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 go all-in on AvX: Vs #1 (Marvel, $3.99). As a story format-junkie, this seems like an ideal supplemental series to the event comic series as we know it – I may have read it wrong, but this seems low on continuity and high on action – kind of a throwback to the condensed comics of the ’60s, I hope. And seeing Kathryn and Stuart Immonen on this together is a big deal – wish they’d get more chances like this! Next up would be the finale of The Twelve, #12 (Marvel, $2.99). I argued with myself about waiting for the trade at this point, but at the end of the day I’m more interested in this than a lot of everything else going on out there. Plus, I bought the eleven previous issues so I should finish it out, right? Next up would be Spaceman #6 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). I’m finding this series benefits from a deeper re-reading prior to each new issues, but it’s paying off in spades in terms of my enjoyment. This is definitely a palate cleanser after Azzarello and Risso’s run on 100 Bullets, but in a good way. Finally, I’d get Daredevil #11 (Marvel, $2.99). The Eisner Awards judges got this one right when they piled nominations on this book, because Waid, Martin, and Rivera have really made the quintessential superhero book here. The fill-ins from Khoi Pham and Marco Checchetto seem off-putting, but they’ve earned some lee-way after the murderer’s row of creators who started the book. Can’t wait to see Samnee on this, however.
If I had $30, I’d start off with an interesting looking project that’s gotten no press – Airboy: Deadeye #1 (Antarctic Press, $3.50). Chuck Dixon and Ben Dunn — what a pairing. After that I’d go back to get Supercrooks #2 (Marvel/Icon, $2.99); Mark Millar knows how to sell a high-concept, but it’s Leinil Yu that’s making me come back past the first issue. After that would be an Avengers two-fer: New Avengers #25 (Marvel, $3.99) and Secret Avengers #26 (Marvel, $3.99). I dropped off New a few issues back, but with this new issue covering some never-before-seen connections between Iron Fist and the Phoenix Force, I’m back in for this one. And Secret Avengers, well, Remender’s on a roll with his Marvel work and this is continuing on that without being an Uncanny X-Force retread. And guest artist Renato Guedes seems a better fit for this than his work on Wolverine.
If I could splurge, I’d lunge for a copy of The Art of Amanda Conner (IDW/Desperado, $29.99). I was fortunate enough to get a digital review copy of this earlier, and seeing it like that only made me want this more. Rather than just being a template art book plugging in her work, the design and packaging really go along with what you’d expect from Amanda’s tongue-in-cheek comic style. Reading this makes me want to go back and track down her earlier work that I missed.
If I had $15 this week, I’d go for the quasi-nostalgia of Popeye #1 (IDW, $3.99); I don’t think I’ve ever read a Popeye comic (or comic strip) before, but I remember his cartoons from when I was a kid with a weird mix of disappointment and excitement… It was never quite as good as I wanted it to be, but I tuned in nonetheless. Given those fond memories of apathy and the involvement of Roger Langridge, I find myself surprisingly looking forward to this one. Also in the surprisingly looking forward to category: AvX: Vs #1 (Marvel, $3.99), mostly because the previews I’ve seen of the Kathryn/Stuart Immonen strip look hilarious and exactly the kind of comedy violence that I’ve been hoping for since the announcement of this event.
If I had $30, I’d add a couple of old favorites: Kirby Genesis #7 (Dynamite, $3.99) comes hot on the heels of #6 it feels like, but I’m glad to see this book – a genuine pleasure that appeals to my very specific Kirby fetishes – getting back on track, schedule-wise after a couple of rough months. Dark Horse’s Angel and Faith #9 ($2.99) continues to be a great spin-off to the main Buffy book, and one that I’m pretty sure eclipses the core book in my heart despite my usual disinterest in Angel as a character.
Splurgewise, I’m following Chris: The Art of Amanda Conner HC (IDW, $29.99) is a must-read for me, especially as I’m a relative latecomer to the church of Conner. I’ve come to love the deceptive simplicity and grace of her work, so the chance to see more of it in a deluxe format is definitely something that appeals.
