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 what we call our “Splurge” item.
Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15 this week, IDW would be seeing a lot of it. It’s a cheat, because I’ve actually already read both Doctor Who Vol. 2 #1 and GI Joe: Cobra II #12 (both $3.99), but both are licensed comics done right in my opinion; Who in particular really catches the tone of the TV show in a way that the last series, as fun as it was, didn’t quite do (despite the writer, Tony Lee, being the same for both), and Joe has an ending that’ll get the nostalgics in the audience jumping up and down. It’s a weird mix of anti-nostalgia and art appreciation that gets me looking at my other pick of the week, Marvel’s Invincible Iron Man #500, which I’ll be picking up less for the story – although I like the “What if this really was #500 of the current series, and set 40-odd years in the future?” idea behind it – than the art, seeing as the wonderful Nathan Fox, KANO and Carmine Di Giandomenico join the okay-if-you-like-photo-tracing Sal Larroca for this oversized issue.
If I had $30, I’d add Marvel’s Wolverine & Jubilee #1 ($2.99), purely because I like Kathryn Immonen’s writing – I was pretty much turned off of the whole vampire thing by how incredibly bad “Curse of The Mutants” turned out to be – and also BOOM!’s Dracula: In The Company of Monsters collection ($12.99), because I’ve been on a Kurt Busiek kick recently and missed this one the first time around. Apparently, my second $15 is a vampirey one.
Splurge-wise, I’d probably go for the sixth and final Starman Omnibus from DC ($49.99). For whatever reason, the earlier releases of James Robinson’s series bypassed me entirely, and so I’ve been catching up with these deluxe collections that, along with about 12 issues or so per collection, also feature reflective essays from Robinson that are almost worth the price of admission by themselves. Really, really good stuff.
If I had $15:
The 50th issue of The Boys is a must-grab for me ($3.99). For better or for worse I’m pretty much wedded to the series at this point. This new chapter should be “for better” though as it finally reveals what exactly happened between the Boys and The Seven before Hughie joined the team that created their uneasy truce.
On the other end of the spectrum there’s The Smurfette ($5.99; $10.99 hardcover), NBM’s fourth volume of classic Peyo Smurf material. As you’ve probably already guessed this one tells the story of how that lone female of Smurfdom, the Smurfette, came to be. As far as I know it’s the first time this book has been translated for an American audience, and I love me some Peyo, so count me in.
If I had $30:
I might consider picking up the new reprint of Julie Doucet’s My New York Diary ($16.95). Doucet is one of those artists that, for one reason or another, I’ve never delved into too deeply, but this book is supposed to be one of her best, so I’ll likely give it a shot.
I haven’t read The Strangely Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen yet, but I’m kind of curious to see the pseudo-sequel, Denis Kitchen Chipboard Sketchbook ($19.95), a collection of quirky cartoons and other drawings Kitchen has done on a heavy, grainy paper stock for the past several years.
If I had $15…
I’d spend it on kids’ comics this week. Let’s start with Fraggle Rock vol. 2 #1, from Archaia ($3.95); I never saw the Jim Henson TV show, but their anthology made me a fan and I’m always up for a bit of goofy, Muppet-flavored humor—especially in January. Then Mickey Mouse #304 ($3.99), from BOOM! Studios—this issue starts their run of classic Disney stories, including an unpublished Floyd Gottfredson story from 1932 and a pirate story from 1934. I love vintage comics, so sign me up for those! Then to round it out, I’ll pick up the latest Archie Double Digest ($3.99), which is a lot of comics for the money, and the latest issue of Tiny Titans ($2.99), because I can never get enough of Art Baltazar.
If I had $30…
I’ll take a chance on vol. 2 of Afterschool Charisma ($12.99), although the reviews I have read say it stalls out a bit in the second volume. The premise of the story is enough to keep me going for a while—it’s about a school whose students are all reincarnations of famous people (Mozart, Joan of Arc, JFK). I read a few chapters of the first volume and liked it a lot, so I shouldn’t have any trouble picking up the thread.
