Food or Comics | Ziti or Zeroes

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.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15, I'd buy Boys #70 (only two issues until the big finale) and Classic Popeye #2, IDW Publishing's ongoing series of reprints devoted to Bud Sagendorf comics from the 1940s, as the first issue was much more fun than I expected it to be.

If I had $30, I'd put those comics back, but would be stuck between a couple of books. The first would be Aya: Life in Yop City, which collects the three previous Aya books by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie in one volume. These are great, funny comics, full of life and observation regarding a culture -- in this case African culture -- most Westerners know nothing about.

There's also A Chinese Life, a massive doorstop of a memoir by Chinese artist Li Kunwu (with help from writer Philippe Otie) chronicling his life and times. Kunwu lives through some of modern China's most tumultuous periods, including the Cultural Revolution, and hopefully his book will, like Aya, humanize a time and culture that for many is just a few lines in their history book.

Finally, there's Message to Adolph, Vol. 1, one of Tezuka's final works, set during World War II, about three people named Adolph, one a Jew, the other a German boy living in Japan, and the third the fuhrer himself. Originally published by Viz about two decades ago, Vertical has taken it upon themselves to put out a newly translated version which is great news for those that missed this great manga the first time around.

Is there a greater splurge purchase this week that Dal Tokyo, the collected version of Gary Panter's off-kilter comic strip? I plugged this book last week, but it deserves another one. I've been waiting for this book for awhile.

For the scholarly comics type, the splurge of the week might be Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, a look at the creator of Barnaby and Harold and the Purple Crayon and his wife, a children's author with whom he frequently collaborated.

Graeme McMillan

Well, it's Zero Month for DC Comics' New 52 and as much as I may pretend that I don't want to get sucked in, I'll admit that I'm likely to find myself picking up Action Comics #0, Earth 2 #0 and Green Lantern #0 this week alone (all DC Comics; each $2.99 except for Action, which is $3.99). If I had $15 this week, a chunk would be going in that direction. I'm also curious about Antony Johnston's adaptation of the legendary Alan Moore movie script Fashion Beast #1 (Avatar, $3.99), so that would round out my first round of purchases.

If I had $30 and a second round, I'm going to grab Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell's Glory, Vol. 1: The Once & Future Destroyer (Image, $9.99), which I suspect will be more to my taste in collected edition, and then swing by Marvel's neck of the woods for Hawkeye #2 (Marvel, $2.99) considering how much I enjoyed that first issue.

Were I to splurge, I'd do so with another couple of Image trades, I think: Jonathan Hickman's Manhattan Projects, Vol. 1: Science Bad and the first Thief of Thieves collection (both Image; both $14.99). It's time I caught up on some stuff people have been talking about, I think.

JK Parkin

If I had $15, I'd follow Chris' lead and grab the latest issue of The Boys ($3.99), which is wrapping up in spectacular fashion. I also liked the first issue of Archer & Armstrong, part of the Valiant reboot, enough to grab the second issue this week ($3.99). Same goes with Hawkeye #2 ($2.99). I'd also grab Love and Capes: What to Expect #2 ($3.99). Have I mentioned the cool personalized covers that Thom Zahler did for this book at Comic-Con? Have I mentioned how Thom sent me one with my eight-month-old's name on it? My wife and I were both really touched by it. "That's going into a frame for his room," she said.

If I had $30, as Graeme pointed out, there are a lot of zeroes to choose from from DC this week. I'd add Green Lantern #0 ($2.99) to my stack, as well as Earth 2 #0 ($2.99), a comic I've come to enjoy now that its focusing on the Justice Society ... so I'm a little reluctant on this one due to the fact that I thought the very first issue was a little weak, and this seems to be putting the focus on Superman and Co. again. But hey, it's a book I've grown to like, so let's see what happens. I'd also grab Punisher #15 ($2.99), which is coming to and end ... how the hell is this book getting canceled? Friggin' ... and finally, I'd grab Hell Yeah #5 ($2.99) and Dark Avengers #180 ($2.99).

