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 Brigid Alverson, Michael May and Chris Mautner as they run down what comics they’d buy if they only had $15 and $30 to spend, as well as what they’d get if they 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.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

The latest issue of The Boys is on my pull-list for this week ($3.99) and I'm anxious to see how Hughie reacts after discovering Annie's big, horrible secret last ish. (sounds like I'm talking about a daytime soap, doesn't it? If daytime soaps had more vomiting, cuss words and dismemberment.)

I'll also likely pick up the fifth issue of James Stokoe's Orc Stain ($2.99). I'm coming into the series a little bit late, but based on raves it's been garnering across the Interwebs, I tried a random issue and dang if I wasn't tickled with it's wit and dense world-building sensibilities. Now I'm trying to track down the other issues I've missed.

If I had $30:

There's a lot of good stuff this week, but (assuming I put aside my two previous purchases for a later date) what would easily top my list (and that of my fellow Robot Sixers I'm sure) is Richard Stark's Parker: The Outfit, the second book in Darwyn Cooke's ongoing adaptation of Donald Westlake's (writing under the Stark nom de plume) series of hard boiled crime novels. I hadn't been a Cooke fan previously, but the first book, The Hunter, made me a believer and the recent mini/prologue that IDW released earlier this year, The Man With the Getaway Face, sealed the deal. I'm very much looking forward to reading this.

But! There's every chance once I'm in the store my eye might stray. For example, D&Q has the latest volume of Seth's Palookaville out right now for a mere $19.95. And it's the new, lengthier, hardcover version too. I already picked up a copy at SPX but I wanted to note it's arrival since, if your tastes run more toward Peter Arno than Alex Toth, that's what you're going to be clutching at the cash register.

At the risk of weakening this weekly exercise even further, let me take a second to point out that D&Q also has the first trade collection of Doug Wright's Nipper ($16.96), a charming, funny, warm and wordless strip that was big up in Canada back in the day but never really made any inroads here in the U.S. The strip evokes both Peanuts and Gasoline Alley in its attention to craft, observational slice-of-life humor and sweet but sharp wit regarding two rambunctious boys and the continual headaches they give their mother and father. Any parent will recognize the goings-on here with a smile and perhaps the occasional wince.


Back before it hit senior-citizen age, before Mr. Dithers and Daisy the dog were introduced, Chic Young's Blondie was a slapstick soap about a lively, smart alec flapper, her uber-rich beau Dagwood and his snobbish parents, who continually fainted at the mere thought of their son marrying such a hussy. What's more, back then, the strip was actually rather funny! Want proof? IDW has collected the first two-plus years in their ongoing attempt to convince modern Americans that strips that are utter crap today were really great long ago. Long, long, long ago. ($49.99)

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15:

It's a tough week, and I'm going to have to stretch the budget a bit. I want to pick up the second issue of Scratch 9 ($3.95), by Rob Worley and Jason Kruse (with covers by Mike Kunkel), a fast-paced and funny comic about a cat who comes face to face with the rest of his nine lives. Then I'm going to have to steal two bucks so I can also pick up Steve Hamaker's Fish N Chips ($12.95), another wacky-animals kids' graphic novel that looks like it's done in a similar spirit. To pay for it, I'll just skip dinner and have a Happy Meal instead.

If I had $30:

I'd hold off on Fish N Chips for this week and go for some more adult fare: Darwyn Cooke's The Outfit ($24.99), the second of his Parker graphic novels. The Hunter blew me away, as did The Man with the Getaway Face, which was the prequel to this book. These books aren't just set in the 1950s, they practically embody it, with Cooke's slick magazine-style art and a sensibility that comes straight out of pulp novels. This may be the best graphic novel of 2010.

Splurge: I read some of Vanessa Davis's comics online a while ago and really liked them. Her memoir comics are good stories backed with a memorable cast of characters and a willingness to laugh at herself as well as others, and I'm looking forward to reading her new graphic novel, Make Me a Woman ($24.99).

But the true splurge this month would be the first volume of IDW's Blondie collection ($49.99). I'm a complete pushover for books like this—I love classic newspaper comics, and IDW has been doing a really nice job with their collections. What's more, this book promises to show the hidden history of Blondie—when it started out, it was more a soap opera than a gag strip, with Dagwood as a rich playboy who horrifies his upper-crust family by falling for carefree flapper Blondie. I'm dying to see this story and would cheerfully trade in all my week's comics just to see Dagwood go on a hunger strike.

Michael May

If I had $15:

I'd pick up Frankie Stein ($14.99) from Image. I like Steven Seagle's writing, I especially like children's books, and I love Frankenstein. Seagle's book about the trials of a green-skinned, bolt-headed kid encountering the world outside his castle for the first time sounds wonderful.

If I had $30:

I'd buy Fish N Chips, Volume 1 ($12.95). My son and I love the Fish N Chips stories from the Flight anthologies (David even made up a song about them) and are looking forward to a longer adventure. Then, because I'm a man with the compulsive need to spend every last cent of his budget, I'd grab Image Firsts: Haunt ($1.00) just for curiosity's sake. I can't imagine its being my thing, but it's only a buck. That leaves me with a dollar for a candy bar or something.


There are a couple of collections I've been looking forward to. I bought Perhapanauts, Volume 1 a long time ago, but stopped reading it when I realized it wasn't really the first volume. The long-awaited Perhapanauts, Volume 00: Dark Days ($17.99) is. I'm looking forward to finally digging into that series. Also, Phil Hester's Anchor, Volume 2 ($16.99). I'm sad that it was canceled, but that's not going to stop me from reading as much of it as exists.

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