Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday 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 what we call our “Splurge” item.
If I had $15:
I'd get Hellboy: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish ($3.50) to see Hellboy fight some giant robots in space, Salt Water Taffy, Volume 4: Caldera's Revenge ($5.99) to see Jack and Benny sign aboard a spooky ship in search of a Moby Dick-like whale, and Sweets #5 (2.99) to see Kody Chamberlain wrap up his delicious New Orleans murder mystery.
If I had $30:
I'd have a very difficult decision to make. There are lots of great graphic novels coming out this week and it's tough to pick just one to add to my $15 pile. I'm feeling a bit nostalgic for Mickey Mouse adventures and Mickey Mouse and the Orbiting Nightmare ($9.99) features him in a space hotel. But The Girl and the Gorilla ($10.99) also looks like a lot of fun and I've enjoyed enough of The Martian Confederacy to know that I'll probably like Volume 2: From Mars with Love ($15). BUT...
I've got to pick one thing and the easy money goes to Incredible Change-Bots 2 ($14.95), because I've already read it and know that it's fantastic.
If I had a bunch of extra money, I'd likely spend it on those three graphic novels I couldn't afford with only $30. But if I had a TON of extra money, I'd get the Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus ($125) too and find out just what the hell everyone's been talking about all this time.
I'm having another one of those weeks where the comics I'm interested in aren't the ones that really fit within any kind of budget. You'll see what I mean soon, but what that means is that If I Had $15, I'd be picking things that are mostly just regular purchases, like Superman #710 (DC Comics, $2.99), continuing Chris Roberson's stellar and surprising rescue of the Man of Steel from JMS' indulgences. Similarly, Casanova: Gula #4 (Marvel/Icon, $3.99) is something I've read before, but this version also has an all-new story bridging the gap between the Image series and the upcoming brand new material, and I'm very, very curious about that. Rumor has it that Ultimate Spider-Man #157 (Marvel, $3.99) is going to be unlucky for Brian Michael Bendis' wall-crawler, and I'll likely pick that up out of curiosity, before finishing out with DC's Flash #10 ($2.99) to see what's with the road to Flashpoint, even though this book is still hideously delayed.
If I had $30, though, I might put all of the above back bar Superman, and grab the HC of Marvel's Warriors Three: Dog Day Afternoon ($24.99), purely because I really am a terrible sucker for these characters when done well.
Clearly, though that would be a prelude to my splurge of all splurges: Marvel's Thor By Walter Simonson Omnibus ($125). Oh, if I could really afford this. If only this wasn't tax week. If only Marvel sent out comps of ridiculously expensive books. If only, if only, if only...
If I had $15…
I'd start out with the fourth of Matt Loux's Salt Water Taffy ($5.99), which has a wonderful Olde New England atmosphere that I have never been able to find in the real New England but that I enjoy very much nonetheless. And besides, two kids on a ghost ship hunting an enormous whale—what's not to like? Then I'll add Fraggle Rock Volume 2 #3 ($3.95), because this anthology has such a great set of creators working on it that the Fraggles have won my heart (even though I have never seen the show). Then I'll top up my stack with Betty & Veronica Friends Double Digest #213, and all that will keep me busy and happy for at least half a day. But…
If I had $30…
I'd toss all that right out the window and just get Shigeru Mizuki's Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths ($24.95), from Drawn & Quarterly. I have been hearing about Mizuki's work for years, ever since his NonNonBā won the Best Album prize at Angoulême a couple of years ago. This semi-autobiographical tale of a Japanese squadron sent deliberately to their deaths looks to be both beautiful and devastating, and I can't even think of putting another book next to it.
Of course, that changes if I have unlimited funds. I'd just toss all these books into my basket and add Mike White's Amity Blamity ($10.95), which looks amazingly cute, and the last volume of Karakuri Odette, a charming manga about a robot schoolgirl who wants to become more and more human.
If I had $15:
Like Graeme, Casanova Gula #4 ($3.99) is a must-buy for me, even though I've re-read the story, simply because it's a story I greatly enjoy and I really like the new colors and Dustin Harbin's fabu lettering. I might also pick up a copy of Butcher Baker #1 and maybe even #2 ($2.99 each) simply because I've heard so much about the series that my curiosity is piqued.
If I had $30:
Like Brigid, I'd forgo getting all the previous books for the chance to own Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths ($24.95). Shigeru Mizuki is one of the most preeminent comics creators in Japan and I'm very, very excited to see his work finally be translated for American audiences. I sincerely hope it's merely the first entry in what will be a flood of titles.
Yeah, that Thor by Walt Simonson Omnibus ($125) does look pretty awesome ...
Like Graeme said, this week really puts a comics fan’s wallet to the test... and Marvel’s higher prices only exacerbates that problem. Making this list became more about what was left off the list almost as much as what’s on it. That being said…
If I had $15, my picks would predominantly be in the independent comics racks -– beginning with Northlanders #39 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). This issue concludes the “Siege of Paris” story arc, and further consolidates how Brian Wood has been telling some unique stories that most comic writers -– and publishers -– couldn’t get away with in this market. Second up would be Hellboy: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish (Dark Horse, $3.50); I love Mike Mignola, but I’m getting this for the full interior art by Kevin Nowlan –- a real rarity, and his deliberate and meticulous style truly speaks to what comics can be. Third would be the mind-bending Butcher Baker: Righteous Maker #2 (Image, $2.99) and then my sole Marvel purchase, S.H.I.E.L.D. Infinity (Marvel, $4.99). To me, the latter is a spiritual descendant of the Silver Surfer book Stan Lee and Moebius did back in the '80s -– mixing that Marvel pomposity with European influence.
If the fortunes smiled on me and I somehow doubled my money to $30, I’d end up making for my lack of Big Two purchases and dole out money for the Kieron Gillen double-shot of Journey Into Mystery #622 (Marvel, $3.99) with Doug Braithwaite and Uncanny X-Men #535 (Marvel, $3.99) with Terry Dodson. After that I’d go after Rick Remender and Esad Ribic’s Uncanny X-Force #7 (Marvel, $3.99) and jumping across town to Flash #10 (DC, $2.99); artist Francis Manapul is really killing it here, and I don’t think enough people are paying attention to what he’s doing.
When it comes time to splurge, I’d settle on Joe Madureira’s Battle Chasers Anthology HC (Image, $100). Even ten years later, Madureira’s art is as dynamic and trend-setting as when he first put this out. Much like how some musicians or sports players retire in their prime, I frequently wonder what would have happened if Madureira had continued at it – even if that meant bringing in other artists like Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.