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.
This is one of those tough weeks when the floppies aren’t doing it for me, so I want graphic novels, and graphic novels aren’t cheap. At the $15 level, I’ll pick up vol. 1 of Soulless ($12.99), Yen Press’s manga-style adaptation of the first volume of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. With a sharp-witted heroine pitted against vampires and werewolves, and detailed yet dynamic art by the talented rem, it is a solid and entertaining read.
My first choice of the week has to wait until I have $30, though, because Faith Erin Hicks’s Friends With Boys is priced at $15.99. Worth it! Hicks is another talented storyteller and her tale of a home-schooled girl starting high school with three brothers looming over her—but without her mother, who has recently left—is funny and sweet and very heartfelt. So when I’m done with the vampire-killings, this is the book I want to read.
For my splurge, I’ll start with the thick second volume of Archie: The Married Life ($19.99), which collects the second six issues of Life With Archie magazine. The “Archie Marries” stories are fast-moving soap operas, and this comic is one of my guilty pleasures. And then I’ll add the first volume of the Girl Genius hardcover omnibus ($34.99), which is truly a splurge as it’s a free webcomic, but I’d love to have this one in print, for keeps.
Mention the word “Crisis” to a comics fan and the next thing that springs to mind is time-traveling, continuity-bending, cape-wearing antics on an epic scale. But what if it’s all sent in an economy-size flat?
In Action Lab‘s Space-Time Condominium, writer/artist Dave Dwonch pairs Crisis On Infinite Earths with Three’s Company as one man tries to live with four alternate reality versions of himself. With a mysterious figure known only as the Gatekeeper pulling the strings like some sort of Anti-Monitor version of Mr. Roper, this guy — Griffin Griffins — has to deal with four more Griffin Griffins. (Four Griffinses?)
The upstart company Action Lab is releasing this as a limited edition book, with all 500 copies hand-numbered and signed by Dwonch. It’s the latest in the publisher’s “Signature Series” showcasing up-and-coming talent with their first major work on comic shelves.