My first $15 goes straight into the pockets of Dave Roman and John Green for their graphic novel Teen Boat ($14.99). I have been following this comic since its webcomic days, and the combination of the awkwardness of a teenage boy and the coolness of being able to turn into a boat still slays me. It’s clean enough for tweens, but former teenagers such as myself will find plenty to laugh about as well.
At the $30 mark, I’ll add in Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City ($9.95), Brendan Leach’s Xeric award-winning story of an alternate New York where, in 1904, balloonists ascended each day to slay pterodactyls. The story is set at an interesting moment, when the pterodactyls are almost gone and the hunters are thinking ahead to what comes next. It’s a strange little story and well worth a double saw.
For my splurge, I’ll go for Frazetta Funny Stuff ($49.99), which looks awesome on all levels–crazy Frazetta art, intro by Ralph Bakshi, and packaged by Craig Yoe, which means we’ll get to see lots of odd little extras.
If I had $15, like Graeme, I might consider picking up Popeye #1. I’ll be honest, I’m very skeptical of anyone other than E.C. Segar being able to do the character any justice (although Bobby London came close) but I suppose if anyone has a good shot at it, it’s Roger Langridge.
If I had $30: Tough call as there are a lot of good books out this week, mostly from Fantagraphics. My first pick would be Cruisin’ With the Hound, a collection of autobiographical strips by the great Spain Rodriguez centering mostly on his misspent teen and young adult years. A lot of this stuff was serialized in Blab! years ago and it’s all killer material.
There’s also the rerelease of Any Similarities to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental, Drew Friedman’s very first collection of scabrous caricatures, first released way back in the heady days of the early 1980s. Ah, good times …
There’s also Folly: Consequences of Indescretion, a collection of short pieces by Hans Rickheit, author of The Squirrel Machine. Honestly, I wasn’t all that bowled over by Squirrel, but I’d at least flip through this book in the store.
Finally, I should note that Guy Delisle’s latest (and very good) book, Jerusalem, is out this week. I reviewed the book for Robot 6 yesterday.
If I were splurging, I’d pick up all these books, as well as the sixth and final Popeye volume from Fantagraphics. Let’s face it, there’s only one place to go to get pure, wonderful, unadulterated Popeye, and that’s from it’s creator, E.C. Segar. I’ve made no secret about my pure and utterly devout love for Segar’s strip and that love continues into this final volume, where Segar tragically died all too soon from leukemia. Graeme, if you’re really, seriously interested in wanting to delve into Popeye, this is where you go.
If I had $15, I’d begin with Exile on the Planet of the Apes ($3.99), because BOOM! can do no wrong with their primate comics these days. Then I’d add another BOOM! series I’m loving, Roger Langridge’s Snarked! #7 ($3.99). I had the same reaction to Popeye cartoons as a kid that Graeme did, but Langridge brings me on board for anything he does, so I’ll check out Popeye #1 ($3.99) as well. And finally, I’ll grab X-Men Legacy #265 ($2.99) out of habit.
If I had $30, I’d quickly add Footprints ($11.99), Joey Esposito and Jonathan Moore’s graphic novel about Bigfoot and his crytozoological pals as they investigate the murder of the Yeti. Sounds both close enough to and different enough from Perhapanauts to be awesome. That leaves me with room in the budget for one more low-priced item, so I’ll take Aquaman #8 ($2.99).
With my splurge money I’d grab a couple of stray single issues I want – All-Star Western #8 ($3.99) and Airboy: Deadeye #1 ($3.50) – in addition to the third volume of The Sixth Gun ($19.99), the fourth volume of Pacific’s reprints of Frank Godwin’s beautiful space pulp strip Connie ($14.95), and Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City ($9.95). I saw a copy of Pterodactyl Hunters at C2E2 and it’s a great-looking book. Finally, my Nerd OCD prevents me from starting with volume 6, but Chris M has convinced me that I should check out Segar’s Popeye stuff. It’s out of bounds for this list, but if I had some extra money, I’d grab the first volume of that collection.