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. I'm filling in this week for Michael May, who is off in Florida spending his splurge money on mouse ears and giant turkey legs.
If I had $15, I’d start of the week with Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ Saga #7 (Image, $2.99). Saga has become a real bright spot in comics for me being sci-fi without being “sci-fi,” being romance without being “romance,” and being great at being great. It gives me the same excitement the way Bone, Strangers In Paradise and A Distant Soil did back in the early 90s. Next up would be Punk Rock Jesus #5 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) by Sean Murphy. Murphy’s really exceeded my expectations here, creating a nuanced and elaborate world that has great art as a bonus. You can really tell Murphy’s been thinking about this story for awhile now. After that I’d get Invincible #97 (Image, $2.99), to finally get the truth behind the new Invincible, Zandale. I’ve been enticed by what’s been teased so far, and I hope the inevitable return of Mark Grayson doesn’t prevent me from seeing more of Zandale in the future. Last up with my $15 budget would be my call for the best superhero book on the stands today, Wolverine & The X-Men #20 (Marvel, $3.99). I feel like the title isn’t getting the attention it deserves with Marvel NOW! upon us, but Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw are absolutely delivering it here.
If I had $30, I’d double back and double up on Brian Wood with Conan The Barbarian #10 (Dark Horse, $3.50) and The Massive #6 (Dark Horse, $3.50). The Massive has survived the monumental loss of artist Kristian Donaldson, forging on in Wood’s story of one ship trying to survive in an ecological destitute Earth. Over at Conan The Barbarian, Declan Shalvey looks to be bringing the goods and showing he’s more than a Marvel superhero artist. After that I’d get the second series debut of Where Is Jake Ellis? (Image, $3.50) by Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic. This is a mighty pairing, and seeing them peel back the layers on Jake Ellis has been fun.
If I could splurge, I’d take a chance on Champions of The Wild Weird West (Arcana, $14.95). My purchases from Arcana have been uneven by-in-large, but I’m a fan of this book’s artist George Kambadais. This looks like Shangai Noon but good, with a samurai coming to the American Wild West to fight off zombie Indians and more.
If I had $15: I'd surely grab the final issue of The Boys, No. 72 ($4.99), where, judging by the cover art, everything goes down the crapper. I've been putting the past few issues aside so I could read the whole conclusion in one "satisfying chunk," as they like to say.
I'd also pick up Passage by Tessa Brunton ($6.50), a charming one-shot from Sparkplug about a young teen embarrassed by the Iron John type of rituals her parents go through to mark her brother's passage into adolescence. It's a rather charming piece of work.
If I had $30: The British publisher NoBrow always seems to have something intriguing up its sleeve. This week it's 17 x 23 Showcase ($15.95), an anthology of up-and-coming U.K. artists. This volume includes Issac Lenkiewicz, Henry McCauseland and Nick Sheehy. I'm not familiar with any of these people but I always like being introduced to new artists.
Splurge: Oh, dear, which volume of classic Disney material to get? Do I go with Vol. 4 of Floyd Gottfredson's sublime daily Mickey Mouse strip, "House of the Seven Haunts" ($29.99)? Or do I choose the unparalleled genius of Carl Barks and get "Donald Duck: A Christmas
in for Shacktown" ($28.99)? The Donald Duck volume has the edge since it contains "The Golden Helmet," a favorite story of mine from childhood, but since I'm splurging I'll just get both.
I guess this is the big week of Marvel NOW! launches that aren't Uncanny Avengers or Iron Man? Either way, I'm enough of a sucker/curious reader that I'll likely pick up All-New X-Men #1 (Marvel, $3.99) because I like the concept--although, I admit, I like it that little bit less now that I know that the "modern" Cyclops, et al are going to be spun off into another shot at Uncanny X-Men in a few months -- and Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel, $2.99) because I like the characters, even if I suspect that their day is done sadly. But in case that's too much "old," I'll grab some "new," too: Saga #7 (Image, $2.99) looks set to continue to prove that Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples can do little wrong, and the astounding Zaucer of Zilk #2 (IDW, $3.99) will similarly prove that Al Ewing + Brendan McCarthy = Comics Greatness.
If I had $30 this week, I'd continue my Marvel NOW!ness by grabbing Red She-Hulk #59 (Marvel, $2.99), aka the second issue of the new status quo and by the way, MACHINE MAN (Seriously, Jeff Parker's Aaron Stack makes me so ridiculously happy, you guys). Matt Kindt's Mind Mgmt #0 (Dark Horse, $2.99) collects shorts from Dark Horse Presents that I somehow missed, so this should be a nice chance to put that right.
When it comes to the splurge, I'm going for the reissue of Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark and Sean Philips' Scene of The Crime (Image Comics, $24.99) because this remains one of my favorite Brubaker comics of all time, and one of my favorite crime comics, too; having it in a larger hardcover format? Yeah, that's worth the money to me.
If I had just $15, I'd be spending it on floppies this week. Valiant's Archer & Armstrong ($3.99) has reached the status of automatic buy for me; this is a series that I was unsure about in the beginning but has been growing on me as it goes, so I'll be picking up issue 4 this week. And since I have already taken the psychedelic plunge into Zaucer of Zilk, I'll go for issue #2 ($3.99)—it's cheaper and more legal than taking hallucinogenic drugs, and it has about the same effect. Finally, Joe Harris' Great Pacific #1 is well worth my $2.99; check out the previews of the first two issues at CBR if you're skeptical. That leaves enough cash for one more, and I'll make it Saucer Country #6 ($2.99).
If I had $30, I'd keep that stack and add Vol. 8 of Cross Game ($14.99), a sweet slice-of-life series about teenagers and romance and baseball. Anybody who knows me knows it takes a lot for me to read anything with sports in it, but Mitsuru Adachi's characters, and his lovely, simple art, have me hooked.
Splurge: There’s a lot of good manga out this week, so if I had any extra that’s where it would go. I'll go back to the Viz stack for their three-in-one omnibus edition of Neon Genesis Evangelion ($19.99), because believe it or not I have never read this classic series and it's high time I did. From Yen I'll grab Vol. 7 of Bunny Drop ($13.99), which started out as the story of a bachelor who takes in a little girl and now follows the characters ten years later. Yen also has the long-awaited third volume of Shoulder-A-Coffin Kuro, a strange little four-panel gag manga with a darkly supernatural feel. Kodansha debuts Missions of Love ($10.99), a romantic comedy about a passionless writer of romances who gathers material by blackmailing a guy to go on love errands for her. And then I'll lighten up a bit with Vol. 1 of Start with a Happy Ending ($12.95), a new series from Digital about, I think, a girl who has died and becomes a cat for her last seven days before her soul moves on. And if I have any money left after all that, I'll stagger over to Dark Horse and get Vol. 3 of Blood Blockade Battlefront ($10.99), a slightly confusing but still entertaining battle manga by Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow.
If I had $15, I'd complete my set of The Boys with Issue 72 ($4.99), the wrap-up to Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson and friends warped superhero epic. I'd also grab two new Marvel NOW titles, both of which sport creative teams I'm excited about, Thor God of Thunder #1 ($3.99) and Fantastic Four #1 ($2.99). Finally, majority rules on Saga #7 ($2.99) which would also make it into my bag.
If I had $30, I'd also grab Katie Skelly's Nurse Nurse collection ($15), which I actually already own because I bought it at APE, but let's pretend I didn't for this exercise. I talked about it a few weeks ago, and it's great stuff.
My splurge this week would be the long-delayed Fables graphic novel, Werewolves of the Heartland ($22.99), which I expect will be well worth the wait.