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

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 we 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.

Michael May

If I had $15:

As usual, I'd spend it on single issues. Starting with Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science #1 ($3.50), then picking up a couple of Moonstone books: Zeroids #2 ($3.99) and Return of the Originals: From the Vault - The Pulp Files ($1.99). I enjoyed the first issue of the genre-mashing Zeroids and have been looking forward to the next part of the story; From the Vault is sort of Moonstone's version of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe or DC's Who's Who. I don't know nearly as much about the classic pulp characters as I'd like, so I'm looking forward to the education. Next I'd check out IDW's Dungeons & Dragons #1 ($3.99) to see if they've figured out how to do a good D&D comic. That brings me to $13.47.

If I had $30:

I'd put back The Pulp Files and D&D and grab the Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard hardcover ($19.95) instead. With Atomic Robo and Zeroids, that's a total of $27.44.


My top choice of a splurge item is Fantagraphics first volume of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec ($24.99). I've been itching to read these stories since Luc Besson's movie adaptation was first announced. I can't resist a French, turn-of-the-century pterodactyl hunter. And as long as I'm splurging, I'd also add Bryan Talbot's Grandville: Mon Amour ($19.99). I haven't read the first volume yet, but it looks like exactly the kind of thing I'd enjoy.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

Dave Sim's Glamourpuss remains a fascinating, if extremely uneven, read for me, so I'll be picking up issue #16 ($3). I'll also grab the sixth and final issue of Batman: The Return Of Bruce Wayne ($3.99), even though it hasn't been one of my favorite Grant Morrison or Batman series. My final must nab will be the NBM's new edition of Smurf King, one of the finest comics about little blue creatures that like to wear white caps and stockings ever made. That brings me to a total of $12.98

If I had $30:

I'm extremely curious about Fantagraphics' new kids eurocomic line, which kicks off this week with the release of Stephane Blanquet's Toys in the Basement ($14.99). I'm especially curious in this case as Blanquet isn't up till this point an author known for his all-ages friendly material. In fact, it's quite the opposite; his work is usually typified by ugly, sweaty people doing horrible, disturbing things. So, yeah, I want to see how he dials it down (if at all) for the kiddies.


Oh, I shall splurge a bit this week. Michael has already noted the release of Grandville Mon Amour and the Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec, two books I've been anticipating for awhile now. I'd also like to point out the arrival of Inkstuds ($20), a hefty collection of Robin McConnell's radio interviews with notable cartoonists, fully transcribed onto paper for your reading pleasure. Lots of quality insights abound in there, no doubt.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15…

I'd start with volume 4 of Twin Spica ($10.95), Vertical's space-opera manga about a spunky girl in astronaut school. Like any good series, this manga has pulled me in with good storytelling, a convincing world, and characters that seem grounded and real but don't quite fit the standard stereotypes.

Then maybe I'll keep the science fiction theme with Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science #1 ($3.50), as that kicks off a new arc and looks like a nice read.

If I had $30…

I'd add Toys in the Basement, although at $14.99 for 32 pages, even in hardcover, it seems a bit skimpy. Still, I like the idea of a kid-friendly comic that isn't afraid to be creepy, and this one—in which a boy dressed in a pink bunny suit stumbles into some weird French version of the Island of Misfit Toys—looks like a challenging read.

Splurge items

Being a complete pushover for Archie and for classic comics, I'm the natural target for Dark Horse's Archie Firsts collection ($24.99), which groups together the stories in which each character makes his or her first appearance, plus the first stories from each comic in the line. How could I resist? And I'd also love to read Will Eisner: A Dreamer's Life in Comics (Bloomsbury, $28.00); a hardcover biography certainly feels like a splurge to me.

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