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

Welcome once again to our weekly round of "What would you buy if your budget was limited?" -- or, as we call it, 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, Chris Mautner, Kevin Melrose and me 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.

This week we're coming to you a day late, as comics won't arrive in shops in the United States until tomorrow due to this past Monday's big holiday. And check out Diamond’s full release list if you'd like to play along in our comments section.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15 ...

Batman and Robin #14 ($2.99)Glamourpuss #15 ($3)Starstruck #13 ($3.99)

My three main purchases for the week. The one of note is the final issue of Elaine May and Michael Kaluta's Starstruck. I have no idea if IDW plans on collecting the series or not, or if there are other Starstruck mini-series in the works (I'm guessing not; my Spidey-sense tells me that the series wasn't a solid seller for the company), but if this is the end (at least for now), I'm grateful to IDW for taking a chance and introducing me to what can only be described as an utterly dense and utterly unique comics-reading experience.

If I had $30:

Dean Haspiel's and Inverna Lockpez's Cuba: My Revolution (Vertigo, $24.99), about Lockpez's early life in Havana during the rise of Castro and the abuse she suffered under that regime, looks interesting, though not necessarily interesting enough for me to chuck all my other purchases for the week. On the other hand, I don't have (believe it or not) the collected version of Chester Brown's Louis Riel ($17.95) yet, and there's a new printing available this week from Drawn & Quarterly. I loved Brown's idiosyncratic take on Canadian folk hero/revolutionary Riel back when I read the individual, serialized issues and have been thinking about getting the collected version for my bookshelf for some time now. Hmmm, decisions, decisions ...


Easy choice this week. From Shadow to Light: The Life and Art of Mort Meskin ($39.99) is a swell-looking history of a little-examined and little-known Golden Age artist who is only just now getting his due. Author Steve Brower and Fantagraphics provide the education.

Kevin Melrose

If I had $15 to spend, I'd grab ...

B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth -- New World #2 ($3.50)

It's the team of Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Guy Davis and Dave Stewart which, honestly, is all I need to know to fork over my not-so-hard-earned money. (Dark Horse)

Weird War Tales #1 ($3.99)

The second in DC Comics' series of classic war one-shots features stories by Darwyn Cooke, Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein, and Jan Strnad and Gabriel Hardman. Sold! (DC Comics)

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #4 ($2.99)

The latest issue in the stellar all-ages series by Roger Langridge and Chis Samnee finds the god of thunder and the Warriors Three stranded in Oxford, England, much to the displeasure of Captain Britain. (Marvel)

The Sixth Gun #4 ($3.99)

The breakout title of Free Comic Book Day, Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt's supernatural Western rides hell-bent for leather as Drake Sinclair springs a trap for General Hume and his gang involving a temperamental Thunderbird spirit. (Oni Press)

Total: $14.47.

If I had $30, I'd also pick up ...

Eric Powell and Kyle Hotz follow up their 2005 miniseries with a four-issue tale that finds Billy the Kid and Fineas Sproule's Biological Curiosities in London, where they become entangled in the Whitechapel murders. (Dark Horse)

American Vampire #6 ($3.99)

This marks the first issue without Stephen King, leaving Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque to kick off a story starring Skinner Sweet and Pearl in 1930s Las Vegas. (Vertigo)

Batman and Robin #14 ($2.99)

The "Batman Must Die!" arc continues. (DC Comics)

Punisher MAX: Hot Rods of Death #1 ($4.99)

I'm not a fan of Frank Castle, but the partnership of Charlie Huston, Shawn Martinbrough and Lee Loughridge holds enough promise to justify shelling out five bucks. I think. (Marvel)

That brings the total to $30.43, which is close enough.


X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan, Vol. 1 ($49.99)

Part of IDW Publishing's Library of American Comics imprint, this 296-page trade paperback collects Al Williamson and Archie Goodwin's 1967-1980 run on the adventure strip created in 1934 by Dashiell Hammett and Alex Raymond. (IDW Publishing)

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15, I'd keep it light for back-to-school with two books that are kid-friendly but offer some substance for older readers as well. First up is the third volume of Twin Spica ($10.95), so I can continue to follow Asumi's struggle to make it through astronaut training while dealing with the emotional tugs of friends and family. It's kidlit at its best, with a solid story that provides a framework for exploring different types of relationships. And I'm also planning on picking up the first issue of Scratch9, a dynamic, entertaining, and slyly funny story of a cat who, thanks to a mad scientist, gets to meet all his previous eight lives.

With $30, I'd add a handful of floppies. Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities and the Ghastly Fiend of London #1 ($3.95) looks pretty entertaining, and I'll add Kill Shakespeare #5 ($3.99) and The Sixth Gun #4 ($3.99), two solid series that I'm enjoying a great deal. That only leaves me three bucks, so I'll throw in Scooby Doo Where Are You #1 ($2.99) to read with my nephew and nieces, who are big fans.

My splurge item this week is the two volumes of Alison Dare, Heart of the Maiden and Little Miss Adventures, reissued by Tundra. I'm a big J. Torres fan and I enjoyed these comics greatly in galleys; I just wish there were more of them. And then I'll indulge my Archie jones with the second issue of the Life with Archie magazine, just to see what those crazy kids are up to.

JK Parkin

If I had $15 ...

Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities and the Ghastly Fiend of London #1 ($3.95)American Vampire #6 ($3.99)Sixth Gun #4 ($3.99)Batman and Robin #14 ($2.99)

By the time I get around to writing up my picks for the week, there's a good chance my colleagues will have already talked about my selections in their own sections. So I really don't have anything to add about the titles I've listed above, beyond calling attention to the fact that Billy the Kid's Old Timey Oddities also has a back-up story running in Dark Horse's Buzzard mini-series that has been quite good.

If I had $30 ...

Weird War Tales #1 ($3.99)Justice League Generation Lost #9 ($2.99)Thanos Imperative #4 ($3.99)Irredeemable #17 ($3.99)

While I'm probably more curious than excited about DC's series of war one-shots, it's hard not to be enthused by an issue that features Darwyn Cooke, Ivan Brandon and Jan Strnad, among others. Justice League Generation Lost #9 continues the story of Booster Gold and co.'s attempt to find the resurrected Maxwell Lord. I've been downloading these on my iPad versus buying physical copies, and Keith Giffen and Judd Winick are doing wonderful stuff here. I plan to get the trades when they come out.

Add to that some big-time space opera by Abnett and Lanning, and some superhero-gone-mad madness from Mark Waid, and I think I'm looking pretty good for the week ... and under budget.


I already own them, but I thought it was worth pointing out that Brendan McCarthy's recent Spider-Man: Fever mini-series and a new printing of Berlin Book 1 both arrive in comic shops this week. My splurge item would be Cuba My Revolution. As Chris noted above, it's about writer Inverna Lockpez's early life in Havana during the rise of Castro. Although the story sounds compelling, it's the art team that sold me on it, Dean Haspiel of ACT-I-VATE, Bored to Death and Street Code fame, and José Villarrubia -- whose work you may remember from Dark Horse's Conan titles and Promethea, among others.

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