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 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’m very excited to read Casanova: Avaritia ($4.99), the first new Casanova storyline in what seems like a dog’s age. There’s something about this series that seems to bring out Fraction’s best, perhaps it’s the mere fact he’s working with Fabio Moon and (this time around) Gabriel Ba allows him to rise to the occasion. That and The Boys #58 ($3.99) will probably round out my initial purchases.
If I had $30:
I’m curious about Seymour Chwast’s adaptation of The Canterbury Tales ($20), given that his adaptation of Dante’s Inferno garnered some attention, but in reality, I’m saving my money to get Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot ($18.99), the latest Jacques Tardi book from Fantagraphics, another hard boiled (and ultra-violent) noir in the same vein as West Coast Blues, which is not terribly surprising considering its the same writer, Jean-Patrick Manchette.
I should also point out that the final volume of Mome is out this week and easily the best volume of an already excellent series, featuring stellar work by folks like Eleanor Davis, Josh Simmons, Chuck Forsam, Tim Hensley and more. A steal at $20.
My splurge of the week is easily Cats, Dogs, Men, Women & Clowns: The Lost Art of William Steig. Though he remains a popular children’s author, thanks largely to Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Shrek, Steig is often overlooked by cartoonists, which is a mighty shame. This book collects over 450 never-before-published cartoons, along with anecdotes from Steig’s widow.
If I had $15 this week, there would be no way I could avoid the New 52 hitting stores with its first full wave, picking up Action Comics #1, Batgirl #1 and Stormwatch #1 (Each DC Comics, $2.99) with something between eager anticipation and fear of disappointment. That would also describe my feelings about Casanova: Avaritia #1 (Marvel, $4.99), Matt Fraction’s return to the series that made me a fan, after many projects of his that have had the opposite effect.
If I had $30, the DC mania would continue with Animal Man #1 and OMAC #1 (Both DC Comics, $2.99), two reboots of one-time favorite series that have one creator getting me excited, and one making me nervous. More nervous-making than exciting, I find myself drawn toward Rich Veitch’s The Big Lie #1 (Image, $3.99), which is already finding itself described as a “truther” book, but… Veitch can be worth reading when he’s got his satirical hat on, so I’ll probably pick it up.
Splurgewise, my Kirby-love is mixing with the same love of gimmickry that makes the OMAC revival fascinating as soon as I see the hardcover collection of Fantastic Four: The World’s Greatest Comics Magazine (Marvel Comics, $34.99), the Erik Larsen-led attempt to imagine how Kirby would’ve continued on the FF if he hadn’t left the book back in 1970 (Other artists include Bruce Timm, who does a mean Kirby homage, Keith Giffen, Bill Wray and Steve Rude). I’ve never read it, but the weirdness alone seems like a siren song, drawing me in…!
If I had $15, I’d dig into some New 52 series that have my attention. I’m picking up Action Comics #1 ($3.99) to see if Grant Morrison really has something new to say about Superman: The Early Days, but I’ve seen that time period covered so often that I’m skeptical. He needs to grab me with this issue to get me to buy the next. I’m more excited about Batgirl #1 ($2.99) and Static Shock #1 ($2.99), series about two characters I know I like by writers I love. Finally, I’d add The Spider #2 ($3.99) from Moonstone because the first issue was awesome.
If I had $30, I’d add some issues that I’ll end up buying in collected editions anyway later on. Like Chris and Graeme, I’m excited for new Casanova with Avaritia #1 ($4.99). And of course I want the new Atomic Robo: Ghost of Station X #1 ($3.50). I’d round off the pile with bear-riding cowboy Reed Gunther #4 ($2.99).
I’m waffling between three different splurge items this week. First Second’s Bake Sale ($16.99) looks wonderful (and delicious), but my son and I just started reading Amulet, Volume 1 and found it nearly impossible to put down, bedtime be damned. That makes Amulet, Volume 4: The Last Council ($10.99) very tempting even though we’ve got a couple of volumes to catch up on first. I think though that my mad money would go to the new edition of Astro City: Life in the Big City ($17.99), because I haven’t read that story since it came out in single issues and I’ve been wanting to reacquaint myself with Astro City for a few years now.
I was thinking it would be really easy just to say I was going to try all the relaunched DC titles coming out this week, but that would cost me more than $40, which is outside my spending limit. And besides, the first issue I’m most excited about this week isn’t even published by DC — it’s New Avengers Annual #1 ($4.99), featuring the stunning debut of the Revengers! This is sort of the perfect storm for me, as I’ve always loved Marvel’s annuals, I’ve got a soft spot for Wonder Man and I enjoy seeing old C- and D-grade characters get a makeover. That leaves me $10, which I’d spend on three of the new DC titles — Swamp Thing #1 ($2.99), Animal Man #1 ($2.99) and Static Shock #1 ($2.99).
If I had $30, I’d add a few more New 52 titles to the pile — Hawk and Dove #1 ($2.99), Batwing #1 ($2,99) and Stormwatch #1 ($2.99). I’d round it out with Punisher #3 ($2.99) and Morning Glories #12 ($2.99). Because, y’know, man can not live on relaunched titles alone …
There’s a lot to choose from this week, both on the comic front and the splurge front. For my splurge, I’d be hard-pressed to pick between Americus ($14.99) by MK Reed and Jonathan Hill, and The Hidden by Richard Sala ($19.99).