Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
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.
If I had $15:
I’d start with Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever #1 ($2.99). I love weird western tales and can’t imagine a better creative team for one than the writers of BPRD and artist John Severin, who illustrated so many of Atlas’ classic westerns. Then I’d grab The Muppet Show, Volume 5: Muppet Mash ($9.99) because hey, Roger Langridge, Muppets and classic monsters.
If I had $30:
I’d add a couple of Big Two all-ages comics to the pile. If Marvel’s Super Hero Squad Spectacular #1 ($3.99) is half as fun as the show it’s based on, it’ll be worth taking home and reading to the boy. I’ll just have to keep ignoring the irritating, unnecessarily three-fingered character designs. I’m even more confident that we’ll enjoy DC’s Super Friends, Volume 4: Mystery in Space ($12.99) because we’ve been so delighted with the first three collections. David just turned nine and by way of celebration, he wanted to go back and re-read the Superman’s Birthday story from volume two.
The only reason the Cursed Pirate Girl collection ($20.00) is a splurge item is that it actually came out last week. It didn’t make Diamond’s list for whatever reason, but there it was at the store. So I already have it, but need to mention it here in case you don’t. ‘Cause if you don’t, you really, really need to.
If I had $15 this week, Dan Didio and Jim Lee would be happy men. I’d pick up Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1 (DC Comics, $4.99), which reunites Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen for the first time in far too long on the Legion, and I’d also see whether DC Universe Online: Legends #1 (DC, $2.99) is as odd as those previews have made it seem — really, it looks weirdly generic, don’t you think? But, hey, it’s only $2.99 and I’m curious. Last DC pick of the week is Brightest Day #19 (DC, $2.99), if only to see how they get out of the ending of the last issue, even if I kind of hope that it’s not a fake-out at all. Last book of the $15 week? Transformers: Infestation (IDW, $3.99), another result of curiosity and liking earlier installments.
If I had $30, though, both Infestation and DCUO: Legends would go back on the shelf, and I’d pick up Ivy (Oni Press, $19.99), Sarah Oleksyk’s debut graphic novel about art, freedom and all the things that make life worthwhile, and problematic, at the same time.
Splurgewise, I’m going with Michael and recommending something that’s only a splurge because I already have a copy: Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba’s spectacular Daytripper has its collection coming out this week (DC/Vertigo, $19.99), and if you haven’t already picked it up in single issues, this is an unmissable comic that you owe it to yourself to read. Really beautiful, touching and honest.
If I had $15:
Having just extolled the virtues of John Stanley in my last Comics College column, I would be remiss to not include the latest Little Lulu volume, No. 26, “The Feud,” in my F vs C round-up. At $15, that will deplete my initial budget rather quickly.
If I had $30:
There’s also a new volume of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack — Vol. 13 to be precise; $16.95 — which easily enters the second slot on my must buy list, even if I have to root around for another dollar to do so.
It’s been available for awhile in book stores and online, but this is apparently the week when comic shops get the Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts, two-volume slipcased collection. At $70, it’s pretty much the definition of a splurge item, but oh, what a lovely looking one.
If I had $15:
I would buy volume 8 of Pet Shop of Horrors Tokyo ($10.99), because it’s the last volume of an enjoyably bizarre and imaginative series. The stories are standalone, Twilight Zone-type tales, bizarre little morality stories that always revolve around the purchase of a pet that always results in unexpected consequences. I’ll miss this series. That leaves just enough for Life with Archie #7 ($3.99), which features the comeback of one of my favorite characters, Little Jinx (now all grown up and just Jinx), in stories written by J. Torres (Alison Dare, Lola: A Ghost Story).
If I had $30:
I’d hunt around under the sofa cushions for $2 in change so I could buy volume 13 of Black Jack ($16.95). Black Jack is another manga that consists of stand-alone stories that are both fantastic and moralistic, but the subject here is an outlaw doctor with a decidedly creative approach to medicine—there is no body part he won’t transplant, including heads. I love this series, and Vertical has done a great job with it. I’m delighted to see a new volume coming out.
I just read the first chapter of Ivy, by Sarah Olesyk, and I’m hooked. It’s the story of an angry young high school student who wants to go to art school and get far, far away from her small-town life in Maine. It’s extraordinarily well done, and at $19.99 for a 218-page hardback, not too crazy a splurge.
If I had $15:
Sweet Tooth #18 ($2.99) probably isn’t technically a comic — “Told horizontally with text and illustrations, the conclusion to Animal Armies is reminiscent of a children’s storybook.” However, I’ve already read it, and it’s very, very good, so it would go on top of my hypothetical buy pile this week. I’d also pick up Invincible Iron Man #500.1 ($2.99). Not only will I join the chorus of folks who enjoy Matt Fraction’s Thor, but I also really like his Invincible Iron Man, and here it is for a dollar less than normal. Sweet. That leaves $9, or room for three more $3 titles, so I’d also grab Batman Beyond #2, as I really enjoyed the first issue; Superboy #4; and Spider-Girl #3.
If I had $30:
I’d also pick up the new R.E.B.E.L.S. trade, which is how I’ve been reading it. In fact, I just polished off the previous one this past weekend, the one that featured the end of the Starro story and Yellow Lantern Vril Dox, both of which were awesome. So let’s see what happens next.
I never read the Warren Ellis run on Thor, So I’ll go with the Thor:Worldengine hardcover ($19).
If I was wondering into the perfect comic shop and on a budget of $15, I’d be running out first of all to get Kirkman & Ottley’s Invincible #77 ($2.99). I was really impressed with the title’s 75th issue, and I’m continually interested to see where the duo take this character –- and the entire universe itself. The book constantly feels like it’s bursting at the seams, akin to when Marvel was just starting out and could only publish a limited number of titles. After I picked that up (and read some of it in store no doubt!), I’d reach out for Invincible Iron Man #500.1 ($2.99); Matt Fraction has an uncanny ability to really push himself doing special issues, from the Spider-Man story he won the Eisner for to the recent #500 and the Mandarin annual. I think this might be one of those times again. After that I’d pick up the always great Jonah Hex #64 ($2.99); I’m continually impressed by what Gray & Palmiotti do here, and DC for giving them the latitude to do it in. Lastly, I’d get a big read out of Superman 80 Page Giant 2011 #1 ($5.99); it seems like a showcase for new talent, and I’m very keen to see what Neil Kleid & Dean Haspiel do with their Perry White/Wildcat story. I’d love to see them be able to do a mini on either of those characters.
If the wife gave me permission to spend $30 instead of $15, I’d probably put Jonah Hex and Invincible Iron Man #500.1 back on the shelf so I could free up money to buy Ivy ($19.99) by Sarah Oleksysk. Although I didn’t manage to snag a copy of the minicomics version of this when it came out, people whose taste I trust have been paying attention to it -– and Oni seems to have a good track record at noticing new talent and giving them the platform to tell the world.
If I found some money lying on the ground, I’d promptly spend it on GB Tran’s Vietnamerica ($30). I interviewed him awhile back when this book was in the planning stages, and the advance reviews I’ve seen of this have me hoping for something special like the first time I read R Kikuo Johnson’s Night Fisher.