DC Comics' July Highlights: "Batgirl," "Nightwing" and a "New Super-Man"
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, the first pick this week would be the relaunched Dark Horse Presents #1 (Dark Horse, $7.99). As a reader of the title in all its previous incarnations, I have a love for the format but also a desire to see them improve on it; editor Mike Richardson seems to have the right mix of big names and up-and-comers to make this work. Second up would be DMZ #64 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), and this issue is the final issue in the “Free States Rising” arc and the first real sit-down between Matty and Zee in ages. Third would be Rick Remender’s covert ops squad Uncanny X-Force #8 (Marvel, $3.99). At first glance I question why I like this so much, but when I think about it, it becomes easy: I enjoy Remender’s storytelling, the artists they’ve had and the fearless nature to dig up some classic concepts from early 90s X-Men comics and general Marvel U stuff.
If I found $30 in my pocket instead of $15, I’d double back and pick up a pair of Invincibles: Invincible #79 (Image, $2.99) and Invincible Iron Man #503 (Marvel, $3.99). I really enjoy what these two teams are doing: carving out long expanding story-arcs that can only happen with long-term teams like these two have been fortunate enough to have. Third would be Jason Aaron and Daniel Acuna’s Wolverine #8 (Marvel, $3.99); although Daniel Acuna is known as a more glossy artist akin to Ed McGuinness meets Alex Ross, I think he really bucks that with the story arc he’s working on here. Lastly would be Avengers #12 (Marvel, $3.99) -– it really blows my mind that Bendis and Romita can do such a throw-back classic Avengers story and still keep the high sales going. I’m not complaining -– I love these stories as much as I love Avengers comics of lore, but they never sold this well.
For my splurge, I’d get the 2000 AD Pack Mar 2011 ($25). These are originally sold weekly in the UK, but for U.S. distribution Diamond has them sold in monthly bundles like this. I’m not a regular reader of the progs, but I like to drop in from time to time and… well, this is one of those times.
Weirdly enough, if I had $15 this week, I still wouldn’t be able to get the two comics I really want this week. Let’s make that happen by stealing a dollar from the Schroedinger’s Cat me that has $30 for a second so that I can grab both Dark Horse Presents #1 (Dark Horse, $7.99), the new take on the classic anthology, and DC Comics Presents Legion Of Super-Heroes: Legion Of The Damned #1 (DC, $7.99), the collection of the “Zombies In Future Space!” storyline from a few years ago that launched the Abnett/Lanning/Oliver Coipel-era of the franchise; I read the latter part of that run, but have always been curious about the never-before-collected opening. Now is my chance!
If I had $30, I’d wonder why another me stole a dollar earlier on, but I’d move on and pick up the first issue of Matt Sturges’ new Doctor Who: A Fairytale Life (IDW, $3.99) to get myself in the mood for this weekend’s return of the show to BBC America (Seriously, I cannot wait) and a couple of Marvel oddities: Spectacular Spider-Man #1000 (Marvel, $4.99) — a home for unused inventory stories, perhaps, but I like Spider-Man and anniversary issues, even fake ones like this — and the Marvel Backlist Reading Chronology #1 (Marvel, $1.99), in which Marvel apparently admits that its backlist needs a score card to keep straight.
Splurgewise, there’s some good material out there (Martian Confederacy Vol. 2? The new Dan Clowes, “Mister Wonderful”?), but my heart belongs to the new Astro City collection, Shining Stars (DC, $24.99). I was a latecomer to Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson’s love letter to superheroes and superhero comics, but that doesn’t mean I love the series any the less. I’m really looking forward to this one.
If I had $15:
I’d also grab a dollar from Graeme’s alternate universe self and pick up a copy of Tubby Vol. 3: The Frog Boy ($15.99). Taking money from a theoretical version of Mr. McMillan may seem unfair, but I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to getting my hands on some John Stanley.
