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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Bone: Quest for the Spark

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 or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Chris Mautner

If I had $15:

There’s quite a number of good books out this week, making for some tough decisions, but I think I’d initially go for either the third volume of Bakuman by Death Note creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata ($9.99) or Quest for the Spark #1 by Jeff Smith and Tom Sniegoski. The former is a series about would-be manga creators that I’m really starting to dig, the second is a new, official Bone (prose) sequel that, even though it doesn’t star all of the original cast and isn’t being written by Smith, should nevertheless be a worthy purchase, as Sniegoski is no stranger to the Bone universe (having penned the hilarious Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures spin-off).

If I had $30:

Seeing as how it made my recent Six by 6 list, I’d be remiss not to pick up a copy of Darryl Cunningham’s Psychiatric Tales ($15). I’ve been enjoying Cunningham’s work online for awhile now and am eager to check out the print version.

Splurge:

I already have a copy, but let me heartily recommend those feeling like splurging this week check out Joe Ollman’s hilarious graphic novel, Mid-Life, about a harried middle aged dad (loosely based on Ollmann himself) who develops a rather strong crush on a children’s entertainer, to the point of even trying to meet up with her in New York City. I hope to have an interview with Ollmann up on the site at the end of the week, but for now, you can read an interview he did with Tom Spurgeon.

Brigid Alverson

If I had $15:

Psychiatric Tales

I’d spend it all on Darryl Cunningham’s Psychiatric Tales ($15), out this week from Bloomsbury. I really enjoy his non-fiction comics, and I have been looking forward to the U.S. release of this book. Consider me sold.

If I had $30:

The next $3.50 would go for Atomic Robo: Deadly Art of Science, because the only thing better than Atomic Robo is Atomic Robo busting gangsters in 1930s New York. Then, like Chris, I’d pick up the third volume of Bakuman ($9.99) because I love Takeshi Obata’s clean-lined art and I’m always up for manga about manga.

Splurge:

Even though I haven’t read the first seven volumes, vol. 8 of Leonard Starr’s Mary Perkins on Stage ($24.99) looks mighty tempting. I love a good vintage soap opera comic. This might lead me to pick up the previous volumes if it’s good enough.

Graeme McMillan

Cinderella: Fables Are Forever

If I had $15 this week, I’d spread the financial love around. First thing I’d pick up Buck Rogers Annual #1 ($4.99); not only did I like the first series of Dynamite’s revival of the classic space hero, but this is also the comic debut of friend and former Newsarama boss Matt Brady, who co-writes this with Troy Brownfield (also of Newsarama), and my curiosity is as high as my hope that it’ll launch him into a positively Brian Michael Bendis-esque orbit of success and fanbase idol worship. Elsewhere, Chris Roberson returns to Fabletown’s most deadly spy with the first issue of Cinderella: Fables Are Forever (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), and if it’s anywhere as good as the first series, a good time is guaranteed for all. Over at Marvel, I’ll be picking up the first issue of the new Power Man and Iron Fist mini ($2.99), in large part because I love the old incarnation of the title, I have to admit, but Fred Van Lente writing is never a waste of time. Lastly but not leastly, Thom Zahler’s Love And Capes relaunches with a new mini, Love And Capes: Ever After this week (IDW, $3.99), and after picking up the trades of what’s gone before, I’m curious to see where the whimsical romance – imagine True Story, Swear To God, but with superpowers – goes next.

If I had $30, I’d add the final collection of G. Willow Wilson and MK Perker’s Air (Vol. 4: A History Of The Future, DC/Vertigo, $14.99) to my pile. This series never seemed to find the audience it deserved, which might have stemmed from a relatively slow start – although the first trade is pretty great, if you asked me – but I really enjoyed its Lost-esque mix of intrigue, terrorism, romance and spirituality. I’d like to see Wilson get another Vertigo series sometime soon, to hopefully get a second chance to win people over.

And if I were to splurge, this week, it’d be an easy choice: The first trade of John Ostrander’s classic Suicide Squad run, for just $19.99 (Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Trial By Fire, DC Comics)? There’s a place in my reading list AND my heart, just for you…

JK Parkin

Power Man and Iron Fist

If I had $15:

Wow, lots to choose from this week … Northlanders #37 ($2.99) features the start of a new storyline, “The Siege of Paris,” with art by Dark Rain‘s Simon Gane. I’d also grab Adventure Comics #523 ($2.99), which brings back the Legion Academy, as well as Heroes for Hire #3 ($2.99), which has just been a really fun title so far. I’ve also been looking forward to Fred Van Lente’s take on Power Man and Iron Fist ($2.99), so let’s grab that first issue, then round it out with Incognito: Bad Influences #3 ($3.50) which puts me slightly over the limit, but I think I saw a couple of quarters on the ground outside …

If I had $30:

Love and Capes: Ever After #1 ($3.99) brings back Thom Zahler’s much beloved comic, this time by IDW. I’d also grab the latest issue of Walking Dead ($2.99), as I’ve been digging the new storyline. I’m with Graeme on Cinderella: Fables Are Forever ($2.99), which leaves me room for one more comic …. so do I grab the third issue of Osborn, which has been excellent? Or THUNDER Agents? Or Justice League: Generation Lost #19? I guess I’ll decide when I get there.

