Holiday Geek Gift Guide 2012: The GoD List – Comics Edition
By Hunter Camp
Friday, December 14th, 2012 at 5:25 pm
Every holiday season, “He’s a mean one, Mr.” Henchman21 and “Cindy Lou” MK2Fac3 give a lot of comics. Seriously, you guys, a lot of comics. Maybe too many comics? I mean, it is possible.. theoretically. Naturally, they look forward to some gifts more than others. I mean, who doesn’t? So, let’s take a look into the depths of their Santa bags, grab some comics, and they’ll let YOU know what the top books to buy for this holiday season. Hardcovers and trades, they’re all here.
What’s this? What’s this!? Hunter’s writing again. What’s this? He’s writing in a pair. What’s this, I can’t believe my eyes, I must be dreaming, wake up, Hench, this isn’t fair! What’s this!? What’s this? What’s this? There’s something very wrong. What’s this? There are people singing songs. What’s this? The streets are lined with little creatures laughing. Everybody seems so happy, have I possibly gone daffy? What is this? The GoD List. Holiday Edition.
Let’s kick this list off with a quick mention of book that sort of came out last year, but we’ll ignore that for now. Joe Casey is one of those writers that shoots for the moon in concept, and it’s usually completely batty. That’s fine, that’s dandy, and it works with this book, without a doubt. But the real treat here is Chris Burnham. His artwork is kinetic and bold, and you may recognize him from his work on Batman, Incorporated. Well, this is some of his earlier work, and it’s must see. As I said, the comic is crazy, but it’s fun, for sure. However, if you’re buying for a kid, move along, there’s nothing to see here. Especially not on the first page of the book.
One of the most fantastic things to come out over the past year was easily the massive Invisibles Omnibus. This amazing collection holds within it the entire series, which is often described described as Grant Morrison’s magnum opus outside of superhero work. So much is in this book from concepts of (real life) magicks, reality vs. imagination, and history. Grant Morrison is easily my favorite creator, and in this comic, he works with some of the best artists, as well, like Jill Thompson, Phil Jimenez, and many more. This series, alongside Morrison’s Doom Patrol, are credited as being incredibly influential of many big name mainstream comic creators, and if you’ve never read The Invisibles, this is a perfect gift. Or, if you know a comic lover whose favorite writer is Grant Morrison (Hi! My name’s Hunter Camp, and I have an Amazon wish list!), then this will make a wonderful gift. It’s expensive, sure, but the person who receives this will be very, very grateful. I know I would be.
Have I told you that I like Grant Morrison? Well, I’m not the only one. New X-Men doesn’t necessarily deal in the same wheelhouse of Morrison’s Invisibles, but it’s still very good, while also providing sort of a negative outlook on life (kind of negatively reflecting The Invisibles), but there’s a reason why anyone would love to get this as a gift this season. You see, a long time ago, in a land far away called the mid-2000s, Marvel Comics released a massive, omnibus collection of one of the most talked about storylines in then recent history, Grant Morrison’s New X-Men. Unfortunately for many, though, the comic went out of print, and would-be readers had to scrounge half-off used bins at comic book/media stores to find decent collections of the separated stories. At long last, those days are over, and Marvel Comics has decided to grace their readership with a new edition of the collected work and any fan should appreciate this comic, wrapped, tagged, and underneath a tree. Unless they’re an X-Men purist, in which case, I got nothin’ for “˜em.
Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery, Deluxe Edition
Hey, it’s a very Morrison Christmas! This time with more imaginary land! Flex Mentallo was born from the pages of Morrison’s legendary run with Doom Patrol, but this ain’t no average super hero comic. No sir. This, my friends, is a mind altering experience that poses the question, “What is reality? If we can image something and believe in it, doesn’t it exist in some form?” The answer is that reality is fluid, and anything is possible, if you believe! I know that’s sounds like something an ABC Family movie would try to get across, but believe me, this is one of Morrison’s finest works, and nothing between the front and back covers is something that could be described as simple. If you’ve got an advanced reader on your gift list that has a completely open mind, and isn’t afraid to think, this is the comic for them.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are one of the finest creative teams of all time, and in the year 2012 they decided to take their distinct take on noir and apply it to horror, and what was born was something not unlike the horror of Cthulu. If Lovecraft were to write crime, that book would be Fatale. It’s one of the best new comics of 2012, and if there’s a horror enthusiast on your list, they will love Brubaker and Phillips’ voice within the genre.
