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Food or Comics? | Char-broiled Chase

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

DMZ #72

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d reverently pick up the big release of the week: the final issue of DMZ, #72 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). Wood and Burchielli have done something special here, and I easily see the series taking its place next to Preacher and Transmet as Vertigo (and mature comic) staples. Next up I’d get a dose of a new Vertigo series, Spaceman #3 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99); Azzarello and Risso definitely zigged when most thought they would zag, and in this shaking off of the long shadow of 100 Bullets they’ve created something decidedly unique and spellbinding. Next up I’d get another DC book, this time All Star Western #4 (DC, $3.99); I’ve really enjoyed Palmiotti and Gray taking Jonah Hex into the big city here and opening up the world and heroes of these tumbleweed times, and I’m excited for the new back-up featuring a literal firebrand of a female. Finally, my last book on a $15 budget would be Avengers: Children’s Crusade #8 (Marvel, $3.99); I could write a whole article on how the schedule’s affected this book, but despite all that what we’ve got is a great story. Despite all the delays, I’m apprehensive about the final issue because it’ll probably be the last we’ll see of Allan Heinberg in the Marvel U for a long time.

If I had $30, I’d thank the yuletime gods and pick up the vibrant new issue of Haunt, #20 (Image, $2.99). I don’t know what’s in the water at Image, but they’ve orchestrated a series of recent inspired and left-field revamps of their books: Casey/Fox on Haunt, the upcoming Keatinge/Campbell on Glory, Graham/Roy on Prophet. Next up I’d get Top Cow’s Artifacts #12 (Image/Top Cow, $3.99); I admit coming onto this series late, but thanks to a plush assignment I was able to tear through the past two years of Top Cow comics and found I really enjoyed their current event book. After I read and re-read that book, I’d get a double-shot of Marvel with Captain America & Bucky #625 (Marvel, $2.99) and FF #13 (Marvel, $2.99); love what the writers are doing here, but the recent choices by editors for their new artists have made both these books even more enticing for me. Juan Bobillo drawing Hickman’s scripts on FF especially gives it a creepy vibe I’d love to see more of. Speaking of art, my final pick for this final week of the year would be the artistic tour de force of Flash #4 (DC, $2.99); Manapul and Buccellato are really showing their stuff, providing story to enable Manapul to do some of the most dynamic and heart-wrenching work of his career. In the back of my mind I’m worried what happens when Manapul needs a break from drawing: much like finding an appropriate artist for J.H. Williams 3 to rotate with on Batwoman, a suitable second for The Flash will be hard to come by.

My splurge this week is the under-the-radar collection Broadcast TV: Doodles of Henry Flint (Markosia, $19.99). I’d buy an art book by Henry Flint on face value alone, but from the limited previews I’ve seen of the book online it’s something far, far more unique. These are off-hand doodles Flint’s done in his spare time over the past five years, but I’m not talking about quick sketches: “doodles” as in ornate mind-benders where Flint literally doodled his heart out. Once I get this in my merry hands, I’ll be going over it with a fine tooth comb, magnifying glass and anything else I can find.

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Wonder Woman hardcover due next May

Wonder Woman #6

DC Comics completed their list of 52 collections for the new 52 relaunch titles by announcing that a Wonder Woman hardcover, collecting issues #1-6 of the series by writer Brian Azzarello and artists Cliff Chiang and Tony Akins, will come out next May. The 144-page book will retail for $22.99.

DC announced via their January solicitations that Akins, who has previously drawn Jack of Fables, Elementals and, with Azzarello, a comic called Red Dragon from the now defunct Comico, would fill in for artist Cliff Chiang on issue #5 and #6. According to Chiang on Twitter, he’ll be back on the book with issue #7.

Food or Comics? | Vess, Wonder Woman, Mudman and more


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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Graeme McMillan

What’s that, you say? Paul Grist’s new Mudman series starts this week (#1, Image Comics, $3.50)? Well, that’s how I’m starting my $15 haul this week. While I’m at it, let’s add Avengers Origins: Luke Cage #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and Kirby Genesis: Captain Victory #1 (Dynamite, $3.99), before finishing up with the third issue of Wonder Woman (DC, $2.99) for a superheroic week that goes from the earth to the gods, with some blaxploitation and aliens thrown in the middle for flavor.

DC would dominate the other half of my budget if I had $30. I’d be grabbing the third issues of Green Lantern Corps, Justice League and Supergirl ($2.99 each, except Justice League for $3.99), but I’m surprising myself as much as anyone else by grabbing The Bionic Man #4 (Dynamite, $3.99) for my final pick – I read the first three issues in a bunch this weekend and really enjoyed the book to date much more than I’d been expecting.