Splurge:

Marvel has a couple of collections for some past big events, a $100 Acts of Vengeance Omnibus and a $75 Atlantis Attacks Omnibus. Having read both of those, though, back when they were originally serialized, I’d go for something more recent and less expensive — the new Namor: The First Mutant trade ($14.99).

Chris Arrant

If I had $15:

It’s be a tough week for me if I only had fifteen dollars, because the top book on my want list is Rian Hughes’ On The Line (Image, $12.99). As a designer / comics reader, this hits me square between the eyes. It’s a collection of Hughes’ newspaper strips from the UK mag The Guardian and works as a compliment to Image’s earlier Yesterday’s Tomorrows collection of other Hughes’ work. Some people compare him as a UK equivalent to Chip Kidd, but I think that’s improper – for both Hughes and Kidd. Hughes really made an indelible mark in UK comics, and in the logos of American comics you might not even imagine.

If I had $30:

I’m saved. With $15 more dollars to play around with, I’d start off first with Wolverine #5.1 (Marvel, $2.99). I’m not the market to jump onto this series as I’m already following it, so this is just another regular issue for me. What makes it more exciting is Jason Aaron’s track record for doing amazing one-shot stories; his story in Liberty Comics was something and his “A Day In The Life” story in Wolverine #73-74 was great (yeah, it’s 2 parts – but it was only one issue’s worth of pages). Second I’d grab the new issue of Northlanders (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), which starts a new story-arc; I can buy these sight-unseen, as Wood’s developed a great track record of fulfilled expectations. After that it would be Walking Dead #81 (Image, $2.99) for my monthly fix and Buck Rogers Annual #1 (Dynamite, $4.99) to give this title a second chance and to see what my former boss Matt Brady can do in comics. Lastly would be T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #4 (DC, $2.99); I’ve been buying all the issues so far but the added bonus of George Perez doing some pages seals the deal for me; otherwise I might just wait for the trade.

Splurge:

I already have most of the issues, but my splurge nonetheless would be Acts of Vengeance Omnibus (Marvel, $99.99). A proto-event with no unifying series but rather tie-ins through other titles, “Acts of Vengeance” remains a seminal moment for me as a young comics fan. That great image of assorted villains standing over the broken signets of Marvel’s heroes? Sold. In many ways, the Cabal in “Dark Reign” was a retread of this story-arc, but what I love about this is the villains’ plan of mis-matching their hero/villain pair-ups, and having for example Iron Man’s #1 villain the Mandarin go after the X-Men. I remember those Uncanny X-Men issues specifically, from the short-lived costume Psylocke had with the Hand before going to her ninja garb, the great Captain America / Wolverine / Black Widow team-up and those nights in Madripoor. Oh those nights.

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One Comment

I just realized I sent my picks to the wrong email address. Oops! Here’s what I wrote:

If I had $15:

I’d start with All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4 ($2.99) for the wedding of Batman and Wonder Woman. I missed the JLA issues that explored this ‘ship, but since hearing about them I’ve been interested in seeing that possibility explored. Not seriously interested though, so a B:BatB take on it should be exactly right. And speaking of not-serious, I’m looking forward to Jay Fotos and Mark Kidwell’s Tyrannosaurus Rex one-shot ($3.99). I love science as much as the next guy, but I’m also for tossing it out the window in favor of theropods chasing cave-people. And finally, I’d add IDW’s Jericho Redux ($7.99). I was a big fan of that show, but missed the Devils Due issues, so I’m glad IDW’s reprinting them before continuing the series.

If I had $30:

I’d add Cinderella: Fables Are Forever #1 ($2.99) to my pile. It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on the Fables gang, but Cinderella’s spy adventures were some of my favorite parts of the series before I switched to the collections (which I’ve done a lousy job at keeping up with). I just recently caught up (mostly) with the BPRD collections though, so I wouldn’t feel completely lost by picking up BPRD Hell on Earth: Gods #2 ($3.50). Buying Atomic Robo is always an easy decision to make, so I’d also add Deadly Art of Science #3 ($3.50) and finish off my stack by adding Sherlock Holmes: Year One #1 ($3.99). Very curious to see how well it meshes with Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet.

Splurge:

There are lots of things I want this week, from the second volumes of The Secret History Omnibus ($34.95) and The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor Archives ($49.99) to Marvel’s Atlantis Attacks Omnibus ($75.00). But more than any of that I want to check out Namor Visionaries: John Byrne, Volume 1 ($24.99). I’m an old-school Byrne fan, but the one issue I’ve read so far of Stuart Moore’s current Namor series [http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2011/02/what-are-you-reading-108/] has me wanting to read more Sub-Mariner adventures.

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