Food or Comics? | Conan the barberryan

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 start with Thief of Thieves #1 (Image/Skybound, $2.99). The gang at Skybound gave me an advance PDF of this issue, and I like it so much I want to hold the physical thing in my hands. Shawn Martinbrough really nails this first issue, and Nick Spencer really puts his Marvel work to shame with this story. Next up I’d get my favorite DC Book – Batwoman #6 (DC, $2.99) – and favorite Marvel book – Wolverine and The X-Men #5 ($3.99). I’d finish it all up with Northlanders #48 ($2.99). I’m not the biggest fan of Danijel Zezelj’s work, but I can’t let up now to see my long-running commitment to Northlanders falter at this point.

If I had $30, I’d dig into Richard Corben’s Murky World one-shot (Dark Horse, $3.50). Corben’s one of those “will-buy-no-matter-what” artists for me that Tom Spurgeon recently focused on, and this looks right up my alley. Next up I’d get Secret Avengers #22 (Marvel, $3.99) because Remender’s idea of robot descendents intrigues me, and then Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega (Marvel, $3.99). I didn’t know what to expect from the first issue, and after reading it I still don’t know where this series is heading – but I like it so far. Finally, I’d get Haunt #21 (Image, $2.99). The combination of Joe Casey & Nathan Fox is like a secret code to open my wallet.

If I could splurge, I’d take the graphic novel Jinchalo (D+Q, $17.95) by Matthew Forsythe. I loved his previous book Ojingogo, and this looks to continue in that hit parade.

JK Parkin

There's a brand new issue of Jason Lutes' Berlin ($4.95) hitting comic shops this week, which seems like a good way to spend the first third of my $15. According to Drawn & Quarterly, there are only about four issues of this excellent series left, which will give me a great reason to go back and read all the issues again in one sitting. Next on my list would be Thief of Thieves #1 ($2.99), the new Nick Spencer/Shawn Martinbrough/Robert Kirkman joint from Skybound. I'd also grab the new Conan series ($3.50), featuring the work of two of my favs, Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan. How cool is it to see the Demo team reuniting on something like Conan? Their Northlanders story rocked, so I'm looking forward to this. And speaking of which, Northlanders is coming to a close soon, so this is one of the last times I'll be able to put it on my list here ... so I'd spend my last few dollars on issue #48 ($2.99).

Based on the review Brigid gave it a few weeks ago, I'd spend all of my next $15 on Dotter of her Father's Eyes by Mary and Bryan Talbot ($14.99)

For my splurge item this week, I dunno ... The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde ($14.99) looks interesting, and there's also the Fantastic Four Season One graphic novel that looks nice, but do I really need to spend $25 to yet again see how the FF become the FF? Probably not. No, instead I'd probably go with One Model Nation, by Dandy Warhols lead singer Courtney Taylor and artist Jim Rugg. Although I'm really hesitant to spend $25 on a graphic novel by a singer--Gerard Way notwithstanding, singers trying to write comics doesn't always end well--the fact that Jim Rugg did the art is a great selling point for me. I missed it the first time it was published by Image, but I'd be willing to check out the new edition by Titan if, indeed, I had some splurge money to spend.

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, I'd start with a book I've been curious about since its announcement: Conan The Barbarian #1 (Dark Horse, $3.50). I've never really been the biggest fan of Robert E. Howard's fantasy hero, but the idea of Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan handling the character gets me very interested indeed. I'd also grab the first issue of the Robert Kirkman/Nick Spencer collaboration Thief of Thieves #1 (Image, $2.99), about which I've heard a lot of good things, and Memorial #3 (IDW, $3.99), the latest of this apparently-underrated book that I am completely in love with currently.

If I had $30, I'd also grab Kevin Keller #1 (Archie, $2.99), Batman and Robin #6 (DC, $2.99 and the best of the Batbooks from my point of view; sorry, Scott Snyder and everyone else) and Wolverine and The X-Men #5 (Marvel, $3.99), easily the best X-Book that's been around since the first Chris Claremont run. It's all about the creature comforts, sometimes.

