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.
It’s a slow week, this week; if I had $15, I’d use it to catch up on some recent enjoyments like Action Comics #3 (DC, $3.99) and OMAC #3 (DC, $2.99), two of my favorite titles from the New 52 relaunch–OMAC in particular has been a really weird and wonderful joy–as well as the final issue of Marvel’s great and sadly underrated Mystic revival (#4, $2.99). I’d also see if the parody-tastic Shame Itself #1 (Marvel, $3.99) lives up to its potential, because “Wyatt Cenac + Colleen Coover” sounds pretty promising to these ears.
That said, if I had $30, I’d put Shame Itself back on the shelf and pick up Tharg’s Terror Tales: Necronauts & A Love Like Blood (Rebellion, $19.99) instead, a collection of two 2000AD horror serials illustrated by Frazer Irving (One of which is written by John Smith, a favorite writer of mine from the days when I was reading 2000AD regularly). It’s early work from the artist, but what little I’ve seen of both makes it look well worth buying.
When it comes to splurging, I have to admit that the Joe The Barbarian Deluxe Hardcover (DC, $29.99), but I think if I had extra money, I’d just pick up some more individual issues: BOOM!’s Peanuts #0 ($1) and Betrayal of The Planet of The Apes #1 ($3.99) and Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men #1 ($3.99) and Villains For Hire #0.1($2.99), amongst others.
If I had $15: For the second week in a row, Vertical gets first dibs on my money; last week it was Drops of God, and this time I’m lured by the first volume of Usamaru Furuya’s No Longer Human. This book is a personal favorite of Vertical marketing director (and former blogger) Ed Chavez, and Ed’s picks are always stunning. Based on a semi-autobiographical novel, No Longer Human is the story of a young man who cannot shake his own alienation from the rest of the world. It’s supposedly a great work but also depressing, so to shake off the blues, I’ll spend my last $3.99 on issue #2 of Roger Langridge’s Snarked. His charming rascals-and-the-princess story is sure to bring a smile back to my face.
If I had $30: I’d go for a little more silliness with James Kochalka’s Dragon Puncher #2 ($9.95), the followup to his eminently silly Dragon Puncher #1. Kochalka does silly with an edge of surreal that makes it absolutely delightful. I’ll cut that up with American Vampire #20 ($2.99), and wind up with the first issue of the Peanuts ongoing comic, which is priced at a recession-friendly $1.
Splurge: There are a lot of temptations on this week’s list, but I’m leaning heavily toward Abrams, which has some interesting collections out this week. Government Issue: Comics for the People 1940-2000s is a collection of government-issued comics by the great (Will Eisner, Walt Kelly) and the obscure. It looks like a steal at $29.95. Somewhat pricier at $55 is The Someday Funnies, a collection of the Rolling Stone’s comics section that features a different set of iconic creators–Art Spiegelman, R. Crumb, Harvey Kurtzman. Also a must have for me. And finally, I’ll stagger over to the Dark Horse section and grab the original graphic novel Hellboy: House of the Living Dead ($14.95), which sends our eponymous hero south of the border for a fight with a Frankenstein monster–a perfect post-Halloween treat.
If I had $15: I managed to pick up a copy ahead of time, but Ganges #4 seems to me to be the obvious choice for the $15 and under crowd, continuing everyman Glenn Ganges’ attempts to get some shuteye. This time he attempts to find a really dull book and the results are hugely entertaining.
I’d also at least peruse through John Marz’s Heaven All Day, about a lonely factory worker and an abandoned robot whose lives intertwine, which looks interesting.
If I had $30: I’d get Usumaru Furuya’s No Longer Human, for all the reasons Brigid mentioned. I’m really happy to see Furuya get some love on these shores, as I’ve admired his work since the Secret Comics Japan anthology came out from Blast Books all those years ago.
Splurge: That Joe the Barbarian anthology is certainly on my Amazon wish list, and that Abrams anthology of government-issue comics looks intriguing as well, but my splurge money this week would have to be spent on Color Engineering, Yuichi Yokoyama’s neon-pop colored collection of short comic adventures, and Someday Funnies, a mind-boggling anthology, literally decades in the making, featuring contributions from just about every major cartoonist of the 1970s, like Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Kirby, Moebius, Rene Goscinny, and on and on and on and on. This could well be the great lost treasure of the ages. Or not. I can’t wait to find out, though.
