Food or Comics? | Amontillado or Amulet

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.

Graeme McMillan

I don't know quite why, considering I've been feeling cynical and disinterested in the DC Universe over the past couple of weeks, but I find myself tempted by both Flash Annual #1 and Justice League International Annual #1 (both DC Comics; $4.99) this week; something even more surprising considering I haven't been following the JLI series past trying out the first issue. And yet, if I had $15 this week, I suspect I'd be using a chunk of it for that. I'd also grab Joe Hill and Gabriel Hernandez' Locke & Key: Grindhouse (IDW Publishing, $3.99), because, well, Locke & Key is a very, very good comic book.

If I had $30, I may find myself picking up the first collection of Peter Panzerfaust (Vol. 1: The Great Escape; Image Comics; $14.99) because I like the high concept behind it even if I managed to miss the single issues. People who did pick it up in singles: Is it the kind of thing I'd like, do you think?

Should I find the money and ability to splurge, I find myself surprisingly drawn to Dark Horse's Star Wars Omnibus: Clone Wars Vol. 1 ($24.99); I blame people in my Twitter feed talking about Star Wars Celebration last week, and my thinking, "I haven't really kept up with Star Wars in ages" in response. Does that count as peer pressure?

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I'd get what's become three stalwarts in my monthly comic buying, starting with Prophet #28 (Image, $3.99). Although it isn't creator-owned at its essence, Brandon Graham and his murderer's row of artists have taken to this like it's their baby, albeit a sci-fi, bulbous, and sometimes cantankerous baby. After that I'd get my Vitamin X with Uncanny X-Force #30 (Marvel, $3.99) and Wolverine and the X-Men #15 (Marvel, $3.99). It seems Remender is bringing Uncanny X-Force in for a series finale (although I have no information to back that up), and the introduction of new artist Julian Totino Tedesco has given me hope that Opena's departure didn't torpedo the book as a whole. On the Wolverine and the X-Men tip, it's a bit disheartening to see the first full-fledged fill-in artist here with Jorge Molina. Nothing against Molina, but I was hoping Bachalo and Bradshaw could carry the series a bit longer. But given Marvel's production schedule, that might be wishful thinking. Still, Aaron is delivering the best story that takes cues from Avengers Vs. X-Men without having it wreck the series' own continuing stories.

If I had $30, I'd go back and get Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet, Vol. 5: Prince of the Elves (Graphix, $12.99). This is fantasy comics at its finest, without the blood-curdling swords and spears some others might have. Kibuishi's manga sensibilities are on full display here, but he's synthesized it through his style so its not aping Japanese comics but making something fresh on his own.

If I could splurge, I'd go for Rex Mundi Omnibus, Vol. 1 (Dark Horse, $24.99). I've picked up stray issues of this series here and there, but never been able to read it as it was released. This new collection should give me all of that, and hopefully make me feel guilty for waiting this long to catch up.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, I'd get the fourth issue of Popeye, because I have to say that Roger Langridge and company are doing a pretty decent job aping the master's (E.C. Segar's) work. I'd also nab Amulet, Vol. 5: Prince of the Elves, the latest chapter in Kazu Kibuishi's ongoing fantasy serial, which I believe has proved to be one of the most popular kids' comics running these days.

If I had $30, I'd put both those books back and get The Voyeurs, Gabrielle Bell's latest graphic novel, collecting autobiographical stories of time spent abroad and at home. Bell's proven herself to be a cartoonist of no small talent, able to blend memoir and fantasy often in the same story and have it seem like the most natural thing in the world. I'm really looking forward to this one.

It's not on Diamond's list, but if my comic shop should happen to get an early copy, I'd definitely splurge on Dal Tokyo, Gary Panter's wonderful sci-fi/punk comic strip, now lovingly collected by Fantagraphics. Should that not be available however, I'd like to at least check out Heartless, an intriguing looking collection of stories by Nina Bunjavec, about whom I know nothing except that I like the small sample on Conundrum's website.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15, it would go to floppies this week. The new Steed and Mrs. Peel series from BOOM! Studios looks kinda cool — "written by Mark Waid" are the magic words for me — so I'll gamble $3.99 on issue #0. And X-O Manowar #4 is an automatic buy. I think this is the strongest of the relaunched Valiant series, and I love what Robert Venditti and Cary Nord are doing with it. On top of that goes The Sixth Gun #24 ($3.99); no explanation is necessary here. Finally, I'll return my old soda bottles so I can pick up Skullkickers #17 ($3.50), which puts me a bit over the limit but is well worth it.

If I had $30, I'd throw in Popeye #4 ($3.99), because I enjoyed the first one a lot and it's time to jump on board. Then it's time for some manga; specifically vol. 3 of CLAMP's Gate 7 ($10.99). This series mixes up ghosts, history, and supernatural battles in old Kyoto to good effect, and I'm looking forward to this new volume.

Splurge: No big, beautiful books are reaching out to grab me this week, but I'll spend $12.95 on vol. 2 of Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales and that will make me very popular with my nephew, who loved the first book so much he had to read parts of it to all of us at the dinner table.

Michael May

With $15, I'd first grab The New Deadwardians #6 ($2.99), the latest issue in a series that's lead character and irresistible mystery completely defeated my skepticism about reading another vampire/zombie comic. Then I'd grab Ben Caldwell's All Action Classics: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ($7.95). I'd want that just for Caldwell's art, but it's serendipitous that I've also recently read the original novel for the first time and am now immersing myself in the Marvel adaptations. Looking forward to seeing Caldwell's take on it. Finally, I'd buy Captain Marvel #3 ($2.99), because I'm very interested in seeing Kelly Sue DeConnick work an ongoing series. This is her first one, right? I've loved her shorter story arcs and miniseries, so I'm going to stay with this for a while.

If I had $30, I'd add Steed and Mrs. Peel #0 ($3.99) to my pile. I very much enjoyed the Grant Morrison issues with these characters that BOOM! recently reprinted and I'm excited to see what co-writers Mark Waid and Caleb Monroe do with them. I'm a big fan of artist Steve Bryant (Athena Voltaire) too, so that's an easy decision. I'd also check out Phantom Lady #1 ($2.99), partly because I like Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Cat Staggs, but also because as DC returns to crossovers and events as a major strategy, I'm becoming more interested in stand-alone comics like this mini-series. I'd also get Godzilla #4 ($3.99), because I like that series, and Bionic Woman #4 ($3.99), because I always liked that character and Paul Tobin's writing it.

Picking a splurge item is difficult business this week. Part of me wants to grab a couple of singles that I couldn't otherwise afford, like National Comics: Looker #1 ($3.99) and Aquaman #12 ($2.99), but a bigger part wants Amulet, Volume 5 ($12.99). I've read the first two volumes of that series and can't wait to catch up with the rest of it. It's an amazing, all-ages, fantasy adventure. If I had to choose one thing though, it would have to be Courtney Crumrin Special Edition, Volume 2 ($24.99) though. I've become a huge fan of Ted Naifeh's ongoing series and am really looking forward to catching up on the backstory.

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