Max Landis' New Comic, "Green Valley," Presents a Fantasy-Free Tale of Knights and Redemption
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 walk out of the comic store with one book this week Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me (Image, $14.99). I fell off this book after the first issue, preferring to read in trades, and now that time has come. I’m looking forward to being surprised at what Brubaker and Phillips have done in this first arc as the debut issue was very promising.
If I had $30, I’d load up at Image with Manhattan Projects #4 (Image, $3.50), Prophet #26 (Image, $2.99) and Hell Yeah #4 (Image, $2.99). Prophet is becoming my favorite Image book because it unites my comic heroes of childhood (Prophet!) and one of the top cartoonists out there (Brandon Graham) with a surprising introduction of BD-style science fiction. Hell Yeah is a fun romp reimagining the staples of ’80s and ’90s comics as if John Hughes were the eighth Image founder. Last up I’d get Wolverine and the X-Men #12 (Marvel, $3.99). I was worried this series would get derailed by Avengers Vs. X-Men, but Aaron and Co. have managed to keep it on point as best as conceivably possible. It’s an ideal opening to bring Rachel Summers to the forefront, and the smirking Kid Gladiator on the cover is full of win.
If I could splurge, I’d get Michel Rabagliati’s Song of Roland hardcover (Conundrum Press, $20). I’ll always admire Free Comic Book Day, because it was there that a little Drawn and Quarterly one-shot introduced me to Rabagliati’s work. I’m surprised to see this new volume of his work not published by D&Q, instead published by Canadian house Conundrum. Anyway, this book appears to deal with the death of the father-in-law of the lead character, Paul. It’s been extremely engaging to see Paul grow through the series, and having him deal with events like this as I myself grow up and experience similar events is really touching.
$15: This is a pretty tough week for me in that there are several high-priced items I’m drawn to in addition to my usual array of $5-or-less comics. So if I had $15, I’d probably start with League of Extraordinary Gentleman III: Century – 2009 ($9.95). That leaves me roughly $5 to pick out one comic from a sea of many I’m interested in, so I guess I’ll go with … what, Batman Incorporated #2? Manhattan Projects #4? X-Men #31? I guess I’ll go with Hypernaturals #1 as my official pick, the new BOOM! Studios comic from Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
$30: I’d put both of those back and grab Joe Sacco’s Journalism ($29), which collects Sacco’s shorter pieces he’s done for various publications like Harper’s and The New York Times Magazine. Having missed a good chunk of those when they were originally published, this is a great way to get my hands on material I might not have ever seen otherwise.
Splurge: I’ve already read it, so I can recommend Get Jiro!, the new Vertigo graphic novel by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose and Langdon Foss ($24.99). This wasn’t a project that I was really looking forward to and I doubt I would have read it if DC hadn’t sent me an advance copy, but as far as celebrity-written comics go, this one is much closer to, say, Umbrella Academy than it is to Mayhem. I’d say it’s the second-best action-adventure comic I’ve ever read about a sushi chef (Johnny Hiro being the first), but then again my reading in that particular area is pretty limited. Still, though, very fun book, and I was particularity impressed by Foss’ work.
Also of note this week are two books I believe are reprints or reissues: Kevin Huizenga’s Gloriana and Jason’s Hey Wait. If you haven’t read them before, they’re worth a look as well. Thus ends my impression of Chris Mautner.
I’m with JK this week: It’s a pretty expensive week in terms of new releases, because almost everything I really want is actually a reprint of previously seen material. One of the few things that isn’t is Batman Incorporated #2 (DC, $2.99); I didn’t believe the cliffhanger of the first issue at all, but the rest of it was good enough to ensure I’d be back for this second issue. Also, I fell behind on Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaac’s Angel and Faith a couple of issues back, but after catching up recently, this week’s #11 (Dark Horse, $2.99) is a must-buy. This is definitely the Buffy book to beat for me. If I had $15? I’d get those two.
If I had $30, I’d grab Kevin Huizenga’s new Gloriana hardcover (Drawn and Quarterly, $19.95). It’s a reprint – and, I think, partial reworking? – of a story that he’s previously already put out twice, in Or Else and his Supermonster minicomic series, but it’s also one of the most spectacular comic stories I’ve seen in years, and something that’s very, very much worth picking up a third time. Just visually and technically amazing.
If I was splurging, then I’d go for the David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil: Born Again – Artists Edition hardcover (IDW, $75); I’m not a massive fan of the Frank Miller story for this accepted classic of the medium, but Mazzucchelli’s art has always just been heart-stoppingly wonderful. I can’t wait to see this oversized reproduction of the original art boards.