MySpace Dark Horse Presents, vol. 6 ($19.99) might seem like a splurge because I’m paying for comics that are still available online for free, but the lineup of talent (Evan Dorkin, Art Baltazar, Stan Sakai, Mark Crilley) and the ability to avoid the horrible MySpace environment make it cheap at twice the price.
If I had $15 dollars, I’d celebrate the anniversary of Brian Wood Month (R.I.P.) and buy his two titles out this week, DMZ #61 and Northlanders #36 (both $2.99). Although “mainstream” comics press has died down on him a little bit, he’s turned into an epic storyteller – who’d have thought a series about Vikings could have gone on for 36 issues without crossovers, media tie-ins or stunts? The big stunts on his books are the artistic talents, but they’re chosen in such a way that it doesn’t throw off the stories Wood is developing but adding new layers. This month, DMZ has Shawn Martinbrough and Northlanders has Becky Cloonan. With little over nine dollars left, I’d pop my claws over Wolverine #5 ($3.99) and Wolverine & Jubilee #1 ($2.99). In the core title, Jason Aaron has really been telling a different kind of superhero story – probably more un-superhero and just plain out cool. For Wolverine & Jubilee, I’m in it for nostalgia and for the creators. I started reading X-Men shortly before Jubilee came onto the scene and have some kind of spell over me by that god-damn shopping issue they did. As for creators, Kathryn Immonen has shown a real fan-side or intense research that’s had her writing characters like she knows them without telling you that she knows them. Phil Noto’s a real gem too, and has really upped his pace since that Superman/Supergirl series awhile back.
If the good gods of paycheck gifted me with $30, I’d buy more singles – namely Invincible Iron Man #500 ($4.99). This would be something I would’ve regretted not buying earlier, because I really think after all is said and done Fraction will be most remembered for his Iron Man run. I’m interested seeing what he does in this book – and Salvador has really broken through the problems he had in the early issues to come up with something admirable. I’d also pick up Thor #619 ($3.99) – I’m not in love with the writing here as I am in Invincible Iron Man, buy Ferry’s art is worth it just to hold up to your face and look at. I’d spend the last bit of my money on an Image 2-fer — Ben McCool & Nikki Cook’s Memoir #1 and Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma’s Morning Glories #6.
And if I was splurging, I’d get the Rat Catcher GN from Andy Diggle and Victor Ibanez. At his heart, I think Andy DIggle is a British crime writer – albeit one able to do it in space sometimes, or in Hells Kitchen. My hopes are that Rat Catcher will be more un-adulterated than his work-for-hire material and closer to Losers or the great Remy Zero. Victor Ibañez’s art seems uncommonly good, and could be his first beginnings of a breakthrough in terms of public perception. Throwing in a criticism though of the Vertigo Crime books at large, though – a $19.99 price point to try something new is pretty rough. I imagine switching it from hardcovers to softcovers could make it cheaper for people to try it out. In fact, I see it hard for retailers to try it out.
If I had $15:
I’d first grab Bret M Herholz’ adaptation of William Gillette’s 1899 play Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner ($11.99). There’s a Gorey/Addams vibe to the art that I like and hey, it’s Sherlock Holmes. Then I’d pick up Avengers Academy #8 ($2.99) to check in on Reptyl, my favorite dinosaur-powered superhero.
If I had $30:
I’d add Dracula: The Company of Monsters, Volume 1 ($12.99). I’m a little tired of corporations-as-villains (too much reality in my fantasy), but I do like that Kurt Busiek and I’m curious to see how the drama plays out between Dracula and corporate America.
There’s a lot to splurge on this week, but I’ll keep it under control and just mention a couple of things. I’ve been wanting to catch up on Ricardo Delgado’s Age of Reptiles series of mini-series since I first heard about it, so his remarkably affordable omnibus ($24.99) is a must-have. I also really want to check out what (from its line-up of characters) should be my favorite superhero team in Secret Avengers, Volume 1: Mission to Mars ($24.99).