Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, the first $2.99 of it would go to Batman Inc. #3 (DC Comics), the much-delayed (it's, what, two months late?) continuation of Grant Morrison's latest Batman series. The first two-parter was great, so it'll be nice to finally see what comes next. My Legion of Super-Heroes love also compels me to pick up Legion of Super-Villains #1 (DC, $4.99), an extra-sized oneshot tying into Paul Levitz' ongoing Legion series, Fred Van Lente's "comic book babylon" Comic Book Comics #5 ($3.95) and the first issue of Marvel's CrossGen revival Sigil #1 ($2.99). I have never read a CrossGen book in my life, but I'm curious about the revival nonetheless.


If I had $30, I'd probably put Comic Book Comics back on the shelf and pick up the trade of Girl Comics (Marvel, $15.99) instead. I know, I know, I should've picked up the hardcover, but ... I'm sorry? I suck?

Splurge-wise, it's probably going to be New Mutants: Fall of The New Mutants Premiere HC (Marvel, $24.99). I was a fan of the original New Mutants series back in the day, and have heard great things about Zeb Wells' revival from David Brothers online, so. .. why not? If it sucks, I'm sure he'd happily give me back my $25, right?

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

Like Graeme, I'd definitely pick up copies of Batman Inc. #3 ($3.99) and Comic Book Comics #5 ($3.95), though I'd probably stop there so I have enough change left over to get a Pop Tart from the office vending machine.


If I had $30:

I already have copies of these two books, but if you happen to have $30 this week I'd recommend getting your hands on either a copy of Mark Kalesniko's Freeway or the third volume of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant, both from Fantagraphics. The former is a new graphic novel from the author of Mail Order Bride, about a dog-faced animator named Alex who, while stuck in a bad traffic jam, ruminates over his life and career and how he ended up where he did. It's a pretty great book, but if you need further inducement you can read my interview with Kalesniko. Valiant Vol. 3 meanwhile, features a great, lengthy sequence that involves Val trying to get his sword back, the highlight of which is easily him facing off against a giant man-eating octopus.


As for myself, I'm putting aside the floppies and snatching up the third volume of John Stanley's Melvin Monster ($24.95). I've written at length about Stanley before, so it should be no surprise that this would top my purchases for the week, especially since I consider Melvin to be one of his best works.


I'm a sucker for books about comics, so Jerry Robinson's updated edition of The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art ($39.99) will be my big splurge pick for this week.

Michael May

If I had $15:

I'd also copy Graeme, but on a different book. I was a huge CrossGen fan in the day and Sigil was one of my favorite series. It's being completely re-imagined for the relaunch, but potentially for the better and if nothing else, solicitations for future issues indicate that it'll quickly become a pirate comic. So, yeah, I'll be getting that first issue ($2.99).

I'll also pick up Savage Beauty #1 ($2.99). Not only is it a jungle comic - and I love jungle comics - but I wrote a text piece for this issue talking about how much I love jungle comics. So yes, there's vanity at work here too.

Finally, I'd grab Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris #1 ($3.99) because I like Edgar Rice Burroughs and think that exploring Dejah Thoris' pre-John Carter adventures is an excellent idea. And I'd round off my stack with Insurrection V3.6 #1 ($3.99) because I'm always on the lookout for good space pulp.

If I had $30:

I'd put back and trade-wait everything except Savage Beauty #1 (vanity) and grab Night Animals ($7.95) and Time Bomb ($14.95) instead. I've written about my attraction to Night Animals before, but Time Bomb is a time travel story with Nazis by Jimmy Palmiotti and those three things together seems like a wonderful combination.


Before I read Chris' picks, I was going to go with just Pale Horse ($14.99), because I'm all into Westerns right now (thanks, True Grit!), but Chris had to go and use the words "giant man-eating octopus," so Prince Valiant, Volume 3 ($29.99) goes into the shopping cart as well.

Chris Arrant


With three Lincolns, I’d make mine Marvel with my first two choices – Captain America & The First Thirteen #1 ($3.99) and New Avengers #10 ($3.99). I like Marvel’s recent kick on what happened in the mid-1900s – a secret history, if you will (to steal from Dusty Rhodes). Bendis has a proven track record on this, but I’m more excited to see how good Kathryn Immonen and Ramon Perez do with the Captain America thing – they’re both big talents waiting on the right book to break out. Third on my list would be Batman Incorporated #3 ($2.99), which for me has become my favorite book in the Bat-line -- only slightly edging out Detective Comics. Last would be the epic story Richard Starkings is doing in Elephantmen #30 ($3.99); I’m continually amazed that this book comes out every month. It seems like such a unique book that I was worried it couldn’t find its audience – but with thirty issues on the shelves and a mountain of spin-offs, call me miscalculated for thinking the book couldn’t succeed. Love it.


If my eyes deceived me and I infact had three Hamiltons instead of three Lincolns, I’d rush back to the comic shop and pluck down my hard-earned comics money on Venom #1 ($3.99). Also the last issue of Amazing Spider-Man served as an unofficial zero issue launching this concept, I’m driven more to this book just to see what Remender and Moore do with it – I’d buy them on pretty much anything. Next up would be a double-shot of Dark Horse with BPRD: Hell On Earth Gods #3 ($3.50) and Conan: Road of Kings #3 ($3.50). DH’s announcement that this would be Guy Davis’s last issue of BPRD this past weekend floored me – and many others. For the Conan book, I’m buying it for Mike Hawthorne – he’s a longtime favorite of mine and someone who editors need to pay attention to. Lastly would be Comic Book Comics #5 – a great little book that is a mini-event each time a new issue comes out.


If I had Jonah’s credit card, I’d rush out and get the DH tome Comics: Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art (Dark Horse, $39.99). It’s essential reading for me – both as a fan and someone who writes about comics.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15…

Well, the latest volume of Twin Spica ($10.95) is an automatic purchase with me. I really like this story, which has believable characters that transcend the manga stereotypes (even though the story itself is quite imaginative). So put me down for that.

That leaves four bucks, so put me down for Donald Duck #364 ($3.99), as I'm really digging those classic Disney comics from the olden days.

If I had $30…

More manga, please! I'd like to check out the first volume of Oresama Teacher, a new series from Viz about a tough girl who gets off on the wrong foot in her last-chance school by rescuing her wimpy teacher from a gang of juvenile delinquents. Ahhh, manga!

Then I'll mop up the leftover money with Comic Book Comics #5, just because of my great love of the medium.


It's not very expensive, but Skullkickers ($9.99) is not really my type of graphic novel—it's a fantasy-influenced story about a gnome and a bald giant beating up monsters in a vaguely medieval setting. But I liked Jim Zubkavich's writing on Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki (another gamer comic I didn't think I'd like) so I guess I'll give it a try.

Grant Morrison on Why He Hates Watchmen

More in Comics