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.
If I had $15, I’d buy the leading contender for best ongoing series this year, Saga #10 (Image, $2.99). I loved the last issue focusing on the Will, but I’m excited at the prospect this one teases of Izabel returning – although in a red-tinged, seemingly evil demeanor. After that I’d get another creator-owned gem with Francesco Francavilla’s The Black Beetle #2 (Dark Horse, $3.99). I love the latitude Dark Horse is giving Francavilla in the design packaging here – that cover is something special -- and luckily, the insides have the promise of being even better given what happened last issue. Third and last in my $15 haul this week would be Dark Horse Presents #21 (Dark Horse, $7.99). Criminally underrated and consciously mind-blowing, this issue promises three new serials debuting plus a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Paul Chadwick about alien saucers. Why isn’t this a top-selling book?
If I had $30, I’d make it a Dark Horse trifecta with Conan the Barbarian #13 (Dark Horse, $3.50). How does Brian Wood do it, finding such great artists that no one else knows about like Mirko Colak? This time, Conan tries to conquer the desert. Then I’d do a Marvel trifecta: Avengers #6 (Marvel, $3.99), Nova #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and Thor: God of Thunder #5 (Marvel, $3.99). Avengers has seemingly the origin of my formerly most favorite D-list hero in the Marvel Universe, Captain Universe – until she upgraded to the A-list as an Avenger. Then Nova has a spirited, seemingly kid-friendly romp by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Then Thor ... Thor. This thoroughly dark and mythic story has made Jason Aaron’s beard even more ominous than before.
If I could splurge, I’d get Alter-Ego #115 (TwoMorrows, $8.95). Normally a magazine about comics, in this issue they collect some lost gems – namely the stereoscopic comics (3-D!) – of the 1950s. 3-D glasses included, this issue contains work by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Curt Swan (!!), George Tuska and more. Truly a highlight of the week.
With $15, I would start with Saga #10 ($2.99) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and Mind MGMT #8 ($3.99) by Matt Kindt because they look awesome. That's all. Fever Ridge: A Tale of McArthur's Jungle War #1 ($3.99) by Mike Heimos and Nick Runge is catching my eye. That's a really striking cover, and this looks like it could be a really terrifying war comic. Then my New Warriors weakness would probably strike and I'd have to buy Nova #1 ($3.99) by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness even though it doesn't star Richard Rider. I like the art of Ed McGuinness (the redesign looks really sleek) and despite some heated protests of old school Nova fans and the cartoon version not really doing it for me, I'm willing to give this comic a chance.
If I had $30, I would add Locke & Key: Omega #3 ($3.99) by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. I'm kind of amazed this series doesn't get more buzz, although I admit I've fallen behind. Happy #4 ($2.99) by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson would have a good chance too since I like the creator-owned comics of the former and the art of the latter. I have a hard time resisting Francesco Francavilla's art so I'm sure I'd get The Black Beetle #2 ($3.99). And I think I'd top it all off with Captain Marvel #10 ($2.99) by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Filipe Andrade because that cover looks great and I've been meaning to check this out.
I like doing theme weeks, so for my splurge I'd go for a trio of comics anthologies: Womanthology: Space #5 ($3.99), which includes work by Cecil Castellucci and Barbara Kesel and is the last issue of this mini-series; Dark Horse Presents #21 ($7.99) with three new series starting up and a story by Neil Gaiman and Paul Chadwick; and MAD Magazine #520 ($5.99) by The Usual Gang of Idiots because I've been enjoying the images they're posting to their Facebook page.
If I had $15, it would be Popeye Classics #7 and Baby Smurf, the latest Smurf book. Because smurfs.
If I had $30 and was looking for a good gift for my kids or one of their friends (birthday parties are always on the calendar) I might select one of the two new repackaged Moomin books: Moomin Builds a House and Moomin Falls in Love. Moomin is a joy to read regardless of what age you might be.
Splurge: I've been in the move to dive into some musty old Golden Age stuff, and Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Jungle Adventures seems to fit that bill to a T. I can't imagine many of these stories are very good, but the chance to rummage through work by John Romita, Don Heck and the like and more is just too irresistible a proposition.
I'm clearly in a DC mood this week, for the first time in awhile. If I had $15, I'd grab Action Comics #17 ($3.99), the penultimate Grant Morrison issue of the run, as well as two debuts: Justice League of America #1 ($3.99) and Justice League of America's Vibe #1 ($2.99). The final issue of my primary haul is also a debut, but not from DC: Fred Van Lente's run on America's favorite fighting toys in G.I. Joe #1 (IDW, $3.99).
If I had $30, I'd add another couple of books to the list: The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun #1 (Oni, $3.99) takes a look sideways and back to fill out the backstory of the brethren of the titular gun and the mythology of the series, and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' always entertaining Saga #10 (Image, $2.99).
When it comes to splurging, I'd go for a real splurge: the limited edition HC for Rian Hughes' Tales From Beyond Science (Image, $34.99), with a bunch of different writers giving the wonderful designer and illustrator something to sink his teeth into.
If I had $15, I'd join my compadres in Saga #10 ($2.99) and Black Beetle #2 ($3.99), two of the best comics out these days. Then I'd add Plume #2 ($3.99), because the first printed issue of K. Lynn Smith's webcomic had some great characters and beautiful, emotive art. I'd wrap up with It Girl and the Atomics #7 ($2.99), 'cause that's a wacky comic.
With $30, I'd add Nova #1 ($3.99) to my pile. I'm not a huge fan of Jeph Loeb's writing, but I do love Ed McGuiness' art. Including Gamora in the supporting cast helps a lot, too. I'm also interested in checking out the next story in the Kill Shakespeare world, The Tide of Blood #1 ($3.99), then I'd finish the stack with Captain Marvel #10 ($2.99) and Godzilla #10 ($3.99). I'm always a fan of Kelly Sue DeConnick's work, but the art on Captain Marvel is either getting better or just growing on me. With so many artists on the series so far, it's probably both. That's not actually a dig. I'm impressed with the way Marvel's been able to find artists who complement each other and maintain the series' distinctive look.
I'm with Chris Mautner on my splurge item. It's going to be tough to resist Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Jungle Adventure, Volume 3 ($74.99). Good or not, I love some Golden Age jungle stories.