Food or Comics? | Beurre manié or Building Stories

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.

JK Parkin

If I had $15, I'd start with a couple of Marvel firsts, even though one of them isn't technically a first issue: Uncanny Avengers #1 ($3.99) and Red She-Hulk #58 ($2.99). This is the first week of Marvel NOW, and they're starting with books by creative teams I'm excited about. Next I'd get Stumptown V2 #2 ($3.99) and wind things up with the Halloween Eve one-shot. I actually supported the Kickstarter for the latter, so my copy is probably already on the way to my mailbox, but hypothetically let's assume that it wasn't. It's by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder, two creators whose work I've enjoyed in the past. So if it wasn't coming to me in the mail, it would come home in a paper bag from the comic shop.

If I had $30, I'd add an outgoing Marvel title (Marvel THEN?), Fantastic Four #611, which features the end of Hickman's run before he moves on to Avengers and Matt Fraction takes over the first family of Marveldom. Next I'd grab Green Lantern Corps #13 ($2.99) as I like the direction the GL books have been headed in lately, and Conan #9 ($3.50), the second half of Brian Wood's collaboration with Vasilis Lolos. Finally, I'd grab Point of Impact #1 ($2.99), the new crime book by Jay Faerber and Koray Kuranel.

This is a splurge in price only; if I had $50, then Chris Ware's Building Stories would definitely have been at the top of my buy list this week. It's a big box of little comics, as Chris put it, and as luck would have it I really do have $50 in gift certificates that I got for my birthday to buy it with. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I would be called with the mermaid’s song to the guitar-ridden cover of Stumptown V2. #2 (Oni, $3.99) by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth. I love music, and I love comics about musicians – and doing that from a low-rent P.I. angle with Dex is an ingenious attempt by Rucka to rob me of my money each month. Next up would be another kind of musical comic, Punk Rock Jesus #4 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). Sean Murphy is really pulling out the stops here; he knows he’s not the best writer in the world (and doesn’t try to be); instead, he rips into some of the most spell-binding cartooning I’ve seen from him (or anyone) in the past five years. He’s a bit of a show-off here, but both he and us readers deserve it. Third up would be Conan the Barbarian #9 (Dark Horse, $3.50). I really like how Wood’s explored the nuances to Bêlit here in the face of a copycat Conan. Lastly, I’d get Dave Gibbons and Mark Millar’s The Secret Service #4 (Marvel/Icon, $2.99). In some cases it seems like Millar’s writing overpowers the storytelling components of the artist, but Gibbons shares the vision of this book and delivers a unique blend of the world that to an outsider looks like Millar’s most meshed collaboration since the original Ultimates run with Bryan Hitch.

If I had $30, I’d go back and first get Uncanny Avengers #1 (Marvel, $3.99). It wasn’t a fever dream – Uncanny X-Force was that good that it put Rick Remender in the front of the line to write this series, and they’ve lured back John Cassaday to really escalate this into the rarified A-list of titles for Marvel. I avoided reading spoilers on the storylines, so I’m buying on these two creators’ track records alone. Speaking of track records, after that I’d get Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman #13 (DC, $3.99). I can’t say much more than what I’ve already said; this is really good. Third on my $30 list this week is Secret Avengers #32 (Marvel, $3.99), also by Rick Remender.. The superstar-in-training Matteo Scalera is on art here, and has really upped the ante in my enjoyment for this series, although I kind of feel Remender’s arc lost some momentum underground when the Masters of Evil were finally revealed. Finally, I’d finish out my $30 spending spree with Creator-Owned Heroes #5 (Image, $3.99). This and Dark Horse Presents are my two stalwarts, guaranteeing a variety of reading choices and much more layered enjoyment.

If I could splurge, I’d surely splurge on Chris Ware’s Building Stories HC (Random House, $50). I balked at getting these stories when they were serialized, but I’m not apologizing. This full-bodied final format seems the ideal way to read Ware for me, and I’m excited to see him play around with architecture and storytelling in this book.

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, it'd go toward the lay-deez. I think you know what I'm sayin' (I feel like dropping the g there is the only way to go): I'm talking about Ame-Comi Girls #1 (DC, $3.99), which I've heard surprisingly good things about and features Amanda Connor art, and is therefore likely to be rather wonderful to look at, and Red She-Hulk #58 (Marvel, $2.99), the first issue of the new status quo for Jeff Parker's gamma-powered title (with Carlo Pagulayan on art). Hopefully it'll be enough to convince people to give it a shot: Parker and artists have been churning out the best Hulk book in a looooooong time here -- back when it was called "Hulk" -- without enough people reading it. Get better about this kind of thing, people! I'd also grab the second issue of the new Stumptown series (Oni, $3.99), which stays with this accidental Female Furies theme, somewhat.

