Buying comics can be an expensive hobby. A lot of fans simply can’t afford everything they’re interested in, due to rising prices and the over-saturation of the market with superhero titles.
That’s why we’re here. The point of Comics Should Be Cheap! is to ask “What would you buy this week if you couldn’t go over $20?,” as well as to offer those who only buy comics in paperbacks and hardcovers the ideal choice of the week. Hopefully we can help those of you who might have similar tastes make your own decisions in buying comics on a budget. Feel free to share your own list in the comments!
In tandem with the site relaunch, Comics Should Be Cheap! is undergoing a format change in order to best serve the new direction of the site – most notably, there is only one list. The current format is still under revision, so be sure to let us know what other features, along those that were added this week, would be helpful for your comic budgeting convenience.
Pick of the Week: Mystery in Space #1 ($7.99)
I love anthologies in general, as I would rather gamble more money on a comic with multiple stories than one which may end up being a complete waste of cash, but I am even more excited about this one because of three names: Mike Allred, Kyle Baker, and Paul Pope. Three of the brightest comic creators of our time, all in one anthology? That is worth the price of admission alone. With a host of other great comic writers and artists making appearances, there is no comic coming out this week that is as much of a safe bet as this one. Assuming that DC’s advertisement of the comic as eighty pages means story pages, this seemingly expensive comic is 9.9 cents per page, compared to DC’s typical 14.9 cents per page – yet another reason why you should pick it up, despite the price tag.
Batman #9 ($3.99) – We waited for him to finally get his hands on Bruce himself, and the wait was well worth it – Scott Snyder’s “Batman” has been receiving almost unanimous praise, from longtime Bat-fans and superhero skeptics alike. “Batman” is one of the few New 52 books I still find worth reading, as Snyder knows how to tell a damn good story. Not only that, but he is being supported by a fantastic artistic team; Jonathan Glapion’s inks almost perfectly complement the easily readable and action-packed line art of Greg Capullo, while colorist Fco Plascencia is the underrated marvel that brings everything together. My only lament is that the book is now $3.99, in time for the crossover, but with Rafael Albuquerque drawing the backup, that is an extra dollar well spent.
Fatale #5 ($3.50) – This comic cannot be given enough praise. The longtime, excellent partnership of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips has knocked another one out of the park with this new ongoing. I know a few people hesitated when they heard that the pair were taking their normal noir vibe deep into horror territory, but there is no reason to worry; they pull it off flawlessly. After all, horror stories such as H. P. Lovecraft’s were originally published in magazines similar to those that hosted the pulp fiction stories that gave birth to film noir, and adventure comics themselves. Even if you have to resort to reprints, be sure to pick up every issue of this series so far.
Skullkickers #14 ($3.50) – The most fun comic on the shelves right now, “Skullkickers” is finally kicking up the world-building. In this issue, we finally learn the secret history of Baldy’s gun, and if you are a fan of the series you know this will be nothing to miss. This is, however, my swap pick of the week; I love “Skullkickers” adamantly, but I understand that fantasy/comedy may not be to everyone’s taste. Feel free to switch it out with something else if you are more into, say, superheroes – it is your loss, after all, not mine.
Total: $18.98 – Groan for paying for the digital copy of a comic you already own and get the combo pack of “Batman” for a dollar more, if you want.
What Didn’t Make It: The only negative mark against “Mystery in Space,” CSBC-wise, is that a lot of great comics that otherwise would have been picked did not make the list. Marvel has been putting out some great comics lately. “The Ultimates” #10, “Wolverine and the X-Men” #10, “Ultimate Comics: X-Men” #11, and “Uncanny X-Force” #25 – all $3.99 except for the $4.99 “X-Force” – are all sure to be enjoyable at the very least, just like every respective issue that came before. Unfortunately, though, they are not enticing enough for my own list – though I can perfectly understand if they make it onto your own. My personal recommendations would be the two Ultimate books, as they come with free download codes. Thief of Thieves #4 ($2.99) suffered a similar fate; I have enjoyed the series immensely, but in the end, I want the other books more. Still, do not forget to check it out if you have not already!
There are also a few comics out this week that might be worth checking out, but might be a bit more risky. The Immonens are taking over “Avenging Spider-Man” #7 for an issue, featuring She-Hulk as the guest star, and while the two are both immensely talented creators, $3.99 is a bit steep for a one-shot. Similarly, it is hard to resist a new series from a legendary creator such as John Byrne, but the mixture of his less-than-spotless track record lately and the $3.99 cover price makes me hesitant to pick up “Trio” #1. Nor am I excited for the new “Takio” ongoing; I am all for all-ages comics, but I found the original graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming lackluster, and a $3.95 cover price does not exactly make me willing to give it a second chance. Finally, there is “Morning Glories” #18, which did not make the list for one reason: I am a few issues behind. My bad!
Trade of the Week: Silver Surfer: Parable ($24.99)
Almost fifteen years since it was last reprinted in the United States, Stan Lee and Moebius’s “Silver Surfer: Parable” is finally available once more. From a writing perspective, this may be Lee’s crowning achievement; none of the wordiness or melodrama, albeit entertaining melodrama, that is typically with Lee’s writing is present. Every word is heartfelt and profound, and the story is both complex and engaging. In terms of art, what more can be said than “It’s Moebius?” The late Jean Giraud was one of the finest comics artists to grace the medium, and he is in top form on “Parable” – the level of detail is exquisite, and the storytelling is flawless. The only hesitation I had naming this the trade of the week is the inclusion of Lee and Keith Pollards “Silver Surfer: The Enslavers,” whose absence would have probably cut down the cost a bit, but “The Enslavers” is an enjoyable enough yarn in and of itself. If you are unfamiliar with Moebius’s work, “Parable” is a great place to start – believe me, your appetite for his fine lines will be insatiable afterward.
Note: Pictured cover is not the official reprint cover, but the new one only pictures the Silver Surfer as drawn by Moebius on a black background. Really, Marvel? One of the most brilliant comic artists that ever lived, and that’s the cover you use?