How Lee & Kirby's "Fantastic Four" Birthed the Marvel Universe, Part 1
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 the third issue of Casanova: Gula ($3.99), a series I’m somewhat surprised to find I’m enjoying more the second time around, and add to that New Character Parade, Johnny Ryan’s third (and, presumably, final) collection of sketchbook strips ($12 — I’d sell some blood to get the extra dollar). Not for the faint of heart, this is nevertheless frequently hilarious (and occasionally disturbing) collection of strips that points the way towards Ryan’s more Grand Guginol work in Prison Pit.
If I had $30:
It’s a toss-up between the latest volume of Mome ($15), the second volume of Joe Daly’s great stoners-meet-D&D fantasy Dungeon Quest ($12.99) and Mattt Howath’s new Downsized, the latter courtesy of AdHouse.
Two big books out this week from Fantagraphics, both must-buys, at least for me. The first is Krazy & Ignatz 1919-1921 which collects more wonderful Herriman goodness. The second is The Arctic Maurader, the latest release in Fanta’s ongoing Jacques Tardi library. This one is particularly interesting as it’s a) a parody/homage of sorts to the classic Jules Verne/H.G. Wells/19th-century pulp stories; and b) done in a scratchboard-style motif designed to emulate woodcuts that apparently all but drove the artist around the bend. Since I’m splurging, I’ll get them both.
If I had $15 this week, I’d make a point of grabbing Xombi #1 (DC Comics, $2.99) off the racks before anything else – John Rozum’s magical realist, urban horror series was a highlight of the Milestone line back in the 1990s, and with Rozum being joined by Frazer Irving on this new series, it’s a definite must-read for me. I’d also grab Marvel’s Hulk #30.1 ($2.99), because Jeff Parker and Gabriel Hardman have been KILLING it on this series since taking over, proving that not only is there life after Jeph Loeb, but that that life is fun, smart and a surprise must-read; those of you who aren’t reading it but wish there were more good superhero comics out there, you’re missing out.
What else? Well, the final issue of Knight & Squire (DC, $2.99) should answer whether or not the shift in tone in the last issue was a good choice or not, while Ruse #1 (Marvel, $2.99) excites not because of any Crossgen connection (I didn’t read the original, nor did I particularly enjoy last week’s Sigil #1), but because Mark Waid + Mystery Stories always = Win in my particular book.
If I had $30, I’d add John Layman’s Chew Script Book (Image Comics, $3.99) to the pile; Layman’s finally gotten the recognition he’s long deserved with this series, and the process junkie in me is really looking forward to seeing under the hood to find out how he does it. I’d also grab Marvel’s wonderfully-titled Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers oneshot ($3.99), in which Allan Heinberg and Alan Davis do something with the enjoyable, if slow, main Children’s Crusade series that I’m not clear on. From there, the second issue of IDW’s new Doctor Who ($3.99) should keep my Who cravings sated until next month’s US season premiere, and maybe the Fear Itself: Book Of The Skull #1 (Marvel, $3.99) to give Ed Brubaker and Scot Eaton a chance to hint at what we’ve got coming up in this summer’s big movie tie-in crossover.
When it comes to this week’s splurge, all it took was the sight of Fritz Lang’s M (NBM, $24.95) being relisted, and I knew what I’d go for. I haven’t seen Jon J. Muth’s adaptation of this movie classic since it was first released, but I still remember clearly how amazing it was. Highly recommended for fans of cinema greats, comic art or just plain good storytelling.
This week’s an enormous week for me on comic shelves. Over 15 titles and several GNs and collections are hitting shelves, so it’s a bloody affair, but here goes..
My big purchase this week would be Avenger’s: Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 (Marvel, $3.99). Fitting into the lax schedule of Children’s Crusade, this is more than a fill-in due to the creative team – Heinberg and guest artist Alan Davis. I’d buy Alan Davis doing a fill-in for anything. Next up would be Uncanny X-Force #5.1 (Marvel, $2.99) – although I’m not the intended audience of these Point One books, this one is particularly juicy as you’ve got guest artist Raphael Albuquerque and the return of my favorite X-villians, the Reavers. I think it’s an odd choice to have a guest artist draw a gateway issue like this seeing as how its highly unlikely they’ll see more of his work, but at the end of the day a good issue is a good issue. Third (and fourth) in my picks would be the Brian Wood double shot of DMZ #63 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Northlanders #38 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). I’d buy a subscription if they had it.
For thirty dollars, I’d use some of the left-over money from the $15 to buy in on Brightest Day #22 – this bi-monthly series has been full of highs and lows – well not lows, but mediums I should say – but the highs really keep me coming back for more. Lastly would be a Marvel triple-shot: Amazing Spider-Man #656 (Marvel, $3.99), Invincible Iron Man #502 ($3.99) and Fear Itself: Book of the Skull #1 ($3.99). The first is to see more Marcos Martin art, the second to see what Fraction does next, and the third because I’m excited about the team and as a lead-in for Fear Itself it’s required reading if you’re writing about super-hero comics.
My splurge this week would be DC/Vertigo’s iZombie: Dead To The World collection ($14.99). Sucked in by Allred’s art – and shocking for me in his depicting something so grueseome – I’m also interested to see what Chris Roberson will do. For a while (too long) he seemed linked in my mind to Bill Willingham, but with his recent Superman/Batman work in particular I’m interested to see more.
If I had $15:
The top of my pile this week is Xombi #1 ($2.99). As Graeme said, John Rozum’s horror series was one of Moonstone’s Milestone’s [oops!] highlights, which is a huge compliment for a company that was overflowing with excellent comics already. I remember thinking at the time that Xombi would have made a great Vertigo book – and this was during the period that Vertigo was still publishing The Sandman and Sandman Mystery Theatre - but it’s not fair to suggest that Xombi was slumming by being where it was. It would’ve been at the top of any publishing line it was part of. I hope it’s as well received at DC as it deserves to be.
A couple of excellent Moonstone comics are hitting this week. Spider #1 ($2.99) – which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago – and Kolchak: The Night Stalker Files #2 ($3.50), which I also reviewed on my own blog. Both are well worth reading for fans of really good, pulp-adventure stories. Finally, I’d round off my stack with Ruse #1 ($2.99), the relaunch of one of my two favorite CrossGen series.
If I had $30:
I’d add iZombie, Volume 1: Dead to the World ($14.99). I love the concept of a zombie who has to eat corpse-brains to survive and then uses the knowledge in those brains to solve crimes and right wrongs. It’s genius and I’ve been waiting impatiently for the collected volume.
My entire family loves Andy Runton’s Owly books, so I’m excited to bring home Owly & Wormy: Friends All Aflutter! ($15.99), a hardcover picture book featuring the sweet pair of pals and their attempt to befriend some butterflies. It’s not hardcore, but that’s exactly the point.
If The Arctic Marauder ($16.99) is indeed out this week – ComicList lists it, but Diamond doesn’t – I’m totally getting that too, budget be damned, for all the reasons Chris M mentioned.