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.
While the offerings on show at my local comic store this week won't compare with those available at Comic-Con International, if I had $15 this week, I'd pick up Sean Murphy's Punk Rock Jesus #1 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), the new Bloodshot #1 (Valiant, $3.99) and the final issue of the enjoyable Kirby: Genesis #8 (Dynamite, $3.99); the first for the art alone (I know very little about the story, but Murphy's art is always worth checking out), the second for the high concept, and the third for the payoff that I know is coming from Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross and Jack Herbert's resuscitation of the King's concepts after following the series thus far.
That said, if I only had $30, I'd put both Punk Rock Jesus and Bloodshot back on the racks for another week, and add Darwyn Cooke's new Parker adaptation, Richard Stark's Parker: The Score (IDW, $24.99) to my pile, instead. Cooke's Parker books are consistently must-buys, and I can't see why this one would be any different.
If I was looking to splurge, I'd add Jaime Hernandez' God and Science: Return of The Ti-Girls collection (Fantagraphics, $19.99) to my take-home stash, because … well, it's Jaime and it's glorious. I've already read it in the Love and Rockets serialization, but $19.99 for a collected hardcover? I am splurging, after all!
If I had $15, I’d be in for slick and gritty, textured all around. Starting things off, I’d get Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus #1 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). I was taken aback at first when I discovered Vertigo decided to print this in black and white instead of color, but looking closer at Murphy’s work turns this potential negative into a positive. I’m holding high hopes that this will be Murphy’s version of Frank Miller’s Ronin, not story-wise but in terms of his career, opening him up to be able to do more in comics. Ex-IRA bodyguard? Clone of Jesus? It could happen. After that I’d get Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson’s The Massive #2 (Dark Horse, $3.50). I think Wood decision to break from Vertigo in a roundabout way has been a very good thing, for its allowed him to set up projects like this that might get lost in the shuffle at DC. The first issue was some really great work, and Donaldson seems to be really challenging himself with the art. My final two picks for the week on a $15 budget is Uncanny X-Force #27 (Marvel, $3.99) and Wolverine & the X-Men #13 (Marvel, $3.99). I’ve been a little nonplussed with UXF post-“Dark Angel Saga,” but seeing Phil Noto is drawing this one has me jazzed up. On the Wolverine & The X-Men tip, normally a crossover might mute the building success of a series but Jason Aaron seems to be taking it in stride, using the insertion of the AvX storyline into this and combat that by bringing in a plot thread of its own with Kid Gladiator’s dad coming in to check on his child. And Nick Bradshaw back on art!
If I had $30, I’d go back and get AvX: Vs. #4 (Marvel, $3.50). This book has defied the critics and become, in effect, the anti-event book and giving Marvel’s A-list creators some room to do great little stories, with the only requirement being lots and lots of punching. Somehow, I think Jack Kirby would’ve gotten a kick out of an assignment like that. After that, I’d get Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s finale of the "Court of Owls" with Batman #11 (DC, $3.99). Of all the New 52 books, I think Batman has easily come out as the one to live up to the promise of the line-wide relaunch--and I’m excited to see what they do next. Hmm ... $8.04 left. I’ll treat myself to lunch.
If I could splurge, I’d put down the burrito and pick up Legend of Bold Riley GN (Northwest Press, $29.99). This snuck up on me, and it seems like everyone else, since I haven’t seen any coverage of this online. The cover looks leagues above most everything else on the shelves this week, and I’m in the mood to meet and engage with work from creators I’d never read before. $29.99 is a little price for a 232 page book, but I’m in the mood to bet on what looks to be good.
If I had $15: I already have a copy, but if I didn't, my first pick would easily be the latest issue of Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle, featuring a thrilling moon caper, a Murder, She Wrote parody and a truly strange coloring book about trains. If you've a yen for idiosyncratic, absurdist humor -- and who doesn't? -- this is your meal ticket right here.
If I had $30: I still haven't picked up The Outfit, but if I had the cash on hand, I'd probably get The Score, the latest adaptation of Richard Stark's Parker novels by Mr. Darwyn Cooke for some more retro noir stylings.
Splurge: Even though I read the story when it was serialized in Love and Rockets New Stories, I'm tempted to pick up God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls by Jaime Hernandez, as it's got a new coda and because, hey, new Jaime Hernandez book. Aw, but who am I kidding? My big splurge purchase this week is Only a Poor Old Man, the second volume in Fantagraphics ongoing Carl Barks collection. I'm so happy that an affordable version of Barks' duck stories is finally available, I can't resist snatching it up.
It's another huge week, especially for graphic novels, as comic companies release a whole bunch of great stuff just in time for Comic-Con. But if I only had $15, top of my list would be The Walking Dead #100 ($3.99); I've been buying it in singles form since the very first issue, and it's great to see it having the longevity and success that it's had. I'd also pick up Chew: Secret Agent Poyo ($3.50), a spin-off from the other not-quite-as-long-in-the-tooth-but-still-getting-up-there Image series that could one day be a TV show. I'd also grab Revival #1, the new series by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton. That leaves me enough to get Avengers Assemble #5 ($3.99), which features the return of a certain cosmic super team.
If I had $30: I'd start with Enormous ($9.99), a man vs. monster one-shot out this week from Image Comics by writer Tim Daniel and artist Mehdi Cheggour. That doesn't leave me much, so I'd grab the latest issue of Saucer Country, issue #5, for $2.99.
Splurge: There's a lot to splurge on this week. In addition to the books my distinguished colleagues pointed out above by the Hernandez brothers and Darwyn Cooke, I'd also have my eyes on the newest Blacksad collection by Dark Horse. The first one was wonderful, with breathtaking artwork in a really nice package. I know if I was going to San Diego this week, it would be at the top of a very long list of stuff to buy ... so it's probably better that I'm not.