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 only had $15, I would only be buying one title this week: 20th Century Boys, Vol. 18 (Viz, $12.99). Sorry Americanos, but Naoki Urasawa is delivering a gripping, sprawling drama that most other books can’t live up to. Wait, I’m wrong – I’d buy two comics with a $15 budget this week; I’d snag the $1 The Strain #1 (Dark Horse, $1) for the price point and Mike Huddleston. I’ve read the novels, but for $1 I can’t miss sampling at least the first issue.
If I had $30, I’d be thankful to double-back and first get Uncanny X-Force #18 (Marvel, $3.99). This issue, the finale of the “Dark Angel Saga,” has been a long time coming and I’m excited for the writing, the art and the story itself; and I can’t forget colorist Dean White, sheesh he’s good. After that I’d pick up my usual Walking Dead #92 (Image, $2.99) and then try Ed McGuinness’ new work in Avengers: X-Sanction #1 (Marvel, $3.99). I’m a big fan of McG’s work, but also realize just how different he is than the standard Marvel (or mainstream super-hero) artist in general. I’ve loved his storytelling sense since Mr. Majestic, and will pick up most any of his work without knowing much about the book itself. Next up would be James Robinson & Cully Hamner’s The Shade #3 (DC, $2.99). I’m surprised DC hasn’t done more marketing for this book, especially considering it’s a character who’s never held a series before; they’ve done little-to-any marketing to define just who the character is, relying on his ties to a lesser-selling series that ended ten years ago (no matter how good it was). Getting off my soapbox: those that have been reading The Shade know it’s good. After that I’d round it off with the best looking comic on shelves, Batwoman #4 (DC, $2.99).
If I was to splurge, I’d double-up my J.H Williams 3 fix with the final volume of Absolute Promethea (DC/ABC, $99.99). Although I already own these issues in singles, getting it over-sized and in hardcover is a treat. I’m hoping it also includes some production art or process sketches – I’m a nut for that.
If I just had $15 for comics this week, it’d be gone in one fell swoop, with Fables, Vol. 16: Super Team (DC/Vertigo, $14.99) filling that empty void in my heart I’ve had for the last few months as I’ve awaited the latest collection of Bill Willingham’s long-running series.
If I had $30, however, I’d be picking up The Shade #3, Batwoman #4 and Demon Knights #4 (All DC, $2.99) to continue some of my favorite reads from the New 52 set-up, and sampling the much-hyped Avengers: X-Sanction #1 (Marvel, $3.99) to see if the future of Marvel Comics looks significantly different from its recent past (I suspect that it won’t. Spoilers, as River Song would chide).
In the world of splurging, it really has to be Archaia’s Jim Henson’s The Storyteller hardcover for me ($19.95); with a creative line-up including Jeff Parker, Colleen Coover, Paul Tobin, Ton Fowler and more, this is pretty much an all-star must-read for me, and one I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time.
If I had $15, I’d stick to singles. Let’s start with Doctor Who #12 ($3.99), from IDW; it’s a Christmas story by Tony Lee. Sold! Next, issue #2 of P.C. Cast’s House of Night ($2.99), from Dark Horse. Yes, it’s vampires — oh, excuse me, “vampyres” — but Joelle Jones’s art kicks it up a notch, bringing in a sense of energy that pushes the story beyond the usual teen-vampire melodrama. Then just for fun I’ll take Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #4 ($3.50) and Roger Langridge’s Snarked #3 ($3.99). Now that’s a nice stack of comics.
If I had $30, though…the floppies would have to wait, because I’ll be buying A Tale of Sand from Archaia ($29.95). Based on an unproduced film script by Jim Henson, illustrated by Ramon Perez, this book has a lot going for it — the art alone looks fantastic — and I can’t wait to see it.
Splurge: I think I would find it hard to resist the first volume of the Hermes Press collection of My Favorite Martian ($49.99). I loved the show as a kid (although come to think of it, I don’t remember the comics), and I’m hearing good things about Hermes’s production values. And there has to be room in my splurge for vol. 18 of Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, still one of the best manga being published in English.
If I had $15: In what must be one of the most notable “gets” in a long while, Archaia picked up the rights to Marjane Satrapi’s latest graphic novel, The Sigh, a seeming Persian-styled fairy tale about love and longing. I really don’t know much about this book other than it’s out, but I’m extremely curious to see what the author of Persepolis is up to now.
If I had $30: I still haven’t gotten the first volume, but new Tezuka is always cause for celebration, so let’s herald the arrival of the second volume of Princess Knight. This brick-sized book collects the remainder of the maestro’s gender-swapping tale of a girl who must pretend to be a boy in order to inherit the throne. I’d also pick up the latest issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle, because, hey, Michael Kupperman.
Splurge: 500 Portraits is a collection of drawings by the mighty Tony Millionaire of various people, some famous, some not so famous. I’m sure it all will be exquisitely rendered. If I was indeed splurging, this is what I’d go for.
If I had $15, I’d grab the latest issues to some series I’ve been enjoying. Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #4 ($2.99) is my easiest pick. I love that series and I’m even more eager to continue reading it having heard about what Jeff Lemire has planned for the future. Avengers 1959 #4 ($2.99) puts us into the home stretch on that exciting series and like Chris A and Graeme, I’m very much enjoying The Shade, so #3 ($2.99) is another must-get. Demon Knights #4 ($2.99) also goes on the pile, because I’m growing fond of the characters. It also has a fun, high-concept battle going on; I just wish the story moved faster than it is. Since I’ve got $3 left in my pocket, I’ll give Batwoman #4 ($2.99) a shot to see why everyone loves it.
If I had $30, I’d add Moonstone’s Airboy Presents: Air Vixens #1 ($3.50), because I like Valkyrie (no, not that one; the other one) and Black Angel. The rest of my money would go to Marjane Satrapi’s The Sigh ($10.95), because she’s only ever surprised and delighted me.
There are a ton of items I’d love to splurge on, but I managed to narrow the list to three. I’m reading a lot of old Wonder Woman comics lately, so Showcase Presents Wonder Woman, Volume 4 ($19.99) is a welcome release. But I’d gladly wait on that to get either one of Archaia’s Jim Henson books coming out this week: Jim Henson’s The Storyteller ($19.95) or A Tale of Sand ($29.95). Both sound fantastic, but if forced to choose, I’d grab Storyteller first for its impressive line-up of its own storytellers. In addition to the ones Graeme mentioned above, I’m especially looking forward to stories by Roger Langridge, Marjorie Liu, Ron Marz, Francesco Francavilla, Chris Eliopoulos, Colleen Coover, and Janet Lee.