class divide, religion, environmental damage and technological abuses are all touched upon here in a way that doesn’t come off as Kurt Busiek standing on a soapbox, but rather encouraging us to think about the world around us. Maybe something that seems impossible has a rather obvious solution when approached from a different angle.

If you’re looking for a fun fantasy story, then you will find what you’re looking for with the second volume in the Autumnlands saga. Without question, this is a top notch comic book. But like any great science fiction or fantasy series, the messages barely beneath the surface are more powerful and relevant for their seemingly innocuous delivery and framing within the confines of the story.

As with all great works of fiction, Woodland Creatures asks exactly as much of the reader as it needs to in order to encourage you become a better person. Yup. But as deeply as I have read into this book, and possibly far deeper than I should have, you don’t need to do that. This is a book that can be enjoyed solely as a great story.

Image has a vast library of great books, and while we’re still waiting on the third volume of the series, this book is worth reading now. Yes, there’s a set up for the following issue, and yes there are unanswered questions, but nothing that will haunt you long into the night (though the wait for the next chapter  will suck).

As with most books covered in this column, it’s a book I don’t see getting the love it deserves – that’s why the book is Underrated. Go read it now. You won’t regret it.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: Autumn Lands: Tooth And Claw

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Autumn Lands: Tooth And Claw


In another case of “Alex bought something for Underrated without knowing anything about it beforehand,” we have The Autumn Lands: Tooth And Claw by Kurt Busiek, Benjamin Dewey, Jordie Bellaire and John Roshell of Comicraft. I had never heard of this series before spotting it at my LCS last week as I restocked the trade shelves (I’m not a nice person, they pay me to do it). Then this week a used copy came in, and I couldn’t turn down a half priced trade.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that $5 was an utter steal for this book. Within four pages I had become absorbed into this wonderfull world of anthromorphic animals, magic and class based society.

Autumnlands is published by Image, with the first volume being released in 2015 that collects the six issues released from November 2014 to June 2015. There was a second volume released in 2017 that collects the eight issues released from November 2015 to January 2017. As a person who only recently discovered the series, I can imagine that the less than frequent release date didn’t help garner Autumnlands much buzz – but I could easily be wrong here as it is entirely possible I just missed it. Like I missed the comics.

Magic is failing in the world, and a group of sky-city dwelling wizards want to bring back the Great Champion so that he can show them how to return the world’s magic. Only… the wizards didn’t bring back a savior, they snagged themselves a soldier. An effective soldier, but a soldier nonetheless. From anther world, or time, or dimension. Into this new world, then, the soldier finds himself embroiled in the politics of a city (or he would if he seemed to care about such things), and it’s through the uses of the types of animals that we can see a class-based commentary begin to form.

Although this is more a rule of thumb than specifically stated, meat eaters, generally, seem to be at the top of the hierarchy, while herbivors are (quite literally) at the ground level. There are exceptions to this, including a wizarding giraffe, however. But put the politics and commentary aside, and you still have a solid fantasy story about a hero who finds himself alone in a strange world who must somehow protect and save those who need him. Busiek delivers on multiple levels with this book, and it’s easy to see why there’s a cover quote telling us it’s his best work in some time.

Likewise, there’s also a cver quote extolling Benjamin Dewey’s art work, and rightly so, as he and colourist Jordie Bellaire deliver the second punch with their all out visual assualt. Rarely have I been so surprised by a book’s visual impact as I was when reading this.

Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw is fatastic, and I’d have been supremely happy with this at twice the price – I’m pretty sure my LCS has volume two (or they did when I put it on the shelf), so I’ll be picking that up this weekend, too. Volume one is going to set you backaroud $10 new, which is an astounding deal for six issues, let alone six issues of this quality. Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw is a really good read, phenomenl, even.

But as with most books covered in this column, it’s a book I don’t see getting the love it deserves – that’s why the book is Underrated. Go read it now. You won’t regret it.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Preview: Wonder Woman: Black & Gold #5

Wonder Woman: Black & Gold #5

Written by: Josie Campbell, Kurt Busiek, Sanya Anwar, Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Christian Alamy, Carlos D’Anda, Benjamin Dewey, Sanya Anwar

Prepare to be whisked away with an Amazon fairy tale, flown back to World War II, swept up in a nautical ghost story, and blasted by a bitter space princess! Don’t miss the penultimate issue of this golden moment for Diana and her legacy!

Wonder Woman: Black & Gold #5

Kurt Busiek Releases New Arrowsmith, Astro City, and More in 2022

Kurt Busiek, the bestselling writer of Avengers, Superman, Thunderbolts, Iron Man, JLA, and more, is returning to Image in a big way in 2022, with new entries in fan-favorite series, including Astro City, Arrowsmith and others, plus new creations and more, as he brings his creator-owned work to Image Comics as his primary publisher.

First up, Busiek and superstar artist Carlos Pacheco bring fans the much-anticipated return of Arrowsmith in Arrowsmith: Behind Enemy Lines. This six issue miniseries launches from Image Comics in January 2022—followed in February by an oversized, fully re-mastered hardcover collected edition of the original series.

In March, Arrowsmith will be joined by the return of Astro City, Busiek’s collaboration with Brent Anderson, Alex Ross, and Alex Sinclair, first with an Astro City one-shot special introducing new characters and setting the stage for upcoming dangers for the city and the world, plus new collected editions that will make the entire Astro City backlist available again.

