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Letters From Arkham: Top 10 Books For Your Buck

Written by John Lewis on Sunday, May 17 2009 and posted in Features
{nomultithumb} dynamo5trade1.jpgSince every buck counts nowadays, here's the ten best comic book deals:

10. Dynamo 5 Vol. 1: Post-Nuclear Family TP
Publisher: Image
Number of Issues: 7
Page Count: 176
Price: $9.99 ($0.06/page)
Description from Publisher: He was the world's greatest hero, but Captain Dynamo was not a faithful husband. Now he's dead and his family is trying to piece their lives together. As his enemies descend on his unprotected city, Captain Dynamo's widow rounds up his five illegitimate children, each of whom have inherited one of their father's super-powers. Can these total strangers come to terms with their powers, their father's legacy and each other as total chaos erupts?
Why should you pick it up?: At only ten bucks, this is the cheapest trade/graphic novel on this list. Enough said.

blankets.jpg9. Blankets TP
Publisher: Top Shelf
Number of Issues: N/A
Page Count: 592
Price: $29.95 ($0.05/page)
Description from Publisher: N/A
Why should you pick it up?: Blankets is considered to be one of the best graphic novels out there. At five cents a page and only 30 bucks, it's not a bad deal for a classic.

bottomlessbellybutton.jpg8. Bottomless Belly Button TP
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Number of Issues: N/A
Page Count: 720
Price: $29.99 ($0.04/page)
Description from Publisher: Bottomless Belly Button is a comedy-drama that follows the dysfunctional adventures of the Loony Family.

After 40-some years of marriage, Maggie and David Loony shock their children with their announcement of a planned divorce. But the reason for splitting isn't itself shocking: they’re "just not in love any more." The announcement sparks a week long Loony family reunion at Maggie and David's creepy (and possibly haunted) beach house. (
Why should you pick it up?: The main characters are Loonies. Good enough for me.

scudwholeshebang.jpg7. Scud: The Whole Shebang TP
Publisher: Image
Number of Issues: N/A
Page Count: 786
Price: $29.99 ($0.04/page)
Description from Publisher: In the world of Scud, bullets are cheaper than human life. Corner vending machines provide any weapon you might need. The most popular weapons are Scud disposable assassins: Robot hitmen that self-destruct when they kill their target. This volume follows Scud 1373, assigned to take out a hideous female man-eater named Jeff. While fighting the indestructible Jeff, Scud discovers his infamous warning panel in a bathroom mirror. Realizing that to kill Jeff is to kill himself, Scud blows off her arms and legs and hospitalizes her. Her life support bills will have to be paid, and Scud will have to find more work to stay alive.
Why should you pick it up?: Getting a complete run of a comic either requires very deep pockets or not caring that the series has only been out for a short time and so it doesn't matter that you have all of the issues as does everyone else. With Scud: The Whole Shebang, you're getting a crapload (scientific term) of stuff for a cheap price.

zot.jpg6. Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Number of Issues: N/A
Page Count: 576
Price: $24.95 ($0.04/page)
Description from Publisher: Long before manga took the American comics market by storm, Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics, Making Comics) combined the best ideas from manga, alternative comics, and superheroes into Zot!—a frenetic and innovative exploration of comics' potential that helped set the stage for McCloud's later groundbreaking theoretical work.(
Why should you pick it up?: McCloud's one of the best things to happen to comics in recent years. His instructional books are revered and Zot! shows why. 

watchmen.jpg5. Watchmen TP
Publisher: DC
Number of Issues: 12
Page Count: 416
Price: $19.99 ($0.05/page)
Description from Publisher: It all begins with the paranoid delusions of a half-insane hero called Rorschach. But is Rorschach really insane or has he in fact uncovered a plot to murder super-heroes and, even worse, millions of innocent civilians? On the run from the law, Rorschach reunites with his former teammates in a desperate attempt to save the world and their lives, but what they uncover will shock them to their very core and change the face of the planet! Following two generations of masked superheroes from the close of World War II to the icy shadow of the Cold War comes this groundbreaking comic story — the story of The Watchmen.
Why should you pick it up?: Let's be honest, everybody on here has either read this trade or not bother as they know it's not for them. That said, Watchmen is higher on the list then it deserves to be as everywhere has it right now. If you pick it up for the full price, you are a moron.

savagedragonarchives.jpg4. Savage Dragon Archives Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: Image
Number of Issues: 22
Page Count: 616
Price: $19.99 ($0.03/page)
Description from Publisher: The earliest adventures of fandom's favorite fin-head are collected for the first time in one volume as Savage Dragon defends Chicago from Overlord and the Vicious Circle! Considered by many to be the definitive Savage Dragon saga, this is the complete Overlord epic from start to finish, culminating in a battle that can only end one way! Guest-starring the WildC.A.T.S and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Why should you pick it up?: Savage Dragon is one of the most important and enduring comic book characters from the 90's and this is the proof why.

essentialsilversurfer.jpg3. Essential series
Publisher: Marvel
Number of Issues: Varies
Page Count: 500+
Price: $16.99 ($0.03)
Why should you pick it up?: The main reason is that almost every Marvel character that matters has been covered by these trades.

showcasehousemystery.jpg2. Showcase Presents series
Publisher: DC
Number of Issues: Varies
Page Count: 500+
Price: $16.99 ($0.03)
Why should you pick it up?: Like Marvel's Essentials, Showcase Presents has covered a wide variety of comic book series from DC but there's two good reasons for why it's higher on this list than the Essentials. First, more variety. While Marvel has more material, almost all of it is superhero stuff. Showcase Presents covers everyone from House of Mystery to Adam Strange to Haunted Tank. And secondly, the trades are better quality than the Marvel trades.

bone.jpg1. Bone: One Volume Edition
Publisher: Cartoon Books
Number of Issues: N/A
Page Count: 1300
Price: $39.95 ($0.03/page)
Description from Publisher: An American graphic novel first! The complete 1300-page epic adventure from start to finish in one deluxe trade paperback. Three modern cartoon cousins get lost in a pre-technological valley, speanding a year there making new friends and out-running dangerous enemies. Their many adventures include crossing the local people in The Great Cow Race, and meeting a giant mountain lion called RockJaw: Master of the Eastern Border. They learn about sacrifice and hardship in The Ghost Circles and finally discover their own true natures in the climatic journey to The Crown of Horns.
Why should you pick it up?: This is a classic comic for all ages. I remember enjoying the strips in the Disney Adventures magazine when I was younger and I remember enjoying it when I read this collection about a year ago. Virtually, the comic equivant of the Lord of the Rings series.

EDIT: Outhouse poster nolanjwerner alerted me to the fact that the Northlanders Vol. 1 trade is ten bucks and 200 pages making it a slightly better value than Dynamo 5 Vol. 1.



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