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Beast Boy runs towards the viewer, images of his teammates and villains behind him, an images of green animals around him on the cover of Tales of the Titans #4. Image: Nicola Scott/DC Comics

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Every DC hero is turning into an animal and all the other big comic news out of SDCC 2023

And I’m not counting the ducks and the turtles

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

DC Comics revealed the company’s next crossover extravaganza at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend: Beast World — in which millions of people are transformed into rampaging anthropomorphic animals, including, naturally, plenty of heroes and villains.

The whole thing appears to have roots in the Teen Titans’ foremost shapeshifter, Beast Boy, and also some mad science, and also him turning into a giant space starfish in order to combat another giant space starfish and losing his mind in the process, but... I’m kind of cautiously optimistic about it?

For one thing, the book comes from Tom Taylor (with art from Ivan Reis and potentially the likes of Nicola Scott and Bruno Redondo), who is simply the king of taking a wild premise — in this case, a literal one — and turning it into hyper-compelling superhero drama. For another, it would simply be hypocritical of me to have gotten enormously hype for Jurassic League, the story where the Justice League are all anthropomorphic dinosaurs, and not give essentially the same concept but set in the modern DCU a chance.

And for a third... look. Sometimes it’s nice when the crossover event isn’t about a universe-ending threat, or the multiverse collapsing, or every hero getting trapped in their own worst nightmare. Maybe it will be nice when the crossover event is about everybody battling it out like the Street Sharks meets Zoo. Titans: Beast World kicks off in November.

What else is happening with our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, which is usually Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. But comics creators and editors usually plan a pretty quiet fictional SDCC week, knowing that they’re all gonna be busy at the biggest real-life industry event of the year. So this week, we’ll be highlighting the most interesting real-life comic book happenings instead. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Amazons Attack this fall

Queen Nubia of the Amazons brandishes a spear on the cover of Nubia and the Amazons #1 (2021). Image: Alitha Martinez, Laura Martin/DC Comics

Comics (New Champion of Shazam) and TV (She-Ra, My Adventures With Superman) writer Josie Campbell is taking on the Amazons in new limited series, Amazons Attack. The series won’t directly tie into Tom King and Daniel Sampere’s new Wonder Woman book, but appears to be spinning out of the same plot development: the United States outlawing Themysciran citizens from its shores. It’ll star Queen Nubia of the Amazons, Mary Marvel (whose powers now derive from the Amazons’ goddesses) and other non-Wonder Woman Amazons.

The first issue will hit shelves on Oct. 24.

Chip Zdarsky returns (briefly) to Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck peruses the Super Classifieds skeptically as different figures (Spider-Man, a guy with four arms, a woman in a skirt) pass by behind him. Image: Joe Quinones/Marvel Comics

Sure, Dan Slott is returning for a new series about Superior Spider-Man, Doc Ock’s superhero identity, and there’s going to be a Spider-Man crossover called “Gang War.” But we’re here for the big Marvel news: Howard the Duck’s birthday.

Chip Zdarsky, who penned the character’s last notable, fan-favorite series, will return to the character for a new Howard the Duck #1, a one-shot celebrating his 50th anniversary. Talent on the book will include Zdarsky’s Howard collaborator Joe Quinones, as well as folks like Daniel Kibblesmith, Annie Wu, and Ed McGuinness. It’ll hit shelves in November.

The new Punisher is... just... some guy

Joe Garrison, former SHIELD agent, dual weilds laser pistols as the new Punisher in Marvel Comics promotional art. Image: Rod Reis/Marvel Comics

After Marvel teased a new Punisher with a question mark graphic over his face, as if we would recognize him, fans went into a natural frenzy of speculation. Leading contenders to have short hair and two laser guns included Bishop and Cable of the X-Men, but Marvel instead revealed that the new guy in the Punisher’s outfit is...

An original character. Like, he’s just some guy.

Eisner highlights

Kevin Conroy describes how he imagined feeling as disoriented and lost, identityless, while getting into the head of Bruce Wayne to invent his voice. “Yes, I can relate,” his narration reads, “Yes, this terrain I know well.” in DC Pride 2022. Image: Kevin Conroy, J. Bone/DC Comics

Often overshadowed by the big movie studio news, San Diego Comic-Con is also home to the closest thing the U.S. comics industry has to the Oscars: The Eisner Awards. And some of Polygon’s own favorite picks won big. Night Eaters took home Best Graphic Album, Ducks: Two Years on the Oil Sands was awarded Best Graphic Memoir, Do a Powerbomb got Best Publication for Teens, and Best Short Story was given to “Finding Batman” from artist J. Bone and the late Kevin Conroy.

Andy Samberg is making a comic where a dude kills neo-Nazis with bowling ball trick shots

variant cover for The Holy Roller #1 (2023) Image: Mike Hawthorne/Image Comics

Andy Samberg (yes, the actor-comedian) is teaming with Joe Trohman (yes, of Fall Out Boy), Rick Remender (yes, the comics writer), and Roland Boschi (yes, the comics artist) for The Holy Roller. And, well, I’ll let Image Comics’ news release say it:

To care for his ailing father, pro-bowler Levi Coen is forced to quit his dream job and return to his hometown, which he soon discovers has been overrun by Neo-Nazis! With only his bowling ball collection to defend himself, Levi becomes THE HOLY ROLLER!”

Issue #1 of what looks to be a funny, gore-filled adventure will hit shelves on Nov. 22.

TMNT: Last Ronin II introduces a new generation of adolescent altered martial arts testudines

Ninja turtle characters leap through the air in a dark city on the cover of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin II — ReEvolution #1. Image: IDW Publishing

Following the breakout success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin — a far-future tale of the last living turtle brother co-written by TMNT creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird — IDW is following up the series with a new generation of turtles for the new future. Here’s the official synopsis:

Guided by Casey Marie Jones, the formidable and strategic daughter of April O’Neil and the late Casey Jones, the next generation of Ninja Turtles – Yi, Uno, Odyn, and Moja — will face the ultimate enemy! Will the young heroes be able to adapt to the pressure of a city at war?

Eastman will return to write the series, along with Last Ronin co-writer Tom Waltz and new-to-the-series artist Ben Bishop. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin II — Re-Evolution #1 (phew, that’s a mouthful) will hit shelves in December.

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