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

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Michael May

Even if I didn't have any money at all, I'd stand on the street corner and beg until I collected three bucks to buy Alpha Flight #0.1 ($2.99). I've never not bought an issue of Alpha Flight and I'm not breaking that streak this week. Fortunately I have $15 and can afford to get not only that, but also Rocketeer Adventures #1 ($3.99), which I'm only slightly less excited about. And since I've still got some money I'd add Drums #1 ($2.99) - because it's been a while since I've read a voodoo story and this looks like a good one - and Snake Eyes #1 ($3.99). I'm not a GI Joe fan, but ninjas are cool and expect that I'd be entertained by a comic about one who fights an evil spy organization.

If I had $30, I'd trade-wait Drums and Snake Eyes and grab Courtney Crumrin Tales #2: The League of Ordinary Gentlemen ($5.99) because Ted Naifeh. Then I'd add Batgirl: The Flood ($14.99), because Batgirl has come up in a couple of recent conversations about modern comics that are sort of quietly fun and appropriate for younger readers without being "kids comics." I want to check that out.

I've got a couple of splurge items this week. I've been catching up on The Adventures of Dr. McNinja online and it's hilariously fantastic. I definitely want to support that by buying The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Night Powers ($19.99). But I'm also extremely interested in Winshluss' darkly beautiful and wordless take on Pinocchio ($26.95) from Last Gasp.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, the belle of my comics buyin’ ball would be Ted Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin Tales #2: League of Ordinary Gentlemen (Oni, $5.99). Naifeh continues to amaze me, and although he might be overshadowed at Oni by Bryan Lee O’Malley he does amazing work. I love this prequel story of Courtney’s ward, Aloysius. Second up would be DMZ #65 (DC/Vertigo, $3.99), which writer Brian Wood said is the first ending for the series –- with the finale coming later this year. Third and final would be Avengers #13 (Marvel, $3.99) for Chris Bachalo’s amazing work; in fact, the previews for this push me even more to buy it than his name alone. I still think him and Bendis could do a great, and great-selling, Dr. Strange series.

If I had $30, I’d double back and pick up the new Rocketeer Adventures #1 (IDW, $3.99) and then spend the rest of my money on Ross Campbell’s Shadoweyes In Love (SLG, $12.95). Seriously, why isn’t Ross Campbell more appreciated than he is?

For my splurge, I’d spend my hard-earned money on Chester Brown’s Paying For it (D&Q, $24.95). I’m buying this based on Brown’s name and previous work, as well as the review Tom Spurgeon gave it a couple days ago.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15: This is a mostly "already own, but let me recommend" type of week. The main exception would be Liar's Kiss ($14.95), Eric Skillman and Jhomar Soriano's noirish detective story about a detective who's surveillance case takes a turn for the gruesome. Skillman is best known as the top designer over at the Criterion Collection, and he's done a couple of crime-themed comics titled Egg. I have a strong suspicion this is going to be very good.

If I had $30: Paying for It ($24.95) is clearly the book of the week, and surely one of the most anticipated and talked-about books of the year to date. I offered my own thoughts on it here. To sum up: It deals with a touchy subject, prostitution, in a rather forthright and honest way, which may make some uncomfortable. It also makes some proposals about the nature of romantic love and relationships that may irk others. On the other hand, it's by one of the finest cartoonists alive today and offers a fascinating, at times even funny, look at a world rarely viewed in broad daylight.

If all that hits your "ick" button too much however, let me suggest Eye of the Majestic Creature ($18.99), a lovely little collection of comics by relative newcomer Leslie Stein, mainly concerning a young girl named Larrybear (basically a stand-in for Stein) and her adventures with her best friend, an anthropomorphic guitar. I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this up, but Stein quickly won me over with her charm and good humor.

Splurge: If you're looking for a great book to splurge on, look no further than French cartoonist Winshluss' rather loose adaptation of Pinocchio ($29.95). I picked this up at MoCCA this year and it was easily one of the best purchases I made, a tour-de-force that reimagines the little wooden boy as a metal machine housing some nasty weapons of destruction, Jimminy Cricket as a slacker, stoned cockroach and more. Yes it's a puerile and "oh so naughty" take on a classic fairy tale, (think classic-era underground comics) but masterfully done, full of sharp, knife-edge humor and wonderful art. Highly recommended.

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, I'd probably blow more than half of it immediately on DC Comics Presents Batman: Dark City (DC, $7.99), a collection of a little-remembered three-part Peter Milligan-written story from the 1990s that accidentally served as the basis for a lot of the Gotham mythology in Grant Morrison's The Return Of Bruce Wayne arc (It's been a long time since I read it, but I remember the Kieron Dwyer art being pretty great, as well). I also wouldn't be able to resist IDW's Rocketeer Adventures #1 ($3.99), the start of a new anthology series about Dave Stevens' famous character with work by Kurt Busiek, Mike Allred and Mike Mignola, amongst many others. With the $3 left to me, I'd give in again to nostalgia and pick up Alpha Flight #0.1 (Marvel, $2.99); I read the original John Byrne stories when I was ten years old, in the back of Marvel UK's Secret Wars reprint title, and remember them far more fondly than they deserve... It'll be a depressing but necessary sight to see what they've become today, I think.

If I had $30, I'd continue my Batman fix with the first issue of Scott Snyder's Batman: Gates of Gotham (DC, $2.99), before picking up regular purchases like Justice League of America #57 (DC, $2.99), Legion of Super-Heroes #13 (DC, $2.99) and recent addition (at least until Cullen Bunn leaves), Superman/Batman #84 (DC, $2.99).

I'm torn when it comes to splurging. I mean, the superhero fan in me is very, very tempted by The Flash Omnibus By Geoff Johns Vol. 1 (DC, $75), especially as I've not read the majority of those stories before, but I have to admit, I think Paying For It (Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95), Chester Brown's book about prostitution that, from the sounds of it, is part admission memoir and part polemic, would be more bang for my buck. So to speak.

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