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 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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Graeme McMillan

I'll be honest: The first thing I'd do with my $15 this week would be to buy Ultimate Spider-Man #160 (Marvel, $3.99), just to finally see Peter Parker die. This storyline has seemed so drawn out and by the numbers that it's pretty much killed my interest in the series, and I'm hoping that the final issue either has a last-minute turnaround that makes everything worthwhile, or else provides some weird karmic payback by finally living up to its title. Much less bloodthirstily, I'd also grab the first issue of David Hahn's All Nighter (Image, $2.99), which rescues what was, I believe, a one-time Minx book and looks like an awesome mash-up of Stuart Immonen, Jaime Hernandez and, unexpectedly, Steve Rolston. In other words, pretty damn great. Finally, I'd pick up Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search For Swamp Thing #1 (DC, $2.99), for curiosity value if nothing else. I mean, John Constantine in a DCU book? How odd can that actually get?

If I had $30 this week, I'd add Secret Avengers #14 (Marvel, $3.99) to my pile, again out of morbid curiosity, and not even the good kind. At the direction of someone who'd undoubtedly like to remain nameless, I picked up the last issue to discover that it was, as promised, a completely insane-and-not-in-a-good-way tie-in to Fear Itself that, amongst other things, featured a statue of Abraham Lincoln come to life to fight Nazis in robot suits. Which, when I put it like that, actually sounds good, but I promise you, was the very opposite. Almost immediately, I knew I'd pick up the next issue to see if it could get any worse. I'm also likely to pick up Batman: Gates of Gotham #2 (DC, $2.99) to see where the story is headed - Batman IS one of the franchises not losing its continuity in the new DCU, right? - and Justice League of America #58 (DC, $2.99) because I've really been enjoying James Robinson's run on the title, and want to keep supporting it as long as it lasts. Last but not least, IDW's Cobra #2 ($3.99) continues the "Cobra Civil War" storyline, and I'm looking forward to finding out if it's also going to continue the enjoyable undercutting of the other books' throughlines, as well (I mean that as a compliment, I promise).

To splurge, if I had the money, I'd probably seriously consider Marvel's Impossible Man collection ($34.99), because I have a lot of affinity for the character, who knew how to poke fun at the Marvel Universe before such characters as Deadpool or, on the other side of the divide, Ambush Bug, were even glimmers in their creators' imaginations. POP!

Brigid Alverson

What a week! I'm really having a hard time narrowing it down. Let's see ...

If I had $15, I'd start out with the trade of Scratch 9 ($9.99), a great kids' comic about a cat who gets mixed up with a mad scientist who unleashes his other eight lives. It's funny and well-written and has "classic" written all over it without being in the least stuffy. Then I'd go out and borrow a few bucks so I could buy Uncle Scrooge: The Mysterious Stone Ray and Cash Flow ($6.99), a great one-shot that features a Carl Barks story and a Don Rosa story back to back.

If I had $30, I'd add in the first volume of Avatar: The Last Airbender ($14.99). I read some of these comics when they first appeared in Nickelodeon magazine, and I know it's going to be a top-notch effort.

Splurge: Let's start with vol. 15 of Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys ($12.99), plus a couple of volumes I have missed. I'm a bit behind on this series, but summer is a good time to catch up, and relaxing on the deck with a stack of Naoki Urasawa manga is the best vacation I can imagine. If I'm going all out, I'd also consider one of the nice collected editions of vintage comics that is coming out this week; the Fantagraphics Captain Easy collection ($39.99) looks tempting, but I think I'd find the kitsch value of Hermes Press's Roy Rogers: The Collected Daily and Sunday Newspaper Strips ($49.99) impossible to resist.

Michael May

This week starts off easy, but quickly gets more difficult as I shop. With only $15, I'd pick up Mystery Men #2 ($2.99) and Planet of the Apes #3 ($3.99) without even thinking about it. I'd hoped to enjoy the first issue of Mystery Men, but was surprised by how much I loved it. I hope that the crossover between classic pulp fans and Marvel U fans is bigger than I imagine it is, because I really want more of this. It's not a do-over of The Twelve, it's all original characters in a familiar setting and it's wonderful. As for Planet of the Apes, I've already expressed my appreciation for BOOM!'s series and am anxious to see where it goes.

My next couple of picks are more complicated. Like a lot of fans, I've been itching for a Lois Lane comic; I'm just not sure that Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #1 ($2.99) is going to be the one I want. I'll need to flip through it in the store to get a feel for it. If it looks good, I'll grab it and Rocketeer Adventures #2 ($3.99), because hey...the Rocketeer. If I don't care for this version of Lois Lane, I'll put it back, trade-wait Rocketeer Adventures and grab Dark Horse Presents #2 ($7.99) instead.

I originally had another hard choice with $30, trying to figure out what I'd need to drop in order to afford Black Widow: The Name of the Rose ($16.99), but my brain still hurts from my $15 list, so screw it. I'll keep everything from that pile and just add Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Lost Adventures ($14.99). It's been long enough since I watched the cartoon that I'm not exactly jonesing for more, but I loved that show enough that I expect I'll dig this, too.

I'd need a LOT of money to afford all my splurge picks this week. I'm curious about Dynamite's Blackbeard: Legend of the Pyrate King ($19.99) and DC's First Wave collection ($29.99). I'm also eager to continue reading Secret Avengers with Volume 2: Eyes of the Dragon ($24.99) and I already know I'd enjoy John Byrne's Next Men, Volume 1 in hardcover ($21.99) because I've read those issues. If you put a gun to my head and made me choose one though, I'd go for Secret Avengers, the one that I'm most assured I'll enjoy, but haven't yet read.

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