Food or Comics? | Shark à la king

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 Mautner

If I had $15, a new Peter Bagge comic is always cause for celebration, so my first grab would be for Reset #1, Bagge's new limited series having to do with virtual reality and the opportunity it affords a washed-up comedian to fix his past mistakes. And then there's Linda Medley, who's been laying low for awhile, but is back this week with a new issue of her ongoing, low-key fantasy series, Castle Waiting. These will probably be the first comics I read once I get home from the comic store this week.

If I had $30, I've already gone on about The Shark King, R. Kikuo Johnson's warm and charming all-ages story based on a Hawaiian folk tale of a shark god and his half-human, mischievous progeny. It's a lovely little book that I thoroughly recommend checking out even if you don't have any kids in your home.

There's also a number of notable manga out this week so I'd likely pick up one of the following: Either the latest volume of 20th Century Boys, the latest volume of Gantz or volume 2 of Katsuya Terada's The Monkey King. There's been a bit of a wait (seven years) for that last one, which is a gonzo, sex-and-violence rendition of the classic Journey to the West myth.

It's not so much a splurge as a must-buy for me -- Krazy and Ignatz 1922-24: At Last My Drim of Love Has Come True is the final volume in Fantagraphics' collection of Sunday Krazy strips and full of the same George Herriman magic as the previous volumes. There's a tinge of sadness here as I believe the late Bill Blackbeard, who helped bring this project into fruition, has an essay here, as well as a remembrance by Kim Thompson.

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, I'd try something new: Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse, two longtime British comics creators have a new Dark Horse comic about small-town America and folks who really aren't from 'round here out this week, Resident Alien #0 ($3.50) that I find myself drawn to. I'm similarly drawn to the second issue of Brian Churilla's surreal, mind-bending (or mind-cleaving, based on the first issue) Secret History of DB Cooper (Oni Press, $3.99), if only for the vague possibility of some answers as to just what the hell is going on…

If I had $30, I wouldn't be able to resist Showcase Presents All-Star Squadron, Vol. 1 (DC Comics, $19.99). I'm a sucker for Roy Thomas' Earth-2 stuff from the 1980s, and I never managed to pick up the earliest issues of this series, so this was an easy pick for me.

When it comes to splurging, I'm going to foliow Chris' advice and pick up R. Kikuo Johnson's The Shark King (Toon Books, $12.95); the previews I've seen have been beautiful, and I can't wait to see more.

Michael May

If I had $15, I'd spend it all on series that I'm already enjoying: Planet of the Apes #13 ($3.99), Supergirl #8 ($2.99), Wonder Woman #8 ($2.99), and Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #2 ($2.99). Those are some of my favorite comics, so it's a great week.

If I had $30, I'd add the Shark King graphic novel ($12.95) because I'm an easy mark for island stories and R. Kikuo Johnson's art is amazing. I'd also grab me a copy of Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell's The Shadow #1 ($3.99), because I don't know a lot about that character, have always wanted to, and having Ennis introduce him to me sounds like a fun proposition.

My splurge for the week is Showcase Presents All-Star Squadron, Volume 1 ($19.99). I remember seeing those comics on the racks as a kid and being curious about them, but had to pass them up in order to afford Batman or Star Wars or whatever. One of the best things about the current comics scene is the easy access to stuff I missed out on the first time around.

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