Splurge: I've got it in singles, but if you haven't picked up Manhattan Projects by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra, the first trade is available from Image ($14.99). It's good stuff. I'll also second Graeme's recommendation of the Glory trade paperback. My splurge item, though, is a whopper ... the $44.99 Incognito hardcover, which includes both miniseries by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, along with a lot of extras. Extras!

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d pout a bit because I couldn’t buy Prince of Cats (more on that later). After dragging myself off the ground, I’d first buy into The Lookouts (Cryptozoic, $3.99). Dreamed up by the duo behind Penny Arcade, writer Ben McCool and artist Rob Mommaerts are left to flesh it out – and it looks interesting. Sort of like a medieval summer camp; this is right up my alley. After that I’d pick up The Ride: Southern Gothic #1 (12 Gauge, $5.99). This 48-page book carries a hefty price tag, but given my love for the previous The Ride stories and the line-up promised for this one (Andrew Robinson, Rick Leonardi, Nathan Edmondson, Paul Azaceta and more), I’ll risk it. My final pick with only $15 would be Hawkeye #2 (Marvel, $2.99). The first issue’s writing didn’t quite have the full magic Iron Fist #1 had, but the art is just as good, if not better. David Aja is part of a select group of artists who seem to think about comics on a much higher level than most cartoonists, and this Hawkeye series benefits extremely from his work.

If I had $30, I’d cheer myself up and buy The Prince of Cats (DC/Vertigo, $16.99). I’ve been following Ronald Wimberly’s work online for sometime, buying his older material while waiting for this one to come out. Wimberly’s art has all the flashiness to make it a talked about book for his art alone, but from the previews released online I’m even more excited to see how he adapts and spins the Romeo and Juliet story in this new way.

If I could splurge, I’d get Wet Moon, Vol. 6 (Oni, $17.99). Ross Campbell’s an indie darling at this point, but I feel most people forget about Wet Moon in light of his superhero work, Glory. Blame it on readers’ short attention span or the relatively non-existent marketing Oni’s given this book, but people are really going to miss out. I skipped reading this when Ross posted it online, but I’m only a couple hours away from finding out what happens to Trilby next.

Michael May

With $15, I'd get me a copy of the first issue of BOOM!'s new Planet of the Apes ongoing, PotA: Cataclysm ($3.99). I've consistently loved the publisher's Apes comics and expect that to continue. Like everyone above, I loved Hawkeye #1 and am not missing out on the second issue ($2.99). And Arrant has convinced me to bump Lookouts #1 ($3.99) to the top of my shopping list. I like all the people on the writing side, but it's Robb Mommaerts' artwork that really draws (no pun intended) me in to this. Finally, I'd join Graeme in trying out Alan Moore, Antony Johnston and Facundo Percio's Fashion Beast #1 ($3.99). I liked Percio's work on Anna Mercury and am eager to see that over Moore's script about a Beauty and the Beast scenario in a fashion-dominated dystopian society. I love the Beauty and the Beast story, so if all the other pieces fall into place, this should be really good.

If I had $30, I'd add my DC zero-issue pick, World's Finest #0 ($2.99) to the pile. I've been checking out World's Finest anyway, but even if I weren't, I'd pick it up for this page alone. Next I'd add Guarding the Globe #1 ($2.99) because I haven't read enough Phil Hester lately and even though I know nothing about these characters, that team looks like a lot of fun. I'd also try out Damsels #1 ($3.99) to see how it differentiates itself from Fairest, and finally, I'd try out Classic Popeye #2 ($3.99) to see what Mautner and everyone else are talking about.

My splurge money would go towards Benny and Penny in "Lights Out!" ($12.95), a cute-looking book from TOON about a mouse who can't go to sleep without his favorite pirate hat. I can relate.

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