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Comics A.M. | Direct market tops $40 million in October

Justice League #2

Comics | John Jackson Miller slices and dices the October numbers for the direct market, noting that overall dollar orders for comic books, trade paperbacks, and magazines topped $40 million for the first time since September 2009. Orders rose 6.9 percent over September, the first month of DC’s relaunch. “While that may sound counter-intuitive, it isn’t when you consider that all those first issues continued to have reorders selling through October,” Miller writes. “Retailers with an eye on the aftermarket may also have some sense that second issues are historically under-ordered — something which goes at least back to the experience of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #2 in the 1980s, which wound up being much more valuable than its first issue.” [The Comichron]

Passings | Tom Spurgeon reports that author Les Daniels has passed away. Daniels wrote horror fiction and nonfiction books on the comic industry, which include Comix: A History of the Comic Book in America, Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics and DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes. [The Comics Reporter]

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What Are You Reading? with Nate Powell

Big Questions

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where every week we talk about the comics, books and other stuff we’ve been reading lately.

Our special guest this week is musician and comic creator Nate Powell, who you might know from his most recent graphic novel, Any Empire, or the Ignatz and Eisner Award-winning Swallow Me Whole. When he’s not creating comics, he’s hanging out at the United Nations with the likes of R.L. Stine, Ann M. Martin and other teen-fiction writers in support of What You Wish For, a collection of young adult stories and poems. Proceeds from the book will be used to fund libraries in Darfuri refugee camps in Chad.

To see what Nate and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Comics A.M. | ComiXology top iPad app for past six Wednesdays

Comics by comiXology

Digital | Comics by ComiXology has topped Apple’s charts as the top-grossing iPad application for the last six Wednesdays. ComiXology cited the launch of DC’s New 52 initiative, as well as many other comic companies moving to a same-day digital release schedule, as reasons for its success. “When have comic books, not comic book movies, not comic book merchandise, but the actual comic books been #1 in anything, much less high tech?” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. “Being the number one grossing iPad application six Wednesdays in a row isn’t just a huge milestone for comiXology, but a huge milestone for comics as a medium … and we could not be prouder.” [press release]

Creators | An auction for the naming rights to a character in Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ The Secret Service raised $5,100 for St. Bartholomew’s Primary School, where Millar attended. The money will be used to pay for field trips for the school’s students. “I’m a former pupil at St. Bartholomew’s and have so many great memories of the place,” Millar said. “I know there’s not a lot of money in local government at the moment and I was sad to hear that the annual school trip for the children had been cancelled. By establishing this fund, I hope to have a pot the head-teacher can dip into every Christmas and take the entire school to a pantomime every year.” [Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser]

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Food or Comics? | Heaping helpings of Kirby, Manara, X-Men and more

Wolverine and the X-Men #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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d be a judicious comics buyer and pick the top four out of over 20 titles I’d want this week. DC/Vertigo makes it slightly easier by making the new Brian Azzarello/Eduardo Risso joint Spaceman #1 only $1. This dollar price point for first issues combined with the $9.99 price point they sometimes do for the first volume of comic trade paperbacks surely gets a lot of traction. Next up I’d get Jason Aaron’s new era of the X-Men in Wolverine & X-Men #1 (Marvel, $3.99) with Chris Bachalo. I’d also get my regular pulls of DMZ #70 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and The Walking Dead #90 (Image, $2.99) and last–but first in my stack to read-–would be Secret Avengers #18 (Marvel, $3.99). I hear some Ellis guy is writing it, but the big draw for me is artist David Aja. His Iron Fist run is one of my top favs in comics in the past ten years, and he’s a titan in my book.

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Food or Comics? | Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Batman in a tub

Batman #2

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Michael May

If I had $15, I’d mostly grab the second issues of some DC stuff I enjoyed last month: Batman ($2.99), Birds of Prey ($2.99), and especially Wonder Woman ($2.99). No Justice League for me though. Unlike Action Comics, I didn’t enjoy the first issue enough that I can rationalize paying $4 for it. Instead, I’ll grab Avengers 1959 #2 ($2.99) and Red 5’s Bonnie Lass #2 ($2.95), both of which had strong first issues.

If I had $30, I’d have to put back Bonnie Lass and wait for the collection in order to afford Jonathan Case’s atomic-sea-monster-love-story Dear Creature ($15.99).

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The numbers are bad, Wonder Woman! The numbers are bad!

From Wonder Woman #2, by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang

It’s perhaps a little fitting that Wonder Woman’s first post-relaunch visit to Themyscira, a magical, hidden island that can teleport to any location or time, should have echoes of Lost. In the preview of this week’s Wonder Woman #2, from the Maxim magazine website of all places, we get our first exposure to the (re-) rebranded Paradise Island, complete with unnerving, and downright threatening, whispers, and Others Amazons emerging from the shadows of the jungle.

Also worth noting: Queen Hippolyta is blonde again, for the firs time since, when, the 1987 relaunch? Wonder Woman #2, by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, goes on sale Wednesday.

