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Food or Comics? | Nutella or Nemo

Welcome to the very last Food or Comics. Next week our new-release picks will take a different format, but this week we’re still talking about what comics we’d buy at our local 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.

Batman Incorporated #8

Batman Incorporated #8

Graeme McMillan

Let’s be honest, if I had $15, I’d make sure that Batman Incorporated #8 (DC Comics, $2.99) was first on my list. Not because of any controversy — I’ve been enjoying the series all along — but because I’d be worried it’d sell out if I waited. I’d also grab two Dynamite books: Jennifer Blood #23 and Masks #4 (both $3.99); Al Ewing has done just insane, amazing things on the former, and the Chris Roberson/Dennis Calero team on the latter is just killing it.

If I had $30, I’d find myself time traveling to all the weeks prior in which I didn’t use all $30 to borrow a dollar from past-me, just so that I could get Showcase Presents Justice League of America, Vol. 6 (DC Comics, $19.99), which takes the series firmly into the 1970s and brings the team face to face with villains including the Shaggy Man, Amazo and countless other favorites of my childhood.

Should I have some splurging left in me after that nostalgia-fest, I’d likely go for the Judge Anderson: PSI Files, Vol. 3 collection (Rebellion, $32.99), which picks the series up just after I’d dropped off the 2000AD radar for awhile, and hopefully gives me the chance to get back into the character, now that I am firmly into Thrill Power again.

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Kieron Gillen on the good, and the terribad, of Young Avengers #1

Terribad?

With Young Avengers #1 on stands for the better part of a week now, writer Kieron Gillen has rolled out a “director’s commentary” of sorts that provides an entertaining and insightful peek behind the scenes of the Marvel series.

For instance, Gillen explains things like his goals for certain scenes, and how artist Jamie McKelvie had to redraw Hulkling’s tentacles, “because they originally looked like big ol’ cocks.” But perhaps most interesting are the defenses he lays out for a couple of criticisms of the issue — one I’d seen pop up online, the other I hadn’t.

The latter is Loki’s use of the portmanteau (it qualifies, yeah?) “terribad” during his confrontation with Miss America. “It’s funny. I got away with the Phone Booth but some people tripped over Terribad, when it’s absolutely IC [in character] for Loki in his mix of bad internet gibberish and old norse,” Gillen writes. “I suspect that’s people who’ve never read any of Kid Loki before. C’est la vie.”

However, it’s his explanation of the double-page title spread following the opening sequence, below, that proves the most engaging (don’t worry, it didn’t eat into the number of story pages).

“It serves a purpose here bar triumphalism,” Gillen writes. “It’s a cold hard break between the opening and the rest of the story – a hard re-set. Lauren did ask about the justification for this seemingly non-related intro, and I explained it to her as a PULP FICTION opening. […] Essentially, it goes quiet-conversation in the style of the film setting mood, exploding into shouted sweary gun-wielding violence, freeze-frame and hard cut to the black screen with the titles and that Dick Dale Guitar. We don’t come back to the young robbers until way into the film, but it doesn’t matter- its initial purpose is that it explains Pulp Fiction in miniature, right there. And then we go to a much slower paced section which builds, etc. You know what the film is from then on in. That’s what the opening was for. The rest of the book is relatively grounded, but in the opening I give a concentrated portrait of the whole vision. This is what we do.”

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Marvel NOW! Test Case 002: Caleb reads Young Avengers #1

In November I decided to use myself as a case study for the first issue of one of the series debuting as part of Marvel NOW!, the publisher’s concentrated, unified effort to sell its comics to a wider audience, which presumably meant luring in lapsed and new readers. That first issue I read was Fantastic Four #1 by Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley; I didn’t much care for it.

This week I picked up Young Avengers #1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton, giving it the same treatment. (Between the two, I also tried Fraction and Mike and Laura Allred’s FF #1 and loved it, but didn’t write about it in this manner because … well, I don’t remember why. Here’s what I said about the first issue the week it was released, though). Ready?

My background: I read the first dozen 2005-2006 Young Avengers comics by creators Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, but gradually lost interest in the characters at about the same rate Heinberg did. Over the years I’ve read various Young Avengers-related comics, most of which Marvel seemed to be producing to fill the demand for Young Avengers comics while waiting for Heinberg to write more: Young Avengers Presents, Civil War: Young Avengers and Runaways, Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers. But when he finally did return, I didn’t.

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Food or Comics? | Yogurt or Young Avengers

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.

Young Avengers #1

Graeme McMillan

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.

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Quote of the Day | ‘On any scale I care about, Bowie is a superhero’

Noh-Varr, from "Young Avengers" #1, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

“The main characters are Wiccan and Hulkling, a young gay couple who have inspired a lot of love and a lot of NSFW Tumblr art. There’s also Kid Loki from my last book, Miss America and a female Hawkeye. Plus there’s Noh-Varr, who’s sort of an alien hipster. The way some kids are obsessed with Japan, he’s obsessed with Earth. David Bowie was the primary influence on Noh-Varr, specifically The Man Who Fell to Earth, a splash of Ziggy and a lot of lithe sexuality. Now Bowie’s back too. On any scale I care about, Bowie is a superhero.”

