Holiday Geek Gift Guide 2011: Comic Books (Part 1)
By Hunter Camp
Monday, November 28th, 2011 at 8:21 pm
Put on your coats and caps, everybody! There’s pine needles on the living room floor, snow on the ground, and a scent of cinnamon in the air. Your dogs and cats are tearing apart wrapping paper, your family’s in town, and you can’t stop drinking eggnog for some reason. That could only mean one thing, folks, it’s the nondescript religious holiday season! And that means that it’s time to go into credit card debt so that you can show those closest to you that you care, you know? And to make it a little bit easier on you guys, we here at Geeks of Doom have been shoveling our driveways so that we can deliver to you this, The Holiday Geek Gift Guide! The best gifts possible for the geeks on you gift-giving list!
In this section, I’m going to tell you about several comics from across the nerd-sphere that you can give to that very special comic book geek in your life. In the description for each comic, I’ve broken down some info on who these books are perfect for. So open your eyes, open your hearts, and open your minds to some great gifts for all the comic book fans that you know. There’s literally something for everyone here, and each of the books are great starting points. So, even if your friends are not comic book readers, this might get them in the mood to keep going. Merry merry, everybody!
Absolute Batman: Hush (DC Comics – $99.99): I’m going to start this off by saying that I’m not Hush’s biggest fan, I am however in the minority. So many people look at Hush as the defining moment in their Batman fandom, and with the team up two of the most popular creators of all time, Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee, on this book, this result is absolutely the furthest thing from a surprise. Featuring the majority of Batman’s rogues gallery, Jim Lee’s unique take on these characters is a sight to behold, regardless if I’m a fan or not. And no matter what the content, Absolute Editions from DC Comics are always awesome. So, even without liking the story that much, I still want a copy of this? How could I not, honestly? It’s a reprint, but if you’re looking to buy a present for a comic book fan in your life, this is a safe bet, as are any of the others Absolute Editions.
Absolute Identity Crisis (DC Comics – $99.99): This is pretty much in the same boat with Absolute Hush for me. I’m not a huge fan of the story, honestly, but again, it’s going to be an absolutely (no pun) amazing presentation. But again, it’s important to note that I’m in the minority of this book again. The large majority of DC Comics, and comics fan in general, adore this book. It’s metaphorically about the death of The Silver Age of comic books, and is handled incredibly well, but I personally do not like a lot of the content. Rags Morales’ art, on the other hand, is gorgeous. So, to have the art in the Absolute Edition’s oversized format is something that any collector out there will want on their book shelves. As I said, it’s a favorite of many comic book fans out there, so if you got some murder mystery fans out there who haven’t read this, make sure to pick this up to make their holiday happy.
Batman: The Black Mirror HC (DC Comics – $29.99): This book has to go down in history as one of the greatest of all times. Collecting Detective Comics 871-881, this Dick Grayson Batman epic is a must read for any fan of the medium. The story itself is about Dick Grayson’s test by the city of Gotham and how he either passes or fails that test by going up against a foe that was closer to him than anyone could imagine. There are a lot of red herring and subplots, but Scott Snyder weaves the story together like a master tailor. And the art in this book is absolutely nothing to scoff at, either. In what could be arguably described as the best work in their careers thus far, artists Jock (with coloring by David Baron) and Francesco Francavilla provide the the landscape that gives Gotham City the ability to live and breathe. Jock handles the Batman story, which I’ve previously discussed, but Francavilla handles the absolutely gorgeous and intriguing detective story of Commissioner James Gordon. I’m not going to get into any details, but the separate stories connect, and when they do, it’s glorious. If you or a loved one haven’t already gotten this, make sure to do so now.
Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus Vol. 1 Paperback (DC Comics – $39.99): This comic might be my favorite collection. And I’ve got a little story to tell about it, if you’ll indulge me. Even if you refuse, I’ll tell you anyway. There were four hardcovers in the Fourth World series by Jack Kirby that were previously released. And like a lot of people, I delayed my reading of them until it was convenient for me, but what happened didn’t end up being convenient at all! You see, my wife (who is the greatest wife in the world) bought be the first volume of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus for Christmas last year. I read it, and then I fell in love. Head over heels, stupid, blissful love. With the comics. But, unfortunately the second volume was out of print! How could I go on?? I couldn’t! But when I found out DC Comics would be reissuing this series in paperback, my love was renewed! DC Comics will be rereleasing the entire set of this comic series in paperback, so if you missed the boat before, this is your chance to get your hands on some of the most dynamic comics of all time. Kirby is Kirby. His work is amazing, crazy, and action packed. It remains as a reminder of comics from a specific time period while also seeming miles ahead of where we are even today. It’s galactic, exciting and the intricate details that tie together Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen to The New Gods is a key inspiration for the majority of comics creators today. I cannot stress to you enough how important and enjoyable this book is. Please buy it for someone you love. And if you can’t think of anyone to buy it for, buy it for me. I’m a format nerd and need the paperback if I’m going to continue on with the future volumes! Also, the pre-order for volume two is available, as well. Get this for anybody that you know that loves science fiction and high concepts.
The New Teen Titans Omnibus (DC Comics – $75.00): Marv Wolfman and George Perez team up to bring an exciting and ambitious tale of a bunch of teen heroes in the DC Universe when they form their own team and shed the “sidekick” role. You may be familiar with this series, and you should be. Heck, you may even already have all of the comics on your iPad, your longbox, or even on your bookshelf in smaller editions, but as any master chef knows, it’s all about the presentation. And the presentation of The New Teen Titans Omnibus is incredible. It’s massive, but included in these 464 pages is an exciting and dramatic story about the relationships between some of the most popular characters in the history of comics. It’s universally lauded with good reason, so even if you have read the material in this collection, your bookshelf is empty without the presence of The New Teen Titans Omnibus. The whole run isn’t collected in here, but the second volume is already up for pre-order.
