SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop 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, I’d spend it seeing the finale of DC”s major event with Flashpoint #5 (DC, $3.99) and then their Brand New Day, All-New All-Different, New 52 with Justice League #1 (DC, $3.99). I feel the thunder of Flashpoint was largely muted by the waves of announcements DC did over the summer, but Johns and Kubert crafted a unique story and I’m interested to see how they wrap it up. For JL, I’m a long-time fan of Jim Lee’s work going back to Alpha Flight, and any self-respecting comics journalist has to buy this issue just to see what’s happening. For the last bit of my money, I’d dig into Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force #14 (Marvel, $3.99) – if I wasn’t already buying it, I’d buy it again for the return of Jerome Opena on art.
If I had $30, I’d double-back to my local comic shop and get the finale of IDW and editor Scott Dunbier’s Rocketeer Adventures #4 (IDW, $3.99). They really instigated a fun anthology here of above-average talents that any publisher from Marvel on down would die to have. The next comics to enter my bag would be Invincible #82 (Image, $2.99) and Butcher Baker Righteous Maker #6 (Image, $6.99); both books are still on creative highs. For the small bills I had left, I’d get Journey Into Mystery #626.1 (Marvel, $2.99) and The Sixth Gun #14 (Oni, $3.99). I admit I was behind on JiM for a while but caught up by mainlining all the issues so far in an all-night bender. The Sixth Gun too I’ve been behind the curve on, but caught up after procrastinating for a couple years.
If I was to splurge, I’d splurge all over the July pack of 2000AD issues. Tharg’s book is a hard series to jump onto, but I’d recommend anyone just to dive in with a month’s worth and get a feel for it. I just realized they sell each issue online a month after it comes out in print, at almost half cover price. They come in CBZ and PDF format, which makes them pretty adaptable to any device.
Like Chris, if I had $15, at least $7.98 of it would be going on Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 (Both DC, $3.99); it’s the end and beginning of an era, and I can’t resist this kind of thing. I’d also pick up Dark Horse’s Angel & Faith #1 ($2.99) to see where the Buffy franchise is headed next, after the surprisingly strong final issue of a previous run that had almost entirely lost my interest by the end.
If I had $30, I’d reluctantly put Angel & Faith back and grab Essential Web of Spider-Man, Vol. 1 (Marvel, $19.99); I’ve just finished Essential Peter Parker, Vol. 5, and there’s a plot thread from there that continues in here, which would tempt me even if I wasn’t in the middle of a 1980s Spider-Man nostalgiafit. And anyway, wasn’t this meant to be the weird Spidey title back when it first started? I can’t wait to see what qualified as weird, back then.
When it comes to splurging, I’d like to pretend to be torn between Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files, Vol. 3 (Rebellion, $33.00) and DC’s Steve Ditko Archives, Vol. 1 Featuring Shade The Changing Man ($59.99), but … well, there really is no contest for me: Rac Shade and Ditko weirdness wins, oddly positioned hands down.
If I had just $15, the choices would be pretty hard. There are a lot of interesting comics out this week and most of them cost more than that. Issue #14 of The Sixth Gun ($3.99) is a must, of course, even more so this week because Tyler Crook is the guest artist. Then I’ll have some good old-fashioned all-ages fun with Scott Chantler’s The Sign of the Black Rock ($8.95), the second volume in his Three Thieves trilogy. I loved Chantler’s art and storytelling in Two Generals, and I love the way he is making this a classic adventure story. Then I’ll drop a buck on Rinse #1, because I like a good crime comic once in a while and I’m a sucker for a good deal.
If I had $30, on the other hand, I’d take a hard turn and spend $24.99 of it on The Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, which is a great nonfiction release from Dark Horse. The Sixth Gun and Rinse stay in the basket.
This week’s splurge is another Dark Horse book: The Last Dragon ($24.99). It’s a beautifully illustrated fantasy tale, written by YA novelist Jane Yolen and illustrated by Rebecca Guay, who is best known as an illustrator of the card game Magic: The Gathering. It’s a truly beautiful book with a classic fairy tale feel, but it’s never boring or tired. I read an electronic review copy, but this is the sort of book that ensures print will never die. Some comics deserve real paper.
If I had $15, it would be Tubby time, as in Little Lulu’s Pal Tubby Vol. 4: The Atomic Violin ($15.99 — I’ll steal a dollar from somewhere). As regular readers of this feature know, John Stanley is a must-buy for me whenever possible.
If I had $30, I have no idea what Killing Velazquez by Philippe Girard is about but it’s from Conundrum Press, which usually puts out good stuff, so I’d at least give it a leaf-through, even if it would put me $5 over budget.
There’s a lot of great splurge stuff this week. Graeme noted that nice-looking Ditko collection. There’s also a nice $25 super-deluxe edition of Ghost World and a new $75 edition of that great Gahan Wilson Playboy collection that you really should get cause it’s totes awesome. If you really want to splurge, however, there’s the $350 Bone One Volume Color Collector’s Edition, which contains not just the new all-in-one color hardcover, but also a signed and numbered print, pewter figurines, a gold coin with Phoney Bone’s face on it and other goodies. That’s a hell of a package.
If I had $15, I’d start with Planet of the Apes #5 ($1.00). The first story was awesome and I can’t wait to see where Daryl Gregory and Carlos Magno are taking us next. Then I’d grab Phases of the Moon #1 ($2.50), the first of three, affordable flip-comics Moonstone’s putting out to promote their pulp line. This one features Domino Lady and The Spider. And speaking of spiders, I haven’t been reading Spider-Island, but I’m a big Shang Chi fan, so I want to check out Spider-Island: The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 ($2.99). Since I’ve got the money, I’ll also pick up the second issue of The Vault ($3.50), Image’s flawed, but interesting treasure-hunt/vampire story. Finally, I’ll join Chris and Graeme in Justice League #1 ($3.99). I’m curious to see what – if any – new relationships exist between the various members of the team.
If I had $30, I’d put back The Vault and grab a couple of inexpensive trades. The Deep: Here Be Dragons ($9.95) looks like a fun, all-ages alternative to The Vault‘s darker take on undersea adventure, so I’ll take one of those. And like I said, I’ve already read the first story of Boom’s Planet of the Apes and loved it, but I also want the collection ($9.99) so I can get to it easily. That puts me about fifty cents over budget, but I’ll skip a coffee or something.
The others have already mentioned some great splurge items (that Bone collection is pretty much the definition of splurge, isn’t it?), but I’ll add three picks to the pile. Eric Powell’s Chimichanga ($14.99) is about a little, bearded girl and her delicious-sounding monster. Graphic Classics hasn’t yet disappointed me and their latest volume (21, if you’re counting) is Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery ($17.95). Then there’s also Richard Sala’s new book The Hidden ($19.99) about a group of strangers trapped in a snow-bound diner with a madman on the loose during a global crisis. I’m going to want all three of those, but I reckon I’d grab The Hidden first.