INTERVIEW: DiDio & Lee on "Dark Knight 3," Vertigo's Future & DC's Evolving Readership
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.
For once, I’m doing this in semi-reverse order. Or, at least, I’m starting with my would’ve-should’ve splurge, anyway, because if I had the money to spare, I’d definitely pick up the Invisibles Omnibus HC (DC/Vertigo, $150). Yes, I’ve read the comics before, and yes, I own all the trades. And yet … I really, really wish I could own this book. In another world, I am rich enough for that to happen.
Back in the real world, my first $15 pic is very easy: Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #1 (IDW Publishing, $3.99); both creators are at the top of their games these days, as demonstrated in Daredevil on a regular basis, and so seeing them both take on Dave Stevens’ classic character feels like the kind of thing I will happily sign onto. Similarly, the first issue of the new Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Spike spin-off (Dark Horse, $2.99) automatically gets a pick-up, based on the quality of both the core Buffy and spin-off Angel and Faith books alone.
If I had $30, I’d add Prophet Vol. 1: Remission TP (Image Comics, $9.99) to my pile. I dropped off the single issues for this early on, because I wasn’t digging it as much as I wanted to, but enough people have told me that I’m wrong that I’m coming back to check out the collection — especially because (a) Brandon Graham and (b) that price point. I am continually a sucker for the $9.99 collection; publishers, you should remember this for me and people like me in future.
If I had $15, Batman Inc. #3 would be one of my first picks, if only to see how Morrison re-imagines the long-forgotten character of Matches Malone. I’d also grab Glamourpuss #26 to see Dave Sim attempt to navigate the treacherous world of cosplay. I might also pick up the third issue of Fatima: The Blood Spinners, Gilbert Hernandez’s zombie-fest, assuming I decide to stop trade-waiting that particular title.
If I had $30 and was shopping for someone younger, I’d grab Maya Makes a Mess, a new Toon Book – by Rutu Modan of Exit Wounds fame — about a young girl with deplorable table manners. If I was just shopping for myself, however, I’d put a few of my initial comics purchases back and get Only Skin, Sean Ford’s saga about murder, ghosts and other strange goings on in small-town America.
Certainly that Invisibles Omnibus does look inviting, but if I were splurging, it would be a choice between the third volume of Captain Easy, Roy Crane’s delightful adventure-filled Sunday strip, and the new Complete Peanuts Box Set, covering the years 1983-1986.
This is a pretty simple week.
With just $15 in my wallet, I’d get vol. 6 of Bunny Drop ($13.99), a manga from Yen Press. I have often recommended Bunny Drop as a good starter series for non-manga readers, as the art is very clear and the story — confirmed bachelor finds himself caring for a 6-year-old girl — has a universal quality to it. The trappings of Japanese culture are there, and make it more interesting, but anyone can get the basic story. There was a shift in the fifth volume of the series, with the characters’ aging up ten years and the point of view shifting to the girl’s. I have fallen a bit behind on the series, but if things slow down this week I’m hoping to catch up and sample the new reality.
With $30, I have just one book to add: The first volume of Ethan Young’s Tails ($15.99), from Hermes Press. I read it as a webcomic a few years ago, and I liked it a lot but I’m not crazy about his site (having to scroll down to read the second half of every page = webcomic fail). So I’m happy to see what looks like a handsome volume that I can read in comfort.
No big, expensive book of vintage comics (my usual splurge) is calling out to me this week, but Abrams has an interesting nonfiction graphic novel: Economix: How and Why Our Economy Works and Doesn’t Work ($19.95), so I’ll pop that into my cart. This genre of graphic novel (earnest explication of a specialized field for the lay reader) often features terrible art, but I’ve had the opportunity to flip through this one and it looks pretty good, which is not surprising as it’s from Abrams. Then I’ll grab Vol. 3 of Gate 7 ($10.99), CLAMP’s gorgeous historical/ghost manga, for a bit of lighter reading. It is still summer, after all.
