Food or Comics? | Cupcakes or Cave-In

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 this Wednesday, it’d be all Image for me – starting with Nowhere Men #3 (Image, $2.99). The Beatles as a scientific supergroup, through the lens of Dr. Strangelove? Let’s do this. I’ve been a big fan of Nate Bellegarde for a while, and this book finally seems to capture what’s unique about him – his comedy, his stark scientific acumen, and his humanism. After that I’d get Glory #32 (Image, $3.99). Beautiful cover by Ricken here, and reads like a great manga building up to some epic battle. After that I’d get Brian Wood and Ming Doyle’s Mara #2 (Image, $2.99). I tried to hold back my expectations before reading Issue 1, and I was blown away – so now Issue 2 has something to prove. Finally, I’d get Invincible #100 (Image, $3.99) (Cory Walker’s cover, if you want to know!). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I think Invincible is better than The Walking Dead. No need to compare the two really, though, because no matter how you cut it, this series is great … and what Kirkman and Ottley have planned for the 100th issue looks to be unique – both for the promised deaths and the promise of seeing what could have been had Mark Grayson chosen differently.

If I had $30, I’d make up for lost time and get Brian Ralph’s Cave-In (Drawn & Quarterly, $14.95) . I’m reticent to admit this, but I’ve never read this book. I loved Daybreak, but never found a copy or the motivation to seek out more … but this Wednesday that will change.

For splurging, I already have most of this in the single issues, but I can’t help but splurge on the new collection X-Men: Mutant Massacre (Marvel, $34.99). This was my first crossover in comics, buying back-issues before I discovered events like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars. In my rose-colored glasses, it’s an ideal crossover for not being too overbearing and relating to a conflict or situation that isn’t superhero-specific. Love the Morlocks, love Uncanny X-Men and the associated books around this time, so I’m buying this and spending an evening enjoying it all over again.

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, the first thing I'd pick up would be Hawkeye #7 (Marvel, $2.99), the series' response to Hurricane Sandy, and the issue from which writer Matt Fraction is giving his incentive money to the Red Cross. That I've been enjoying the series up to this point and look forward to seeing Steve Lieber and Jesse Hamm's artwork on the issue is just gravy, really. I'd also grab Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1 (IDW, $3.99), the first in a year-long mini celebrating the 50th anniversary of the BBC show, as well as the seventh issue of Batman, Incorporated (DC, $2.99), the increasingly perverse series from Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham.

If I had $30, I'd stay on the Batman thing and add Batman and Robin Annual #1 (DC, $4.99) to the pile to see what Peter Tomasi has up his sleeve (I feel like his work on the monthly title is an oft-overlooked treasure among the New 52 grind) as well as Avengers #4 (Marvel, $3.99). The first three issue arc of Jonathan Hickman left me more than a little unconvinced about the direction of the title, but not so unconvinced that I'm giving up just yet.

Should I find myself splurging, then I'd splurge all over Star Wars Omnibus: Infinities (Dark Horse, $24.99), a collection of the various "What If" alternate takes on the movie storylines. I'm a sucker for "What If"s" at the best of times, and have been in a Star Wars mood lately ...

J.K. Parkin

If I had $15, I'd start with my new favorite title, Nowhere Men. I didn't expect to like this comic this much, but there you go. Next, Invincible #100, the big anniversary issue that comes with your choice of seven covers (plus a chromium one for $9.99). No idea which cover I'd pick. I'd also get the new issue of Hawkeye, which, as Graeme points out, is the Hurricane Sandy benefit issue. And finally, I'd get the big wrap-up to the Third Army crossover, Green Lantern Corps Annual #1 (DC Comics, $4.99), which I guess comes to a close in time for the First Lantern crossover to kick off next month.

If I had $30, I'd also get some comics that are pretty much regulars now on my list: Batman Inc. and The Sixth Gun (Oni Press, $3.99). I'd also grab the second issue of Deathmatch (BOOM!, $3.99), which is a lot better than a comic that's pretty much creating characters so they can die should be. I hate Jenkins for making me care about the fodder, and I love Carlos Magno for drawing the way he does. And finally, I'd wrap it all up with Superior Spider-Man #2 (Marvel, $3.99). I haven't followed Spider-Man regularly since JMS left the title, but the current storyline was enough to intrigue me to try it out, and I like what I've seen so far.

