Food or Comics? | Saga or saganaki

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

If I had $15 this week, I'd rush to the store as quickly as possible to ensure that I'd be able to get a copy of Saga #1 (Image Comics, $2.99) before it completely sells out. It's been far, far too long since Brian K. Vaughan has been doing comics, and Fiona Staples is one of those artists who just continually gets better even after starting pretty damn impressively in the first place. It's not the only must-read launch this week, either; I'm also very excited about Saucer Country #1 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly's mash-up of The West Wing, The X-Files and - judging by this first issue, which I've had a sneak peek at - The Invisibles, which pretty much ensures I'll be on board for awhile. There's also Marvel's Avengers Assemble #1 ($3.99), which I'm… curious about more than excited for, in large part because I've already seen Bendis' take on the team for the last few years, so this feels more like "More of That Thing You've Already Read!" than "First Issue of A New Series!" but… well, it might be better than I'm expecting, who knows?

If I had $30, I'd think about putting Avengers back on the shelf before picking up Journey Into Mystery: Fear Itself Fallout Premiere HC (Marvel, $19.99), the second collection of Kieron Gillen's remarkably great Thor spin-off. I've only recently caught up with the first collection, and loved it, so I'm looking forward to more of the same with this one.

There's really only one choice to splurge on this week for me: The Womanthology: Heroic hardcover (IDW, $50.00). Not only do I have friends with work in the book, but I was pretty much signed up for this one as soon as I heard about it online. I love well-done anthologies, and I'm ready for this to be one of the best I've read in a long time.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d stumble in front of Graeme and grab the first copy of Saga #1 (Image Comics, $2.99). I’ve been lucky enough to read an advance copy thanks to Image, so I can definitely say the $2.99 is money well spent. In my mind, Saga is the defacto flagship of a new initiative of creator-owned books for Image and if this book is any indication, 2012 is going to be a banner year for Image. Next up would be another Image book, Glory #24 (Image Comics, $2.99). Seriously, Ross Campbell has been bursting at the seams with talent and who would have thought it’d be Rob Liefeld to give him his first major shot on a work-for-hire title? Next up I’d get my favorite Marvel comic at the moment, Wolverine and the X-Men #7 (Marvel, $3.99). This story arc featuring a mutant version of Inner Space is really breaking the rules for what an X-Men comic has been these past few years, and that’s a breath of fresh air. My final pick would be The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #1 (Oni, $3.99). I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of hype regarding this series, but I’m trying to go in blind and buy this book as uninformed as I can be. Let’s see how that turns out.

If I had $30, I’d first get the Brian Wood two-pack of Conan The Barbarian #2 (Dark Horse, $3.50) and Northlanders #49 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). A beginning and an ending here, both crossing paths and crossing swords … err, I’ll leave that Stan Lee-esque talking behind. Next up I’d get Saucer Country #1 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) for this politics-meets-aliens story, and the cache that artist Ryan Kelly has built up with me as a fan over the years. Lastly would be Batwoman #7 (DC, $2.99). Despite the sour note this book has with Amy Reeder-Hadley’s rush departure announced this past weekend, I’m still onboard for what she brings for these final two issues. Trying my hardest not to read too much into the shuffling of talent here, Williams is undoubtedly the draw for me here.

If I could splurge, I’d go for Womanthology: Heroic HC (IDW, $50.00). I’ve been intently following the production of this book for some time, and I’m glad to cash that in and see what the actual comics are. Good anthologies can be consumed in bits and bites, and lead you to track down cartoonists whose work you haven’t known before. My previous champion for anthologies was Flight, so I hope this one ranks up there as well.

JK Parkin

I'm also pretty excited about the first issue of Saga, so there's my first $3 right there. But I'm probably as equally excited about The Secret History of D.B. Cooper #1, which takes me to roughly $7 total. Then you've got Saucer Country #1, which takes me to $10 on first issues alone. Lastly, I'd grab Glory #24, which isn't a first issue but is a second one, despite being issue #24. That's $13. That leaves me $2, which I'll bank for the next round ...

