Holiday Geek Gift Guide 2011: Comic Books (Part 2)
Saturday, December 3rd, 2011 at 3:52 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 2011! The best gifts possible for the geeks on you gift-giving list! Last week we brought you Comic Books – Part 1, so check out Part 2 here below!
I’ve read plenty of Hellboy stories before but I’ve never ventured into the B.P.R.D. end of the pool, mostly because I was waiting and hoping that they would receive the same library edition treatment as the main Hellboy stories. Sadly, they are not, but fortunately we have the first two of a planned five hardcovers collecting the entire Plague of Frogs storyline. There are a ton of issues collected here, and over the course of these issues we gain a better understanding of the members of the B.P.R.D., as well as see the first salvos in a long story. I assumed that I would enjoy the story reprinted here, I just didn’t know how much. There are also a ton of behind the scenes stuff that will impress any fan who has read the stories before. Great for fans of Lovecraft and horror in general.
Hellboy: Library Edition, Vol. 4
…Or, you can just go back and pick up the adventures of the original big red monster hunter, with the latest collection of Hellboy presented in the massively oversized Library edition. These Library editions that Dark Horse has released are a true thing of beauty. Great paper stock, wonderful binding. If you want a comic book that doubles as a coffee table book, look no further than this. The only problem with volume four is that it marks the end of writer/artist/Hellboy creator Mike Mignola‘s run as the regular artist on the series. Fret not though, as he is replaced by Richard Corbin and P. Craig Russell, who do a masterful job maintaining the look and feel of the book. I just wish every book could receive the same care these Library editions get. It is well worth the money.
The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects
The last Mike Mignola item on my list is this reprint of one of his shorter comic works. The Amazing Screw-On Head is the story of Screw-On Head, an agent in the employ of President Lincoln. He is sent to track down Emperor Zombie, a villain who encompasses the worst parts of both emperor and zombie. This may be a fairly short book, but it features the always excellent art of Mignola and the story has tons of action and humor. Mignola’s art is up to his usual levels here and his work never disappoints. Screw-On Head is a ton of fun and makes for a light reading that’s great for anyone. You can also check out the animated short featuring Paul Giamatti and Patton Oswalt, and is also excellent.
Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition
The only thing that could make this better is if it came with an actual martini. This massive volume collects the first two volumes of Darwyn Cooke‘s adaptation of Richard Stark’sParker novels (that would be The Hunter and The Outfit). Even if you already have these two books, you’re going to want this new edition for several reasons. First, there are a whole host of extras, including an extended art gallery. Second, there’s a brand new, never before seen 8-page story that’s exclusive to this volume. Third, it’s huuuuuuge! Measuring in at 9″x13″ and over 334 pages, the art will never look better than it’s presented here. Even though I’ve read this before, I can’t wait to dive back in. Plus, this is going to look great on my bookshelf. Now, if only this book could make me a drink, I’d be all set.
Chew Omnivore Edition, Vol. 2
Chew, quite frankly, is the most imaginative series being published by any company. Just look at the high concept: Tony Chu is an investigator for the FDA in an alternate world where the Avian Flu was so bad that chicken was outlawed and the FDA is now the most powerful government enforcement agency. Chu is one of a group of people who have odd food-based powers. Chu is a cibopath, which means he can see the memories of anything he eats. What this means in practical terms is that if he eats part of a murder victim, he can see who the murderer was. That’s just the basic concept of the book, and there are already more fresh ideas per capita than any other book I can think of. Writer John Layman was created a rich world and an expansive cast to fill that world, and each story takes the reader in ways they never expected. This volume collects the second year of Chew, and you can see the creators come into their own on the series, which is even more impressive if you’ve read them come out with a bang in the first Omnivore edition. The oversized format brings a whole new dimension to artist Rob Guillory‘s expressive art. Guillory’s dynamic art fits the story perfectly, and he always includes lots of Easter eggs in the backgrounds, so there’s always reason to go back and see what you’ve missed. Chew is a fantastic series and is great for anyone with an enjoyment of quirky comedies and crazy sci-fi.
