Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
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, it’d be an eclectic bunch featuring Jesus clones, retired spec-ops workers, environmentalists and Batman. First up would be Punk Rock Jesus #2 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), following Sean Murphy’s big-time foray into writing and drawing. Murphy’s delivering the art of his career, and while the story might not be as great as the art, it still has a synchronicity to the art that few other mainstream books have these days. After that I’d get Dancer #4 (Image, $3.50); Nathan Edmondson seemingly made his name on writing the spy thriller Who Is Jake Ellis?, and this one takes a very different view of the spy game – like a Luc Besson movie, perhaps – and Nic Klein is fast climbing up my list of favorite artists. After that I’d get Massive #3 (Dark Horse, $3.50), with what is disheartedly looking to be the final issue of artist Kristian Donaldson. No word on the reason for the departure, but with a great a story he and Brian Wood have developed I hope future artists can live up to the all-too-brief legacy he developed. Delving into superhero waters, the next book I’d get is Batman #12 (DC, $3.99), which has become DC’s consistently best book out of New 52 era. Finally, I’d get Anti #1 (12 Guage, $1). Cool cover, interesting concept, and only a buck. Can’t beat that.
If I had $30, I’d jump and get Creator-Owned Heroes #3 (Image, $3.99); man, when Phil Noto is “on” he’s “ON!” After that I’d get Conan te Barbarian #7 (Dark Horse, $3.50). I’ve been buying and reading this in singles, but last weekend I had the chance to re-read them all in one sitting and I’m legitimately blown away. The creators have developed something that is arguably better than what Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord started in 2003 and shoulder-to-shoulder with the great stories out of the ’70s. This new issue looks to be right up my alley, as Conan takes his pirate queen Belit back to his frigid homeland in search of a man masquerading as Conan. Hmm, $7 left. Any other Food or Comic-ers want to grab some grub?
If I could splurge, I’d excuse myself from the table dining with my fellow FoCers and get Eyes of the Cat HC (Humanoids, $34.95). I feel remiss in never owning this, so finally getting my hands on the first collaboration between Moebius and Alexandro Jodorowsky seems like a long time coming. I’m told its more an illustrated storybook than comic book, but I’m content with full page Moebius work wherever I can get it.
If I had $15 this week, I’d grab a few things I don’t normally get. Firstly, John Arcudi’s new detective series (with artist Jonathan Case), Creep (#0, Dark Horse, $2.99), seems like the sort of thing I’m currently in the mood for, with a freakish-looking private dick having to find the truth behind an apparent suicide. It promises to be more traditionally detective-like than Batman, but I’m going to pick up #12 of that series (DC Comics, $3.99) for the Becky Cloonan art alone. And then Godzilla: The Half Century War launches (#1, IDW, $3.99), with James Stokoe taking on the giant monster; I’ve loved the preview art I’ve seen from this, and can’t wait to read the first issue.
If I had $30, I’d add a real oddity to my buy pile: Richard Starking’s Comic Book Lettering The Comicraft Way (Image Comics, $9.95). This is a reissue of a book that’s been around for awhile, but I’m a sucker for process books, and this looks to be one of the more enjoyable, especially considering the Kurt Busiek/Stuart Immonen and Jeph Loeb/Ian Churchill strips it contains as examples.
Should I be in the mood to splurge after that, I think I’d go for a classic: The new edition of Will Eisner’s Contract With God Trilogy (WW Norton, $35). I haven’t read these books in far too long, and for some reason entirely missed the earlier compilation reissue. Time to fix that oversight, I think.
If I had $15, I’m enough of an Orc Stain fan to want to check out the first issue of Godzilla: Half Century War, James Stokoe’s take on the classic monster, courtesy of IDW. After that, I’ll mostly likely nab Vol. 13 of Bakuman, the ongoing manga about two plucky kids trying to get rich and famous in the manga world as quickly as they can.
If I had $30, I would grab one of two historical releases this week. Either Taxes, the Tea Party, and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution by Stan Mack, or Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales by, yes, Nathan Hale, the author of the excellent Rapuzel’s Revenge. The historical Hale does appear in this book, however. My daughter picked up a copy from the library and said it’s great. I trust her judgement.
