Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
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.
As we head into Christmas, I’m saving my pennies for last-minute presents. That said, if I had $15 to spend, I’d run towards Memorial #1 (IDW, $3.99), the debut of the new fantasy series by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis. I admit to having sneaked a peak at this particular present, and I really enjoyed the tone, which is somewhere between Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who and some of Neil Gaiman’s work. I’d also grab Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1 (DC, $6.99), the collection of what was supposed to be the final issues of Grant Morrison’s run on the Batman, Inc. series before the relaunch; I’d enjoyed Batman Incorporated a lot, and am ready for more of the weird, retro-but-somehow-off series again, especially with lovely Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham artwork.
If I had $30, I’d also grab Fantagraphics’ Jason Conquers America ($4.99), a collection of some of the cartoonist’s work that’s so far gone unseen in the US, along with pin-up tributes from fans like Mike Allred and Rich Tommaso. My nostalgia would then compel me to grab Defenders: Coming of the Defenders #1 (Marvel, $5.99), a reprint of the original stories that launched the fondly remembered (and just relaunched) non-team. Hulk groove on old comics.
Were I to ask Santa for something to splurge on, I might go completely left-field and ask for John Byrne’s much-maligned Spider-Man: Chapter One TP (Marvel, $34.99), which I’ve never actually read, but have a strange fascination with. Would that make me naughty or nice?
If I had $15, I’d pick up the sixth and final issue of the Boys spin-off, Butcher Baker Candlestickmaker, and the Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes one-shot Graeme mentioned. I’m particularly interested in seeing how Morrison wraps up the Leviathan storyline, as up to the DC relaunch it was promising to be one of the better arcs in Morrision’s lengthy run with the caped crusader.
If I had $30: Following Graeme’s lead I’d pick up that Jason Conquers America book, as I’m trying to be as much of a Jason completist as possible. I’d also nab the latest issue of Tales Designed to Thrizzle, Michael Kupperman’s ongoing, frequently hilarious comic. This one features a riff on Inception and Quincy. Lots and lots of Quincy.
Splurge: I don’t know if I’d actually buy it, but I’d at least peruse Blondie Vol. 2, the second collection of Chic Young’s seminal strip. The first volume was interesting because it was so different from what the strip turned into, what with Blondie being a ditzy flapper and Dagwood being a wealthy (if slightly goofy) man about town. By the time the second volume picks up, the pair have started to settle into middle-class domesticity, with lots of jokes about bad bosses, henpecked husbands and giant sandwiches. Those elements have becomes so ubiquitous that I fear even the early strips may seem trite and cliched, but, on the other hand, I said the same thing about the early Family Circus strips and I ended up really digging those.
If I had $15, I’d start with Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1 ($6.99), which finishes off the “first season” of the pre-New 52 Batman Incorporated. It’s sort of odd yet comforting to see the pre-relaunch Batman and gang again, and per Grant Morrison this will be the “last hurrah” of Stephanie Brown as Batgirl. I’d follow it up with something from the complete other end of the spectrum, the Jason Conquers America one-shot ($4.99), which features previously unpublished Jason strips and artwork, interviews and a tribute gallery by various artists. Finally, I’d finish off my shopping list with Daredevil #7 ($2.99). Because, you know, Daredevil.
If I had $30, I’d also get a couple of New 52 titles I’ve been enjoying — Wonder Woman #4 and DC Universe Presents #4 ($2.99 each), and two more Marvel books, New Mutants #35 and Fantastic Four #601 (also $2.99 each). Technically I only have $3 left, but ho-ho-hopefully Santa would lend me an extra 50 cents so I could grab the first issue of The Activity by Nathan Edmundson and Mitch Gerards ($3.50). Edmondson did some really nice stuff with Who Is Jake Ellis?, so I’m looking forward to checking this out.
There’s a lot of potential last-minute Christmas gifts coming out this Wednesday, which means there’s a lot to choose from for my splurge purchase. Image Comics is collecting Doug TenNapel’s Ratfist, ($19.99) which ran as a webcomic and they’re also releasing the first four issues of The Infinite as a $9.99 trade. The thing that probably intrigues me the most is the high-concept Nelson anthology ($24.99) by Blank Slate Books. Here’s the description from their site: “London, 1968. A daughter is born to Jim and Rita Baker. Her name is Nel. This is her story, told in yearly snapshots. Each chapter records the events of a single day, weaving one continuous ribbon of pictures and text that takes us on a 43- year journey from Nel Baker’s birth to 2011.” It features work by Roger Langridge, Paul Grist, Philip Bond, D’Israeli, Andi Watson and many, many more, and I really want it.