If I had $15, I’d go back for a couple of series I’m enjoying and try three new ones. Action Comics continues to exceed my expectations (especially in comparison to the gloominess of Superman), so #3 ($3.99) is an easy decision in spite of the price. I’m also enjoying Avengers 1959, a series that Howard Chaykin is especially perfect for, to I’ll grab the third issue ($2.99) of that as well. I guess I missed the first issue of Fear Itself: The Fearless so I’ll need to find some money for that, but #2 ($2.99) is definitely going home with me this week. I didn’t read Fear Itself, but I’m fond enough of some of the characters in The Fearless that I’m going to want to at least check this out. Finally a couple of new titles from BOOM! have caught my eye. I love their Planet of the Apes ongoing, so I’m eager to see if they can nail it again with Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes #1 ($3.99). And having just watched It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on Monday, I’m also excited about Peanuts #0 ($1). A big part of me just wants to read the Fantagraphics collection again, but for a buck I’m happy to see what cartoonists Ron Zorman and Vicki Scott have in mind.
With $30, I’d add another new BOOM! series (they’ve got a lot of cool stuff this week), 7 Warriors #1 ($3.99) because I love comics about ass-kicking women. IDW’s Jack Avarice is the Courier #1 ($3.99) kicks off what sounds like a fun, weekly comic for the month of November, so that’s mine too. Then I’d top off the pile with a couple of X-Men books because X-Men: Regenesis reminded me that I’ve been wanting to learn more about the Dani Moonstar character. She’s in New Mutants #33 ($3.99) and–according to Regenesis–will also be on Cyclops’ team in Uncanny X-Men #1 ($3.99).
There’s a lot to splurge on this week. Dragon Puncher, Volume 2 ($9.95) sounds fun (and inexpensive). 30 Days of Night: Night Again ($17.99) pairs Joe Lansdale with Sam Keith on a horror comic and that’s a combination I’d want to read with or without a recognizable brand in the title. Nordguard, Volume 1 ($19.95) is about a team of anthropomorphic sled dogs, and that also sounds cool. My top pick though is influenced by my recent mainlining of the last three BPRD books. I’m all about the Mignolaverse right now, so the Hellboy vs Frankenstein’s Monster story in Hellboy: House of the Living Dead ($14.99) is what I’m craving.
If I had $15, I’d spend the first little bit on the bittersweet finale of Fear Agent, #32 (Dark Horse, $3.50). This long-running series was made longer by the delays in the final arc as the creators were pulled away for work at Marvel, so I’m glad this Wednesday to finally get it all. I’m just as excited to find out the ending as I am to have a complete collection to re-read over the weekend. Next up would be another creator-owned book, Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley’s Invincible #84 (Image, $2.99); I’m still not sure about the Viltrumite-living-on-Earth vibe (I never liked Alien Nation), but I’m willing to give this duo the benefit of the doubt for a while longer. Finally would be a double-shot of DC’s New 52, Action Comics #3 (DC, $3.99) and Animal Man #3 (DC, $2.99).
If I had $30, I’d snag a third DC book–Swamp Thing #3 (DC, $2.99)–before buying the auspicious new #1 of Uncanny X-Men (Marvel, $3.99). Count me in the camp as one who things the renumbering is ill-advised, and factor than in with the nonplussed nature of Greg Land’s current work and yet I’m still buying this just to see what Kieron does with it. His finale of Uncanny X-Men caught me off-guard with how good it was, so he’s got my money here. Last up would be Kevin Huzienga’s Gagnes #4 (Fantagraphics, $7.95). I’ve been waiting for this one awhile, and glad to see it. $7.95 might seem like a lot for a 32 page book, but Huzienga’s craft really makes it worth it. It’d also be an ideal palette cleanser in case I read some unexpectedly bad books.
If I had the cash to splurge, I’d go for DC’s Joe The Barbarian Deluxe Edition(DC/Vertigo, $29.99). Yes I have it in singles, but I’m the type that’d re-buy things like this in a more lasting edition because it looks good and so I have an excuse to give away my singles to someone who might dig the series.
If I had $15, Ganges #4 ($7.95) would be at the top of my stack. I think the third issue of Kevin Huizenga’s series was either at the top of my list of favorite comics of last year, or at least very near the top, so this is one of my most anticipated releases not just for this week, but probably this year. I’d also get Andy Diggle and Davide Gianfelice Six Guns #1 (Marvel, $2.99); the Daredevil: Reborn team reimagines several of marvel’s Western heroes in a modern setting, and based on their track record I’m looking forward to it. I’d round it out with Animal Man #3 (DC Comics, $2.99).
If I had $30,. I’d add a bunch of my regular ongoing favorites: Swamp Thing #3 ($2.99), Boys #60 ($3.99) and New Mutants #33 ($2.99), and would then add the Our Love Is Real one-shot ($3.99) if I didn’t already have it in digital form. But what the hell, we’re assuming I live in a hypothetical world where I can only spend $30 on comics anyway, so let’s pretend I didn’t have the money to download it previously. Can we also pretend I’m a viking?
Splurgewise, my peers have mentioned a lot of nice stuff, so I’ll just point out the second volume of Super Pro K.O. ($11.99), the follow-up to what proved to be a fun first volume by Jarrett Williams.