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’d try something new first with the Xeric-winning Fantastic Life GN (Big If, $9.95) by Kevin Mutch. I’ll always give Xeric winners a second look, and this looks built for me: slackers, punk rock, zombies. Next up I’d get the ongoing adventures of Butcher Baker – the Image one – with Butcher Baker Righteous Maker #8 ($2.99). I’ll admit that the series went off a little bit around #5, but I’m still holding on for hopes it’ll right itself or I’ll figure out what I’d been missing. Lastly, I’d get Secret Avengers #21.1 (Marvel, $2.99). Seriously, is Rick Remender becoming the writer of all-things secret in the Marvel U? I’m not complaining though, as he’s bringing his Uncanny X-Force mojo and, from what it looks like, a lot of new cast members.
If I had $30, I’d get my usual pull of The Walking Dead #93 (Image, $2.99) and a Hickman two-fer, Fantastic Four #602 (Marvel, $2.99) and FF #14 (Marvel, $2.99). If you would have told me two years ago I’d be seeing two Fantastic Four titles (and two I’d be reading, no less) I would have been gobsmacked. Hickman does it again. And that’s it.
What, you say I didn’t spend my full $30? It’s a light week for me, so I’d spending the remaining on bags and boards or, *gasp*, food as it says in the title. Tijuana Flats, Taco Tuesday, be there.
Coming back if I could splurge, and I’d put down my tacos and pick up the ADD HC (Vertigo, $24.99) by Douglas Rushkoff, Goran Sudzuka and Jose Marzan Jr. From the outside it looks like The Hunger Games meets Ender’s Game, and Rushkoff looks to be just the one to make that mash-up more than, well, a mash-up.
If I had $15, I’d get Avatar: The Last Airbender: Vol. 1: The Promise, Part 1 ($10.99), despite the staggering title, because it is written by Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and I’m a fan. The art looks nice and clean, and this looks like a book I could enjoy, at least until my nieces and nephews snatch it away from me. And then I’d pick up the latest issue of The Sixth Gun ($3.99), because how could I miss out on that?
If I had $30, I’d have to put The Sixth Gun back on the shelf for a little while, or borrow two dollars from someone, because The Silence of Our Friends ($16.99) is the must-have book this week. Writer Mark Long based it in part on his father’s experiences as a white reporter covering the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, and Nate Powell’s atmospheric art really brings the era to life. It’s deep without being preachy, with characters that are good but flawed, and while politics shape the plot, the true story is about the interior reality, the clumsiness and missteps that occur even among people of good will. It’s a truly stunning graphic novel and the standout choice for this week.
The splurge choices are pretty good this week, but this former reporter is not going to even try to resist the first volume of Hermes Press’s collection of Brenda Starr, Reporter, even at a stiff $60. On the off chance that a bit of extra dough comes my way, though, my next choice would be the trade of Spontaneous, a smart and beautifully illustrated comic about the mystery of spontaneous human combustion. Since it features a more modern woman reporter, I’m sure Brenda would approve.
If I had $15: I haven’t read The Bulletproof Coffin yet, but I know a number of folks who thought it was pretty nifty, and I do like what little of Shaky Kane and David Hine’s work I’ve read before. So I’d probably be willing to flip through the first issue of The Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred, the first issue of the six-part sequel.
If I had $30, I’d grab Wally Wood’s Strange Worlds of Science Fiction, a hardcover collection of sci-fi stories Wood did for publishers during the 1950s that were not EC. Wood’s one of those classic comic artists I’d really like to learn more about and this seems like as good a place to go as any.
Splurge: More Milo Manara goodness awaits with the release of The Manara Library Vol. 2, which contains El Gaucho, the second of his collaborations with Hugo Pratt, and Trial By Jury, a collection of shorts never released in the U.S. before now.
If I had $15 this week, I’d apparently be most interested in some sequels; like Chris M, I’d go for Hine and Kane’s Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #1 (Image, $3.99) – because I like my comics meta and slightly disturbing, apparently – and I’d follow that up with the debut of IDW’s new cross-continuity crossover Infestation 2 #1 ($3.99), which replaces zombies with Lovecraftian monsters as the threat du jour, something else that feels more than a little meta for some reason. As far as I know, Rick Remender and Patrick Zircher are staying entirely un-meta for Secret Avengers #21.1 (Marvel, $2.99), but as I’ve been reading a lot of Captain Britain and Excalibur lately, I’m picking this up to get a jump on the Brian Braddock era for the title.
If I had $30, I’d continue a recent Warren Ellis run and pick up the reissue of Atmospherics (Avatar, $7.99), to see what his Avatar crime work is like. Sticking with big name creators and indie companies, Kirby Genesis #5 (Dynamite, $3.99) is finally out this week, so I’d grab that as well, and then finish everything off with the latest issue of Peter Milligan’s Justice League Dark (#5, DC, $2.99).
When it comes to slurging, there’s a lot to choose from this week. I’m tempted by the Spontaneous HC (Oni, $24.99), Daredevil by Mark Waid Vol. 1 HC (Marvel, $19.99) and Catwoman Vol. 1 (DC, $29.99), but I’ve already read those books in their original serialized format, so I think I’d probably go for the Strikeforce Morituri collection from Marvel ($34.99); I vaguely remember the series past its early issues way back when, and I’d be interested to see if it holds up to my memories…
I usually spend my $15 allowance on single issues, but this week I’m making a beeline for Polly and the Pirates, Volume 2: The Mystery of the Dragonfish ($11.99), a comic I’ve been waiting five years for. I’m so excited I don’t even care that Ted Naifeh didn’t draw it, especially since Robbi Rodriguez’ art looks so great. My remaining three bucks would of course go to Alpha Flight #8 ($2.99), an issue I’m both looking forward to (because it resolves the excellent story that Van Lente, Pak, and Eaglesham have been telling) and dreading (because there’s no more after it).
If I had $30, I’d circle back for my monthly series: Aquaman #5 ($2.99), Superman #5 ($2.99), X-Men Legacy #261 ($2.99), and All-Star Western #5 ($3.99).
My splurge item this week is the Daredevil By Mark Waid, Volume 1 hardcover ($$19.99). I’ve been looking forward to reading it anyway, but it made so many year-end lists that now my mouth is watering about it.