If I had $15, I’d grab up Dark Horse Presents #7 (Dark Horse, $.7.99). It’s carried on the tradition of its original series by showcasing new work by legends such as Mike Mignola, Howard Chaykin and Neal Adams, while also bringing in new blood like Andi Watson and long-lost favorites like Ricardo Delgado’s Age of Reptiles. The last issue was my favorite of the run so far, so #7 has a lot to live up to. Next up I’d get my two favorite Marvel ongoings: Daredevil #7 (Marvel, $2.99) and Uncanny X-Force #19 (Marvel, $3.99). Very different books, but using the same formula of A-List writer & A-List artist it’s easy to see why they’re succeeding.
If I had $30, I’d spent a good portion of it at Image with Invincible #86 (Image, $2.99) and Last Battle (Image, $7.99). Seeing Cory Walker reunite with Robert Kirkman is always invigorating, and I could honestly read a whole separate series chronicling the ongoing adventures of Allen the Alien. For Last Battle, it’s a book I’ve been waiting to get since it first came out in in 2005 – in Italy. Lastly, I’d next get the back-to-basics Wolverine & X-Men #3 (Marvel, $3.99), showing there’s new ways to use the old formula of school for superhumans.
If Jonah Claus were to allow me to splurge, I’d get the unique graphic novel Nelson (Blank Slate, $24.99). Robot 6 did a write-up earlier this year about the book, and like the aforementioned Dark Horse Presents it hits me right between the eyes with my love of anthologies.
If I had $15, all but a nickel of it would go to vol. 2 of The Drops of God, the manga series about a wine rookie who has to prevail in a wine-tasting contest in order to gain his rightful inheritance. I love a good soap opera, and I love reading books that help me learn about a specialized subject, so this is a winner on both counts.
If I had $30, I’d add in Louis: Red Letter Day, the fantasy graphic novel by the team known as Metaphrog. I have seen some bits of their work before, and it looks gorgeous.
There’s a lot of splurge material on this week’s list. I’ll start with Nelson, which looks fantastic and brings together an impressive array of artists. Being a total pushover for old newspaper comics, I’m all in for Drawn and Quarterly’s Walt and Skeezix, even if it is volume 5, and the second volume of IDW’s Blondie collection–I loved the first book. And I am seriously lusting after vol. 3 of the Dark Shadows collection from Hermes Press. Finally, I can’t not mention Quality Companion, a look back at the Golden Age publisher that gave us Plastic Man. Big, fat, colorful books of old-time comics–that’s what I want to see this Christmas!
If I had $15, it would all go to series that I’m already enjoying. Supergirl #4 ($2.99) and Wonder Woman #4 ($2.99) continue two of my favorite New 52 books and I consistently like Birds of Prey ($2.99) more than I thought possible without Gail Simone’s writing it. I’m also digging Fear Itself: The Fearless, so #5 ($2.99) goes on the stack and finally, I’ve been checking out (and liking) New Mutants lately, so I’ll get #35 ($2.99) too.
If I had $30, I’d grab some more expensive comics like Planet of the Apes #9 ($3.99), the next issue in my favorite new series of the year. I’d give Justice League #4 ($3.99) a chance too, though the expense of that comic has it on the surface of a fragile bubble for me. I’d also try Memorial #1 ($3.99) if for no other reason than Graeme’s comparing it to Moffat and Gaiman. Lastly, I want to check out some of DC’s female-hero books that I’ve previously passed up. I’ll be writing more about this later for the blog, but Catwoman #4 ($2.99) comes out this week and I’d like to judge for myself whether it deserves the reputation it got with that first issue.
There’s lots to splurge on this week – and that Nelson anthology does sound awesome – but I’ll pick something that hasn’t been mentioned yet, Rick Remender and Eric Nguyen’s Strange Girl Omnibus ($59.99). I loved the early issues of that series, but decided to trade-wait it and was sadly distracted by the time the collected versions came out. This’ll be a perfect way to catch up.