Johns & Frank Aim for 'Surprising and New' in Latest "Batman: Earth One" Volume
If it’s Tuesday, it must be time for Food or Comics?, where every week some of the Robot 6 crew talk about what comics we’d buy if we were subject to certain spending limits — $15 and $30, as well as if we had extra money to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list to see what arrives in comic shops this week,then play along in our comments section.
If I had $15:
I’d get Batman & Robin #15 ($2.99), the final chapter in the “Batman Must Die” arc, which, I think we can all agree, as been one of the best runs in the series so far, thanks largely to the stellar work of artist Frazer Irving. I’d also get Highland Laddie #3 ($3.99), the latest issue in the Boys spin-off mini-series. I haven’t been as impressed with this one as I was with the current storyline in Boys, but I remain ever hopeful that it will come together in some fashion by the end.
If I had $30:
I’d chuck those comics aside like so many election mail flyers and nab Picture This ($29.95), the latest book by Lynda Barry and a sequel to her stellar What It Is. As with that book, this uses collage, comics, autobiography and more to provide an inspirational, thoughtful examination of drawing and the artistic process. I can’t wait to sit down with a copy. If it’s half as good as its predecessor, it will be fantastic.
If this doesn’t count as a splurge item I don’t know what does: 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective is a $100, slipcased volume dedicated to one of the more influential (and certainly controversial — I still get complaints from newspaper readers about this strip at my day job) comic strips of the latter half of the 20th century. It’s not a complete retrospective of the past 40 years, but it comes pretty close, according to the PR. The strip’s certainly been up and down in terms of quality during its lifetime, but when it’s on, it has few equals.
There’s also (as long as we’re splurging) The Horror! The Horror! ($29.95), a collection of pre-code horror comics from Abrams, with commentary by Jim Trombetta and an introduction by R.L. Stine. The interesting thing here is an included DVD that contains Confidential File, a 1955 show that detailed the evils of comic books on poor, unsuspecting kids.
If I had $15…
I’d buy some floppies for a change. Let’s start with Sixth Gun #5 ($3.99), from Oni Press; I have fallen a bit behind on this nifty little supernatural tale but it seems appropriate to pick it up again as Halloween draws near. I don’t want to miss CBGB #4 ($3.99), from BOOM! Studios. I missed out on the first issue of Skullkickers, but I’ll pick up Skullkickers #2 ($2.99) on the strength of the solicit text—why yes, I do like Hellboy, and I would be interested in a quest for a famous corpse—and if I like it I’ll scrounge for #1. That leaves just enough for me to pick up Murder of King Tut #5 from IDW for the sole reason that the cover is by Darwyn Cooke; again, if I like it, I’ll find the rest. That cover is just lovely all on its own.
If I had $30…
I would add in vol. 11 of Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys ($12.99). Nobody spins a tale like Urasawa.
It has to be X’ed Out, Charles Burns’s new graphic novel. I picked up a black-and-white galley of this at the American Library Association meeting in June, and I found it intriguing, if incomplete (I believe there is another volume to come). It’s the sort of book you can read over and over, and each time it will be slightly different, so I don’t mind shelling out $19.95 for such a slim volume.
It seems like Horror: The Horror Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read ($29.95) would be the perfect companion volume; everything Burns represses is right out in the open in those pre-code comics, and it would certainly be instructive to read the two books side by side.
If I had $15 to spend …
I’d start with Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero #1 ($3.99), written by Paul Cornell, which is kind of all I need to know. Like Chris, I’d also grab Batman & Robin #15 ($2.99) as I agree it is the best run on the series so far. All the ads I keep seeing during Mad Men have me jonesin’ for more Walking Dead, so let’s add issue #78 to the pile ($2.99). And finally, Chaos War #2 ($3.99), as the first issue was excellent and Carla might beat me up if I don’t list it here.
That puts me roughly at $14.
If I had $30 to spend …
I’d add Vertigo Resurrected #1 ($7.99), which brings the Hellblazer tale “Shoot” by Warren Ellis and Phil Jimenez into print. On top of that, there’s also the third issue of Morning Glories ($3.50) and a new Sixth Gun ($3.99).
I’m going to go with Team Brigid and pick the new Charles Burns graphic novel, X’ed Out ($29.99).
If I had $15:
I’d pick up James Kochalka’s Dragon Puncher ($9.95), because who doesn’t want a book about a kitty in a robot-suit who punches dragons? And just because it’s burning a hole in my pocket, I’d probably blow the rest on the DCU Halloween Special ($4.99). DC’s holiday anthologies are always a risky proposition, but there are occasionally some fun stories in there.
If I had $30:
I’d add the Marvel Her-Oes collection ($14.99). The title still makes me cringe, but not the concept – the high school shenanigans of various Marvel heroines – and certainly not Craig Rousseau’s art.
I’ve been curious about Dynamite’s Zorro comics and Zorro: Matanzas ($14.99) seems like a good way to try them out.