Longtime fans will also be treated to a new urban-fantasy graphic novel, The Gods on Sunday Morning, from the whole Astro City team, after which they begin a new ongoing run on the acclaimed series.

Also in the works is Free Agents, a new series launch from Busiek with co-writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Stephen Mooney and the return of Autumnlands from Busiek with Benjamin Dewey and Jordie Bellaire, all planned for late 2022.

In addition to all the exciting new content from the mind of Busiek, there will also be re-releases of his popular backlist gems like Shockrockets and Superstar: As Seen on TV, both with Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, and Jeromy Cox, and The Wizard’s Tale with David Wenzel.

In the upcoming Arrowsmith: Behind Enemy Lines, it’s World War I—but a war of wizards and dragons as much as bullets and barbed wire. Young airman Fletcher Arrowsmith plunges back into the heat of war—and finds himself behind enemy lines, facing a threat that could doom the Allied Powers. Old friends and new favorites will appear, and the world of Arrowsmith will be deepened, as previously-secret history and machinations are revealed.

For the re-mastered hardcover, Arrowsmith: So Smart In Their Fine Uniforms ,readers are introduced to young Fletcher Arrowsmith who learns the true cost of war in an alternate history where dragons and magic spells are as much a part of World War I as bullets and barbed wire. This edition, deluxe-sized and in hardcover for the first time, will present the art as Pacheco originally intended, and will feature ancillary material about the creation and history of Arrowsmith.

Arrowsmith: Behind Enemy Lines #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, January 19:

  • CVR A Pacheco Fonteriz Villarubia – Diamond Code NOV210009
  • CVR B Johnson – Diamond Code NOV210010
  • CVR C Jones – Diamond Code NOV210011
  • CVR D Chaykin – Diamond Code NOV210012
  • CVR E blank cover – Diamond Code NOV210013
  • CVR F 1:25 copy incentive Walta – Diamond Code NOV210014
  • CVR G 1:50 copy incentive Jones virgin – Diamond Code NOV210015

Arrowsmith: So Smart In Their Fine Uniforms (Diamond Code: NOV210098, ISBN: 978-1-5343-2206-6) will be available on Wednesday, February 23 and in bookstores on Tuesday, March 1. It can be pre-ordered at your local comic book shop or independent bookstore or via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Indigo.

Preview: The Marvels #5

The Marvels #5

(W) Kurt Busiek (A) Yildiray Cinar (CA) Alex Ross
Rated T
In Shops: Sep 29, 2021
SRP: $3.99

For starters, there’s a Big Little Book. Plus monsters, international mayhem, the arrival of heroes in trouble and a deadly threat for Dr. Strange. And apartment problems, phone calls and an audience with Namor of Atlantis. You know, those kinds of things. Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Storm and more, plus the return of a Golden Age great and… Dakota North? Man, when we say “marvels,” we mean marvels! Don’t miss it – we’d miss you!

The Marvels #5

Discover Astro City with the Image Astro City Sale!

Kurt Busiek‘s Astro City has come to comiXology and you can get it, Superstar: As Seen on TV!, Wizard’s Tale, and Arrowsmith now! Save with the Image Astro City Sale!

Get Astro City‘s collections and others for 50% off while single issues are just $0.99.

The sale ends on Tuesday, August 17, so don’t miss out!

Astro City (1995-1996) Vol. 1

This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Discover Astro City with the Image Astro City Sale!

Kurt Busiek‘s Astro City has come to comiXology and you can get it, Superstar: As Seen on TV!, Wizard’s Tale, and Arrowsmith now! Save with the Image Astro City Sale!

Get Astro City‘s collections and others for 50% off while single issues are just $0.99.

The sale ends on Tuesday, August 17, so don’t miss out!

Astro City (1995-1996) Vol. 1

This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Preview: The Marvels #4

The Marvels #4

(W) Kurt Busiek (A) Yildiray Cinar (CA) Alex Ross
Rated T
In Shops: Aug 18, 2021
SRP: $3.99

Spider-Man! Iron Man! Captain America! The Black Cat! Dr. Strange! Aero! The X-Men! And more! Cataclysm in Siancong and action in Manhattan! Heroes gather, mysteries deepen and some college kids have a very bad day! Global danger, personal dilemmas, fighter planes, eldritch power…this one’s got it all!

The Marvels #4

Discover Astro City with the Image Astro City Sale!

Kurt Busiek‘s Astro City has come to comiXology and you can get it, Superstar: As Seen on TV!, Wizard’s Tale, and Arrowsmith now! Save with the Image Astro City Sale!

Get Astro City‘s collections and others for 50% off while single issues are just $0.99.

The sale ends on Tuesday, August 17, so don’t miss out!

Astro City (1995-1996) Vol. 1

This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Discover Astro City with the Image Astro City Sale!

Kurt Busiek‘s Astro City has come to comiXology and you can get it, Superstar: As Seen on TV!, Wizard’s Tale, and Arrowsmith now! Save with the Image Astro City Sale!

Get Astro City‘s collections and others for 50% off while single issues are just $0.99.

The sale ends on Tuesday, August 17, so don’t miss out!

Astro City (1995-1996) Vol. 1

This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

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