I'm at a loss this week for a splurge item, as I think everything I'd consider buying -- the new Global Frequency collection, Cave-In, Dragon Age: Those Who Speak -- I already own. So let's bank that splurge money for a rainy day.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15, I'd spend it on two things: The third volume of Limit ($10.95), a scary shoujo manga about a bullied girl turning on her tormentors in a Lord of the Flies-type setup. Creator Keiko Suenobu gives this psychological revenge story a shoujo gloss that makes it downright uncanny. And then the rest would go for The Sixth Gun #28 ($3.99), because you can't go wrong with that.

If I had $30, though, I'd set aside Limit and go for the first volume of Rick Geary's Treasury of Victorian Murder Compendium. I came late to the Victorian Murder party, but I really like Geary's just-the-facts-ma'am approach, and I'd love to read some of his earlier volumes.

This week's splurge is not one, big, expensive volume but a couple of more modestly price graphic novels that I'd like to try out, or that I already have in other formats: Vol. 3 of Archie: The Married Life ($19.99), which collects the twists and turns of the Riverdale gang's twentysomething lives; vol. 3 of Roger Langridge's Snarked ($14.99), just to have it all in one place; and Vol. 1 of Bad Medicine ($19.99), because the premise is kind of interesting (eccentric surgeon returns to New York to solve a murder) and Oni usually does a nice job with books like this. And with a stack like that, I wouldn't mind getting a snow day.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, I'm a couple issues behind in my reading, but Batman, Incorporated #7 would be my first choice, as I try to keep up on all the Morrison-induced madness (good or bad) whenever possible. (Should I note that Batman, Incorporated is the only DC comics I'm reading on a monthly basis?) And, while, like J.K., I already own a copy of Brian Ralph's Cave-In, I'd at least flip through it in the store and perhaps even point it out to people because it is such a delightful little comic.

If I had $30, I'd reach for what is clearly the book of the week: The Freddie Stories, a fancy new reprint edition of Lynda Barry's Ernie Pook's Comeek, focusing on the perpetually abused Freddie and his dysfunctional family. No one captures the highs and abysmal lows of adolescence and the raw pain and anxiety of childhood in the way that Barry can. She's a true and utterly unique talent and Freddie Stories is heartbreaking, but richly rewarding comics.

Splurge: Any Hal Foster fan worth his or her salt should be snapping up Prince Valiant, Vol. 6, collecting Val's lengthy excursion to the New World (i.e. North America) in pursuit of the vikings that have kidnapped his wife. It's a great run, featuring Foster's usual exquisite eye for detail and backgrounds and storytelling skill.

Michael May

If I had $15, I'd start with two of the coolest female characters in comics, Courtney Crumrin #9 ($3.99) and Glory #32 ($3.99). Follow that up with Hawkeye #7 ($2.99) and the second issue of Steve Niles' Criminal Macabre/30 Days of Night crossover ($3.99) and I've got some great reading for the week.

But if I had $30, I'd eagerly add Brian Ralph's Cave-In ($14.95). I'm sorry this wasn't on my radar until just about everyone above mentioned it, but they - and Ralph's art and monsters and a mole man - have convinced me that I want it.

Like Brigid, I don't have a single, big item I want to splurge on this week, so I'll grab a few more collections and a graphic novel: Planet of the Apes, Vol. 4 ($19.99), Bad Medicine ($19.99), Snarked, Vol. 3 ($14.99), and The Freddie Stories ($19.99). PotA needs no explanation, but Bad Medicine is Nunzio DeFillipis and Christopher Mitten's mini-series from Oni that's sort of a cross between Fringe, Contagion, and maybe The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? I'm a fan of these creators and am excited to see how that works out. With Snarked, Roger Langridge created an Alice in Wonderland series for people who don't like Alice and Wonderland. Folks like me who love Alice will dig it even more. The first two volumes are already scooching over on my bookshelf to make room. As for The Freddie Stories, I have a low, low tolerance for heartbreak, but a deep love for the way Lynda Barry does it. I never feel manipulated; just that she's being really honest about situations and emotions that I can relate to.

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