Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
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 go with Megaskull, a collection of short, extremely politically incorrect comics by British cartoonist Kyle Platts. Platts is working a similar vein of humor to Johnny Ryan in his Angry Youth Comics days, so those easily offended by jokes about, say, abortion should probably stay away. Those who still own a copy of Truly Tasteless Jokes will want to check this out though.
If I had $30, I’d ignore Megaskull and go with what would pick of the week for me: Grandville: Bete Noire, the third entry in Bryan Talbot’s excellent, ongoing funny-animal detective series, this time finding Inspector LeBrock tracking down an assassin in the city’s art scene. Talbot’s blood-soaked blend of noir, satire, mystery and, um, furry antics might seem a bit odd at first glance but it proves to be an intoxicating and engrossing blend.
Splurge: Grendel Omnibus, Vol. 2 collects one of the most interesting runs starring Matt Wagner’s titular killer, largely due to the art work of the Pander Brothers. I’ve never had the chance to really sit down with this material beyond the occasional five-minute glance, so mayhap this is my chance to dive in.
If I had $15, I’d give a good amount of it to Brian Wood … and here’s how. First up I’d get Conan the Barbarian #11 (Dark Horse, $3.50). In all the years I’ve known Wood’s comic work, I expected him to be better at creator-owned than working under the constraints of work-for-hire, but Conan the Barbarian is proving me wrong several times over. Last month’s Conan #10 with Declan Shalvey was great, and I’m interesting to see where this goes. Next up would be The Massive #7 (Dark Horse, $3.50). Artist Garry Brown is growing on me a little bit, enough so that I’m still onboard for singles and I’m glad. Wood’s story is the opposite of a by-the-numbers comic, going places I never thought. I can’t foresee where the Kapital will go next, and I look forward to the ride! Last up in my $15 haul is a non-Brian Wood joint, Batman #15 (DC, $4.99). Snyder and Capullo are doing the best Batman in ages.
If I had $30, I’d double back for one thing: Body Bags, Vol. 2 (Image, $12.99). From Dark Horse to 12 Gauge to Image, I’ve followed Jason Pearson’s creator-owned work, and this collection has the 12 Gauge-era material along with some promised extras. I have this already in singles, but having this squarebound for my bookshelf is definitely worth it.
If I could splurge, I’d get another collection – Couriers: The Complete Series (Image, $24.99). Like Body Bags I bought these stories when they originally came out, but the idea of having all four graphic novels in one place is too enticing to pass up. For lovers of his later work on DMZ, Couriers is a stylistic prequel that is less politics and more action. Like Brian Wood and Rob G were on a caffeine buzz of epic proportions.
It’s one of those weeks where the treasures I really seek are all far too expensive for even the $30 tag, but if I had $15, I’d grab some Marvel NOW! books to see how they fare after their premiere issues: Avengers Assemble #10, Iron Man #4 and Fantastic Four #2 (all Marvel, the first two: $3.99, the last: $2.99). Iron Man‘s been growing on me — I really liked #3 — and I thought AA #9 was an enjoyable romp in the JLI vein, but F4 remains a little bit of a mystery so early on. We’ll see what the second issue is like.
If I had $30, I’d save my pennies for the future, most likely. But if I was splurging, oh man; then I’d have a struggle. Do I go for the second volume of Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth Omnibus (DC, $49.99)? What about IDW’s collection of the little-seen Star Trek Newspaper Strip, Vol. 1 (IDW, $49.99)? WHY MUST I CHOOSE AT THE HOLIDAAAAAAYS?!?
If I had $15, this would be a week for some floppies. I’ll start the stack with my favorite soap opera, Life With Archie #25 ($3.99). This series is just plain addictive; it mixes the familiar and the unexpected in just the right proportions. Next on the list is Archer and Armstrong #5 ($3.99), my favorite of the new Valiant series. I’ll grab Popeye #8 ($3.99), because, hey, Roger Langridge. And then I’ll top off the stack with Saucer Country #10 ($2.99).
If I had $30, though, I’d save Saucer Country for later and pick up my must-have book of the week, Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something ($16.99), a collection of short stories by the creator of the much-loved manga Emma. Mori is a master of the telling detail and the lingering glance. Her art is stunning, and she really knows how to compose a page. Her work can stand alongside the best of American indy graphic novels, and I’m excited to have a new book of her work out in English.
My splurge money goes to Dark Horse for Bryan Talbot’s Grandeville: Bete Noire ($19.99), which looks pretty intriguing even though I haven’t read the earlier Grandeville books, and the first volume of their Tarzan: The Russ Manning Years compilation ($49.99), just because.
If I had $15, I’d first grab Courtney Crumrin #8 ($3.99). That’s one of my favorite series and I wish I heard more people talking about it. I feel like I need to catch up on the color, special editions of the graphic novels before I can write intelligently about it, but I don’t at all feel lost while reading the ongoing. Next, I’d get Avengers Assemble #10 ($3.99) because Kelly Sue DeConnick, and I’d follow that up with two great Dark Horse series: The Massive #7 (3.50) and Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness #3 ($3.50). As much as I dig Nessie, that last one pleasantly surprised me by actually being about something even cooler.
With $30, I’d add some more single-issues: the groovy It Girl and the Atomics #5 ($2.99), the first issue of the Criminal Macabre/30 Days of Night crossover ($3.99), and Ame-Comi Girls #3 ($3.99). DC’s pretty much killed my interest in their superhero universe, but Ame-Comi Girls is separated enough from that mess that I’m still curious about it.
My splurge for the week would be Tarzan: The Russ Manning Years, Volume 1 ($49.99). Manning’s super clean lines look great no matter what he’s drawing, but I’m also a huge Tarzan fan, so this is a perfect marriage.