Hark! A Vagrant (Drawn and Quarterly – $19.95): Collecting the first set of the incredibly web comic by Kate Beaton, Hark! A Vagrant is a beautiful and small hardcover that showcases amazing comic strips about the cartoonist’s interpretation of European, Canadian, American and world history, as well as her hilarious perspective of classic literature. It’s intelligent, funny, and honestly amazing. The comic strips are, as I said, hilarious, and the art in the book is funny too, but it’s also outstandingly expressive, which is not something you always see in a cartoonist’s web comic. It went over my head a lot of times when European and Canadian history were being critiqued, but there was humor still to be found, and the footnotes below the strips helped out a lot. In fact, I felt smarter after reading Hark! A Vagrant. Beaton and Drawn and Quarterly put together an amazing collection, and I can’t wait for more. So, get this for someone that’s really into literature or history. Also, Sexy Batman. Always Sexy Batman.
We3 (DC Comics/Vertigo – $24.99): I love Grant Morrison. That’s not a surprise. And it’s also not a surprise that I’m not the only one that loves Grant Morrison. Morrison has a specific style that appeals to a lot of comic book readers because he loves the medium as much as we do. There’s no questioning his popularity, and while he does attract a lot of readers, he also turns away quite a few, as well. And that’s completely understandable. Except for when in comes to We3. We3 is the story about three animals, a dog, a cat, and a rabbit that are weaponized to fight for the government. But what happens is nothing that anyone could have expected. What happens is the most heart warming and heart breaking comic that Grant Morrison has ever written. Whenever Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely work together on any project whether it be All Star Superman, Justice League, Batman and Robin, or Flex Mentallo, you know that’s it will be something special because they both bring out the best in each other. And We3 is no exception. It’s dynamic and ground breaking while not halting the story, but the story also exalts the art. It’s gorgeous and brilliant, and the oversized deluxe edition of the comic does nothing but enhance it’s amazingness. It’s seriously one of my favorite comics ever and this year’s reprinting of the book is perfect for any gift giving occasion especially for any animal lover.
The New York Five (DC Comics/Vertigo – $14.99): There are certain creative teams that bring out the best in each other. Before I mentioned Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely as a team that does this, but they’re not the only ones. Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly are one of the best creative teams working in comics. With Local and The New York Four, they broke barriers in creativity by telling incredible stories about young women making it on their own while addressing all of the things that affect young people. And while the subject matter in these stories is specific to the characters, the stories appeal to anyone has made it through this age period. Both Local and The New York Four were able to reach and mean something to me, a 28-year-old grown man. They are stories of real life. Troubles, happiness, family drama and many other things are within these comics. They show all that comics can do. And with the book in question, New York Five, it’s a continuation of the story within New York Four. When Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly create together, they always catch lightening in a bottle as everything they do is amazing. New York Five is no exception and would make either an amazing television show or movie. This book is not very expensive and is a safe bet for any college aged or older person in your life.
Skullkickers Vol. 1 & 2 (Image Comics):Skullkickers is one of my favorite monthly comics. It’s a creator owned series about two lovably rough and tumble guys in a middle aged fantasy realm. It’s perfect for anyone that loves fantasy gaming, metal, or fun. An absolute must read.
The Sixth Gun Vol. 1 & 2 (Oni Press):The Sixth Gun is also one of my favorites, it’s a supernatural/western comic with high action and loads of fun.
DC Comics: The New 52 (DC Comics): I kinda have to put this on here, it’s a mega collection that holds the first issues of all of the DC books from their recent relaunch. I hate the idea of it, but I can’t help myself for wanting this. This is an absolute perfect holiday gift.
The Archie Archives (Vol. 1, 2, 3) (Dark Horse Comics/Archie Comics): Dark Horse Comics has done an amazing job with their archive collections of previously published material. Even if you’re not a fan of the Archie line of comics, the book itself is presented in an amazing way. People may say that they don’t like Archie, but these books looks amazing and will be a prized piece for any collector.
Creepy and Eerie Archives (Dark Horse Comics): Pretty much the same thing as the Archie Archives, but with classic horror comics. The art in these things is to die for.
AMAZON SHIPPING INFORMATION
If you’re ordering through Amazon.com in the United States, here’s their ordering deadlines for delivery on or before Christmas Eve (12/24) for items in-stock shipped to physical addresses within the United States and marked “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com” or “Fulfilled by Amazon.com.”
– December 15th – FREE Super Saver Shipping* [Last full day to order]
– December 19th – Standard Shipping [Last full day to order]
– December 20th – Two-Day Shipping (FREE with Amazon Prime), Last full day to order
– December 21st – Two-Day Shipping (FREE with Amazon Prime) – Order as late as 8pm PST (varies by item); One-Day Shipping ($3.99 with Amazon Prime) Last full day to order
– December 22nd – One-Day Shipping ($3.99 per item with Amazon Prime). Order as late as 4:30pm PST [varies by item]
– December 23rd – Last-Minute Christmas Delivery ($9.99/item with Amazon Prime) While available (varies by item)
– December 24th – ($3.99/item with Amazon Prime) While available (select cities, varies by item)
– December 25th – Christmas Day: Email and printable gift cards can be sent immediately, at any time.
*Super Saver Shipping is FREE on orders $25 and over.
Remember, if all else fails, there’s also the Amazon.com Gift Card, you can have emailed to the recipient (arrives immediately) or you can print out the gift card at home and give it to the intended that way. If you order in enough time, you can get the physical gift card sent to you.