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.
Here's the thing: I really can't decide if I want to spend part of my $15 this week on Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 (DC, $3.99). On the one hand, it's a new Darwyn Cooke comic, and on almost every other occasion, I'd be all over that. But on the other … It's Before Watchmen. And I don't even mean that in the "I have moral qualms about DC's 'ownership' and use of the characters" sense -- although I do -- but in the "I didn't actually LIKE Watchmen that much, so why should I be interested in a prequel?" sense. Let's table that one, then, and wait and see what happens in the store. Instead, I'll grab Earth 2 #2 (DC, $2.99), the new Simon Spurrier book Extermination #1 (BOOM!, $1) and the weirdly-coming-out-a-month-before-the-movie Amazing Spider-Man Movie Adaptation #1 (Marvel, $2.99), if only because it's been years since I've read a comic book adaptation of a movie and I want to support Marvel's odd apparently-spoiling-itself plan.
If I had $30, I'd put Spidey back on the shelf and grab the final DMZ collection (Vol. 12: The Five Nations of New York, DC $14.99). I've been following the collections of Brian Wood's series for awhile, and have been patiently awaiting this one since the series wrapped in single issues awhile back. Don't spoil it for me, please.
Splurge-wise, I'd likely pick up the GI Joe, Vol. 2: Cobra Command, Part 1 TP (IDW, $17.99). The movie may have been put back, but I don't care; IDW's Joe comics are my brand of military machismo, and I dropped off the single issues in favor of collections as soon as this crossover started. Time to get caught back up and try not to think about poor Channing Tatum.
If I had $15, I’d start off my Wednesday haul with Creator Owned Heroes #1 (Image, $3.99). Despite the relative lack of publicity behind this, I’m super-psyched about this anthology book. The lead feature, Trigger Girl 6 by Palmiotti, Gray and Noto, is something I’d buy on its own, but now inside this anthology/magazine makes it an ever better buy. I love this format, and I hope creators and fans take notice enough to keep it going. Next up would be Steamcraft #1 (Antarctic Press, $3.99) by David Hutchison, whom I’ve followed since Junction 17. After that I’d get the big release of the week – Avengers Vs. X-Men #5 (Marvel, $3.99). Minor scrabble aside with the rotating writer leading the book to read kind of stilted, I’ve overall been impressed by the book so far. It’s not redefining the genre, but it is leagues better than Fear Itself. Finally, I’d wrap up my $15 haul with Earth 2 #2 (DC, $2.99). I admit that the deaths in the first issue hooked me, and the reveal at the end kept me there.
If I had $30, I’d reach out and get two more #1s – Double Jumpers #1 (Action Lab, $3.99) and Harbinger #1 (Valiant, $3.99). I have a soft spot for Harbinger going back to the '90s, so I’ll give the first issue a shot, and well, Double Jumpers … it looks fun! After that I’d get Secret #2 (Image, $3.50) to shake my fist and wish I had thought of this idea first, and then finally I’d get Thief of Thieves #5 (Image, $2.99). Shawn Martinbrough needs more respect.
If my horse came in, I’d splurge and buy Michael Cho’s Back Alleys And Urban Landscapes (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95). I’ve been following Cho’s work online for years, and his veering into straight-up fine art has been great. He’s a real “artiste” as they say working in this business some call funny books, and I’d love to see more artists being given the chance – and the financial reward – to try out untraditional projects like this.
If I had $15, it looks like the latest issue of The Boys (#67) might be available in some stores this week, so that would be first on my list. What else ... well, Fantagraphics has the latest issue of Squa Tront, the longest-running EC-focused crit/fan mag evar. At $10, that's certainly at least worth a flip-through.
If I had $30, who cares -- indeed, who can even talk about Before Watchmen when the definitive collection of Chester Brown's Ed the Happy Clown, one of the seminal comics of the 1980s, is finally available in stores this week! Does Before Watchmen have a character with Ronald Regan's head on the end of his penis? No, it does not. Does Before Watchmen feature a man who cannot stop shitting? Not in the least. Does BW have sewer monsters, rat-eating pygmies, alternate dimensions or a murderous janitor? I think we all know which is the better shopping choice this week.
Lotsa good, splurge-worthy stuff this week, including the latest Prince Valiant volume from Fantagraphics; Angelman, a rather cutting (if you look at the cover you'll see I'm making a pun here) superhero parody from Austrian cartoonist Nicolas Mahler, and Year of the Beasts, an interesting looking collaboration between Cecil Castilucci and Nate Powell.
If I had $15, I'd spend the first half of it on Valiant comics. I liked the first issue of X-O Manowar ($3.99) enough to want to read the second one, but the one I have really been waiting for is the psychic-teen-team story Harbinger #1 ($3.99). The original 1990s version had a nice, slightly twisted feel to it and I'm hoping the new one will as well. Then there's Roger Langridge's Popeye #2 ($3.99); after the first issue, I'm a believer. And I'll top off the stack with Super Dinosaur #11, just for fun.
If I had $30, I'd add in Year of the Beasts ($16.99), which is a novel/comic hybrid. Usually these hybrids have a sort of goofy, lighthearted feel, but this one is more dramatic, and the art is by the superb Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole, The Silence of Our Friends), so it's a a no-brainer for me.
Splurge: Like Chris A, I'm a fan of Michael Cho's work, so my crazy cash goes to his Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes as well. I love the subject matter and even more, I love what he does with it.
If I had $15, I'd stock up on first issues of three new series. Steamcraft #1 ($3.99) sounds like the steampunk series I've been looking for; I like how Extermination #1 ($1.00) teams up superheroes and villains to fight aliens in a post-apocalyptic world (and I can't beat that price), and as Arrant mentioned, Creator-Owned Heroes #1 ($3.99) sounds awesome. I'd top off the pile with The Spider #2 (3.99). I don't care for the Spider's new costume much, but David Liss' story is excellent; as I hoped it would be after enjoying his Mystery Men from Marvel.
If I had $30, I'd put all that back and grab Koma ($29.95), a graphic novel by Pierre Wazem and Frederik Peeters about a little girl who lives in an industrial metropolis and makes friends with a bizarre monster she meets in a chimney.
For my splurge item, I'm going to take Mautner's recommendation and grab Nicolas Mahler's Angelman. I can use some cutting superhero parody this week.