– writer Kieron Gillen, explaining Marvel’s new Young Avengers to readers of The Guardian

McKelvie’s Captain Marvel, fake elements and more

This week sees the release of Captain Marvel #9 , which boasts a cover by Young Avengers/Phonogram artist Jamie McKelvie … and now you can sport that cover on a T-shirt, available from WeLoveFine.com in both a men’s and women’s versions.

Speaking of WeLoveFine …

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Exclusive Preview | Young Avengers #2

From Young Avengers #2

We’re probably as excited about Young Avengers as we are about any of the titles launching as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative. Not only does the series reunite Phonogram collaborators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, it teams Young Avengers mainstays like Hulking, Wiccan and Kate Bishop with Miss America, Marvel Boy and fan favorite Kid Loki — at least for starters.

“… What I want to do in Young Avengers is build a kind of larger metastructure that you can use to explore any part of the teen-leaning Marvel Universe outside the traditional doctrines of the larger government side heroes,” Gillen told Comic Book Resources in October. “I have a real strong vision for 12 issues. I have no idea if I’ll be staying on after that or going, but I have 12 definitive, brilliant issues, or maybe 13. After that Young Avengers will be set up as a device where you can go to any of the Marvel Universe locales where teen heroes live and work like the West Coast with the Runaways or the Jean Grey School. It’s a very wide ranging book in that way. For me it’s super heroism as a metaphor for talent and deciding what you want to do with it. There’s a line in my original proposal for this that the original Young Avengers book was kind of about being 16. This book is about being 18.”

Although we still have to wait a few weeks for the debut of Young Avengers — Jan. 23, to be exact — Marvel has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at Issue 2, due to arrive Feb. 27:

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Previews: What Looks Good for January

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.

As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1

Graeme McMillan

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1 (of 12): I’m a sucker for Doctor Who, I think I’ve said that before, right …? No surprise, then, that I’m very much looking forward to this year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the BBC science-fiction show, with each issue spotlighting a different incarnation of the character. That Simon Fraser is providing art helps a lot, too; I’ve been a big fan of his “Nikolai Dante” work for 2000AD for a while. (IDW Publishing, $3.99)

One Trick Rip-Off/Deep-Cuts hardcover: Speaking of things that I’m a big fan of, Paul Pope easily fits that bill, so this enhanced reprint of his Dark Horse graphic novel — with more than 150 pages of rare and unseen work from the same period, including his Supertrouble manga — is far too tempting to pass up. (Image Comics, $29.99)

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 (of 4): I was very impressed with Star Trek: Countdown back in 2009, and the way it teased the then-upcoming J.J. Abrams reboot without giving too much away, so I’m looking forward to see if this prologue to this summer’s sequel is just as fun. (IDW, $3.99)

Star Wars #1: Brian Wood and Star Wars feel like an odd pairing in my head, but everything I’ve read about this new ongoing series set after the first movie (which is to say, Episode IV these days) seems completely up my alley, and the 5-year-old within me is completely sold on the chance to see more stories set in the “true” Star Wars era. (Dark Horse, $3.50)

Young Avengers #1: Kieron GIllen and Jamie McKelvie pairing on anything is pretty much a must-read for me, but seeing them let loose on Marvel’s teen characters and seemingly determined to make them actually seem like teenagers. … Yeah, this looks like it may be one of my favorite superhero books in quite some time, I suspect. (Marvel, $2.99)

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Food or Comics? | Havarti or The Hive

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.

The Hive

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d make up for lost time and get the first collection of Mind the Gap (Image, $9.99). Rodin Esquejo is an absolute gem in my opinion, and Jim McCann looks to have crafted a story with some definite suspenseful power. After that I’d get James Stokoe’s Godzilla: Half Century War #3 (IDW, $3.99). This has become one of my favorite serials to come out, which for a work-for-hire book is tough. Instead of doing a story in service of the concept, it uses the concept to create a great story – and Stokoe really loves Godzilla and puts a face to those humans who oppose him. Finally, I’d get the free Cyber Force #1 (Image/Top Cow, $0) because, well, it’s free. I have an unabashed love for the original Cyber Force, and previous reboots haven’t really gelled the way I wanted to. I’m excited to see what Matt Hawkins brings to this, and I’m glad Silvestri is involved even if only on covers and designs.

If I had $30, I’d first stop for Glory #29 (Image, $3.99). I tend to read this series in built-up bursts, and I’m overdue to catch up. I like the monstrous rage Ross Campbell brings to this, and seeing Joe Keatinge capitalize on the artist he has to create a broader story is thrilling. After that I’d get a Marvel three-pack in Hawkeye #3 (Marvel, $2.99), Daredevil #19 (Marvel, $2.99) and AvX Consequences #2 (Marvel, $3.99). I’d buy David Aja illustrating a phone book – seeing him getting a great story is icing on the cake.