Wonder Woman gets a fill-in artist in January (Plus, DC covers!)

Wonder Woman #5, by Cliff Chiang

DC Comics has begun parceling out its January solicitations ahead of the full release this afternoon, revealing Tony Akins as the first fill-in artist for Wonder Woman. As noted last week, Cliff Chiang will still provide the cover for Issue 5, which finds Diana back home in London dealing with “two of the most powerful deities of the pantheon.”

Chiang and Wonder Woman writer Brian Azzarello had one of the most acclaimed debuts in DC’s New 52.

Beyond that, the creative teams in the Justice League, Superman and Batman groups, the only solicitations released so far, appear stable in the fifth month of DC’s relaunch. The covers range from dazzling — Wonder Woman by Chiang, Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and Batgirl by Adam Hughes are particularly noteworthy —  to confounding. Starfire appears to be bleeding from her hair on Red Hood and the Outlaws (damned cheap Tamaranian dye jobs), while the covers of Detective Comics and Superman employ some oddly executed split images.

And then there’s the enormous demonic creature gnawing on Nightwing …

Check out some of the highlights, and lowlights, below, and visit Comic Book Resources at 2 p.m. PT to see DC’s full solicitations for January.

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NYCC | DC Comics reveals Wonder Woman’s father is …

New York Comic Con may not kick off for another couple of days, but DC Comics is already parceling out some of its big announcements. On Sunday, there was news that Andy Kubert will join Grant Morrison for two issues of Action Comics, and now comes word that another major change is in store for Wonder Woman.

The New York Post reports that after nearly 70 years, the Amazing Amazon will receive … a father. Warning: Spoilers!

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DC’s push for the New 52: Batman, Wonder Woman and mental health

From Batman #1, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo

With another wave of debuts for DC Comics’ New 52 — including Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Legion of Super-Heroes — comes another round of previews, interviews and assorted articles. Here are some of the highlights.

• Vulture previews the highly anticipated debut of Batman, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, and chats briefly with the writer about the appeal of the Caped Crusader: “What appeals to me, no matter who’s in the cowl, is how Gotham City challenges them. Gotham is almost a nightmare generator, filled with villains that seem to represent an extension of Batman’s greatest fears. A lot of his greatest villains feel like mirrors: the Joker is who Batman would be if he broke his rule and fell into madness; Two Face is a mockery of the duality of his life. But what I love about Bruce in particular, and the reason I’m so excited to be doing Batman, is he’s a superhero that has no powers. He takes it upon himself to go out every night, punish himself, and be the best out there. To me, that is both incredibly heroic and exciting, but also really pathological and obsessive.”

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Wonder Woman wields a bloody labrys in Cliff Chiang’s promo art

Wonder Woman promotional art by Cliff Chiang

A lovely new piece of art popped up last night on Tumblr for Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s upcoming run on Wonder Woman. New to us, in any case, as Chiang writes that it’s actually “an early promo image we cooked up to visualize our take on Wonder Woman. The original version has pants!”

Wonder Woman #1, by Azzarello and Chiang, arrives Sept. 21.

Relaunched Wonder Woman is ‘a horror book,’ Brian Azzarello says

From Wonder Woman #1

If you’ve been worrying about what direction DC Comics’ beleaguered Wonder Woman title might take with the September relaunch, writer Brian Azzarello offers reassurance that likely will either leave you screeching with joy, or clutching your heart.

“People need to relax, she’s not wearing pants,” he tells the Coventry Telegraph. “But it’s not going to be a superhero book. I can guarantee you that, it’s not a superhero book. It’s a horror book.”

That, of course, puts into perspective the solicitation text for the first three issues of the series, by Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang, which has been sprinkled with … well, let’s call it foreboding. Plus, there’s the cover for November’s Issue 3.

However, if the idea of Wonder Woman as horror doesn’t exactly instill you with confidence — I’m intrigued by the possibility — there’s the insistence by Azzarello that this is a “soft reboot,” meaning he and Chiang aren’t jettisoning the character’s history. But more importantly, there’s his assertion that DC’s “Trinity” concept hasn’t really worked — “There’s Superman and there’s Batman and there’s everybody else” — but that it can.

“The first issue’s all done and we’re running right up to the edge, as far as what we can get away with,” Azzarello tells the newspaper. “We’re pushing the envelope with this one. I firmly believe that that’s what this character needs right now.”

Wonder Woman #1 arrives in stores on Sept. 21.

SDCC ’11 | Second ‘Comics-On Tees’ features Azzarello, Risso, Bermejo, more

T-shirt website Threadless has released another round of “Comics-On Tees,” this time featuring the artwork of Eduardo Risso, Lee Bermejo, Matheus Lopes and Dave Johnson. The four shirts tell a story that was written by Brian Azzarello, called “Sorry Babe…”

You can find all four shirts on the Threadless site.

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