...which would start with Northlanders #49 ($2.99) and Conan the Barbarian #2 ($3.50) ... then I notice my list is looking remarkably like Chris Arrant's. So let's deviate a little bit and get Journey Into Mystery #635 ($2.99), which puts me at roughly $22. It's around this time that I realize I've only got $8 left and I haven't bought any DC titles yet, so I'm gonna end up leaving a lot of stuff on the shelf that I'd rather take home ... so I guess for my last two purchases I'd grab Demon Knights #7 and Shade #6.

For my splurge item, I probably would have gone with Womanthology, but I donated to the Kickstarter project and actually have a copy sitting right here next to me that I haven't even pulled out of the box yet. So I'd go with another project that started out on Kickstarter, Queen Crab ($12.99), "a story of revenge, lust, violence and insanity" by Jimmy Palmiotti and Artiz Eiguren. Sounds like fun.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15, there would be only one book on my list: Vol. 12 of Twin Spica ($13.95), which wraps up the series. This is one of the great underrated manga, a very readable story (even for people who don't like the stylized look of most manga) about a teenage girl in space academy. It's a school story with a lot of heart, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it winds up.

If I had $30, I'd mix it up with some single issues. First on the list is Adventure Time #2 ($3.99), from Boom Studios. Oni Press has been vigorously promoting The Secret History of D.B. Cooper ($3.99), their alt-history story of the famed hijacker, so I'll grab that. Dark Horse has new issues of two series I'm enjoying, Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan's Conan the Barbarian #2 ($3.50) and P.C. Cast's House of Night ($2.99).

My first choice for my splurge is my favorite guilty pleasure these days: The second volume of Archie: The Married Life ($19.99), which collects the second six issues of Paul Kupperberg's Archie-Marries-Veronica and Archie-Marries-Betty sagas. Then I'll Archie it up some more with IDW's Archie Americana: The Best of the 1960s ($24.99) and cut the sweetness with Dark Horse's delightful anthology of cheesy 1940s crime comics, Crime Does Not Pay Archives, Vol. 1 ($49.99). That cover price is a bit steep, but the comics are interesting reading in their own right, in addition to their historical interest, so it's a nice package.

Michael May

If I had $15, I'd start with some old favorites. Batgirl #7 ($2.99), Batwoman #7 ($2.99), and Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #7 ($2.99) all continue series that I'm enjoying the heck out of right now. And after the first (um...twenty-third) issue, Glory seems headed that way too, so I'll take #24 ($2.99) as well. But I'm not leaving the store without Saga #1 ($2.99) for all the reasons everyone else has mentioned. Fortunately, I shop at a cool shop and they'll have ordered plenty for everyone.

If I had $30, I'd add Saucer Country #1 ($2.99) to that pile and a handful of other single-issues. Exile on the Planet of the Apes #1 ($3.99) continues Boom's impeccably awesome PotA line, so I'm not missing out on that. There's also the highly intriguing Secret History of DB Coober #1 ($3.99; spoiler: he's Jimmy James) and finally, Godzilla Legends #5 ($3.99) in which a mountain climber has to climb Godzilla to get a DNA sample while Godzilla battles another monster.

There are some great splurge choices this week. I've been looking forward to reading Brian Smith's The Intrepid Escapegoat ($12.95) about a bovidae escape artist who battles supernatural threats. And one of my favorite monster hunters, Gary Gianni's tuxedoed knight, Benedict returns this week in Gary Gianni's Monstermen and Other Scary Stories ($24.99). I think I've got most of the Monstermen stuff in other formats already, but it would be nice to have handsomely collected in one place. However, I'm going to go with my friends here, surrender to the hype, and grab Womanthology: Heroic ($50.00). Like everyone else, I've been following that story for so long that it's impossible not to be interested in the result.

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