When it comes to splurging, though, it's all about the new takes on old stories: I'd go for Fantastic Four: Season One Premiere HC (Marvel, $24.99), to see how Marvel's new line pans out; I'm unconvinced by the core concept of "retelling the origins all over again," but the creative line-ups and OGN format makes me want this to work out for the House of Ideas.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15, I'd spend it all on floppies, and I'm skewing young this week. Kevin Keller #1 ($2.99) from Archie is a must, of course. Up till now Kevin has been a bit too good to be true, and I'm hoping Dan Parent will at least get him into some scrapes now that he has his own series. Then I'll take Princeless #4 ($3.99); I caught up with this series on Graphicly over the weekend because it was getting good buzz, and I like it a lot. The feisty-princess thing isn't exactly new these days, but the creators get in some clever digs. Adventure Time #1 ($3.99) is another must-have, with the creative combo of Ryan North and artists Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline. It's based on some Nick show--yeah, whatever. This team can do no wrong in my book. That leaves just enough for the first issue of Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan's Conan the Barbarian ($3.50) from Dark Horse, with change left over for some penny candy to munch on while I read.

If I had $30, I would add in Mary and Bryan Talbot's Dotter of Her Father's Eyes, from Dark Horse. The price looks like a typo: $14.99 for the hardcover? It's a great story (I have already read it), layering Mary Talbot's childhood as the daughter of an eminent Joyce scholar with the story of Joyce's daughters and her own struggles against her family and the mores of the time. Mary's voice is pitch-perfect, and Talbot's illustrations really capture the era. I know it's only February, but I'm already putting this on my top ten list for 2012.

Splurge: There's no huge $50 collection of vintage comics calling out to me this week, but the regular comics are so good I want more. I would like to see IDW's Archie Treasury: The Best of Dan DeCarlo ($9.99), and the first volume of Vertical's GTO: 14 Days in Shonan ($10.95) (the prequel to the classic manga series GTO) are both calling to me. And for some stylish girls' comics, I'll take issue 4 of PC Cast's House of Night ($2.99) just for Joelle Jones's illustrations, and vol. 6 of The Story of Saiunkoku ($9.99) because it's an elegantly drawn, charmingly written shoujo manga, and I'm really enjoying reading it.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, the new volume of Bakuman is calling out to me. I just finished Vol. 8 and am eager for more breathless treatises on how the manga industry operates. On top of that I'd also grab the latest issue of Berlin, Jason Lutes' ongoing historical saga. Part of me feels a bit foolish for not trade-waiting on these -- I tend to think the story reads better in solid chunks than piecemeal -- but I'm such an impatient soul.

If I had $30; I'll read just about anything Bryan Talbot does, so I'm definitely interested in picking up Dotter of Her Father's Eyes. I might put it all back, however, and pick up Jinchalo, the latest wordless comic from Matthew Forsythe, a sequel of sorts to his rather charming Ojingogo.

Splurge: Casual Robert Crumb fans might be interested in The Life and death of Fritz the Cat. Jack Kirby fans will definitely be interested in Young Romance, a collection of heartthrob tales from Simon and Kirby (see my review). Myself, I might well go for the fourth volume of Torpedo, Jordi Bernet's grim and gritty (and blackly humorous) gangster series.

Michael May

If I had $15, I'd start with the two, female Bat-heroes, Batgirl #6 ($2.99) and Batwoman #6 ($3.99) and the tangential Bat-heroine, Huntress #5 ($2.99). Rounding out my must-reads is Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #6 ($2.99), but I'd also pick up Demon Knights #6 ($2.99), a comic that stays good enough to keep me interested if not overwhelmingly excited. The pin's awfully close to the bubble on that one for me, but I'm still on board for now.

If I had $30, I'd add some more expensive comics starting with Conan the Barbarian #1 ($3.50). I switched to trade-waiting Dark Horse's Conan comics a long time ago, but I'm as curious as everyone else about the Wood/Cloonan team on this. I'm also fascinated enough by Richard Corben's work to want to try out his fantasy one-shot, Murky World ($3.50). I also have it on good authority (Diamond shipping list be damned) that the delayed Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #5 ($3.50) is also coming out this week, so that's good news. And finally, I've enjoyed the few episodes of Adventure Time I've seen, so I'd also like to pick up Adventure Time #1 ($3.99) from Boom!.

My splurge this week is another item that hasn't been verified by Diamond, but it's shown up on my LCS' invoice, so I expect Jason's Athos in America ($24.99) to be on the shelf tomorrow. Jason's stuff is always awesome and this sort-of prequel to The Last Musketeer should be no exception.

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