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 this week, I'd probably put it towards the latest issues of series I've been enjoying for awhile: Batman Inc. #4, New York Five #3, Justice League of America #55 - Yes, even with my nervousness over Brett Booth's art - (All DC Comics, $2.99) as well as Jeff Parker and Gabe Hardman's Hulk #31 (Marvel Comics, $3.99).
If I had $30, however, I'd probably put JLA back on the shelf and add The Arctic Marauder (Fantagraphics, $16.99), instead. I found myself enjoying Tardi's Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec earlier this year, and
Splurgewise, it's a tough one - I'd like to pick up the collection of Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan's second Demo series (DC/Vertigo, $17.99), but I see that the hardcover collection of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth's spectacular Stumptown (Oni Press, $29.99) is out this week, and that really falls into thecategory of having to have it. I'll grab Demo next week.
It looks like I jumped the gun a bit last week as some of my picks arrive in stores this week, namely Arctic Marauder and New Character Parade. So feel free to add those books to your shopping list too. Unless, of course your store did actually did get them last week. Hooray for the Direct Market!
If I had $15:
The new Batman Inc. is a pretty safe bet for me, as is the latest (and, apparently penultimate) issue of Alan Moore's Dodgem Logic magazine.
On the other hand, Sparkplug has a pair of pretty nifty books that I might pick up instead including Rina Ayuyang's Whilrwind Wonderland, which I wrote about briefly, and Chris Cilla's bizarre, surreal The Heavy Hand which is about .. well, caves, monsters, masked men and job seekers ... I think. It's pretty out there, but in a good way.
If I had $30:
The book of the week for me is easily The Cardboard Valise by Ben Katchor. Katchor is admittedly an acquired taste; it took me a few tries before I began to fully appreciate his work. He's since become one of my favorite cartoonists -- an utterly unique artist who uses the medium in ways that few, if any, dare to try. He doesn't publish on anything resembling a regular schedule, so any new book from him is cause for celebration. If you want to learn more about Katchor and his work, you can read an interview by our own Sean T. Collins.
I'm not a huge Jeffrey Jones fan, but I'm willing to bet the new $80 coffee-table book A Life in Art is worth at least a flip through if not actual purchase. I'd also be looking pretty closely at the new Starstruck hardcover collection, and I bought all the initial issues.
If I had $15:
I'd start with the Lorna: Relic Wrangler one-shot ($3.99) from Image. Treasure hunters are always an easy sell with me. Next I'd add Marineman #4 ($3.99) because I love sea-themed superheroes and this is a good one. Echoes #4 ($3.99) also hits this week, as does Namor: First Mutant #8 ($2.99), so I'd get both of those too.
If I had $30:
I'd add Pepper Penwell and the Land Creature of Monster Lake ($14.95) from SLG because if there's anything I like as much as treasure hunters it's monster hunters and teen sleuths. Pepper Penwell is both of those things.
Like Brigid, I'd grab the Western Classics volume from Graphic Classics ($17.95). Graphic Classics has never disappointed me and I'm getting ready for a cowboy binge anyway. This is perfect timing.
Another busy week on my pull list at my local comic store, but $15 would still get me four titles. First up would be the newest installment of Creepy Comics #5 (Dark Horse, $4.99). Criminally under-rated, but I think these stories are really high quality stuff – I’m excited to see what Dave Lapham does in this issue. Second up would be Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting’s new FF #1 (Marvel, $3.99) – a not-too-subtle re-jiggering of the Fantastic Four name and concept. Third would be the Wood + Kelly joint of New York Five #3 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) – why can’t there be a music/college genre as big in comics as there is superheroes? Lastly would be Batman Incorporated #4 (DC, $2.99); this is such a refreshing title for me after all that’s gone on with Batman, and I hope both Morrison & Paquette are on this for a long time.
Oh, what’s this – I found an extra $15? In that case, I’ll call my LCS and tell them to hold a pair of Point One issues – Captain America #615.1 (Marvel, $2.99) and Thor #620.1 (Marvel, $2.99) to be exact. I’ll also get the Kirkman/Ottley Invincible #78 (Image, $2.99) and Remender/Ribic Uncanny X-Force #6 (Marvel, $3.99). Seriously, the latter – is it the best title in the X-Men family of books or is it just me?
For splurge’s sake, I’d plunk down some tall dollars on the Oni collection of Stumptown (Oni, $29.99). I loved this series in singles, but I feel buying it in trade is important – how else can I cajole Greg Rucka to do more of these when I see him at a convention?
This is a tough week, because the ratio of expensive, interesting graphic novels to cheap pulp entertainment is very high. Let's see what we can do.
If I had $15…
I'd get the fifth volume of Time and Again ($10.99), a Korean series about ghost hunters that deserves more attention than it is getting. The stories stand on their own pretty well, so even though I haven't read the last few volumes, I'm not worried about having to catch up. The stories definitely have an edge to them, but the art is really lovely. And that leaves me enough change to pick up the latest issue of The Sixth Gun, my favorite American supernatural story.
If I had $30…
I'd leave Time and Again on the shelf (for now) and go for 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente ($22.99). I'm not much of a sports fan, but there was a lot more to Clemente than baseball, and Wilfred Santiago's biography has a real richness to it, bringing in Clemente's background and upbringing and wrapping it all together in deceptively simple, almost primitive looking art. With this I can still get The Sixth Gun and add one more; I'll take Fables #103 ($2.99) to round out the week's reading.
So much to choose from! I'd get the third volume of Bunny Drop ($12.99), a charming manga about a young man who impulsively adopts an orphaned six-year-old girl. I really enjoyed the gentle humor of the first volume and would like to read more. The Graphic Classics Western Classics anthology ($17.95) is right up my alley, with classic tales of the west (like Zane Gray's Riders of the Purple Sage) brought to life by a variety of artists. And I love NBM's Louvre graphic novels, so how could I resist The Sky Over the Louvre ($19.00), the latest addition, which looks lush and beautiful.