Food or Comics? | <i>Batwoman</i>, <i>20th Century Boys</i>, <i>Regenesis</i> and more

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 first grab hold of my favorite of DC’s New 52, Batwoman #2 (DC, $2.99). J.H. Williams III has successfully kept up to the immense expectations he accumulated following his run with Greg Rucka, and the artwork seems to benefit even more by J.H.’s input into the story as co-writer. Next I’d dig down for two of my regular pulls, Northlanders #45 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Uncanny X-Force #16 (Marvel, $3.99). For my final pick, I’d have to miss a bunch of other titles for the chance to get the CBLDF Liberty Annual 2011 #4 (Image, $4.99). I love the anthology format, and having that plus the good cause plus the a-list talent makes it a must get; seriously, can you imagine one comic book containing new work by Frank Quitely, Williams, Mark Waid, J. Michael Straczynski, Matt Wagner AND Craig Thompson? BELIEVE IT!

If I had $30, I’d return to my LCS for the one-two Jonathan Hickman punch of SHIELD #3 (Marvel, $2.99) and FF #10 ($2.99). After that, I’d get the coda to Schism, X-Men: Regenesis #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and top it off with Who Is Jake Ellis? #5 (Marvel, $2.99). This book is like a great cult movie; impeccable craftsmanship, but in a genre that the entire mainstream couldn’t get behind. Regardless, I’m looking forward to what Tonci and Nathan do next.

For my splurge, I’d lay it all on the line for Black Metal Vol. 2 graphic novel (Oni, $11.99). I’ve always thought metal meets sorcery is an ideal combination (so much so I did a comic about it once), and this Rick Spears/Chuck BB joint does it for me. I have high hopes for this book, and also to see Rick Spears do more work in comics.

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week and a compulsion to spend it on comics, I'd be thankful for the existence of The Shade #1 (DC, $2.99), which I've been looking forward to since it was first announced a long, long time ago; I missed out on James Robinson's Starman the first time around--I picked it up through the highly-recommended Omnibus collections--but this slight return promises to be worth reading. I'm also curious about X-Men: Regenesis #1 (Marvel, $3.99); I thought that Schism's ending was very flat, and I'm wondering if Kieron Gillen can sell the new status quo in a more convincing fashion. Rounding out the haul, some second issues of New 52 books that I enjoyed the first time around: Superboy #2 and Batwoman #2 (Both DC, $2.99).

If I had $30, I'd pick up a few more second issues of New 52 books: I enjoyed both Demon Knights and Batman and Robin's first issues, and was on the fence about Mister Terrific, but find myself curious enough to want to see what happens next in all of them (All DC, $2.99). I'm also curious enough to pick up the first issue of Dark Horse's Orchid; I'm not a Rage Against The Machine fan at all, but for $1, how much could it hurt? Finally, the CBLDF's Liberty Annual 2011 is released this week (Image, $4.99), and that's always worth supporting.

In terms of splurging, there's a strong nostalgic pull from IDW's Transformers Classics UK Vol. 1 collection ($29.99), but I think I'll go back to another old favorite, and pick up the 17th volume (!) of 20th Century Boys (Viz, $12.99), instead.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15: There's a new issue of Glamourpuss, so that's a must buy -- can't miss out on Sim's continued tenuous attempts to explain how Margaret Mitchell led to Alex Raymond's death. There's also the second issue of Pope Hats by Ethan Riley, an amazing looking comic that could well up on a number of "best of" lists come the end of the year, methinks.

If I had $30: There's a lot of great stuff out this week, so with $30 I'd have to put those two comics away for now and get one of two new books from Fantagraphics -- either Gahan Wilson's Nuts or The Cabbie by Italian cartoonist Marti. I've raved about Nuts before--it's a piercingly accurate look at the pain and perils involved in growing up. Cabbie, on the other hand, is a uber-violent Dick Tracy homage by way of Taxi Driver.

Also out this week is Drawn and Quarterly's new hardcover edition of Dan Clowes' Death Ray, easily one of the finest comics of the past 10 years. I already own a copy, but if you haven't read this story yet then it should be your immediate pick for the week, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Splurge: Oh jeez, so many books I want. Since I'm splurging I'll grab the fifth volume of the Complete Bloom County, the 12th volume of the Complete Dick Tracy, the third volume of John Stanley's Nancy, and Seth's latest book, The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists, which looks simply swell. I'd also pick up Alan Moore: Conversations from University of Mississippi, a collection of interviews with the great bearded one, including one I did with him back in 2006 when Lost Girls came out.

Brigid Alverson

If I had just $15, that would be OK because vol. 17 of 20th Century Boys, which is my must-buy comic of the month, is only $12.99. This series is long, but Naoki Urasawa's unforgettable characters and twisted-yet-logical plot keep it from sagging. Then I'd beg, borrow, or steal one more dollar (or shop somewhere that gives discounts) so I can pick up Veronica #209 ($2.99), from Archie Comics, because despite the title it is actually the third issue of Kevin Keller's miniseries.

If I had $30, I would add in Jimmy Gownley's latest Amelia Rules graphic novel, The Meaning of Life and Other Stuff ($10.99). Amelia Rules is a children's comic, but Gownley's sophisticated storytelling makes it a joy to read at any age. That leaves enough for one more comic; I'll make it issue #5 of Who is Jake Ellis?, which wraps up this stylish spy series.

Splurge: That's easy: the third volume of Dark Horse's Archie Archives ($49.99), pricy but filled with fascinating comics from the World War II era that would otherwise never see the light of day.

Michael May

With only $15, I'd start with a couple of favorites: Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #2 ($2.99) and Alpha Flight #5 ($2.99). Frankenstein's still new (even counting the Flashpoint issues, which I do), but it's a solid book with a fantastic concept. And I especially can't wait for Alpha Flight after the last-page reveal of #4. I only predicted that about two seconds before turning the page with hands that were literally shaking from giddiness. It's hard to say that I'm enjoying Van Lente, Pak and Eaglesham's run more than Byrne's because they're building on his foundation, but yeah ... I'm enjoying it more. Next I'd add Shade #1 ($2.99). I didn't stick with Robinson's Starman long enough and lived to regret it, so I don't want to make that mistake again. And the artist rotation sounds too good to be true. I'm also into Mike Carey's X-Men, partly because, so far, I haven't had to buy a bunch of other comics to enjoy it. X-Men Legacy #257 ($2.99) also goes to the register. I'd top off the tank with All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #12 ($2.99), because I love a Batman/Zatanna team-up.

If I had $30, I'd add a couple more single-issues to the stack. Marvel's too-expensive, but fun-sounding Legion of Monsters #1 ($3.99) and the extremely cool, but in-reality-I'm-trade-waiting-it Super Dinosaur #5 ($2.99). And finally, I'd grab Little Jackie Lantern ($7.99), a Halloween board book published by IDW and illustrated by my friend Jessica Hickman who has a knack for combining cute and spooky in just the right amount.

I'm tempted to declare Clive Barker's Abarat: Absolute Midnight hardcover ($24.99) as my splurge item, simply because I've been waiting so very, very long for it. But even though it's being released through Diamond this week, it's not comics, so my real pick is Archaia's Immortals: Gods and Heroes anthology ($19.95). It's tied into a movie that I don't particularly care about, but I love mythology and the talent on this -- Jock, Brian Clevinger, Francesco Francavilla, Ben McCool, Ron Marz, Jimmy Palmiotti/Justin Gray, etc. -- is awesome.

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