What I said above, but apply the concept to super hero comics. In this book, a former villain within the witness protection program takes to fighting crime, but his motivation is far from that of your average super-man. Brubaker and Phillips, yet again, have a surprising, deep take on the genre of super heroes. This is a great gift for pretty much anyone. As long as they like the occasional hard boiled crime story.
Where to start with Saga? Huh… Well, first and foremost, it’s Brian K. Vaughan’s triumphant return to comics. That’s should mean something to any comic fan, but when you add in Fiona Staples’ art, and the story of two members of different planets finding love in the middle of an inter-planetary war, well you’ve got a recipe for wonderful things. Saga is still in its infancy, so if someone’s been wanting to get in on the series, or maybe they’ve lapsed a little in their readership, but either way, this is a safe way to go for someone that truly loves the artistic nature of comic books.
The Manhattan effing Projects. This is easily one of the best, most exciting comics to come out in recent years, and it’s all because of the crazy, brilliant mind of Jonathan Hickman. This comic looks at an alternate history of the world, primarily in the WWII time period. Science is the main course, with a side of world history, and if you know anyone that’s interested in either subjects, this comic is for them. Conversely, if you know anyone that just reads super hero comics, and they’re a little afraid of the independent world, this is a great example of what comics can be at their best. It’s incredible, and should be at least given the chance by anyone with eyes, a brain, and the ability to turn pages.
First up is one of the best all ages comics that came out this year. Cow Boy by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos is the simple story of a boy and his horse as he travels the Wild West tracking down criminals. The story is told with such charm and style that those young and old will have a smile on their face, at least until the story takes a serious turn. Eliopoulos is an old pro at the comic game and it shows in this book. If you’re a fan of Calvin and Hobbes or know someone who is, this will make a great gift.
This is the third adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker series of crime novels, written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke. As with the first two volumes, Cooke fills every page with gorgeous art while perfectly capturing the spirit of Stark’s novels. The Score is a fairly simple story as Parker and a crew of criminals attempts to rob a whole town. Will they get away with it? You’ll have to read to find out. This whole series is great for any one you know who likes a good crime adventure.
You may have read Scott Pilgrim before, but never in full glorious color (except for those parts in the later volumes that were in color). Anyway, these new beautiful hardcover editions of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s modern classic don’t reinvent the wheel. There isn’t many new behind the scenes features or anything like that. It’s just the same great story with a splash of color. However, the story remains great, and the color is very well done, and I say any excuse to re-read the series is a good excuse. It’s well worth the double dip even if you’ve read the series before.
Another reprint of a series many of you may have read before, but instead of color being added, additional information on Neil Gaiman’s classic series is added. The Annotated Sandman gives a wide range of information on the creation of the story as well as tidbits on what is going on in the series. It’s great to go back and read the series again with the extra layer added on top. The Sandman is a classic comic for a reason. Now, if you’ve never read The Sandman before, I wouldn’t recommend this version, mostly because this version has the art in black and white. If you’ve never read it before, you really should, and for that you should buy The Sandman Slipcase set (for $199.00 which may be a bit pricey but is totally worth it – although, it’s on sale right now for $125), which has all the trades in one handsome collection. One way or another, someone in your life should get The Sandman for the holidays.
