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

With the cost of comics seemingly always on the rise, we've revamped our old Can't Wait for Wednesday columns around cover price. Hence, welcome to our second Food or Comics? column, as we look at comics that'll be in shops tomorrow.

Every week we'll tell you what comics we'd buy if we had $15 to spend, if we had $30 to spend and if we had some "mad money" (like a gift card) to blow on what we're calling a "Splurge" item. This week Chris Mautner and Brigid Alverson join Kevin Melrose and myself in our trip to the hypothetical comic shop, following our trip to the imaginary ATM machine.

You can play along as well in our comments section; check out Diamond's shipping list for tomorrow to see what will be in shops.

Chris Mautner

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

Batman & Robin #13 ($2.99)Starstruck #11 ($3.99) Godland #32 ($3.99) Boys #44 ($3.99)

These are just about all the comics I'm currently reading in floppy form, minus a title or two. In fact, I'm relatively certain my LCS will be holding copies of these for me when I stop by this weekend. Three involve superheroes. One is a knotty sci-fi saga. One will almost certainly involve someone's blood being sprayed across a room. That, or a bathroom joke.

If I had $30, I'd also get ...

Smurfs #1 Smurfnapper ($1)

I'm honestly really excited about NBM's rerelease of Peyo's great, classic Smurf comics -- my memories of being enthralled by King Smurf at age 12 remain rather strong -- so I'm happy to nab this little preview comic to whet my appetite. Besides, since it's only a dollar, that let's me stay well within my budget. (Papercutz)

Casanova #1 ($3.99)

I already own the two-color Image version of this, but I'll probably pick up the new full-color, Icon version anyway. Why? Because, quite frankly, this is the best thing Matt Fraction has done and it deserves as much attention as it can get. Judging by some recent interviews with Fraction, the series wasn't exactly a money-maker for him, so I'd like to support it as much as I can. (Marvel/Icon)

That puts me just shy of $20, which is where I'd have to stop, as everything else I'd like to purchase would put me way over budget.

Splurge item:

Originally I was looking at that nice Absolute Planetary Vol. 1 ($75) that's being re-released this week, as friends tell me it's a good series (at least in the beginning), but instead I think I'm going to go with Last Gasp's re-release of Tintin in the Congo ($24.95). I have a color French version of Herge's infamous second Tintin tale, rampant with imperialism, colonialism and just plain racism. But I don't have this book from Last Gasp, which collects the original serialized, black and white version. If anything, it's even more offensive and politically incorrect, but for Tintinologists like myself, it's kind of a must own. Besides, it's not like Little, Brown is going to release the official color version in English anytime soon.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15, I'd buy…

Twin Spica, vol. 2 ($10.95)

I loved the first volume of Kou Yaginuma's story of a young girl who wants to be an astronaut, and now, with the back story taken care of and the heroine firmly established as sweet but independent-minded, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. (Vertical)

Hellboy: The Storm #1 ($2.99)

I'm a recent convert to the Hellboy franchise, which is actually a good thing, as it means I have a lot of reading ahead of me. I read the previous arc of this series, Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, on the train on my way home from C2E2, and there's no way I'm missing this. Plus the preview looks pretty sweet. (Dark Horse)

That's $13.94, a little under budget, which is where I like to be.

If I had $30, I would add…

Ghostopolis ($12.99)

Doug TenNapel has put together an interesting cast and concept here: Frank Gallows, a ghost wrangler whose job is to catch ghosts and deport them back to the afterlife, accidentally send Garth, a dying boy, prematurely to the other side. That sets off a chain reaction that becomes more than just Garth trying to get back home. TenNapel's style is unusually jagged and dark for an all-ages book, but it's just right for this kind of story. Include me in! (Scholastic)

Kill Shakespeare #3 ($3.99)

Bloody but literate, this series brings Shakespeare's characters to life in a different context than we are used to—it's the bad guys (Iago, Richard III, Lady Macbeth) versus the good guys (Romeo and Juliet, Othello, even Puck) in a race to find the elusive wizard, William Shakespeare. (IDW)

So now I'm at $30.88, which means I have to check under the car seats for change.

But if it's a binge week, I have one more on my list:

Troublemaker, $17.99

This is Janet Evanovich's first graphic novel, written with her daughter Alex and illustrated by Joelle Jones, one of my favorite artists—she did the art for Token, one of the better Minx novels, and the flashback sequences in Spell Checkers. I love mysteries and I have enjoyed a couple of Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels, so although this is a different series, I think it's well worth checking out. (Dark Horse)

… and that brings me to $48.87 for the week, not bad for an armload of books and comics.

JK Parkin

If I had $15 to spend ...

As I went through the Diamond listings for this week deciding what to get, I think I hit $30 before getting past the DC section. But no one said this would be easy, so let's get to it ...

