By Hunter Camp
Monday, December 17th, 2012 at 2:45 pm
The city calm, and the night is dark, but there’s a gloom on the horizon of the newly fallen snow. It’s with this that you realize that there are very few shopping days left until the holidays are over. Well, chances are you’ve got a Batman fan in your life on some level whether they be hardcore fans, new comers or simply a casual gent or lady that enjoys the movies. Well, have I got some last minute, easy as pecan pie solutions for you! Below are several gift ideas that can be presented to your loved ones. One thing that should be mentioned about the below list is that pretty much nothing needs deep understanding of the character’s history. These are pretty safe gifts for any Batfan that you may know, no matter how hardcore. Anyway, let’s get on with this gift guide, shall we?
The thing about Absolute Editions is that, even if I personally don’t like the story, I want the Absolute Edition. Does that make sense? Let me explain. Absolute Editions are presented in the giant hardcover that basically is the same size as the original art, but it’s completely colored and printed on extremely high quality paper. So, any imaginable detail in the art can be experienced, and usually only the most high profile stories with incredibly talented creative teams get the Absolute treatment. Plus, in these editions, there are loads of bonus features that liken them to the most ultimate editions of movie releases. So, with that, let’s move on to the two Batman specific ones on this list.
Absolute Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn
What is collected in the Absolute Edition of Batman & Robin is Grant Morrison’s entire run on the series. It’s a massive collection and features some of the best artists on the planet. Owners of Absolute All Star Superman know exactly how Frank Quitely’s art is in the format, but with others added like Philip Tan, Cameron Stewart, Frazer Irving, and Chris Burnham, this edition will no doubt be a prized possession to anyone who gets their hands on this comic. Now, when you click on the above link, you may notice that this won’t be hitting stores until January or later, but there’s an easy fix for this. Print out the cover of this comic, fold it up, place it inside a card, and give that as a gift with the note that it will be shipped to their house or living domicile upon its release. It may not be the actual item, but if I were to receive it that way, I’d be honored and extremely excited for its arrival.
Absolute Batman: Dark Victory
If you own the Absolute Edition of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween, you basically already own this comic, only without the Robin origin. But that’s not really a bad thing. Tim Sale is one of the most dynamic artists of all time, and his work is both deranged and beautiful. You’re really going to be buying this for the art, and while you already have his work in Absolute Edition, more is not a bad thing, in this instance. The quality of art in the story is just as high as anything else Sale has done, so this would be a safe bet for fans of the format. I may not like Dark Victory in the least, but you better believe I want this on my shelf.
Batman had a pretty big year as far as comic book collections go, so if you’ve got someone in your life who loves Batman, but doesn’t necessarily keep up week to week, you’ve got a lot of buying options.
Batman, Vol. 1: The Court of Owls
Easily the most high profile of all is the Court of Owls hardcover. This collection contains the first story arc of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and Jonathan Glapion’s foray into the world of Gotham that started with DC’s “New 52″ relaunch. If you want to know my feelings about it, well just go check out my review, but if you know a fan that’s looking to get into the current world of Batman, there’s no better place to start.
Batman Earth One
While this comic still sits upon my shelf, mocking me because I haven’t read it, I can honestly say that this was one of the most anticipated comics of 2012. Geoff Johns, who is one of the most well known writers in comics, teamed up with Gary Frank for their first time with Batman. With the Earth One series of graphic novels, high profile creators take on a character and attempt to re-imagine the character whilst tinkering with their origins and expanding the universe with a blank slate. I’m not Geoff Johns’ biggest fan, so I’m not sure that I’ll love it, I’m certain that someone you may know will be interested in giving it a read. I mean, I already bought, and I’m not even that excited about it.
Batman vs. The Black Glove Deluxe Edition
This is the one, folks. One of my favorite comic book runs in history is Grant Morrison’s multi-year epic with Batman, and while the majority of his run was collected in my favorite way to read, the deluxe edition hardcover, part of it was missing. Let me pause a moment and explain the my preference for the deluxe edition hardcover. You see, the deluxe edition hardcover is a format in which the art is slightly oversized, but not so big as an Absolute Edition, which is a plus because, for me, attempting to actually read the story in an Absolute in nearly impossible because I get so distracted by the art that I can’t focus on the story, but with the Deluxe Editions, I can easily follow the story while also appreciating what is usually gorgeous art. Also, there is usually bonus content that is not usually as much as an Absolute, but still enlightening on the creative process. Anyway, since Batman RIP, Morrison’s story has been collected in this format, so that’s 6 hardcovers in this format, but unfortunately the prior to collections, Batman and Son and The Black Glove were only available in either a standard hardcover edition or a trade paper back. As a completest, this is not acceptable. But thankfully, DC finally decided to re-release these comics as a giant collection in the deluxe edition format. So, if you’ve got a Morrison fan on your list who has the entire series, but hasn’t gotten around to picking up this re-issue, then by all means, get them this. They will be very thankful.
Batman Death by Design Deluxe Edition
Death by Design is a comic by Chip Kidd that lives in its own world, but plays around with the story of Batman in extremely clever ways. Kidd can usually be trusted with his work, and while this wasn’t as high profile as Earth One, it should get some attention, and if you’re looking for a sleeper gift for a Gothamite, this is a pretty safe bet.
