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 start out with Prophet #22 (Image, $2.99) by Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; it’s an Old West pioneering comic set on an alien world. Next up would be my favorite comic from Marvel these days, Uncanny X-Force #22 (Marvel, $3.99). Remender was raised on Claremont-era X-Men, and this is excavating the intricacies of Captain Briton and late '80s Excalibur comics for Otherworld, Jamie Braddock and a swashbuckling Nightcrawler. Last up with my $15 bounty would be A Long Day Of Mr. James – Teacher (Blank Slate, $7.99). A great looking piece of cartooning from an artist, Harvey James, I’m looking to learn more about.
If I had $30, I’d double back and first pick up Dark Horse Presents #9 (Dark Horse, $7.99). Seriously, this is the comic that some fans were hoping for several years back: one book containing new stories from Paul Pope, Mike Mignola, Neal Adams, Brian Wood, Kristian Donaldson… and pin-ups by Geoff Darrow? Seriously, I second-guess any comics fan I meet who isn’t buying this. Next up would be Wolverine and The X-Men #6 (Marvel, $3.99) by Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw. Seeing Wolverine and Kid Omega going to an outer space casino sounds like everything the X-Men haven’t been in over two decades, but I’m liking it. I can only hope they run into Lila Cheney. Lastly, I’d pick up Jeff Smith’s RASL #13 (Cartoon Books, $3.50). The last issue was history-heavy focusing on Tesla, so I hope this one is bit more kinetic.
If I could splurge, I’d go back for a second Blank Slate book—Hector Umbra (Blank Slate, $26.99). I’ve heard nothing about cartoonist Uli Oesterle, but after seeing the preview on Blank Slate’s website I’m kicking myself. Long story short, DJ kidnapped during his set (at Robot Mitchum nightclub no less, best club name ever), and his friend Hector Umbra, an artist-turned-detective, goes after him. Some people compare Oesterle’s art to Mignola,but I see some Paul Grist in there as well.
If I had $15 this week, I'd be spending a lot of it on continuations of things I'm already reading: Brandon Graham and Simon Roy's Prophet #22 (Image, $2.99), Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato's Flash #6 (DC Comics, $2.99) and Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin's Justice League Dark #6 (DC, $2.99, although I'm losing interest knowing that Milligan's soon off the book, I admit). I'd also grab the new Ted McKeever book, Mondo #1 (Image, $4.99) out of curiosity and a weird nostalgia for things like Metropol and whatever his 1990s Image book was called (American Gothic? Industrial Gothic? Something like that). [It was Industrial Gothic. - Ed.]
If I had $30 this week, I just might put JLDark back on the shelf to free up enough money for Shannon Wheeler's Too Much Coffee Man: Cutie Island (Boom!, $17.99), the return of the caffeinated character after a long, long time in obscurity.
Splurgewise, I'm weirdly tempted by Marvel's Quasar Classic Vol. 1 TP ($24.99); I didn't read the series way back when, but I suspect it just might be the kind of thing I'll love nowadays, with the benefit of hindsight.
If I had $15, I'd definitely get RASL #13, the latest issue in Jeff Smith's ongoing noir/sci-fi series. Is anyone else reading this? I don't get much of a sense people are responding to it, apart from that recent interview over at the Comics Reporter. Perhaps everyone is just waiting for the thing to wrap up.
I'd also at least flip through A Long Day of Mr. James Teacher by James Harvey, about the author's time spent teaching English in South Korea. The comic comes via Blank Slate, which has had a rather solid publishing record so far.
If I had $30, there's little question for me that the book of the week is Tom Gauld's latest, Goliath, a humorous re-examination of the biblical figure that paints him not as some grotesque warrior thug but a misunderstood gentle giant who prefers administrative work to combat. Gauld's good at this sort of anachronistic spin on classic stories, thanks largely to his minimal, deadpan style that's already won him a number of fans in alt-comix circles, myself included.
My splurge for the week would likely be one of the several books out from Fantagraphics. First up is Amazing Mysteries, a collection of early work by Bill Everett (reviewed here). Then there's Glitz 2 Go, a collection of comics by underground-era cartoonist Diane Noomin, whom I simply don't know enough about. The obvious choice though is the wittily titled Is That All There Is?, a kitchen-sink collection of the mighty Joost Swarte's comic stories from the 1970s onward. You can never have enough Swarte.
If I had $15, first in line for my money this week would be Oni Press, with a fresh issue of The Sixth Gun ($3.99) and a new volume in Ray Fawkes's all-ages-but-outrageous series Possessions ($7.99). You already know about The Sixth Gun; Possessions is about a pit demon who is being held captive in a haunted house by an old lady who collects supernatural creatures. It's good slapstick fun that will make a five-year-old giggle and the adult who is reading it to her chuckle as well. That leaves three bucks, so if I'm watching my pennies, I'll pick up the last issue of Archie Meets KISS ($2.99) just for the lulz.
If I had $30, I'd put Archie back and pick up Atomic Robo: Ghost of Station X #5 ($3.50). I'll confess I haven't been following this arc, but I can pick up the back issues on comiXology for $1.99 each. And there's no way I can pass up vol. 19 of 20th Century Boys ($12.99), so that goes into the cart, leaving me a few bucks to buy Pocky.
Splurge: A big fat collected edition. This week it's Phantom: The Complete Series - The Charlton Years from Hermes Press. For $49.99, it had better be good! I'll also toss vol. 1 of Soulless ($12.99) into the cart; it's the manga adaptation of Gail Carriger's first Parasol Protectorate novel and it promises vampires and werewolves in a Victorian high society setting. Good times!
If I had $15, I'd start with some current staples: All-Star Western #6 ($3.99), Aquaman #6 ($2.99), Superman #6 ($2.99), and X-Men Legacy #262 (2.99). It's not an especially inspirational week (in fact, I'm behind on reading all of those series), but most of those were providing solid reading last time I checked in. I'm on the fence about Superman and need to catch up so I can make a decision.
If I had $30, I'd buy some more expensive comics that I'm sure to enjoy. I could have sworn that Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #5 ($3.50) already came out, but it's showing up again (or late) on Diamond's list this week. I'm an Atomic Robo trade-waiter, so I don't rightly remember. Godzilla Legends #4 ($3.99) focuses on Hedorah, the Smog Monster, so that's cool, and as Chris A mentioned, Dark Horse Presents #9 ($7.99) has pretty much a perfect line-up of talent. It also has "the world's largest pirate ship" and Lobster Johnson.
For my splurge item, I'm tempted by the Goliath and Hector Umbra books the two Chris' talked about, but I'm going to want the Northstar and Aurora issue of Eaglemoss' Classic Marvel Figurine Collection Magazine. My miniature, desktop Alpha Flight isn't complete without them.