SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
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 first double-down on creator-owned comics with Butcher Baker, Righteous Maker #8 (Image, $2.99) and Saga #6 (Image, $2.99). I’m glad to see Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston back on Butcher Baker after a hiatus in which I feared it was no more, and I’ve just pulled out #1-7 to get me back up to speed. I’m thinking that taking hallucinogenics would make me enjoy this comic more. On the other side, Saga #6 is flat-out amazing in the most conventional way (despite the unconventional setting). Aliens, ghosts and babies, and yet Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples bring it all together. At this point I’ve shifted into the The Walking Dead mode of reading – no point in reading about what’s ahead, as I’ll just buy it blindly on the great comics they’ve done so far. After that creator-owned two-fer, I’d give Marvel the rest of my money with Uncanny X-Force #29 (Marvel, $3.99) and Avengers vs. X-Men #10 (Marvel, $3.99). I think Marvel’s finally found a suitable replacement for Jerome Opena in artist Julian Totino Tedesco, and I hope he’s locked in to finish out this arc. And speaking of Rick Remender’s work, I spent about 15 minutes conversing the other day about how and why he should’ve been enlisted into Marvel’s Architects and worked into Avengers Vs. X-Men. While the group-written approach takes some getting used to, I’d love to see Remender do an issue of this. In Avengers Vs. X-Men #10 (Marvel, $3.99) however, we see Ed Brubaker taking the lead and showing the Phoenix Force Five venturing into K’un L’un for what seems like the Empire Strikes Back moment of the series.
If I had $30, I’d turn back in all my $15 purchases except Saga #6 and spend the recouped $25-plus dollars and get Hulk: Season One HC (Marvel, $24.99). I’ve never been the biggest Hulk fan, but seeing the previews of Tom Fowler’s art on this has won me over. Fowler, like the above mentioned Tedesco, is one of Marvel’s hidden gems and this might be the launching pad for him to (finally) get some recognition. And for me to get some good comics. Fowler SMASH!
If I could splurge, I’d do the boring choice and simply use it to buy all the single issues mentioned in the $15 section and be able to also afford Hulk: Season One HC. Easy, breezy, beautiful, comics boy.
It’s a full week, in part because I’ve finally been catching up with books that have been piling up, and now I’m hungry for more. For example, if I had $15, $5.98 of that would be going to Jeff Parker for both Dark Avengers #179 and Hulk #56 (Both Marvel, $2.99 each). Parker’s on fire in both of these books, and it’s the kind of thing that an old-school Marvelite can eagerly pick up and go “Yes, THIS, this is what I want!” Just really good stuff that should be talked about more. Similarly good, but (I hope) far more discussed, is Saga #6 (Image, $2.99), which continues to be my favorite thing out at the moment, even though space operas that aren’t Star Trek normally leave me cold…
If I had $30, I’d likely grab the wonderfully-titled Doctor Who: Dave Gibbons Treasury Edition #1 (IDW, $9.99). I have happy memories of reading these stories the first time around, and I like the oversized treasury format, so I think I’ll be unable to resist.
When it comes to splurging, I’m going to grab Hulk: Season One (Marvel, $24.99); I’ve found the previous Season One books uneven (I liked FF and X-Men, disliked Spider-Man and Daredevil), but the creative team of Fred Van Lente and Tom Fowler is one that I find myself really looking forward to, and expecting the best from. Don’t let me down, gentlemen.
If I had $15, I’d steal an extra dollar from some unsuspecting little old lady (I’m not proud) and get Vol. 5 in Rick Geary’s ongoing Treasury of XXth Century Murder series: Lovers Lane. This time Geary is documenting an unsolved case where two bodies were found in New Jersey, arranged neatly, with love letters strewn around. I’m a big fan of Geary’s true-crime tales; he’s one of the best cartoonists mining the nonfiction vein today.
If I had $30, I’d put Geary’s book aside (or steal more money from that old lady) and get The Making Of, the latest graphic novel from Brecht Evens. I enjoyed Evens’ previous books, Night Animals and The Wrong Place, and am eager to see if his winning streak continues.
Splurge: Pile on the Milo Manara! In this case that would be Vol. 3 of Dark Horse’s Manara Library (sans porn, natch — that’s a separate collection). This book collects Manara’s work with Fellini, Trip to Tulum, and The Voyage of G. Mastorna, the latter of which is available in English for the first time.
If I had $15, my first $1.99 would go to a digital copy of The Dandy, the beloved comic of my childhood that is now facing extinction. It’s available digitally as an iPad app, and Jamie Smart’s comics alone are worth the price of admission. After that we’ll go to paper with my favorite soap opera, Life With Archie #22. ($3.99) Jughead’s wife is pregnant, Archie and Veronica have reconciled, and Cheryl Blossom has returned to Riverdale to go through chemotherapy for her breast cancer. It’s not the deepest story, but it’s hard to put down. And then there are two automatic buys, Harbinger #3 ($3.99) and Saucer Country #6 ($2.99).
If I had $30, I would add in Wolf ($12.95), an indy manga about a boxer who was abandoned by his father and seeks him out for revenge. It’s a boxing soap opera, basically; I was reading it chapter by chapter in GEN magazine, but getting the story in bits and pieces is not the same as sitting down with the full book. That leaves a little left over, so I’ll add Snarked #11 to my growing pile.
Splurge: Most of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles phenomenon happened during my long exile from comics, so I’ll pick up IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics, Vol. 1 just to see what I have been missing all these years. And I’d like to see The Art of War, a novelization of Sun Tzu’s classic that speculates about the future of the world if China becomes the dominant economic power in the world. It doesn’t sound like light reading, but hey, summer can’t last forever. And finally, Abrams just put out a nice paperback edition of Brian Fies’ Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?. I have it in hardcover, but if I didn’t, I’d be picking that up as well.
If I had $15, I’d start my pile with Saga #6 ($2.99), for all the reasons the other guys mentioned above. Then I’d include Wonder Woman #12 ($2.99) and Captain Marvel #2 ($2.99). The first issue of Captain Marvel was a standalone story that set the mood for the series, so I’m excited now to get into the first longer story. I’m still getting used to the art, but I’m not about to let myself miss out on Kelly Sue DeConnick comics. Finally, I’d get Snarked! #11 ($3.99), loving the purchase because it’s a great comic every month, but hating that the extra buck is going to keep me from squeezing a fifth comic (like Supergirl) into my stack.
With $30, I’d let BOOM! have even more of my money by adding Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes ($14.99) to my basket. I’ve already read the single issues, but the story is strong enough to put on my bookshelf as well as in my longbox.
This week’s splurge is an easy choice: Definitive Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim, Volume 2 ($75.00). I love Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon and love that they’re being collected in such a nice format. The Jungle Jim comics are bonus.