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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 had to happen; I’m so uninspired by this week’s offerings, I’d skip the $15 altogether and go straight for the $30 option, which I’d spend on the Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man by Brian Michael Bendis Premiere Edition Vol. 1 HC (Marvel, $24.99); I ended up skipping out on the single issues after #3 because of the price, but I enjoyed it enough that I’d happily pick up the collection.
If I were looking to splurge even more than that, there’s also the Spider-Man: Spider-Island Companion HC (Marvel, $39.99), which gives me a chance to catch up on the peripheral titles from the recent event; I picked up the Spider-Girl series, but missed out on the well-reviewed Cloak and Dagger and other books.
You know who is getting a lot of my money this week? Abrams, that’s who: I’m going two for two on their releases this week.
If I had $15, I’d keep it all-ages, with their Explorer: Mystery Box anthology, edited by Kazu Kibuishi, who was also responsible for the Flight anthologies, so you know the talent lineup will be stellar. At $10.95, the paperback edition won’t break the bank, and it’s a good deal for 128 pages of full-color comics. That leaves just enough for issue #5 of Roger Langridge’s Snarked ($3.99).
If I had $30, I’d put Snarked back on the shelf and pick up another Abrams book with a more adult subject: My Friend Dahmer ($17.95 for the paperback). Derf Backderf went to school with Jeffrey Dahmer; one grew up to be a cartoonist, one became a serial killer. I’m always interested in how people evolve, and by all accounts, Backder’s story of the young Dahmer is fascinating.
Splurge: A big pile of manga! This is Viz’s big release week for comics stores, and they have a lot of worthy titles: Vol. 19 of Naoki Urasawa’s outstanding 20th Century Boys, vol. 6 of the lovely pseudo-historical shoujo drama The Story of Saiunkoku ($9.99), vol. 9 of the I-want-to-be-a-mangaka drama Bakuman ($9.99), and the first volume of a new series about a sassy girl in a new school, The Devil and Her Love Song ($9.99). There are some weeks when I can barely figure out how to spend any money at all, but between Abrams and Viz and BOOM!, this week really does bring an embarrassment of riches.
If I had $15, I’d surely be picking up the latest issue of Glamourpuss (no. 23) if only to see what obscure DC superheroine Dave Sim decides to parody this time. If nothing else, it’s nice to know he could always get work penciling a Zatanna series.
I’d also pick up Hades, the latest volume in George O’Connor’s Olympians series, where he attempts to retell classic Greek myths. While nothing will ever replace D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths in my heart of hearts, this has been a pretty enjoyable all-ages collection and I see no reason to expect the quality to drop with this latest book, focused on the lord of the underworld.
If I had $30, I’d put both those books back and grab Athos in America, the latest book by cartooning superstar Jason. Instead of a stand-alone story, this is a collection of short tales along the lines of his Low Moon, one of which involves the title character, previously seen in The Last Musketeer. There’s also a take-off on The Brain that Wouldn’t Die that’s surprisingly sad and bittersweet.
My splurge would either be Madwoman of the Sacred Heart, a paperback version of Moebius and Jodorowsky’s latest endeavor, or the Art of the Secret World of Arietty, cause I’m a complete fool for Studio Ghibli.
If I had $15, I’d be forced to choose pretty harshly… but at the end of the day it’d start with 20th Century Boys, Vol. 19 (Viz, $12.99). I’ve been following this series since it began publication, and it’s continually surprised me by just how high a bar of quality it reaches and how it hasn’t let me down yet. With just over $2 left of my $15, that’s all I’d get.
If I had $30, I would rush back into the store and get Explorer: Mystery Boxes GN (Abrams, $10,95) from my box and delight in it. I seriously think the Flight anthologies were one of the big tidal shifts in comics in the past decade, and this Explorer anthology continues that with editor Kazu Kibuishi enlisting a more focused group of creators to do stories around one subject. After that I’d have just over $6 left, so I’d then get Glory #23 (Image, $2.99) to see what Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell come up with next and finally Daredevil #9 (Marvel, $2.99).
If I could splurge, I’d follow Graeme’s path and get Ultimate Comics Spider-Man By Brian Michael Bendis Premiere HC Vol. 1 (Marvel, $24.99). My issues with the title itself aside, this is one of the titles I had to cut off my pull list but knew I’d be getting down the road – i.e., now. Getting it in this luxurious format only makes it more worth it, and the Ultimate titles are one of the few things you can rest assured Marvel will put out in trade.
If I had $15, I’d pick up my usual haul of superheroine comics: Supergirl #6 ($2.99), Wonder Woman #6 ($2.99), and what may be my last issue of Birds of Prey (#6; $2.99) unless something in it absolutely blows me away. I’d also add a couple of new ones: Glory #23 ($2.99), which I hope will be as revolutionary for this archetype as the current Wonder Woman has been, and DC Universe Presents #6 ($2.99), which starts the New 52 adventures of the Challengers of the Unknown.
If I had $30, I’d add Planet of the Apes #11 ($3.99) and George O’Connor’s highly anticipated Olympians, Volume 4: Hades, Lord of the Dead. The Olympians series has been amazing so far with it’s action-oriented storytelling and thoughtful insights on Greek mythology.
My splurge for the week is going to be Explorer: The Mystery Boxes ($10.95). My son and I loved the Flight Explorer volume that preceded this and I’m excited for more.