Food or Comics? | A pre-Thanksgiving four-color feast

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d get one from almost every box--Image’s Invincible #85 ($2.99), DC’s DMZ #71 ($2.99), Marvel’s Wolverine and The X-Men #2 ($3.99) and independent title RASL #12 ($3.50). Not much to say about any of these I haven’t already said, except anytime Cory Walker draws a book I’d pay twice cover price.

If I had $30, I’d sneak out of Thanksgiving preparations to first get a book I was surprised I liked as much as I did, despite the last issue’s ending: Shade #2 (DC, $2.99). One thing I wasn’t amped to see was Deathstroke, but given James Robinson and Cully Hammer’s track record I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Next up would be the epic (in my mind, at least) team-up of Warren Ellis and Michael Lark on Secret Avengers #19 (Marvel, $3.99). Seeing Ellis boil down the concept into “Run the mission. Don’t get seen. Save the world.” Hits me right between the eyes, and this new issue’s preview has be salivating over it. Last up, I’d pay the giant size price tag for Fantastic Four #600 (Marvel, $7.99) although my patience has worn a little thin with ending the series then bringing it back for #600.

For splurging, I’d put it all down on IDW’s Parker: The Martini Edition hardcover ($75). I already have the individual books on my shelf, but getting it all under one roof plus beaucoup process sketches and conversation from Darwyn Cooke makes this a must-have for me. And I can always gift my old individual Parker graphic novels to someone else!

Graeme McMillan

It's a surprisingly light week for me this week, so if I had $15, I'd go for some books that I know I liked last time around. For example, The Flash #3 (DC, $2.99); Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are doing a great job on this title based on the first couple of issues, so I'm on board for awhile. Same with Wolverine and The X-Men #2 (Marvel, $3.99); I was surprised by just how much I loved the debut, and bringing back what seems to be Krakatoa only makes me even more gleeful about the sense of humor on display here. Peter Milligan's Justice League Dark #3 (DC, $2.99) would round out the haul; I liked that the second issue felt much more like Milligan's Vertigo heyday to me than much of his recent work, and I'll happily go for more of that, please.

If I had $30, I'd add DC Comics Presents The Life Story of The Flash #1 (DC, $7.99) to my pile; I didn't read this book in its previous original graphic novel incarnation, but I loved Mark Waid's original Flash run, so this feels like a lost gem from that incarnation for me. And I might go for Fantastic Four #600 (Marvel, $7.99), too, depending on whether or not I was feeling up for Jonathan Hickman's style when I got to the store; if nothing else, I'm curious about the Ming Doyle strip therein.

Splurgewise, while I admit I'm tempted by the Parker Martini Edition (IDW, $75), my heart well and truly belongs to Evan Dorkin's Milk & Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad hardcover (Dark Horse, $19.99), collecting all of Dorkin's hilarious, manic, violent strip from the 1990s; I first discovered it in Deadline way back when, and that led me to find out about Pirate Corp$, Dork! and all of Dorkin's other stuff. He's really one of the most underrated cartoonists around, as far as I'm concerned, and I can't wait to get this book.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15: It would be a toss-up for me between getting the 12th issue of Jeff Smith's RASL and the ninth volume of NBM's Smurf line, Gargamel and the Smurfs, and the 29th Little Lulu volume, The Cranky Giant. It would be a tough decision, but I suspect Little Lulu would win out in the end.

If I had $30: Assuming I didn't get those Smurf and RASL books, I'd face another tough choice between the impressive Milk and Cheese collection from Dark Horse or The New Adventures of Herge, a docudrama/biography of sorts of the famed Tintin author by L'Association co-founder Stanislas and writers Jose-Louis Bocquet and Jean-Luc Fromental. (I'd probably get them discounted online in order to squeak under my budget -- sorry local LCS.) Milk and Cheese would likely win out this round, as I love those little homicidal maniacs. Merv Griffin!

Splurge: OK, but all the really cool, must-have books are in the splurge category this week (as usual). In one corner, after years and years of fits and starts and delays and promises galore is the first volume of Fantagraphics Complete Pogo collection, Through the Wild Blue Yonder. In the other corner we have the first volume in Fantagraphics other, other, other big reprint project, Donald Duck, Lost in the Andes, which collects some great stories by the masterful Carl Barks. Then, in our third and final corner, there's Everything: Blabber Blabber Blabber, the first in a series of big hardcover books collecting everything the also masterful Lynda Barry has ever done. Any of these books would be a pick of the week on their own. All three together? Just forget about your budget this one time. Your bank account will understand.

Michael May

If I had $15, I'd begin with my usual DC series for the week: Aquaman #3 ($2.99), Superman #3 ($2.99), and Justice League Dark #3 ($2.99). As I think about those though, I realize that I'm reading JLD for the potential of what I think it could be and where I hope it's going, not because I'm particularly enjoying what it is. That sounds like something I need to stop buying monthly and wait for the collection. I'll give it this one more month before trimming it out. I'm much more looking forward to Alpha Flight #6 ($2.99), which has been reliably entertaining since it started. I'm heart-broken that there are only three issues left. Finally, since I've still got three bucks in my pocket, I'll pick up another issue from a canceled series, Daken: Dark Wolverine #17 ($2.99), but that's because it's got the Runaways in it and I miss those kids.

If I had $30, I'd add All-Star Western #3 ($3.99), the only New 52 title I don't mind paying four bucks for. With Justice League and Action Comics, I count pages and look at back-up material before wincing that I'm paying that much for a comic. With All-Star Western, I feel like I'm getting four bucks of value in the pages themselves, however many there are. After that, I'd add Super Dinosaur, Volume 1 ($9.99). I read the first issue and it was fantastic. Nine-year-old me was thrilled, and he largely controls my wallet.

It's easy to pick a splurge item this week. I've been wanting to read a good collection of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics for decades and IDW is making that finally possible with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection, Volume 1 ($49.99).

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