Food or Comics? | <i>Doctor Who</i>, <i>Batman Inc.</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.

Graeme McMillan

Let's give all credit to IDW for their sense of timing. I'm so psyched up in advance of this Saturday's return of Doctor Who to my television screen that this Wednesday's release of Doctor Who Annual 2011 (IDW, $7.99) seems like the ideal way to prepare myself. If I had $15, I'd happily spend more than half of it on that particular anthology. The rest would go towards closing out the current incarnation of the DCU, as I'd be grabbing both Action Comics #904 and Batman: Gates of Gotham #5 (Both DC, $2.99).

If I had $30, I'd keep going with my DC Deathwatch: Batman Incorporated #8? Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #13? Xombi #6? (All DC, $2.99)To me, my funnybooks! I'm also curious enough about Kevin Smith's Bionic Man #1 (Dynamite, $3.99) - done by the same team who made his Green Hornet surprisingly enjoyable, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau - that I'll probably pick it up to see if that particular lightning can strike twice.

Splurgewise, I'm unsure whether I've actually read the stories in the Esperanza collection of Jaime Hernandez' Love & Rockets stories (Fantagraphics, $18.99) - I tend to lose track of the material between the first L&R run and the new one, for some reason - but if I haven't, then that, for sure. And if I have, then there's always a new volume of Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys (Vol. 16, Viz, $12.99)...

Brigid Alverson

If I had a dollar...

In Sunday's What Are You Reading column, I mentioned how much I enjoyed Tony Lee and Andrew Currie's Doctor Who Volume 2 #1 (terribly unwieldy title) in which Rory's spam e-mails come to life (holograms, actually) and infest the Tardis, and I was recommending spending two bucks on the digital edition. Well, scrap that: IDW is publishing a dollar edition and that, my friends, is the bargain of the week.

Now, if I had 14 more dollars, the choices become more complex. Obviously I have to buy Kill Shakespeare #12 ($3.99), because that wraps up the series, and an excellent series it has been. Next into the basket is the third issue of Spontaneous ($3.99); I liked the first two issues, in which a misfit and an intrepid girl reporter go after a series of mysterious apparent cases of spontaneous human combustion, and Brett Weldele's luminous art seals the deal for me. Then I'll toss the latest issue of MAD Magazine ($5.99) on top of the stack and consider my comics buying a job well done.

At the $30 level, I'm tempted to pick up something for my nieces and nephew, as there are a lot of good kids' books out this week in the $10 neighborhood. I'm a particular fan of Frank Cammuso's Knights of the Lunch Table books-reading them is like watching an animated cartoon-so I'm going to go for the third volume, The Battling Bands ($11.95). That leaves just enough for an Archie comic, and this week's Archie #624 features yet another story ripped from the headlines-Dilton Doiley goes head-to-head with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg-so include me in!

At the top of my splurge list this week are two very different vintage comics books, Blackjacked and Pistol Whipped: A Crime Does Not Pay Primer ($19.99), edited by Denis Kitchen and filled with vintage issues of that comic, and Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising ($28.99). Both of these are reasonably priced, so I might just pick 'em both up. And if I'm feeling indulgent, I'll add the two new Kids Club graphic novels from Top Shelf, Okie Dokie Donuts and Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken, both $9.95, and BOOM! Studios' Wordgirl: Coalition of Malice ($7.99) to cement my position as The Best Aunt.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

Issue 8 of Batman Incorporated is a given, but I'd also probably nab Okie Dokie Donuts by Chris Eliopoulus ($9.95). I really enjoyed his last comic, the effervescent Monster Party, enough to at least take a gander at this one.

If I had $30:

I've already got a copy, but let me recommend plunking down your entire $30 on the 301st issue of The Comics Journal. This brick of a ... magazine? book? journal? features some great essays and interviews, most notably Tim Kreider's lengthy analysis of Cerebus, and an extensive roundtable on R. Crumb's Book of Genesis, including a thoughtful interview with Crumb hisself.

But if it's softcore smut you're looking for, there's the Pin-Up Art of Humorama, which features gag cartoons by folks like Dave Berg and Brad "Marmaduke" Anderson about buxom secretaries being chased around their desks by portly, lustful employers and whatnot.


Certainly the $69.95 hardcover, signed and numbered edition of Anders Nilsen's major, 15-years in the making, graphic novel Big Questions seems like the big splurge of the week. The book is thick; you could build your upper arm strength just by lifting this baby a few times. But the book's well worth the price and weight.

JK Parkin

Allrighty, $15 ... top of my list this week would be New Mutants #30 ($2.99), a Fear Itself tie-in that I'm getting it because Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have made this title a hell of a lot of fun. They're good at that. I'd then get four reliably good titles -- Chew #20 ($2.99), FF #8 ($2.99), Northlanders #43 ($2.99) and Batman Inc. #8 ($2.99).

If I had $30, I'd also grab Xombi #6 ($2.99) ... like Batman Inc., this is the last issue before the big DC relaunch next month, but unlike Batman Inc., we've had no indication that this one will be back. Which is too bad; it gets announced, it starts up, everything changes and once again we have no Xombi title. Hopefully we won't have to wait so long to see it again. I'd also get Oni's Spontaneous #3 ($3.99).

Splurge this week is pretty easy, since I've been waiting a long time for it -- Kagan McLeod's Infinite Kung-Fu ($24.95) from Top Shelf.

Michael May

If I had $15, I'd say good-bye to a couple of series with Xombi #6 ($2.99) and Wonder Woman #614 ($2.99). I have a positive outlook about Wonder Woman's new direction under Azzarello and Chiang, but I hope that Xombi also eventually finds its way into the DCnU. Next, I'd pick up the penultimate, fourth issue of Mystery Men ($2.99), another series I'll be sad to see end when it's done. But it's not all about farewells this week, because I'm also saying hello to the first issue of IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ongoing ($3.99).

If I had $30 though, I'd trade-wait TMNT and Wonder Woman to make room for the Marineman collection, A Matter of Life and Death ($19.99). I've thoroughly enjoyed the series in single-issues and can't wait to read it again in this form.

As usual, I have a hard time picking one splurge item. Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken ($9.95) sounds like a lot of fun, but I've also been eagerly awaiting the collection of Josh Fialkov's Echoes ($19.99). However, I've been waiting for the balance of Kagan McLeod's awesome Infinite Kung-Fu ($24.95) for nine years, so if I had to pick just one, that would be it.

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