If I had $15, I’d start off with Dark Horse Presents #15 (Dark Horse, $7.99). Seriously, this is comics best kept secret trove of great comics – Neal Adams’ Blood, Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s Nexus, Nate Cosby and Doc Shaner’s Buddy Cops, Michael Avon Oeming’s Wild Rover, Carla Speed McNeil’s Finder, and the Ghost revamp by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Noto. After that, I’d get Invincible #94 (Image, $2.99) – the “Death of …” teasers released recently is like some metaphorical drums beating down to issue #100, and I’m excited for the climax. Lastly, I’d get Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #1 (IDW, $3.99); I’d almost wait for the trade on this one, but after seeing what Waid and Samnee are doing on Daredevil I can’t sit on the sidelines and hear reviewers talk about this book and not know for myself.
If I had $30, I’d get Mark Millar and Lienil Yu’s Supercrooks #4 (Marvel/Icon, $4.99); Millar’s doing his thing, but Yu seems to be the star of this – showing off some new layers to his work. After that I’d get Secret Avengers #30 (Marvel, $3.99), hoping against hope that Remender doesn’t leave this book come Marvel NOW! Finally, I’d get Planetoid #3 (Image, $2.99). Although some might compare this to Prophet, in the two issues I’ve read they’ve veered off that road and I like where it’s going.
If I could splurge, I’d get Invisibles Omnibus (DC, $150). I shamefully admit I’ve never read this series in its entirely, and having it all in one big book seems like an ideal solution for me. Wow me, Morrison. Wow me.
If I had $15, I’d start with the first issues of two licensed titles from Dark Horse: the new Spike miniseries ($2.99) and Dragon Age: Those Who Speak ($3.50). I’ve been enjoying the two Whedonverse ongoings (Buffy and Angel and Faith) since they relaunched last year, so naturally I’m inclined to see what happens next to Spike. And Dragon Age, based on the video game, picks up the plotline from Dark Horse’s digital comic from earlier this year featuring some of my favorite characters from the two games. I’ve actually read an advanced preview of the issue, which takes King Allistar, Isabella and Varric to Tevinter as they search for Allister’s missing/believed dead father. There’s something cool on the last page for folks who have played through both games, the first appearance, I believe, of a … well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it? I’d round out my purchases with Invincible #94 ($2.99) and Secret Avengers #30 ($3.99).
If I had $30, I’d also get the first issue of the new Waid/Samnee Rocketeer comic ($3.99), for the reasons my colleagues have already talked about. Then I’d round it out with some monthly favorites: Punisher #14 ($2.99), All-Star Western #12 ($3.99) and Invincible Iron Man #523 ($3.99).
Image Comics releases the first Prophet trade paperback this week, which is priced to move at $9.99 for the first six issues by Brandon Graham and friends. That’s not really a splurge, though; plus I own all the issues anyway. The Invisibles collection everyone else is talking about would be a nice pick, but again, I already own all of those as well. So I think I’ll save my money for a future purchase.
If I had $15, I’d start with Courtney Crumrin #5 ($3.99). I’ll be writing more about Courtney Crumrin on Thursday, but the short version is that it’s a wonderful, spooky series that explores some unexpectedly rich relationships between its characters. It’s my top pick any week it comes out. Next I’d grad the Lobster Johnson: Prayer of Neferu one-shot ($3.50), because Lobster Johnson, and Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #1 ($3.99). I’ve got conflicted feelings about Rocketeer comics outliving Dave Stevens, but Mark Waid and Chris Samnee help me resolve those, at least in this instance. I’d finish up my shopping with X-Men Legacy #272 ($2.99).
With $30, I’d add All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Volume 2: Help Wanted ($12.99) to that pile. I miss that show and this volume has my favorite version of Batman fighting alongside Hawkman, Zatanna, Jonah Hex, and of course Aquaman.
You might argue whether Dark Horse Presents #15 ($7.99) is a real splurge, but it’s an eight-dollar comic of stuff that’s mostly going to be reprinted in other formats. I’d still like to have it, but it feels like splurging to me.