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.
This week's a big week for me, so with only $15 I'd have to leave a lot of things back and make some hard choices. My five under $15 would start with Joe The Barbarian #8 (DC/Vertigo, $3.99) by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy. I'm a big fan of both guys, but I have to admit the story went over my head the same way The Filth did in serialization. Be that as it may, I've kept buying the issues just to amaze myself with Murphy's art. Now that the complete series is out, I'll re-read it all in one sitting and hope for the best. Second would be the fourth issue of Incognito: Bad Influences (Marvel/Icon, $3.50) because, well, Brubaker and Phillips can do no wrong. After that I'd get Secret Warriors #25 (Marvel, $3.99) because Hickman's writing here plays up to all the things I like -- espionage, secrets, and overly-complicated story arcs. Over on the DC side I would pick up Brightest Day #21 (DC, $2.99). This series has ebbed and flowed for me, depending on which story arcs are brought to the fore in each issue... but I'm excited to see what happens and that's what it should be about, right? My last pick is a cheat -- I only have some change left, but thankfully the Fear Itself Sketchbook (Marvel) coming out is a free promotional item. I'll take Stuart Immonen sketches any day!
Oh man.. I just found $15 extra dollars, what to buy? I'd hit up Jonah Hex #65 (DC, $2.99) to see what Gray/Palmiotti and Jordi Bernet (really, Jordi on a monthly book?!) do with a Misery-esque set-up with our scarred soldier. Second would be the sixth and final issue of First Wave (DC, $3.99); I had high hopes for this series but it went left when I thought it would go right, but it's still a good story worth seeing the end of. Lastly I would try Tick New Series #8 (NEC, $4.95) with a few qualifiers. This series hasn't been on anyone's radar, but they've got two great creators on it -- Benito Cereno writing and Les McClaine drawing. I'm buying it to see new work from them.
My splurge this week is a no-brainer -- Takio (Marvel/Icon, $9.95) by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Avon Oeming. I'm really excited to see Bendis delve back into creator-owned work on a more substantive basis, and this kid-friendly title makes Oeming's oeuvre the broadest in comics -- he's done everything from Space Slutz to Thor, Powers, Judge Dredd (hard to find, but worth it!) and now Takio.
If I had $15:
I'm trade waiting on Joe the Barbarian and Incognito, so my first fistful of cash will likely go toward the 52nd issue of The Boys ($3.99) and The Smurfs and the Egg ($5.99), the latest Smurfs collection from NBM. I might also pick up the first issue of Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth ($3.50) since I've heard so many good things about this comic.
If I had $30:
I'd set aside all those comics and blow the whole wad on one of two Popeye-related books coming out this week. The most obvious choice (and easily the pick of the week for me) is Wha's A Jeep, volume five of the classic E.C. Segar comic strip ($29.99). I actually managed to snag a copy of that ahead of time, however, so I'd likely instead get Best Comic Book Stories by Bud Sagendorf, a collection of stories done by Segar's successor ($29.99). I've never had the chance to expose myself to Sagendorf's work and, while I doubt it's anywhere near as good as Segar's work, I'm curious to see how it holds up on it's own.
Any extra money I find under the couch would go toward another comic strip collection, Buz Sawyer Vol. 1 by Roy Crane. I really enjoyed the first volume of Crane's Captain Easy that Fantagraphics published last year, and am eager to experience Crane's other big strip.
If I had $15:
I'd get Life With Archie #8 ($3.99) , because I'm hooked on the married-Archie storylines now. And Viz is launching a new series, Oresama Teacher ($9.99) about a tough girl who is sent away to a school on a remote island to learn to be ladylike, so I'll pick up the first volume of that to see if it's funny or just painful.
If I had $30:
I'd cash in my old soda bottles to get an extra buck so I could afford Nick Bertozzi's Lewis & Clark ($16.99). I love history, and Bertozzi mixes plenty of humor into his narrative, which lightens the story and makes it a fun read.
No question: Popeye Volume 1: The Best Comic Book Stories Of Bud Sagendorf (resolicited), $29.99. It's a collection of little-known Popeye comics from the 1940s and 1950s, edited by Craig Yoe, which sounds like pure comic book heaven to me.
My "If I had $15" this week is a bit of a cheat for two reasons. First off, I actually already have the book in question, and secondly, it's actually $16.99, but still; if I had $15, I'd go through my house looking for spare change for the couple of extra dollars for Lewis & Clark (First Second), Nick Bertozzi's historical graphic novel about the original Oregon Trail trip, just because it's easily the best thing coming out this week. I'd been looking forward to the book since I first found out about it last year, but it really pushes past my already-high expectations, and into the areas of "Yes, it's more than $15 but you should choose it for this just to impress upon people how great it really is." Which is to say, it's awesome.
If I has $30, I'd only be spending $13 more because of my cheatin' math. Of that $13, the first $3.99 would go to the much-delayed final issue of Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy's Joe The Barbarian (DC/Vertigo), about which I may have forgotten the plot and where everything and everyone is at, but I still remember that Murphy's art will be worth the price of admission by itself. I'd also grab the first issues of webcomic-sensation-gone-analog Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth (Dark Horse, $3.50), Image Comics' mad-science-put-to-good-use-by-heroic-runaways series The Intrepids ($2.99) and the freebie Fear Itself sketchbook because I, too, like the idea of free Stuart Immonen artwork.
Splurgewise, I'm torn this week. I'm definitely curious about Bendis and Oeming's Takio, but I think that I'd end up going for Joe Casey's Wildcats Version 3.0 Year Two TP (DC, $24.99); I missed this series when it first came out, but read the Year One trade reissue and realized how ahead of its time it was - It's like reading Fraction's Invincible Iron Man, but with Dustin Nguyen on art instead of Sal Larocca (A plus for me, although your mileage may vary), and done, what, a decade earlier? Really good stuff, and worth checking out. I'm curious to see how it all ended.
If I had $15:
There are a few first issues I'm looking forward to. I've been in the mood for some steampunk lately and Carbon Grey #1 ($2.99) looks gorgeous, so that's an easy sell. Wulf #1 ($2.99) is by Steve Niles and Nat Jones, whom I always love as a team. I also can't imagine anyone better suited for a barbarian-transplanted-to-modern-times story. Then, for sheer awesomeness, there's the kids vs. mad scientist and cyborg bear comic Intrepids #1 ($2.99), which was formerly called Rat Bastards, if that's how you've been looking forward to it. And, as Graeme mentioned of course, the first issue of Axe Cop ($3.50).
If I had $30:
I'd add Johnny Hiro, Volume 1 ($14.95). It's a reprint, but I somehow not only missed the giant-lizards and opera-going ronin in single-issues, but in the first collected edition as well. It's not getting away from me again.
I have a strong preference for genre stories, so An Elegy for Amelia Johnson ($14.95) isn't my usual thing, but Archaia really is. They're one of a few publishers whose tastes so closely match my own that even when they appear to be going in a different direction, I feel very little risk in trying whatever they choose to put on paper.