If I had $30, I'd give the "new" Marvel a chance, grabbing both Uncanny Avengers #1 and AVX: Consequences #1 (Both $3.99) to see the fallout from the most recent "everything you know will change" event, as well as Avengers #31 ($3.99) which, I think, begins Bendis' final story-arc on the series …?

When it comes to splurging, I'm going to be topical: Steven Weissman's surreal, alternate take on the life and times of our current president, Barack Hussein Obama (Fantagraphics, $22.99) just may contain an explanation for that sleepy debate performance last week, if nothing else.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15, this would be a very simple week: I just hand it over to Vertical for the latest volume of their wine-tasting manga The Drops of God ($14.95). This single volume stands alone (more or less) and focuses on U.S. wines.

If I had $30, I'd add another manga, vol. 2 of Jiu Jiu, the story of a lonely, alienated girl whose magical companions are two wolves that can transform into humans; hot guys, actually. The storytelling is dense and complex, and the story itself shifts from dark to light and back to dark again. This really is a manga to sink your teeth into. And since it's only $9.99, I'll have enough left over to treat myself to Amy Reeder's Halloween Eve ($3.99), a one-shot comic she funded via Kickstarter.

Splurge: There's a lot to like this week. I'd love to pick up the second trade of Roger Langridge's Snarked ($14.99) and the first of Saga, ($9.99). I'd like to grab Langridge's Popeye #6 ($3.99) as well; I believe he does the art in this one. The first volume of Paradise Kiss ($16.95), a manga about a discontented high school student who falls in with a free-spirited (but hard working) group of fashion designers is a must-buy. And I'd love to read the fourth (and I believe final) volume of Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer ($10.95).

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, I'd go with a kids' comic. Most likely Pippi Moves In, a new collection of heretofore unknown (at least in the U.S.) comic spin-off of Astrid Lindgren's popular Pippi Longstocking series, written by Lindgren and drawn by Danish artist Ingrid Vang Nyman. I went through a brief Pippi phase in elementary school, reading a whole bunch of the books and am curious to see if these 1950s-era comics reawakens any nostalgia for me.

If I had $30, I'd put Pippi back and steal $5 from somebody -- anybody -- to get my hands on Vol. 2 of Buz Sawyer: Sultry's Tiger. Buz doesn't have quite the same pep as Roy Crane's Captain Easy, but the art is much more professional and lush and beautiful. Besides it's Roy Crane, and even middle grade Crane is miles and miles better than just about any other cartoonist around.

I managed to snag a review copy of Building Stories (and it's totes awesome by the way) so my splurge for the week would be Humanoids' $89-plus collection of Young Albert, Yves Chaland's stories about a mischievous Belgian youngster. Chaland is one of the great ligne clair artists, along with Joost Swarte and Ever Meulen, and precious little of his material has been collected in the U.S. outside of the occasional issue of Heavy Metal, so this book is definitely cause for celebration.

Michael May

If I had $15, I'd start with Red She-Hulk #58 ($2.99), because it combines two kinds of comics I love: ones by Jeff Parker and ones starring female superheroes. I'd also quickly add Creator-Owned Heroes #5 ($3.99). I've enjoyed the first four issues, but I'm especially excited to see Steve Niles and Andrew Ritchie's Western story, "Black Sparrow." Niles is on record as saying, "My life will be complete when I've convinced the world that Andrew Ritchie is the creepiest damn artist in the world. His art, I mean, not Andrew." I couldn't agree more. Next I'd add Stumptown: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case #2 ($3.99) for all the reasons everyone mentioned already, and I'd finish with Massive #5 ($3.50). Still a big fan of that series.

With $30, I'd add Planet of the Apes, Volume 3 ($14.99). If you don't know me by now, you will never never never know me. Ooo-ooh.

There's so much to splurge on this week, starting with Building Stories. Like Mautner, I've already got a copy, but that doesn't make my decision any easier. Not with that Snarked! collection Brigid mentioned, two books from Kids Can Press (Bigfoot Boy, Volume 1: Into the Woods and That One Spooky Night), and the time-travel fairy tales anthology Once Upon a Time Machine coming out this week. If I had to settle on one, I'd probably let the season get the best of me and pick That One Spooky Night, but any of those would be awesome.

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