Okay, okay, this isn’t the most critically acclaimed series of all time, and a lot of people can’t really stand it, but in my humble opinion, this comic is one of the most fun books of recent memory. It’s crazy in a good way if you can think outside the box. I mean, Batman rides a dinosaur in a world that exists below Earth’s surface, how could you not enjoy that? Anyway, it’s not for everyone, but if you know someone who appreciates the hilariously bizarre nature of comics, this will make a great gift.
Superman/Batman: Sorcerer Kings
This is another sleeper. It’s written by Cullen Bunn and features art by ChrisCross and tells sort of an alternate dimension version of Batman and Superman in a world where magic reigns supreme. It’s excited, bizarre and adventurous. I don’t think a lot of people gave this story a chance, so now would be a great time to expose to the unknowing.
Batman Judge Dredd Collection
This is one of the collections that’s bringing back several older comics that DC has done over the past couple of years. We’ve seen re-releases of Prey, Knightfall, Venom, No Man’s Land, and more, but this is one that needs to be read. First off, the hardcover is presented beautifully, and secondly, it collects all of the crossover issues featuring Batman and Judge Dredd. That’s really all you need to know. Judge Dredd is awesome and so it Batman. You or someone you love needs this. Enough said.
Batman Birth of the Demon
Long before the current era of comics, there were several different original graphic novels that centered around Batman’s relationship with Ra’s Al Ghul that ultimately culminated in the birth of Batman’s son who was mothered by Ra’s daughter Talia. In 2012, DC finally pulled out their binding machines and collected all of these graphic novels into one massive trade paperback. This collection features Batman shirtless and acting crazy because he was drunk with love. I know I’m making it sound silly, but these are some of the best Batman stories out there in respect to both writing and art. It’s really a must own for any Batman fan.
VARIANT SINGLE ISSUES
As a comic book reader, I tend to stay away from variants as they only really add value if you’re a collector. I’m not, but I can appreciate totally awesome art. Both of these do. Incorporated #1 has an amazing cover by Frank Quitely featuring Batman and Robin, while Incorporated #0 (costs a LOT of money, FYI) features a black and white version of the released cover by Chris Burnham. Both are amazing, and both should be given to someone who can really appreciate something like this.
BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about the statues listed below, but the Black and Whites, as always, are fantastic. This year saw a wealth of them with designs from Jock doing Dick Grayson as Batman from his fantastic work in The Black Mirror, Darwyn Cooke doing Darwyn Cooke’s signature classic style, and Dustin Nguyen doing a beautiful Batman Beyond piece, while Kelley Jones put out a new, horror-style version of the hero, but possibly the most exciting are the villains. Kelley Jones also brought forth his Knightfall-style Bane while Brian Bolland’s gorgeous Joker design sees a a really cool release. All of this year’s awesome Black and White statues would be great gifts to any Bat-fan because, quite frankly, collecting them can be an expensive addiction. These are made to be really nice gifts.
Well, this would be the most obvious gift this year, right? It’s one of the most popular movies of the year within one of the most popular franchises of all time, so naturally, this is going to be at the top of the list for a lot of people. That’s important to remember, folks. See, I’m including this simply because it is so obvious, but honestly, you’ve probably already gotten it for someone, or they’ve already bought it. And lastly, you really need to communicate with other loved one about this. I cannot stress that enough. Since it’s so obvious, everyone is going to want to purchase this for their beloved Batman fan, so make sure that no one else has planned to or already purchased this for a person. Duplicates hurt people’s feelings. Trust me.
This is really the only other high profile Batman release in the world of movies, as it’s a part of DC’s animated adaptation line. This specifically adapts one of the greatest Batman stories of all time, so maybe if you’re thinking of getting someone The Dark Knight Rises, but another person has already gotten it for your loved one, move on to this as it’s a fantastic alternative. Unfortunately, this is only part one of the story, but you could apply the same concept as the Absolute Edition of Batman and Robin. Simply pre-order part two and put a card with part one. Bingo bango, perfect gift.
…also! Listed below are two, more high dollar gifts that can accompany this movie. The statues below reenact two of the most important scenes of Frank Miller’s incredible comic book, and would be appreciated by any fan of the character or the book.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 3 (DVD): The Brave and the Bold was awesome and ended far too soon. This collects the last season and is perfect for any kid or big kid on your list that doesn’t take themselves or the Batman too seriously.
This book has previously been released, but it went out of print and became nigh impossible to find. So, luckily, the publishers of this book have brought this book back into publication and have released onto the world one more time. This book takes an interesting look into Batman’s presence in Japan in all forms, as well as how the culture of Japan influenced the country’s take on the characters creatively. It’s a great purchase for an advanced Batman lover who doesn’t already have this, and believe me, there are a lot of us that don’t.
Tracy Hickman makes his way to Gotham City to tell a very compelling story of Batman, but really more about Batman’s family and the backstory of Thomas Wayne to be specific. Hickman does a wonderful job of delving into the family history of The Dark Knight. The book is quite simply a scientific approach to a detective novel, and it works perfectly with the character of Batman. It’s a must for any Batman fan that likes to move into the world of books without artwork every once in awhile.
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.