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.
If I had $15 this week, I'd pick up the third issues of what may be becoming my two favorite new series: Saga (Image, $2.99) and Saucer Country (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). The former is easily one of the most enjoyable, most packed books out there right now for me, with Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples firing on all cylinders with the two issues to date, whereas the latter has an enjoyably retro feel that reminds me of the earliest days of the Vertigo imprint in ways that I can't quite put my finger on but love nonetheless.
If I had $30, I'd grab the new edition of Leviathan (Rebellion, $16.99), a collection of a 2000AD horror story by Ian Edginton and D'Israeli that the creators apparently described as "Agatha Christie meets Silent Hill" about a Titanic-esque cruise ship that disappears in the middle of the ocean, and ends up somewhere else … with no land in sight for more than two decades. Really looking forward to reading this one.
Should I suddenly find enough money down the back of my couch to splurge this week, then I'd hope to find the $29.99 I'd need for the Deadenders trade paperback (DC/Vertigo). I entirely missed the Ed Brubaker/Warren Pleece mod romance comic the first time around, so this collection of the entire series will be a welcome chance to make up for past mistakes.
This week’s a bloody one if you’re on my pull list, because there’s a lot of cuts. If I had $15, I’d dive first into the long-awaited/nearly forgotten Hardcore #1 (Image/Top Cow, $2.99). Originally intended for release in 2010, it’s finally coming out – and I hope it was worth the wait. Seeing Brian Stelfreeze and Robert Kirkman doing a book together is a rare treat. Next up would be Dancer #1 (Image, $3.50). I think Nic Klein and Nathan Edmondson are future A-listers, and they’re already beginning to stake out claim to my comic book shelves with their work on Viking and Who is Jake Ellis. Next up would be Thief of Thieves #4 (Image, $2.99); I’m probably going to switch to trades on this soon, but I can’t stop from buying this first arc – I really enjoy Nick Spencer’s style on this classic plot trope and Shawn Martinbrough is finally getting some credit for the great work he’s been doing the past few years. And last up would be Avengers Vs. X-Men #4 (Marvel, $3.99); if you’re in the business of covering American comics like I am, this is a must buy.
If I had $30, I’d dig into Conan the Barbarian #4 (Dark Horse, $3.50); Brian Wood’s been delivering the goods in the first three issues, and this issue sees relative unknown James Harren step up and deliver what is shaping to be a breakout performance from the previews. After that I’d get Glory #26 (Image, $2.99); the first arc was kind of muddled but had some really enamoring moments, and I’m confident this new arc will wear down those rough edges and hit me straight between the eyes. After that I’d do a trio of creator-owned books with Manhattan Projects #3 (Image, $3.50), Secret Service #2 (Marvel/Icon, $2.99) and Saga #3 (Image, $2.99). It’s amazing to see that vibrant a pool of creator-owned comics come out in one week.
Last up, I’d steal money out of Graeme McMillan’s Dennis the Menace and Gnasher piggy bank to buy 100 Months (Cutting Edge, $29.95). I’ve heard about John Hicklenton’s work in sideways mentions in old magazines, but never been able to read it for myself. This book is said to be a sci-fi parable about environmental collapse with capitalism poised in the guise of the über-villain Longpig.
There's not much in the $15 and under market this week that appeals to me, so I'll jump right to the $30 mark and note that one of the most-eagerly anticipated graphic novels of the year comes out this week. I'm speaking of course about Are You My Mother, Alison Bechdel's long-awaited follow-up to her critically acclaimed memoir Fun Home. Named one of the best books of 2006 by Time Magazine, Fun Home was one of the big breakthrough comics in terms of reaching wider appeal outside of the traditional Wednesday crowd. Obviously there's a lot of anticipation for this new book, which chronicles her troubled relationship with her mother, much as Fun Home followed her relationship with her father. Early reviews have been glowing. I'm anxious to read this.
If that doesn't appeal to you, however, I'll note that the first volume of Best of Enemies - Epileptic author David B.'s look at the relationship between the U.S. and Middle East over the centuries, done with historian Jean-Pierre Filiu - is also out this week. I raved about the book here and strongly urge you to at least check it out should your local comic shop be wise enough to get a copy.
In the splurge category Vol. 13 of Chester Gould's Dick Tracy is out, with lots more oddball villains like Blowtop and T.V. Wiggles. If memory serves, this is about the time where the strip started to really go off the rails. More so than usual. I'm way behind in collecting this series but if I had the extra cash I'd nab it for reading once I'd gotten caught up.
If I had $15, I'd grab the latest issues of some of my favorite series: Planet of the Apes #14 ($3.99), Atomic Robo: Real Science Adventures #2 ($2.75), Wonder Woman #9 ($2.99) and Supergirl #9 ($2.99).
With $30, I'd add that Leviathan volume ($16.99) that Graeme mentioned. I've been meaning to get it for a long time as it's seen new printings and it's finally time. I love mysteries and stories that take place at sea, but I'm really in this for Edginton and D'Israeli. Scarlet Traces, their sequel to War of the Worlds was amazing, as was their subsequent War of the Worlds adaptation.
With some splurge money I'd have a difficult time picking between two Oni graphic novels being released this week. Crogan's Loyalty ($14.99) is the latest in Chris Schweizer's Crogan Adventures series. I need to read Crogan's March before I dig into Loyalty, but based on the strength of the first volume, Crogan's Vengeance, I expect to love it. On the other hand, Antony Johnston and Sam Hart's The Coldest City ($19.99) sounds like a thrilling return to the Cold War spy era. Tough decision.