If I had $30:
Dan Clowes’ Mister Wonderful ($19.99), the collected version of the lovelorn misanthrope story he did for The New York Times, looks pretty nifty and was the talk of MoCCA, so that would probably be my first pick. I’d also at least flip through the latest volume of 20th Century Boys ($12.99), The Klondike, Zach Worton’s debut graphic novel about the Yukon gold rush back in the early part of the 20th century ($24.95), and Girl and Gorilla ($10.99), Maddy Flores’ book about … well, it’s there in the title, isn’t it? Actually, I’d probably just nab more cash from Earth-2 Graeme, since he’s apparently rather flush with cash in that universe.
It’s not a splurge for me since I already own them, but if you want to dip your toe into Robert Crumb waters, Fantagraphics has new editions of Vol. 13 and 15 ($19.99 each) in their Complete Crumb line. Both feature some really great works by the master. As for myself, I normally wouldn’t splurge on something like Archie: Seven Decades of America’s Favorite Teenager ($49.99), but since Graeme’s footing the bill, I’ll indulge.
Unfortunately I have some bad news for Earth-1 and Earth-2 Graeme, assuming they were both interested in Legion Of Super-Heroes: Legion Of The Damned #1 … per an email this morning from one of the retailers where I get my comics, apparently the chapters were printed in the wrong order and it won’t be out until May 11.
With my own $15 I’d first grab the new Robert Kirkman/Jason Howard all ages title about a boy genius and his best friend, Super Dinosaur #1 ($2.99). I’d follow it up with Fables #104 ($2.99), which continues the Super Fables storyline. Greg Pak is having a lot of fun with the de-powered Silver Surfer, and I’m having fun reading it, so I’d grab issue #3 ($2.99). And lastly, two current favorites, Legion of Super-Heroes #12 and Zatanna #12, both $2.99, would round it out, leaving me just a few pennies to donate to Earth-2 Graeme, who likely could use some financial help after all the money that’s “disappeared” from his wallet lately.
If I had $30, I’d also get Amity Blamity ($10.95), the new graphic novel by Mike White. That leaves room for one more book, so I figure why not try out 68 #1, the new zombie comic from Mark Kidwell and Jay Fotos.
Splurgewise, there’s lots to choose from; I’d probably get both The Martian Confederacy: From Mars With Love ($15) and the Mr. Wonderful collection ($19.95).
If I had $15:
I’d start with the Marvel Backlist Reading Chronology ($1.99) because it’s cheap, because I’m the kind of nerd who enjoys reading things in order (though I suppose that describes most of us), and because when I switched from periodical issues to collected editions, I did so haphazardly without a real plan. That means that I’ve missed a lot of stuff I’d like to read and appreciate Marvel’s coming up with an aid to help me correct that. It would be nicer if it was free, since it’s essentially a catalog, but I’m not going to gripe about paying $2 for almost 100 pages of reading suggestions.
Next I’d get Sigil #2 ($2.99), which re-introduces El Cazador to comics readers and Skaar: King of the Savage Land #2 ($2.99) for obvious reasons. Switching over to Image, I’d also add Super Dinosaur #1 ($2.99) to see if it’s more than just a fun concept and ’68 #1 ($3.99) because I enjoyed the Viet Nam/Night of the Living Dead-prequel one-shot and think there’s enough there to explore that world some more.
If I had $30:
I’d add Amity Blamity, Volume 1 ($10.95) because it’s about a little girl who – with her pet pig – has to save her moonshining uncle from genetic mutation at the hands of “strange forest critters.” It’s probably wrong that the most attractive part of the story for me is the idea of the girl and her pig as ‘shine-runners. I’d read it just for that. Lurkers in the woods are bonus.
Like Graeme and Chris, I’m looking forward to Dark Horse Presents #1 ($7.99), but the price tag makes it a splurge item for me. I don’t think it’s over-priced – $8 for 80 pages is a good deal – but the extra pages and color print aren’t necessary. I’d rather have the old format. Still, that’s an impressive line-up of creators and the DHP name sets a high bar for expectations of quality, so I imagine that I’ll regret it if I leave the store without this.