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

Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item.

Join Brigid Alverson, Chris Mautner and Kevin Melrose as they run down what they’d buy this week, and check out Diamond’s release list to play along in our comments section.

Kevin Melrose

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

Existence 2.0/3.0 trade paperback ($14.99)

I missed these miniseries when they were initially released, but the recent debut of Morning Glories has me searching out other work by writer Nick Spencer. In Existence 2.0, the consciousness of a self-absorbed physicist Sylvester Baladine is transferred into the body of the hitman who murdered him, setting up a confrontation between Baladine and the people who plotted his death. (You can read the entire first issue at Comic Book Resources.) The sequel centers on corporate warfare as Baladine's consciousness-transfer technology falls into the wrong hands, and the owners set out to track down the only living prototype. (Image Comics)


And there goes that $15 budget. That was quick!

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

Captain America #609 ($3.99)

One of the few titles on my (virtual) pull list, Captain America boasts consistently strong work by Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice & Co. (Marvel)

Namor: The First Mutant #1 ($3.99)

I never really bought into Marvel's attempts to boost Namor's appeal by playing up the mutant aspect of the character, thereby linking him to the popular X-Men franchise. The company further pushes that connection by thrusting the Sub-Mariner into the "Curse of the Mutants" crossover, which serves as a platform to launch this new series (his what, fourth or fifth monthly?). Hey, whatever works. I have an inexplicable fondness for aquatic superheroes, and an explicable appreciation for the work of Stuart Moore and Ariel Olivetti, so I'll at least give Namor: The First Mutant a try. Plus, there apparently are Atlantean vampires involved. (Marvel)


Spider-Man #5 ($2.99)

Alias Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, by Paul Tobin and Roberto Di Salvo. This preview page explains it all. (Marvel)

X-Men: Curse of the Mutants -- Storm & Gambit #1 ($3.99)

Honestly, I have no idea what's going on with the vampire-fueled "Curse of the Mutants" crossover. Something involving an undead Jubilee and subaquatic bloodsuckers, maybe? But I do know that this one-shot features art by the always-terrific Chris Bachalo, who produces pages like this. Sign me up. ($3.99)

That brings me to $29.95.


Archie Classic Newspaper Comics, Vol. 1 hardcover ($39.99)

I was never a huge of Archie Comics, but I prefer Bob Montana's original take on the characters to Dan DeCarlo's more "modernized" approach that arose in the late 1950s. This archival edition, which collects the very first Archie comic strips from 1946 to 1948, seems like a perfect way to be reintroduced to Riverdale and the classic work of Montana. (IDW Publishing)


Chris Mautner

If I had $15 ...

Hot on the heels of last week's Tubby collection comes Dark Horse's latest Little Lulu book, Vol. 24: The Space Dolly and Other Stories ($14.99). I'll spare readers my umpteenth fawning post about how much myself and my family love this series to pieces, and just note that it's a sure-fire purchase for me.

Quick thought tho: Why doesn't Dark Horse or whomever put out more Little Lulu inspired merchandise? I would buy the hell out of a Tubby t-shirt. One with him yelling "Yow!"

If I had $30 ...

I'd put the Lulu book on hold for the nonce and pick up Vol. 14 of Fantagraphics' ongoing Peanuts collection ($28.99). Covering the years 1977-78, and featuring an introduction by Alec Baldwin (of all things), this latest book features some great sequences, like the one where Charlie Brown bites the kite-eating tree and ends up going on the lam to hide from the EPA. Those who feel Schulz's best work was in the late 50s and 60s really need to re-evaluate these strips.


I've never been a big fan of the Archie comic strip (truth be told, my love for Archie kind of waned with the onset of puberty) but since we're assuming here I have money to burn I'll check out Archie Classic Newspaper Comics Vol. 1, if only to check out the Bob Montana art and see what all the fuss is about.

While I'm at it, I'd like to put a shout out for Tom de Haven's latest book, Our Hero: Superman on Earth ($24). It's a really fun look at the history of the character, both in comics and other media, enlivened with de Haven's clever writing and sharp insight. For the curious, Dan Nadel at Comics Comics provides more info on the book here.

Brigid Alverson

This is a pretty simple week for me.

If I had $15…

I'd buy the second volume of Chi's Sweet Home ($13.95), because I liked the first one so much. I'm not a cat lover, so I figured I'd be immune, but Chi is so cute, and the family is so likeable, that I really enjoy this manga simply as pastel-colored escape reading. That leaves me with a buck to spare, so the logical choice is one of Dark Horse's dollar comics—I'll check out The Goon, as that franchise is new to me.

If I had $30…

I'd add the Codebreakers graphic novel from BOOM! Studios, because it's about FBI agents and cryptographers and I love stuff like that.

And for the splurge…

I'm going for broke this week, because there is so much good stuff out there: IDW's first volume of Archie: The Classic Newspaper Comics is pricey at $39.99, but it's 328 pages and it's by Bob Montana, so I'm in.

I'd also like to pick up Audrey Niffenegger's The Night Bookmobile ($19.95), a strange, sad story about a woman who dreams of a bookmobile containing every book she has ever read. And I'm going to take a pass on Josh Neufeld's AD: New Orleans After the Deluge because it was such a great webcomic that I am afraid I would be disappointed in the print edition. On the other hand, Tak Toyoshima's Secret Asian Man: The Daily Days ($20) would probably work as well in print as on the screen, and I'd like to catch up with that one. That's a pretty big splurge for this week, but it will keep me happily reading for the rest of my vacation.

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