Here we go with another crime book, which may seem weird for a Christmas gift, but who are you to argue. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips Criminal is fan-freaking-tastic, and the three storylines collected in the second oversized hardcovers are some of the best of the series. Each story is loosely connected to others, delving into the shady underworld of small time thieves, tough guys, hard luck cases, and straight up murderers. The third story in particular, Last of the Innocents, is a unique take on the classic Archie characters, as well as being a unique take some of comics history, wrapped inside a story of a guy who murders his wife. It is a masterpiece, and this is a great collection.
Quite simply, Daredevil is one of the best superhero comics on the stands these days. Daredevil as a character had been stuck in a seemingly never-ending spiral down, that when Waid took over, the only place to go was up. And that’s what he did, to a certain degree. There’s still plenty of bad stuff that happens in the series, but somehow it’s all balanced out with a sense of fun. It certainly helps that Waid is joined on art by Marcos Martin and Paulo Rivera, who add an old school feel to the art. Martin and Rivera have a way of portraying Daredevil’s powers in a way I have ever seen before, and their layouts are something special. If you want to read a great superhero book, look no further.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t add a little manga to your shopping list. This box set collects the seven volumes of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa, and if you’ve only seen the anime version of the story, you’re missing a lot of the story. Nausicaa is about a young girl out to save the world when the kingdoms of man go to war. The story features many of Miyazaki’s common themes dealing with environmentalism and the effects of mankind on nature. It also features a lot of fantastic art and a touching story that is great for anyone.
Marvel is in the middle of a big relaunch of many of their series, and Avengers Vs. X-Men is the story that sets the groundwork for many of the changes that are coming. This massive hardcover collects all thirteen issues of the main series, as well as the six issue AVX series as well as a code for the digital version of all of these issues. If you didn’t hear, Avengers Vs. X-Men is all about what happens when the Phoenix Force returns to Earth. The X-Men think this is a good thing, the Avengers think this is a bad thing and pretty quickly the whole thing turns to fisticuffs. Avengers Vs. X-Men ended up better than many previous Marvel events, with plenty of twists and turns and some great art from Frank Cho, John Romita Jr., Olivier Coipel, and Adam Kubert. If you want to get into the current Marvel universe, you need to read this first. (MK2Fac3’s Note: Plus, CM Punk totally wrote the Forward.)
Skullkickers is the book for fans of fantasy and role-playing games who want to have a good laugh. Skullkickers follows the adventures of two mercenaries as they get into all kinds of adventures while killing all manner of monsters. You can tell from the first page that writer Jim Zub understands what makes the fantasy genre so great and he captures the fun in each issue. Complementing Zub’s script is some amazing art from Edwin Huang. His bright, animated style makes the action jump off the page. There are few comics out there that are as fun as Skullkickers.
First off, I love Dark Horse’s giant oversized Library editions of the adventures of Hellboy. The Library editions are one of the most beautiful presentations of a comic series I have ever seen and I wish Dark Horse would put out more series the same way. But more than that, Hellboy is just a fantastic comic. Mike Mignola’s most famous creation is an action hero with a heart of gold and every volume amps up the excitement and mystery as we learn more about Hellboy’s past. The first few volumes feature beautiful art by Mignola, while the later volumes have the equally beautiful work of Duncan Fegredo. Each volume has monsters, demons, and a whole lot of punching. Hellboy is a fantastic addition to anyone’s collection.
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.”
– Dec. 18: Free Super Saver Shipping
– Dec. 19: Standard Shipping
– Dec. 21: Two-Day Shipping (order as late as 7:00 p.m. EST; varies by item; free with Amazon Prime)
– Dec. 22: One-Day Shipping (order as late as 3:00 p.m. EST; varies by item; as low as $3.99/item with Amazon Prime)
– Dec. 24: Local Express Delivery (while available; select cities; varies by item; as low as $3.99/item with Amazon Prime)
– Dec. 25: Email and printable Amazon Gift Cards can be sent immediately, at any time
Amazon Prime members can place orders up until 7:00 p.m. EST on Dec. 21 to receive deliveries by Dec. 24 using Free Two-Day Shipping (cut-off time varies by item).
*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.