Welcome to another installment of “Food or Comics?” Every week we set certain hypothetical spending limits on ourselves and go through the agony of trying to determine what comes home and what stays on the shelves. So join us as we run down what comics we’d buy if they only had $15 and $30 to spend, as well as what we’d get if we had some “mad money” to splurge with.
Check out Diamond’s full release list if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15, at least $9 of it - okay, $8.98 - would be already spoken for. The first issue of Batman Incorporated ($3.99) and one-shot lead-in Batman: The Return #1 ($4.99) offer up the first glimpses of what Grant Morrison has in mind for his new Batus-quo and, after the way he brought the RIP/Return of Bruce Wayne storyline to a close, I'm pretty much on board no matter what. The remaining money...? It's a tough one, but I'm going to go for Spider-Girl #1 ($3.99), pretty much because I like Paul Tobin's writing, I like the Twitter gimmick (Somewhere, Joe Casey's going "I did it first in Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance!" and I know, Joe), and, most importantly, the Spider-Girl short was my favorite part of last week's Amazing Spider-Man relaunch issue. Who could've seen that coming?
If I had $30, I'd add the sixth issue of The Sixth Gun ($3.99) to the pile, because it's been a fun ride so far and I want to see what happens next, and also Vertigo Resurrected: The Extremist #1 ($7.99), because I only vaguely remember Peter Milligan and Ted McKeever's kink-centric series from the early '90s and want to happily relive Milligan's golden age, back before he broke my heart with that X-Men run (although Greek Street was a partial return to form, I'd argue).
If I could splurge, I'd be torn. IDW is reissuing Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen's Shockrockets as a $24.99 hardcover, and I really, really want to read that, having missed it the first time around but being someone who enjoys the work of both creators quite a bit (It doesn't help that the book will probably look beautiful; IDW doesn't mess around when it comes to production value). But at the same time, Jim McCann and Janet Lee's Return Of The Dapper Men is also out this week, and from everything I've read and seen about this fairy tale OGN, it looks like something I'd enjoy quite a bit. To make matters even worse, Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman have a new OGN out this week as well, Kickstart's Hero Complex ($14.99). Dammit! How much am I allowed to splurge, again...?
If I had just $15…
I'd blow it all on the trade paperback of CBGB, BOOM! Studios' anthology of comics about the famed New York punk rock club. It's odd to think of anyone being nostalgic for the punk era—"nostalgia" and "punk" being polar opposites—but the stories manage to be wistful and head-banging in equal parts, so it's all good.
If I had $30…
I'd give it all to Fantagraphics in exchange for the second volume of Castle Waiting, the long-awaited continuation of Linda Medley's story. I'll confess I haven't read the first volume yet—maybe that should be my splurge—but my librarian friends strongly recommend it, and their description of an updated fairy tale with a modern sensibility makes me want to give it a try.
It's jumping the season a bit, but IDW's Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories is just what I need to get into the holiday mood. It's a perfect fit—I always used to find a big book of some sort of stories under the Christmas tree when I was a kid, and with comics by Walt Kelly and John Stanley, this collection can't miss.
If I had $15:
There's a lot of good comics out this week, but the item I'm most excited to see is a new $11.99 edition of Hewligan's Haircut, a new edition of Peter Milligan and Jamie Hewlett's ultra-loopy saga of a man whose coiffure has the ability to warp space and time. Also features a female lead named Dali Scarlet O'Gasmeter. And if that's not enough to send you out to the comic book store, I don't know what is.
If I had $30:
I'm a sucker for anything French artist David B does, so I'll be sure to snatch and grab a copy of The Littlest Pirate King ($16.99), his latest entry on American shores, an all-ages titles about a young boy who leads a group of undead pirates. Part of Fantagraphics new Eurocomics for kids line. (Speaking of which, Eurocomics fans should note that Joann Sfar's adaptation of The Little Prince comes out today as well, and stands every chance of being quite good.)
I've been a longtime fan of The Big Red Cheese, so my splurge item for the week has to be Shazam! The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal ($35), a Chip Kidd-edited hardcover that looks at the history of Fawcett's major superhero property, photos of toys and other ephemera included.
I'm also quite curious to check out Sophie Crumb: Evolution of a Crazy Artist ($27.95), a collection of the youngest Crumb's artwork from childhood to today. I've yet to see Crumb do anything that really knocked my socks off, she's got incredible chops, but her stories themselves have always seemed two steps shy of true inspiration and insight. Maybe this book will change my mind though. I'd like to give it the chance to.
If I had $15:
I'd start with the Hellboy Double Feature of Evil one shot ($3.50), because you know...Hellboy. I'd also be sure to check out Osborn #1 ($3.99) because it's written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and she's awesome. Finally, I'd check out Dynamite's Warlord of Mars #2 ($3.99).
If I had $30:
I'd trade-wait for Osborn and Warlord of Mars, and add Jim McCann and Janet Lee's Return of the Dapper Men ($24.95) to my Hellboy fix. I'm happy with McCann for writing an Alpha Flight one shot, but my interest in this is mostly due to my predisposition to like anything with the word "dapper" in it.
I'm very tempted by the new volumes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold ($12.99) and Castle Waiting ($29.99), but they're both trumped by David B and his ghost pirates in The Littlest Pirate King ($16.99). Still, since I'm splurging, let's just get all three.
If I had $15:
Batman: The Return #1 ($4.99) and Batman Incorporated ($3.99) both get my money this week as well, as does the fourth issue of Morning Glories ($3.50). That leaves me with roughly $2.50.
If I had $30:
Zatanna has slowly but surely made its way up to the top of my reading stack each month, so let's grab issue #7 ($2.99). And the Thunderbolts meet up with the Avengers in issue #150 of their title, an extra-sized issue ($4.99). Then I'd add the latest issue of The Sixth Gun ($3.99) and Northlanders #34 ($2.99) to round out my week.
It's hard not to just repeat what my distinguished colleagues have said above about pirates that are little or men that are dapper, but it's been an awfully long time since I read the Legion of Super-Heroes Great Darkness Saga, comics my brother owned and I could only borrow on occasion, so I'll go with the deluxe hardcover DC is releasing as my splurge item this week.