Batman and Robin #13 ($2.99)Secret Six #23 ($2.99)Demo #6 ($2.99)King City #10 ($2.99)Young Allies #2 ($2.99)

Since there's a lot coming out this week that I wanted to buy, I decided to make things easy on myself in this first tier and just go with books that cost $3. That way I could maximize the number of books I take home. I also figured I'd go with known quantities, i.e. no first issues. So what I have here are four books I know I will enjoy reading, plus the second issue of a book whose first issue I really enjoyed; I'm hoping Young Allies turns out to be as cool as its spiritual predecessor, New Warriors, over the long haul.

I'm at $14.95. Nice.

If I had $30 to spend, I'd also get ...

Irredeemable #15 ($3.99)The Boys #44 ($3.99)Sweet Tooth #11 ($2.99)

These are three more "must buy" titles for me. I wavered a little bit on The Boys, since Darick Robertson isn't drawing it, but ultimately I couldn't put it back on the shelf. I still have about $4 left, so let's grab something new ...

Scarlet #1 ($3.95)

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, together again on a brand new title. I was a big fan of their work on Daredevil, so I'm intrigued to see what this new title is about. (Marvel/Icon)

That means I'm spending $29.87, and I'm leaving several books on the shelf that I'd otherwise get, such as Avengers: Children's Crusade and Steve Rogers Super-Soldier. But there's always the eventual trade, right?


Ghostopolis ($12.99 for the softcover or $24.99 for the hardcover)

I'm a big fan of Doug TenNapel's previous books, with Creature Tech, Earthboy Jacobus and Monster Zoo being the standouts in my mind. As Brigid noted above, this one involves a ghostbuster of sorts who accidentally sends a kid across the veil before his time. Since this is my splurge item, I'll take the hardcover, but in reality I'd probably be fine with the softcover. (Scholastic)

Kevin Melrose

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

Hellboy: The Storm #1 ($2.99)

Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo reunite for a three-issue miniseries that concludes the saga they began in 2007 with Hellboy: Darkness Calls and continued in 2008 with Hellboy: The Wild Hunt. Mignola has described The Storm as "an ending of everything we've read about Hellboy up until now." It involves a terrible storm, bodies missing from tombs and a "final bloody showdown." That's more than enough to earn my three bucks. (Dark Horse)

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #1 ($3.99)

After nearly four years, co-creators Allan Heinberg and Jimmy Cheung return to the Young Avengers for a nine-issue bimonthly miniseries detailing Wiccan's quest to find his mother, the Scarlet Witch. (Marvel)

Scarlet #1 ($3.95)

It's a week for creator reunions. This time it's the reunion of the Daredevil and Spider-Woman team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, who debut their creator-owned series about a woman who fights back against a broken world and ends up sparking a revolution. I'm curious enough to at least check out the first issue. (Marvel/Icon)

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #1 ($2.99)

I've been looking forward to this title since it was announced in April at C2E2. I mean, how can you not get excited about an all-ages Thor title written by Roger Langridge and penciled by Chris Samnee? If I could buy only one comic this week, Thor: The Mighty Avenger #1 would be it. (Marvel)

The Smurfs #1: Smurfnapper ($1)

Despite my childhood love for the 1980s Smurfs animated series, I've never read any of Peyo's popular comics on which it was based. Now here's my chance, courtesy of a $1 teaser for Papercutz's new line of graphic novels. "The Smurfnapper" marks the first appearance of the villainous, if somewhat inept, sorcerer Gargamel, who seeks to create the philosopher's stone. Naturally, he discovers one of the ingredients is a Smurf. (Papercutz)

I squeak by at $14.92.

If I had $30 to spend, I'd also grab ...

The Weird World of Jack Staff #3 ($3.50)

Paul Grist continues his untold origin of Jack Staff as Professor Fate seizes the Sword of Devastation. Meanwhile, in the present, John Smith discovers who wiped his memories of being a superhero. (Image)

Shadowland #1 ($3.99)

I don't know how interested I am by "the battle for the soul of Daredevil" premise, but I like the focus on Marvel's "street-level" heroes. Plus, writer Andy Diggle rarely disappoints. (Marvel)

Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1 ($3.99)

Speaking of writers who rarely disappoint: Ed Brubaker teaming with artist Dale Eaglesham for a Steve Rogers miniseries can't be a bad thing. (Marvel)

Thor and the Warriors Four #4 ($2.99)

Huh. This turned out to be a Marvel-heavy week for me -- one capped off my the final issue of the latest Power Pack miniseries, Thor and the Warriors Four. If you don't think the li'l Asgardians in this preview are just about the cutest thing ever, then ... your heart is made of stone and darkness. (Marvel)

I slipped in under the bar at $29.39. I'm getting good!


B.P.R.D., Vol. 13: 1947 ($17.99)

I had to cut back on my comics budget last summer, so I didn't buy this miniseries as it was released. Now's my chance to get all five issues, plus a short story from MySpace Dark Horse Presents. By Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon and Dave Stewart, 1947 is a sequel (naturally enough) to 1946, and centers on Prof. Trevor Bruttenholm's investigation into a trainload of Nazi soldiers drained of blood. (Dark Horse)

World's Finest: Superboy & Robin Are Way Better Than Batman & Superman

More in Comics