Food or Comics? | Heaping helpings of Kirby, Manara, X-Men 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.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I'd be a judicious comics buyer and pick the top four out of over 20 titles I'd want this week. DC/Vertigo makes it slightly easier by making the new Brian Azzarello/Eduardo Risso joint Spaceman #1 only $1. This dollar price point for first issues combined with the $9.99 price point they sometimes do for the first volume of comic trade paperbacks surely gets a lot of traction. Next up I’d get Jason Aaron’s new era of the X-Men in Wolverine & X-Men #1 (Marvel, $3.99) with Chris Bachalo. I’d also get my regular pulls of DMZ #70 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and The Walking Dead #90 (Image, $2.99) and last--but first in my stack to read-–would be Secret Avengers #18 (Marvel, $3.99). I hear some Ellis guy is writing it, but the big draw for me is artist David Aja. His Iron Fist run is one of my top favs in comics in the past ten years, and he’s a titan in my book.

If I had $30, I’d first grab this week’s Pilot Season: The Beauty (Image/Top Cow, $3.99) despite not knowing what it's about because I love the Pilot Season concept. Next up would be the finale of Red Wing #4 (Image, $3.50), Butcher Baker, Righteous Maker #7 (Image, $2.99) and Daredevil #5 (Marvel, $2.99). Looking back at my picks so far, it’s an art-heavy week for me with lots of favorites from Risso to Bachalo, Aja, Burchelli, Huddleston and Martin. That means extra-long reading, as I normally do a second and third read just to soak up the artwork page by page, panel by panel.

If I were to splurge, I would gladly plunk down money for The Manara Library Vol. 1 (Dark Horse, $59.99). I applaud Dark Horse for doing the massive undertaking of collecting all of Manara’s work in seven volume. This first volume collects The Paper Man as well as Indian Summer with Hugo Pratt. It’s going to be a good weekend for me, work be damned.

Graeme McMillan

For a Kirby fan like myself, this is a pretty great week to have $15: More than half of it would immediately go toward the lengthily titled DC Comics Presents: The Jack Kirby Omnibus Sampler #1 (DC, $7.99), which collects 96 pages of 1950s Kirby from the pages of Adventure Comics, House of Secrets, House of Mystery and other anthology titles. Then I'd throw some coin in the direction of Kirby: Genesis #4 (Dynamite, $3.99), the continuation of Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross and the unsung Jack Herbert's evocation of Kirbyesque scale and imagination, using some of his lesser-known creations. I've really been digging this series, and even if I hadn't already been planning to pick up this issue, that lovely Ross cover probably would've convinced me. Look at the Captain Victory pose! Look at the giant egg-headed character at the back! Not-so-Kirby-esque, but a definite must: The Flash #2 (DC, $2.99), which had a surprisingly lovely first issue last month and earned back all the goodwill lost with the previous series.

If I had $30, there'd be even more Kirby-influence going on, because I'd pick up the first issue of two relaunches of Kirby properties: Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri's The Incredible Hulk and Aaron (again!) and Chris Bachalo's Wolverine and the X-Men (Both Marvel, $3.99). The prelude to the Hulk book at the end of Fear Itself #7 was the very definition of underwhelming, and I didn't think much of Schism, but I'm holding out hope for these two books nonetheless. Also on the to-buy list: DC's Legion: Secret Origin (The second retelling of the team's roots in the last two years, both of them written by Paul Levitz; DC, $2.99) and the second issue of Justice League Dark (DC, $2.99), which was fun if not essential in its debut.

Like Chris, if I had the possibility of splurging this week, it's be The Manara Library Vol. 1 (Dark Hourse, $59.99). The man's art is just stunning, and I can't wait to see it in this deluxe presentation.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15, I would have just enough for the first volume of Drops of God, the manga about wine tasting that features two willowy men competing for an inheritance based on how well they can identify 12 different wines. It's a winning manga formula that has not only won the book several awards but also boosted the popularity of the wines involved, and I can't wait to read it.

If I had $30, I would add Power Lunch, a new all-ages graphic novel from Oni Press. I like the wacky premise‹a kid gains superpowers from the different foods he eats‹and the creative team of Dean Trippe and J. Torres closes the sale for me.

Splurge: The second volume of A Bride's Story, Kaoru Mori's beautifully drawn tale of life on the Silk Road in the 19th century. The first volume didn't have a lot of story--it was more a series of beautifully drawn moments with occasional bursts of action--which puts it in the splurge rather than must-buy category as far as I'm concerned. And since that only sets me back $16.99, expensive for a weekly buy but cheap for a splurge, I'll toss in Gladstone's School for World Conquerors #6, which I believe wraps up a story arc, and The Sixth Gun #16, and call it a very good week indeed.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:It would be a toss-up between The Smurf Apprentice, the eighth (that many already) volume in Papercutz's ongoing reprint project, because you can never have too many Smurf comics, or the latest volume (that's No. 10 if you're counting) of Yotsuba! the cheery little manga about a effervescent green-haried girl. I'd probably end up going with Yotsuba, only because it's one of my daughter's favorite comics, and she'd kill me if I didn't buy it.

If I had $30:I'd probably take a chance on Drops of God, that manga series about wine that seems to be insanely popular in its home country, if only to see what all the fuss was about.

Splurge:A couple people have mentioned the first volume of the Manara Library, and that's definitely on my Amazon Wish List, but before that I think I'd pick up the second volume of Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse. The first volume was a real treat, not just in terms of reintroducing myself to Gottfredson's stellar work, but also in the sheer amount of incisive historical information about the strip, Gottfredson and his various Disney helpers. I'm sure Vol. 2 will be more of the same.

Michael May

If I had $15, I'd continue picking up some New 52 series I'm enjoying along with some talking apes. It hurts--oh it hurts--to pay four bucks for All-Star Western #2 ($3.99), but I'll do it. I loved the detective story in the first issue with Arkham's trying to figure out Hex in the voice over, and the art was even better. I don't think I can keep buying it at that price, but I seem to be hooked for the first story anyway. More affordable are Justice League Dark #2 ($2.99) and Superman #2 ($2.99). JLD is starting with a slow build, but I'm attracted by the concept enough to keep checking it out. I was especially pleased by the attention the first issue of Superman gave to Lois Lane, so I'm hoping there's more of that as the series continues. Finally, I'd grab Planet of the Apes #7 ($3.99), because that's a fantastic series that I've run out of ways to say I love.

If I had $30, I'd get Aquaman #2 ($2.99). I enjoyed the stronger, tougher Aquaman in the first issue; I just hope the tone becomes less defensive, and quickly. I'm a big fan of the character, but (or maybe because of that) I'm already tired of his constantly explaining how cool he is. Next, I'd add some more expensive comics to the stack, like John Martz' Heaven All Day ($4) about a lonely man who's building a mysterious contraption and the abandoned robot he encounters in the process. Then there's Ape's Western/Kung Fu/Monster mash-up, Helldorado #1 ($3.99) and Warren Ellis' Secret Avengers #18 ($3.99).

My splurge item would be Flesh: The Dino Files ($25.99) from Rebellion/2000 AD, because it's a badass version of Terra Nova. Instead of going back in time to live, the future citizens of our depleted planet go back in time to capture dinosaurs for food. That's a horribly irresponsible plan, but I'm curious to see if that's addressed too. I hope it is, but even if not, I'm okay with shutting off the environmentalist part of my brain long enough to enjoy some dino-roping cowboys.

JK Parkin

If you buy one comic this week, it's gotta be Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #19.

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