Johns & Frank Aim for 'Surprising and New' in Latest "Batman: Earth One" Volume
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.
This is one of those tough weeks when the floppies aren’t doing it for me, so I want graphic novels, and graphic novels aren’t cheap. At the $15 level, I’ll pick up vol. 1 of Soulless ($12.99), Yen Press’s manga-style adaptation of the first volume of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. With a sharp-witted heroine pitted against vampires and werewolves, and detailed yet dynamic art by the talented rem, it is a solid and entertaining read.
My first choice of the week has to wait until I have $30, though, because Faith Erin Hicks’s Friends With Boys is priced at $15.99. Worth it! Hicks is another talented storyteller and her tale of a home-schooled girl starting high school with three brothers looming over her—but without her mother, who has recently left—is funny and sweet and very heartfelt. So when I’m done with the vampire-killings, this is the book I want to read.
For my splurge, I’ll start with the thick second volume of Archie: The Married Life ($19.99), which collects the second six issues of Life With Archie magazine. The “Archie Marries” stories are fast-moving soap operas, and this comic is one of my guilty pleasures. And then I’ll add the first volume of the Girl Genius hardcover omnibus ($34.99), which is truly a splurge as it’s a free webcomic, but I’d love to have this one in print, for keeps.
If I had $15 this week, a chunk of it would go towards books headed for the great comic book store in the sky: I’ve been enjoying the Didio/Giffen OMAC since the first issue, and looking forward to Marc Bernardin’s first Static Shock since it was announced months ago, so #7 of both books (Both DC, $2.99) are must-reads to me. So is Joe Keatinge’s Hell Yeah #1 (Image, $2.99), another book I’ve been looking forward to for awhile. Book of the week, though, is Vertigo’s Fairest #1 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99); I’ve loved Fables since the first trade, and the idea of an ongoing anthology based around the female characters makes me very happy, especially knowing that it means more Chris Roberson/Shawn McManus Cinderella at some point.
If I had $30, then I’m grabbing Faith Erin Hicks’ Friends With Boys (First Second, $15.99), which I’ve already read online but have been eagerly awaiting the collection of; I am a massive fan of Hicks’ work in general, and this has been a ridiculous good story worth revisiting many many times in future.
Splurgewise, there’s little as tempting for me this week as The Compleat Terminal City (Dark Horse, $24.99), collecting the wonderful 1990s Vertigo mini by Dean Motter and Michael Lark. It’s been years since I read this series, and I’m looking forward to revisiting it in a fancy new deluxe collection.
If I had $15, I’d first dive into two new Image series – Hell Yeah #1 (Image, $2.99) and Manhattan Projects #1 ($3.50). I’m really excited for Hell Yeah for giving artist Andre Szymanowicz a full-blown series to go wild on. And Manhattan Projects looks like a resumption of Hickman’s creator-owned oeuvre, and it gets bonus points for reminding me of the mid-’80s John Lithgow movie The Manhattan Project. Next up I’d check my vision and make sure I’m not just seeing things when I hold Avengers: Children’s Crusade #9 (Marvel, $3.99) in my hands. Was it worth the wait? I hope so! Lastly, I’d get Animal Man #7 (DC, $2.99). Lemire is killing it on this title, but I’m sad to see Travel Foreman leave. I’m a huge fan of Steve Pugh, but Foreman’s really carved out a unique rendition of Buddy Baker’s world and I’m hesitant at anyone else trying to take that over.
If I had $30, I’d continue my shopping spree by digging into Irredeemable #35 (Boom!, $3.99). Sad to see this title head towards a conclusion, but I’m enjoying the countdown to the final issue. I just wish Peter Krause was here to finish out the series! Next up I’d get a Marvel two-for-two with Wolverine #302 (Marvel, $3.99) and Defenders #4 (Marvel, $3.99). One just for the art, and the other in spite of it. I’m anxious to see how Jason Aaron wraps up his run on Wolverine, and my interest in Defenders got reinvigorated when some people online postulated that it’s a Trojan horse book to allow Matt Fraction to do more Iron Fist stories. That, and Michael Lark… man. Michael Lark. He’s sneaking up and doing guest issues of various series and really knocking it out of the park. Finally, I’d get Swamp Thing #7 (DC, $2.99). Yanick Paquette is really blooming (Swamp Thing, plants, get it?) here, and Snyder is keeping pace with that creating a unique story and really showing how to make company-owned superhero comics.
If I could splurge, I’d reach out and get Space Time Condominium, Season One TP (Action Lab, $14.95). I was recalcitrant in following the series as a webcomic, so I’m paying out the hard cash to get it all in one place. 1980s period piece featuring a man and alternate universe versions of himself living under one roof? That’s my kind of comic. It’s like Perfect Strangers meets Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Balki Bartokomous is his own roommate.
There are only a couple of must-have single-issues for me this week, so if I had $15 I’d start with Fairest #1 ($2.99) and Huntress #6 ($2.99). Like Graeme, I’m a big Fables fan, but I’m also a fan of comics starring supernatural women. Fairest scratches both of those itches. Likewise, I’m looking forward to the wrap-up of the Huntress mini-series and I’m already anticipating its follow-up series, World’s Finest. I’ll be covering Huntress in the next Women of Action column, which puts me about halfway through DC’s female superhero comics. That means I need to start thinking about some other series to check out, so I’ll eat up some of the rest of my budget with Avengelyne #7 ($2.99) and Magdalena #11 ($3.99). I know nothing about either one of those series, so I’m looking forward to trying something brand new.
If I can has $30, I’d add Friends With Boys ($15.99) to the stack. Faith Erin Hicks is a wonderful artist and I’m excited to see what twists she puts on the haunted teenager concept that I enjoyed so much in Vera Brosgol’s Anya’s Ghost last year. I’m ready for another book like that, not that I expect Friends With Boys to imitate it.
My splurge for the week is INJ Culbard’s adaptation of the HP Lovecraft story, At the Mountains of Madness ($14.95). It’s part of Sterling’s Illustrated Classics series that also includes Culbard’s excellent adaptations (along with Ian Edginton) of some of the Sherlock Holmes novels. I’m so fond of the Holmes volumes that I’m eager to read Culbard’s take on a story that I haven’t read yet, but have wanted to for years.