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.
If I had $15, I’d settle in first with Dark Horse Presents #14 (Dark Horse, #7.99). This is no mere anthology: Dark Horses seems to be increasingly using it as an alternate means to serialize new single issue stories, especially with this new issue, as the publisher has expanded it to 100-plus pages. Nexus, Finder, a new Ghost series, AND the new Buddy Cops series by Nate Cosby and Evan Shaner? Sold! Moving on from that, I’d next get Saga #5 (Image, $2.99), which is completely not what I wanted this to be, and turned into something else I want even more. My third and final pick of this big week is Avengers Vs. X-Men #8 (Marvel, $3.99). I believe this is Bendis’ first issue as the lead writer post-Phoenix Force 5 and I’m interested to see him bring his dialogue to this. Seeing Adam Kubert on this brings up some questions for me, as I never really saw Kubert’s style fitting in with the overall aesthetic Marvel’s been pushing these past couple years.
If I had $30, I’d get a second anthology title – World War 3 Illustrated #43 (Top Shelf, $7.00). I’ve been remiss in buying this series for the past few years, but after stumbling over it in Previews a couple months back I made it a point to seek it out next time it came out. After that I’d get Glory #28 (Image, $2.99), Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell’s warrior-woman epic. Each issue manages to outclass the one before it, and I’m thrilled and surprised Ross has been able to do five entire issues with no delays or fill-ins. Finally, I’d get Daredevil #15 (Marvel, $2.99). The media-sensitive side of me is torn about this book now because for a time it was considered Marvel’s best kept secret, but now with the creative team coming out of the Eisners with a wheelbarrow full of awards I have to throw away my elitist mentality and fight off my expectations that the quality will drop now that it’s more well-known. Good thing Chris Samnee is on it, and they’re off to Latveria!
If I could splurge, I’d get Stuff of Legend Omnibus, Vol. 1 (Th3rd World Studios, $29.99). I remember reading a preview of this in a previous Free Comic Book Day sampler issue, but I seemed to have missed or forgotten about it in whatever single issues it’d been released in, so I’m glad I took notice of this. I’m a big fan of artist Charles Paul Wilson III, and this story of kids’ toys fighting in World War II sounds so crazily fun I’m excited to read it all in one sitting.
Who would've expected this post-San Diego week to have a new series launch worth picking up? And yet, look: There's Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel, $2.99), waiting to wow me with Kelly Sue DeConnick's scripting prowess and the zingers I hope will be within. I'm slightly worried about newcomer Dexter Soy's art, having seen some of the preview pages, but… Man. I'm looking forward to this one, so that's where some of my imaginary $15 is going this week. Somewhere else? That'll be Saga #5 (Image Comics, $2.99), because this really is the gift that keeps giving, isn't it? I'll round out my week's purchases with The Secret Life of DB Cooper #5 (Oni Press, $3.99), which continues to be nothing like I expected, and all the better for it.
If I had $30, I'd jump back in time to jump back in time with Showcase Presents: Rip Hunter Time Master, Vol. 1 (DC Comics, $19.99), a collection of Silver Age stories about Booster Gold's son (spoiler for old continuity that doesn't even count anymore and which I might be misremembering anyway). The combination of time travel stories and the loose loopiness of the Silver Age really means that this is a can't-lose book for me.
When it comes to splurging, I'm torn. Should I go for the fourth volume of James Kochalka's American Elf: Sketchbook Diaries (Top Shelf, $24.95), or the fifth volume of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files (Simon & Shuster/Rebellion, $19.99)? Decisions, decisions… (I'll probably go for Dredd. Old school hyper-violence always wins out over sensitive comedy diaries, I find…)
If I had $15, my first grab would be The Adventures of Venus, a collection of all-ages comics starring Luba's young, American niece, Venus. Originally serialized in Gilbert's short-lived kids anthology Marbles, these are really charming stories about everyday kid activities like reading comic books, playing soccer, getting sick and just generally having an active imagination. If I was on a major Beto kick (and I usually am) I'd pick up issue two of his ongoing Fatima: The Blood Spinners, a zombie apocalypse tale that is anything but kid-friendly.
If I had $30, of all of James Kochalka's work, I groove on his daily diary strips the most (with the possible exception of Super F*ckers), so I'd probably nab this fourth printed collection of his online four-panel strip. If I was feeling contrary, however, I might go for Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, a disillusioned rant from the late Harvey Pekar with art by J.T. Waldman.
Splurge: I was a big Mad Magazine junkie in my youth, so I'd likely go for Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture, a coffee-table sized retrospective honoring the master cartoonist behind so many great EC stories and Mad parodies, not to mention album covers, movie posters, magazine illustrations, etc.
If I had $15, I'd start with Captain Marvel #1 ($2.99), which has been on my pull list since it was announced. I'm a huge fan of Kelly Sue DeConnick and superhero comics named after their female leads, so it's very exciting to have both of those elements in one place. After that, I'd add three series that I'm already loving: Snarked! #10 ($3.99), Saga #5 ($2.99), and Glory #28 ($2.99). Glory has almost lost me a couple of times by focusing more on the supporting cast than the title character, but Joe Keatinge always ends each issue at a spot that makes me crave the next one. And of course Ross Campbell's art is ridiculously amazing. I seriously don't know how he keeps that up on a monthly basis.
With $30, I'd add a few more single-issue comics, beginning with The Spider #3 ($3.99). I went back and forth about whether to include that or Glory in my $15 budget - because honestly, I enjoy them equally - but Glory got the edge by being a dollar cheaper meaning that I could also afford a burger or something. No shame to The Spider though, which is a great pulp series written by the very talented David Liss. After that, I'd grab the Concrete: Three Uneasy Pieces one-shot ($2.99) because I love Paul Chadwick's Concrete and missed the Dark Horse Presents issues. And I'd finish off my money with Wonder Woman #11 ($2.99) and Supergirl #11 ($2.99), two books that I'm behind on, but meaning to catch up with soon.
My splurge money would go to J.T. Petty and Hilary Florido's Bloody Chester ($18.99) about a skinny, teen-aged boy nicknamed "Lady Kate" who's hired to run some ornery folks out of a ghost town he's supposed to burn down. It's a Western, features an unlikely hero, and it's published by First Second, so that's all I really need to know.