Like everyone else, I’ll be spending my money in big chunks this week.
My first $15 (well, $14.99) goes straight to Dark Horse for Larry Marder’s Tales of the Beanworld, Vol. 3.5. I was a huge fan of the Beanworld comics back in the day — I still have the floppies somewhere — and I’m looking forward to renewing the acquaintance.
If I had $30, I’d get that and vol. 4 of The Drops of God. I’m not quite that far along in the series yet, but I want to have it there when I’m ready for it. This series gets a lot of ink because it’s about wine connoisseurship (my winemaker brother loves it) but maybe the highest praise I can give it is that I don’t drink and I still love it. It’s just that good a soap opera.
Splurge: So much to want this week! I’m with JK; I want to read Journalism and Get Jiro, and if I didn’t already have a copy, I’d throw down another $15 for P.C. Cast’s House of Night, despite the froufrou spelling of “vampyre,” because it actually goes beyond the vampire-school thing and puts a goddess spin on history and mythology. Plus the art is fantastic. Joelle Jones illustrates the framing tale, but a number of other artists, including Karl Kerschl and Jonathan Case, take over for the individual stories.
JK did an excellent job of impersonating me — the new LOEG and Journalism are probably the two must-buys for me this week. I also heartily agree with Graeme’s Gloriana pick: new Huizenga, even if it’s old Huizenga in a new package, is always worth one’s attention.
It’s a big week, however; big enough so that I think I can easily make a completely different list of recommendations of A+ comics without any overlap. Sooo …
If I had $15, I’d leap over the counter to grab a copy of Eddie Campbell’s latest graphic novel, The Lovely Horrible Stuff. Ostensibly, it’s about money, but really it’s about our relationship to it, and how we tend to behave irrationally at the prospect of gaining or losing it. The book includes a trip to the island of Yap, where folks used to carve really large stone coins. I interviewed Campbell about the book over at the Comics Journal so go over there and see if what he has to say doesn’t pique your interest as well.
If I had $30, I’d nab Birdseye Bristoe, the first full-length graphic novel from Dan Zettwoch. The story concerns a old man living in the Midwest, taking care of his niece and nephew for the summer, and the giant cell phone tower the phone company is installing on his property. It doesn’t sound like much but Zettwoch invests his usual obsessive eye for detail, not to mention diagrams and maps. I had the opportunity to read this book the other week and absolutely loved it. Zettwoch is a unique talent and I hope this book nets him wider attention.
Splurge: I’m a little behind on those Bloom County collections IDW has been putting out, so I might not nab The Complete Outland for my splurge purchase, though I’d at least flip through it. However, I would likely pick up Song of Roland, the new graphic novel from Michel Rabagliati, of the esteemed “Paul” series. I believe this one finds Paul dealing with the imminent death of his father-in-law. And finally, I have fond memories of reading my mother’s old, frayed Raggedy Ann and Andy books as a child, so I’m curious to see Mr. Twee Deedle, a collection of strips done by Raggedy creator Johnny Gruelle prior to his seminal children’s series.
Oh, yeah, and there’s a new volume of Bakuman out this week, too.
With $15, I’d start with my easy choices. As much as I like Atomic Robo trades, I’m impatient for Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #1 ($3.50). Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener have done a great job promoting this particular mini-series as something that I’m not going to want to wait for. As luck would have it, Atomic Robo: Real Science Adventures #3 ($2.75) also comes out this week, so that’s a nice double whammy. I also can’t miss Courtney Crumrin #3 ($3.99) after loving the first two issues, and I’d wrap up my purchase with Resident Alien #2 ($3.50) now that I’m all caught up and eager for more.
If I had $30, I’d add yet more single issues of series I’m following: All-Star Western #10 ($3.99), X-Men Legacy #269 ($2.99), Prophet #26 ($2.99), Justice League Dark #10 ($2.99), and Aquaman #10 ($2.99).
With so many single issues I want this week, there’s no room in my regular budget for collections and graphic novels, so I have a lot of potential splurge items, starting with that Fatale collection ($14.99) I’ve been trade-waiting. I’d also like a peek at Barry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs vs Aliens ($19.99) because of dinosaurs vs aliens, even though I expect it’ll make a better movie than a comic. New Deadwardians #4 ($2.99) comes out this week and is a splurge because I’d also need to pick up #s 1-3, but I’ve recently been pushed off the fence towards wanting to read it.