If I could splurge, I’d lash onto Charles Burns’ The Hive (Pantheon, $21.95). I’m reluctantly late to the game when it comes to Charles Burns, but X’ed Out clued me into his awesome cartooning power. After devouring his previous work, I’m excited to read The Hive as it first comes out. I don’t quite know what to expect, but after finally coming around to Burn’s skill I’m up for pretty much anything. Continue Reading »

Bryan Lee O’Malley covers Young Avengers #1

As if confirmation that Phonogram collaborators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are reteaming for the Marvel NOW! launch of Young Avengers (followed by CBR’s exclusive first look) weren’t enough cause for celebration, Marvel has provided Newsarama with variant cover for the debut issue by none other than Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley.

“I basically dance like Loki from that young avenger cover, btw,” Gillen offered on Twitter.

The series, which premieres in January, features a lineup that mixes a little of the old with a little of the new: Hulkling, Wiccan, Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Marvel Boy, Miss America and that dancing machine Loki — at least for starters.

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Art Barrage | The return of Paul Pope, among other matters

More proof that Paul Pope’s Battling Boy may actually be about to see the light of day emerges arrives courtesy Mark Siegel’s diary for The Comics Journal. And, providing corroborating evidence that Pope can finish a job as well as start it, he has got a short story, “Treasure Lost,” coming up in Vertigo’s Halloween special Ghosts. Some lovely sci-fi/fantasy art going on in that ‘un, reminding me of those Dune pages he used to do for fun. Check that out, and lots more by Jamie McKelvie, Yuko Shimizu, Jason Shawn Alexander and others below.

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The Middle Ground #123 | Being bad

I feel like I’m being a bad fan by not being too upset by the news that the third series of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Phonogram is going to be delayed until sometime in 2013. Originally quasi-announced in February for a November release, “life happened” as Gillen put it, and now it’s been pushed to an unclear point next year.

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C2E2 | A round-up of news from Sunday

Gambit

The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, wrapped up Sunday, and while there weren’t nearly as many announcements made on Sunday as there were Friday and Saturday, there were a few more tidbits from Marvel and a fun one from BOOM!:

• At the Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel, the company revealed the creative team for the new Gambit ongoing series they started teasing before the show. Writer James Asmus and artist Clay Mann will have the X-Men’s favorite thief stealing items across the Marvel universe, literally, as Asmus promised to send him into space and to “places with Kirby monsters.”

• The Next Big Thing panel also brought the news that Jamie McKelvie will begin drawing Defenders with issue #8.

• Marvel’s Mighty Thor and Journey Into Mystery will crossover later this year in an event called “Everything Burns.” It’ll feature the villain Surtur. “It stretches the whole nine realms. It threatens every pantheon and planet in all creation. When we say ‘everything burns,’ we mean everything. Everything you’ve seen, anything you’ve cared about, anything at all… cinders, dust. It’s big,” JiM writer Kieron Gillen told Newsarama.

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WonderCon | Jamie McKelvie on Captain Marvel’s costume design

Captain Marvel, by Jamie McKelvie

Following Saturday’s announcement at WonderCon in Anaheim, California, that Carol Danvers will become Captain Marvel in a series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy, Jamie McKelvie has offered a little insight into his design for the character’s new costume, writing, “Our idea was to give her a kind of swash-buckling costume that invoked a sense of her history as an Air Force officer. Her hair is slicked back at the sides when in costume — so her Kree-style helmet can form when she needs it.”

Check out McKelvie’s character design below, and be sure to read DeConnick’s interview with Comic Book Resources about the new title.

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Image Expo | Grant Morrison, new Phonogram and much more [Updated]

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl

The first Image Expo kicked off Friday in Oakland, California, with a keynote speech from Publisher Eric Stephenson that emphasized creator relationships as the company’s foundation, and laid out more than a half-dozen titles that will be announced this weekend for release later this year:

Happy!, by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, a mysterious title the writer says is “in a genre I’ve never really tackled before — but with a bizarre twist, of course.” It’s the first of several potential Image projects from Morrison. [iFanboy]

• Confirmation of a third volume of Phonogram, by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, called The Immaterial Girl. Gillen says the six-issue miniseries, which will likely debut in November, is “primarily about the war between coven queen witch Emily Aster and the half of her personality she sold to whatever lies on the other side of the screen. It’s about identity, eighties music videos and further explorations of Phonogram’s core ‘Music = Magic’ thesis. There is horror. There are jokes. There are emotions. There may even be a fight sequence. It also takes A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ with far too much seriousness – which, for us, is the correct amount of seriousness.” [Kieron Gillen’s Workblog]

Chin Music, by Steve Niles and Tony Harris, described by the artist as “a 1930’s Noir, Gangster, horror story.” [Tony Harris]

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