Food or Comics? | Higher Earl Grey
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 grab the latest Lio collection, Zombies Need Love Too. Cartoonist Mark Tatulli has one of the better newspaper comic strips going these days.
If I had $30, I’d nab what is clearly the book of the week, NonNonBa, the latest book from Shigeru Mizuki, author of Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths. NonNonBa aims more toward Mizuki’s traditional milieu of Japanese folklore and yokai monsters, though this book is more autobiographical in nature in that it deals with his relationship with his grandmother and how she instilled in him an interest in the spirit world. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this release.
My splurge for the week would likely be one of two books from First Second: Either Baby’s in Black, Arne Bellstorf’s fictionalized tale of the sadly doomed Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, or Mastering Comics, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden’s follow-up to their previous how-to textbook, Drawing Words, Writing Pictures.
If I had $15 this week, I’d grab the fifth issue of Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis Memorial (IDW, $3.99), which remains one of those series that I’m constantly surprised hasn’t “broken through” enough yet. Maybe this time, with all of the attention Roberson got from quitting DC, people will start to realize that this is a fantastic (and fantastically underrated) magical realism book that they should’ve fallen in love with ages ago. I’d also grab Avenging Spider-Man #7 (Marvel, $3.99), purely for the creative team; I love Stuart Immonen’s art like all good people, but Kathryn Immonen is one of those writers I can’t resist, and the previews I’ve seen so far of this issue look like it’s set to continue the streak. Meanwhile, Boom!’s latest SF series, Sam Humphries’ Higher Earth launches with a $1.00 #1, and that’s also something I find hard to resist…
If I had $30, I’d add the Essential Black Panther Vol. 1 (Marvel, $19.99) to my pile. 528 pages including Don McGregor AND Jack Kirby? This is pretty much the most “Essential” Marvel Essentials book in some time, so it’s coming home with me.
When it comes to splurging, I’m going to take a leaf from Chris’ book – or maybe that should just be “take Chris’ book” in this case – because I am really looking forward to Jessica Abel and Matt Madden’s Mastering Comics (First Second, $34.99). I loved Drawing Words, Writing Pictures and, ever since seeing some preview material on their website, I’ve been eagerly waiting to see what Abel and Madden can teach us this time around.
If I had $15, I’d start it all off with Higher Earth #1 (Boom!, $1) by Sam Humphries and Francesco Biagini. I’ve been catching up with Humphries’ work over the past month, and I’m excited by the concept this series carries. Factor in this great looking work from Biagini, and I’m sold. After that I’d get three long-term ongoings that have entrenched themselves as my favorite of the Big Two: Batman #9 (DC, $3.99), Uncanny X-Force (Marvel, $4.99) and Wolverine and the X-Men #10 (Marvel, $3.99). I admit I fell off the bandwagon with Batman a few issues back due to missing a copy in my local store, but the recent collection brought me back in full force: Scott Snyder is delivering a great story, with Greg Capullo using that to consistently deliver some home runs.
If I had $30, I’d swoop in and get Avenging Spider-Man #7 (Marvel, $3.99). I’ll buy pretty much anything by the Immonens sight unseen, but poring over the preview pages makes me want this more: She-Hulk hailing a taxi! After that I’d get Invincible #91 (Image, $2.99) with the ongoing Mark Grayson epic, now with someone taking over his mantle. Kirkman, Walker and Ottley have really managed to synthesize the best of superhero comics and create a more consistent and thought-out story and this idea of someone taking over the mantle of the lead hero is great. Next up would be New Avengers #26 (Marvel, $3.99). As I said in last month’s Food or Comics?, I jumped back on this book because Iron Fist is playing a central role in this story-arc and I’m still here. Last up would be Walking Dead #97 (Image, $2.99); the last issue felt kind of weak with that speech Rick gave, but I think that was on purpose to build up a larger story. We’ll see . Might switch to trades on this one after #100.
For my splurge, I’d get Dark Horse’s FLCL Omnibus (Dark Horse, $19.99). I have this in the original TOKYOPOP volumes released years ago, but seeing it all in one book with some new work inside makes me want to trade up. FLCL is one of my favorite TV series in some time, and this manga is an interesting counterpoint to that.
If I had $15, I’d start with Courtney Crumrin #2 ($3.99). As expected, I really enjoyed the first issue and am looking forward to seeing young Courtney continue to outsmart her enemies. Then I’d pick up two comics about my favorite monster: Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE #9 ($2.99) and Frankenstein Alive, Alive! #1 ($3.99). The former continues one of my favorite New 52 series; the latter is by two of the biggest Frankenstein fans on the planet: Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson. Wrightson’s Frankenstein illustrations are the definitive version for me, so I can’t wait to read this. Finally, IDW keeps mentioning 30 Days of Night and Locke & Key in reference to Bobby Curnow and Dave Wachter’s Night of 1000 Wolves #1 ($3.99), so the promise of another, epic, horror series would make me want to check that out even if Wachter’s art didn’t look as awesome as it does.
If I had $30, I’d trade-wait Night of 1000 Wolves in order to afford Atomic Robo, Volume 6: The Ghost of Station X ($18.95) because I’m a trade-waitery trade-waiter and I’ve trade-waited this volume. I will be denied no longer.
With some extra splurge money, I’d quickly slide a couple of single issues onto the pile that I couldn’t otherwise afford: Higher Earth #1 ($1.00) and X-Men Legacy #266 ($2.99). Higher Earth looks imaginative and fun (there’s a pilot-driven robot-bear by page 4) and even if X-Men Legacy wasn’t the one-and-only X-Men series I’m reading these days, I’d check it out for Rogue vs. She-Hulk. My for-real splurge item though would be the Interiorae collection ($19.99). I enjoyed Gabriella Giandelli’s bizarre, but accessible story of an apartment complex and the people (and spirits) that inhabit it when it came out in single issue form as part of Fantagraphics’ Ignatz line. I couldn’t be more thrilled that those books are now being collected into bookshelf volumes.