How Lee & Kirby's "Fantastic Four" Birthed the Marvel Universe, Part 1
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 this week, it’d be all first issues, all the time. Being a Trek fan, I couldn’t resist IDW’s Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 ($3.99), offering some glimpses into the new movie for the first time outside of the trailer, for one thing. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers #1 (Marvel, $2.99) looks to be equally unmissable judging from both the previews and interviews heralding its launch, and also Gillen’s performance on Iron Man and other titles recently, so that’d make it in there, too. Finally, I’d grab The Answer #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99), Dennis Hopeless and Mike Norton’s new superhero/mystery series. I’ve been back and forth about Hopeless in the past (loved his X-Men: Season One; hate his Avengers Arena), but the hook for this one looks pretty solid and Norton’s work is always nice to gaze at.
Should I suddenly find myself with an additional $15, I’d add some current favorites to the pile: Chris Roberson and Dennis Calero’s pulp dystopia Masks #3 (Dynamite, $3.99), Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena’s Avengers #3 (Marvel, $3.99, and less a “favorite” than an “undecided about, but was surprised by how much I appreciated that second issue”) and Greg Rucka and Matt Southworth’s Stumptown #5 (Oni, $3.99). After the fourth issue of Stumptown, I’d pick that last one up even if Rucka had accidentally forgotten to write any dialogue in there. Did you see that last issue? Man …
Were I to splurge, it’d almost feel greedy after this week of bounty. Nonetheless, I’d grab The Spider, Vol. 1: Terror of The Zombie Queen (Dynamite, $19.99), the collected edition of the first storyline from David Liss’ revival of the pulp hero that I loved based on the first issue but somehow fell off of before the end of that first arc for reasons that escape me. Definitely curious to revisit it.
It’s another quiet week for me, so I’ll jump right to the $30 division and nominate Heavy Metal: The Movie, Expanded Edition as my likely purchase for the week. While I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fan of the film, per se, it holds enough nostalgic power over me (I saw it during my heady teenage years, when cartoon nudity, drug jokes and sci-fi goofiness still had an effect on me) so that I’d at least flip through a copy of this book about the making of the cult, animated film.
As far as splurges go, the MAD Artist’s Edition from IDW, priced at $150, certainly qualifies. Twenty stories from the first, seminal issues of the Harvey Kurtzman comic are included here, scanned from the original art and printed up at a super-duper size. Out of all the Artist Edition books that IDW has been putting out in the past two years or so, this is the one I’d easily shell out serious money for, if just to deepen my appreciation of and for Kurtzman that much more.
There are two comics that fit neatly into my $15 budget this week: X-O Manowar #9 ($3.99), still a must buy for me, and the fourth volume of the strangely compelling manga Flowers of Evil ($10.95), a story of adolescent guilt and sexual manipulation, all wrapped up in a set of stolen gym clothes and the poems of Baudelaire. Sort of.
For $30, I might have to hold off on the X-O Manowar for a bit so I can get Vol. 4 of Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story ($16.99), an exquisite manga about a young woman married to an even younger boy in 19th-century Asia Minor. Mori’s strong sense of design and eye for the telling detail, as well as the beautiful production values, make this a book to buy, read and keep.
For the splurge, though, I’d go in the opposite direction: I like the look of Hellraisers ($22.95), a group biography of four actors who were also serious partiers: Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole and Oliver Reed. Having grown up watching their movies — and in a time when such behavior wasn’t taken as seriously as it is now — I’m definitely on board with this one. Publisher Self Made Hero does good work, so that seals the deal. And since I’m going off the deep end anyway, I’ll add the Complete Crumb Comics, Vol. 3: Starring Fritz the Cat ($19.99), from Fantagraphics, so I can relive my wasted youth in full archival style.
If I had $15, I’d check out a couple of the same new series as Graeme: Young Avengers #1 ($2.99) and The Answer! #1 ($3.99). Jamie McKelvie’s art on Young Avengers looks super-fun, as does the entire concept behind The Answer! (an insomniac, puzzle-loving librarian joins forces with a mysterious crime-fighter to investigate a motivational speaker). Actually, my shopping cart continues to look like his when I add in Stumptown: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case #5 ($3.99) and only deviates when I grab FF #3 ($2.99), Matt Fraction’s other must-buy comic.
With $30, I’d just add more single-issues to the pile, starting with The Massive #8 ($3.50) and moving on to some female heroes with Bionic Woman #7 ($3.99), Wonder Woman #16 ($2.99), and It Girl and the Atomics #6 ($2.99). I’m disappointed that Supergirl isn’t on my list for the first time since it launched, but I didn’t at all enjoy the first couple of installements of the current “H’el on Earth” crossover. I might pick up the series again when that’s done, but not without a flip-through first. I’m spooked on Supergirl‘s ability to fly smoothly through crossovers, and since I don’t imagine DC’s going to quit doing those, I don’t know how invested I want to get.
There’s nothing huge I want to splurge on this week, so I’d likely use any mad money on a couple of more singles: Godzilla #9 ($3.99) and The Spider #8 ($3.99).