Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
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 a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15 this week, I’d start it off by buying Kirby Genesis #0 (Dynamite, $1); I love the idea of world-building from older characters, and Jack Kirby left a treasure trove of ideas even he couldn’t get a handle on completely. I’m interested to see where Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross take this, and I hope with Busiek’s addition it can be more tantalizing than Project: Superpowers was. Second up, I would get the penultimate Secret Warriors #27 (Marvel, $2.99); when this series started I was an ardent reader, but it lost me along the way. For some work-related research I caught up with the series, and since the last Howling Commandos story it’s been going great; I hope Hickman can stick the landing. Third I would get Vertigo’s new anthology Strange Adventures #1 (DC/Vertigo, $7.99); a pricey experiment, but I’m in the mood to get blown away. Lastly would be FF #4 (Marvel, $2.99) – I’m really enjoying what Hickman and Epting have done in the new simply titled series.
If I had $30, I’d double back and get the floppy reprint of DC Comics Presents Green Lantern: Willworld (DC, $7.99); this is an awesome price for a underrated story, even if it’s Seth Fisher’s art carrying the weight. Second up would be Kieron Gillen and Terry Dodson’s Uncanny X-Men #537 (Marvel, $3.99); I still feel Gillen is trying to find himself in this story, but I love Dodson’s work and Gillen’s showing glimpses of the greatest I’ve known him for in other books. Lastly would be American Vampire #15 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99); like Secret Warriors I lost my way a couple issues into the series, but with the news Sean Murphy is doing a spin-off miniseries based on AmVamp I’m hurriedly catching up -– and I’ve not been disappointed.
For my splurge this week, I would pick up Anthology Project Vol. 2 ($29.95). I was impressed with the first volume, and this new tome looks to continue that.
If I had $15…
I’d shop around a bit, because the book I want most this week is Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story, and the list price is $16.99. Mori is the creator of Emma, the atmospheric if somewhat slow-moving story of the love between a maid and a wealthy man in 19th century England. This is another period piece, but it’s set in 19th-century Asia. Mori’s art is beautiful, and the story looks like something really different, so I’ll find a way to get this manga.
If I had $30…
The second manga on my list would be a toss-up between vol. 2 of Arisa, a clever school mystery by Kitchen Princess creator Natsumi Ando, and the first volume of Kannagi, a boy-meets-god comedy that created a bit of a stir in Japan when it was hinted that the heroine wasn’t a virgin. Having already been hooked by the storyline of Arisa, I’ll take that one and put Kannagi on my splurge list.
My big splurge of the week, though, would be Al Capp’s Complete Shmoo vol. 2, from Dark Horse, because there’s nothing I love more than a thick book of classic newspaper strips, and Al Capp is a creator I’d like to read more of.
If I had $15, I’d grab a mitt full of single issues as usual. What makes the cut this week are Xombi #3 ($2.99), Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters #3 ($3.99), Planet of the Apes #2 ($3.99), and Secret Avengers #13 ($3.99). Actually, “makes the cut” is insulting, so I don’t mean that. These are all awesome comics that I actively look forward to.
If I had $30, I’d put back Secret Avengers (trade-waiting) and add Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom ($17.99) because of Tom Strong. And robots. Of doom.
My splurge item for the week is a tougher pick. I’m very interested in Steve Niles and Berni Wrightson’s Doc Macabre hardcover ($17.99), but I’d also like to get Chaos War: Alpha Flight out of my comic boxes and onto my bookshelf. Chaos War: X-Men ($15.99) is the way to do that. And then there’s the Mystique by Brian K Vaughan Ultimate Collection ($24.99), which proves Vaughan’s awesomeness by turning Mystique into Xavier’s personal secret agent and making me give a damn about her (something that no one else has been able to do ever). All else being equal though, Doc Macabre is the only of those that I haven’t already read, so that’s where my money would go.
This is a really odd week – If I had $15, I’d end up spending a dollar on my most eagerly anticipated book (Dynamite’s Kirby: Genesis #0, which I admit I’ve already read), $3.99 on another debut I’ve managed to read early (GI Joe: Cobra #1 from IDW), and the rest on books I normally pick up quietly (Xombi #3 – DC, $2.99- and Dungeons and Dragons #7 – IDW, $3.99). It’s just one of those quiet weeks, I guess.
If I had $30, I just might put Cobra #1 back on the shelf – I’ve already read it, after all – and grab the Captain America: Man Out of Time Premiere HC (Marvel, $19.99), because I do like Mark Waid stuff, and have a soft spot for Steve Rogers, when he’s done well. What can I say? I love my adopted country.
Splurge-wise, I’m saving my money – Surprisingly, there’s nothing out there in the range of expensive books that I really find myself wanting this week. I’d worry that this means that I love comics just a little less than usual, but I fully expect next week to bankrupt me and then some, just to make up for things.
If I had $15:
I’d get one of two books out this week from NBM: either the latest Smurfs book, Vol. 6, the Smurfs and the Howlibird ($5.99) or Vol. 4 of the Dungeon Monstres series, Night of the Ladykiller. The Monstres series of the Dungeon saga focuses on various supporting members of the cast, in this case the vulture sorcerer Horus and the Grogro, the big, not too bright, hairy monster. The Monstres series is also notable for featuring art from little known (in the U.S. at any rate) cartoonists. This time out we get J-E. Vermot-Desroches and Yoann, about whom I know nothing, but I look forward to finding out more.
If I had $30:
Another tough decision. On the one hand there’s the new Yeah! book, collecting the short-lived all ages series that Peter Bagge and Gilbert Hernandez collaborated on, about an all-girl rock group that’s popular throughout the galaxy, but not at home ($18.99). On the other hand there’s Take a Joke!, the latest and arguable greatest (and also last) collection of material taken from Johnny Ryan’s finished-for-now series, Angry Youth Comix.
I’d get all of the above, and throw in Approximate Continuum Comics, a new English translation of Lewis Trondheim’s seminal autobiographical graphic novel, which finds the then-rising star at a bit of a crossroads as marriage, fatherhood and the chance to earn gobs of money selling out to the Japanese appears. It’s a great little book, sharp and witty, and a good place for Trondheim newbies to dive in.