BONE: 20th Anniversary Full Color One Volume Edition
If there was one book from this list that I would want to see under the Christmas tree when I wake up on a frosty winter’s morn, it would be this one. I’m not one to buy things multiple times if I can help it. I have bought Bone in three different formats, and I really want this new edition. What’s so special about it? Well, this edition takes the colorized versions of the story, which were previously available in nine separate trades, and brings them all together. Even though the series is perfect in black and white, the colorization is very well done, and adds a different flavor to the story, and also opens it up to people who may not want to read it in B&W. Jeff Smith‘s seminal series is a must-read for any comic fan, but is especially good for those with children. The story of the three Bone cousins’ adventure in a valley filled with marvelous creatures and dark evil is perfect for all ages. I hope the B&W art was not a reason for anyone to not read Bone before, but I can accept that it may have been. Now there is no excuse. I told someone a few weeks back that if you are a person you should read Bone, and I stand behind that statement. There is no reason to not read this series, and this is just another beautiful presentation of the work.
Daytripper is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever experienced in my life. Daytripper is the story of Bras de Oliva Domingos, a writer, a son, a husband, and a father. Daytripper examines his life by looking at his death, with the character dying at the end of every issue. Sometimes he dies as a young boy, sometimes as an old man, but he always dies. You may think this would make the book very depressing, but by the end, the work as a whole is more life affirming and heartwarming than anything I can think of. Daytripper is written and drawn by twin brothers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, and is set in their home country of Brazil, and every page bleeds with love for their native country. If you’ve seen their work before, you are well aware of their crisp cartooning and powerful figures. There is breathtaking work on every page and I encourage everyone to pick up what I think will become not just a classic of comics, but a classic work of art in any form.
Jason Aaron’s Wolverine Omnibus
Jason Aaron is my favorite writer working in mainstream comics and this volume collects a whole heap load of some of his best work. Since Aaron started working on Wolverine, he has changed the character in a lot of ways while maintaining enough of the elements that have made the character one of the most popular creations of the 20th Century. Aaron has a great ability to mix the brutality that is part and parcel with everything in Wolverine’s world, while adding the humor that is needed the keep the story from getting too dark. The Wolverine Omnibus collects more than 26 issues’ worth of material, with a host of great artists such as Adam Kubert, Yanick Paquette, and Ron Garney. These issues set the groundwork for what Aaron continues to do with the character today, but even without that, they’re still a bunch of great ripping yarns.
Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft Special Edition Hardcover
If Chew is the most imaginative series being released today, then Locke & Key is the most unique. Imagine a book that is equal parts horror and family drama, and you’re starting to come close. Locke & Key mixes a lot of elements into a fantastic stew. Locke & Key is the story of the Locke family, mostly focusing on the three Locke children. The family suffers a terrible tragedy and are then thrust into a mystery involving a house and a set of keys with magical powers that change the world around them. You’ll want to pick up this version of the first story arc for a couple of reason. First, for the oversized art of Gabriel Rodriguez, because it always comes back to great art at huge sizes. Second, you get the complete scripts from writer Joe Hill. Third, you get a fantastic story that is worth reading over and over again. If you’ve never read Locke & Key before, I promise you will be hooked after reading this book, and will be dying to pick up the next part of the story, because it only gets better.
Morning Glories, Vol. 1 Hardcover
This is another personal favorite series of mine that I think more people should pick up and it gets a great new presentation just in time for Christmas. What you get here is the first year’s worth of stories by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma, along with tons of extras, with everything oversized (there’s that word again). Morning Glories is the story of a group of kids who are sent to a mysterious school called the Morning Glory Academy. There, they tangle with a group of teachers who do not have their best interests at heart, as they get sucked further into the mystery surrounding the school, the teachers, and even the students themselves. Morning Glories is most often described as a comic version of the TV show Lost, and that is an apropos description of the book. There is a tight focus between the unfolding mystery of the school, with just as tight a focus on the characters and their interaction. The story wouldn’t be as interesting if it was just about the mystery, and Spencer does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. Eisma’s art doesn’t hurt either, with his clean line and expressive work. I can’t wait to pick this up myself and see his work in the larger format. I think this story may read best with as much story back to back, as the monthly wait can leave you forgetting certain elements, and I think this big collection may end up being the best format for the story. If you’re into mysteries or teen drams, check this one out.
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.