Food or Comics? | Vess, <i>Wonder Woman</i>, <i>Mudman</i> and more

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop 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, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Graeme McMillan

What's that, you say? Paul Grist's new Mudman series starts this week (#1, Image Comics, $3.50)? Well, that's how I'm starting my $15 haul this week. While I'm at it, let's add Avengers Origins: Luke Cage #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and Kirby Genesis: Captain Victory #1 (Dynamite, $3.99), before finishing up with the third issue of Wonder Woman (DC, $2.99) for a superheroic week that goes from the earth to the gods, with some blaxploitation and aliens thrown in the middle for flavor.

DC would dominate the other half of my budget if I had $30. I'd be grabbing the third issues of Green Lantern Corps, Justice League and Supergirl ($2.99 each, except Justice League for $3.99), but I'm surprising myself as much as anyone else by grabbing The Bionic Man #4 (Dynamite, $3.99) for my final pick - I read the first three issues in a bunch this weekend and really enjoyed the book to date much more than I'd been expecting.

If I were to splurge this week, my money would probably end up going to Dark Horse, because I'm kind of tempted by Drawing Down The Moon: The Art of Charles Vess ($29.99). I've liked Vess' art ever since I first saw it, which was possibly in his Spider-Man graphic novel in the late 1980s...? Nonetheless, this is more than likely something I'll end up loving the hell out of.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d grab (with both hands) Wonder Woman #3 (DC, $2.99). The only time I’ve bought three issues in a row of Wonder Woman was the Amazons Attack crossover Pete Woods drew years ago, but this team-up between Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang has been consistently amazing. Next up I’d go from amazons to vikings for Northlanders #46 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99); I’ve bought every issue of this in singles, but seeing artist Paul Azaceta’s arc on this re-invigorated my appreciation for the title. Getting my super-hero fix on, next I’d get Avengers #19 (Marvel, $3.99). I admit seeing Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers isn’t high on my list, but I’ve continually enjoyed what Bendis has done to varying degrees and seeing Daniel Acuna join the book is a big bonus in my book. Lastly, I’d be one of the zombie horde to buy Walking Dead #91 (Image, $2.99).

If I had $30, I’d thankfully double-back to get Greg Capullo’s ongoing return in Batman #3 (DC, $2.99) – seriously, I think Capullo is entrenching himself as a top artist in mainstream comics (again). Next up I’d get two Marvel joints – Thunderbolts #165 (Marvel, $2.99) and Venom #9 (Marvel, $2.99). After that, I’d get me weekly fix of Pilot Season with Seraph (Image/Top Cow, $3.99) then get Justice League #3 (DC, $3.99).

For splurging, there would be no question that I’d get the trade paperback edition of Drawing Down The Moon (Dark Horse, $29.99). I missed this when it came out in hardcover in 2009, so I’m glad to see it coming back into print. I seriously think Vess is one of the overlooked great in comics, but only because he hasn’t done a standard “run” on a title like seems to be needed to ingratiate yourself with the comic buying world at large. Regardless, Vess is a master and I’m glad to finally get my hands on this for a decent price.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15: It's a quiet week for me for the most part, so I'd probably limit my initial purchases to the fifth issue of The Boys' spin-off Butcher Baker Candlestickmaker. For some reason I was under the delusion that it was a four-issue series and not six. Oh well.

If I had $30: A lot of people who's opinions I respect really like the work of Golden Age artist Bob Powell, so I'd at least take a gander through Bob Powell's Terror, a Craig Yoe-edited collection of ghoulish tales.

Splurge: That $150 one-volume anniversary edition of Bone would probably make a good Christmas present for somebody on my gift list. If I was splurging for myself though, I'd grab another Yoe-edited book, Felix the Cat: The Great Comic Book Tails, a collection of long-form stories done for Dell and Harvey back in the day by Otto Messmer, who did the original Felix comic strip as well.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15: I would end up leaving some of it on the table, because this is a good week for manga, and all the manga costs less than $15. Viz has three new volumes coming out this week, and my first choice among them is volume four of Saturn Apartments ($12.99), which I mentioned in What Are You Reading? this past weekend. It's a lovely sci-fi story about a window washer in a space colony and the people he encounters. I'm hooked, and I'm ready for volume four.

If I had $30: I would add Tesoro, an anthology of short stories by Natsume Ono. Viz has been publishing a lot of Ono's work lately, and it's all beautiful. Her stories are more literary and romantic than your standard run of teenage manga, and she has a clean, linear style that is easy on the eyes. With the leftover money, I'd pick up Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #3, just for something different--and because I find Atomic Robo irresistible.

Splurge: Let's start with the third Viz release of the week, vol. 10 of Real. It's a splurge for me because it's a bit of a risk--I haven't been keeping up with the series, and I don't know anything about basketball, let alone wheelchair basketball. But volume 1 was amazing, and I'd like to see more. And if I'm really binging, I'd add the first volume of Fantagraphics' Pogo collection ($39.99) and Drawn & Quarterly's The Adventures of Herge ($19.95), a graphic biography of the creator of Tintin, drawn in his own ligne claire style.

Michael May

If I had #15, I'd spend most of it on DC. Eventually, I'm going to have to cut back on the number of series I'm buying from them, but not this week. I'm still enjoying Batman ($2.99), Birds of Prey ($2.99), Supergirl ($2.99), and Wonder Woman ($2.99) and want the third issues of each of them. Finishing off my budget, I'd grab Fear Itself: The Fearless #3 ($2.99). I caught up on it last night and even though I didn't read Fear Itself, I'm going to enjoy Valkyrie's globe-trotting adventures tracking down a bunch of MacGuffiny weapons and fighting vampires and Avengers along the way.

If I had $30, I'd quickly add Planet of the Apes #8 ($3.99), Bonnie Lass #3 ($2.99), and Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #3 ($3.50). And like Graeme, I'd be sure to try out Paul Grist's Mudman #1.

Splurge-wise, how unfair is the universe for making the color, one-volume Bone ($150.00) available on the same day as Fantagraphic's Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips, Volume 1 ($39.99)? And that's on top of DC's Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers collection ($49.99) and SLG's Royal Historian of Oz ($14.95). Bone and Pogo are especially impossible to pick between, even with the massive price difference.

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