For my splurge I’ll probably go with Eyes of the Cat, a new, considerably less expensive version of the first collaboration between Mobieus and Alejandro Jodorowsky. The last edition of this Humanoids put out was an ultra-deluxe, oversize affair that went over the $100 mark, so I’m grateful for the cheaper edition.
If I had $15, I’d start off with some manga: Vol. 4 of A Devil and Her Love Song, a shoujo manga that features a smart, sharp-tongued heroine who’s a delight to watch. That leaves just enough for the first issue of Archer and Armstrong, the latest Valiant release; they had me at “written by Fred Van Lente,” but the previews they have been running in their other comics sealed the deal.
If I had $30, I’d set aside the manga and pick up The Art of War, partly because I’m impressed at the lengths the authors have gone to to promote this book (including stamping sample chapters with their own blood) and partly because I’m fascinated by the idea of turning Sun Tzu’s classic manual into a graphic novel.
We have met the enemy and it is us: My splurge pick this week is We Go Pogo: Walt Kelly Politics and American Satire. I’m old enough to remember when Pogo ran in the newspaper, and young enough to have not understood anything about it at the time, so this book is tailor-made for me.
If I had $15, I’d follow in the footsteps of several of my gentlemanly colleagues and pick up James Stokoe’s new Godzilla book ($3.99). I’d also grab the first issue of Archer and Armstrong, for the same reason Brigid notes: Fred Van Lente. Fred Van Lente! ($3.99) Next I’d pick up It Girl and the Atomics #1 ($2.99); I’m an Atomics fan from way back when Mike Allred was publishing them himself, and followed their subsequent appearances in the Madman series. I’m interested to see if Jamie S. Rich and Mike Norton can pull off the same snappy wit and charm Allred brought to the characters. Resurrection Man is approaching the end of its run; this is a book that I never expected to see again, and it has been one of my highlights of the New 52. So I’ll grab it for $2.99, then grab Anti #1 with my remaining $1.
If I had $30, I’d also grab a bunch of my regular purchases: Conan #7 ($3.50), Fantastic Four #609 ($2.99), Bloodstrike #29 ($2.99), and Frankenstein #12 ($2.99). Comfort food.
There’s lots to pick from this week if you’re looking to splurge: a new RASL trade, OMACtivate! the Cardboard book I mentioned last week that’s on Diamond’s list this time around, color Scott Pilgrim … but my pick would be the new edition of Johnny Hiro by Fred Chao, the great, great comic published by AdHouse a few years back. This new edition is by Tor, I believe, and I like seeing the “volume one” at the end because that makes it sound like we’ll be getting a “volume two” sometime in the future.
With $15, I’d go for my comfort food first: Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils of the Pacific #2 ($3.50), Massive #3 ($3.50), and Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #12 ($2.99). To that, I’d add what seems to be the book-of-the-week, Godzilla: The Half-Century War #1 ($3.99). That leaves me a buck to join Arrant for a soda or something.
If I had $30, I’d skip the empty calories and instead add Ian Edginton and I.N.J. Culbard’s Illustrated Classics adaptation of Princess of Mars ($15.95). I’ve loved their versions of the Sherlock Holmes stories and have also been enjoying Culbard’s work on The New Deadwardians, so this makes me glad that I’ve held off on the gazillion other PoM adaptations in the last couple of years.
There’s a lot to splurge on this week and if I hadn’t already picked up Doug TenNapel’s Cardboard at Comic-Con, that would likely top the list. Since I did (and reviewed it earlier today), I could throw some more single-issues on the pile instead: X-Men Legacy #271 ($2.99), Thun’da #1 ($3.99), and Archer and Armstrong #1 ($3.99). Thun’da wasn’t one of my favorite Golden Age jungle heroes, but I’m curious to see what Dynamite does with him. If I’m splurging on just one book, my pick would have to be Xoc: Journey of a Great White ($19.99), because sharks.