Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Comic Book Gift Guide 2009

In the first year of the blog, I put together a holiday gift guide listing various gift ideas and recommendations.  Sadly, I didn't get to do it last year with the down time that occurred around Christmas and extended into the New Year, but I wanted to give it another crack this time around.  Like the original gift guide, I've broken this one down into sections for different people, like the Marvel or DC fans or those looking for more cerebral offerings, like an Asterior Polyp, and so on.  I tried to limit it to more recent offerings and didn't want to just fill it with a list of Absolutes or omnibus or other offerings that typically fill up these lists.  Hit the jump for some holiday gift giving ideas or to just treat yourself to one of the books I suggest!

Gifts for the Movie Fan

Invincible Iron Man

Have a friend that won't stop talking about the Iron Man or the upcoming Iron Man 2 movie?  Give him a copy of Matt Fraction's Eisner Award winning Invincible Iron Man and make a comic book reader out of him.  IIM simplified the Iron Man title and retconned much of his life to better reflect the movie continuity and it makes for an excellent jumping on point for new and old readers alike. 

Batman: The Long Halloween or Batman: Year One

Similar to the Invincible Iron Man recommendation, there are many Dark Knight fans out there that have never read a comic.  Get them hooked on the material that defined that movie with either Jeph Loeb's and Time Sale's Batman: The Long Halloween or Frank Miller's and David Mazzucchelli's Batman: Year One.  Both are great introductions to the Batman mythos and comic books.

Scott Pilgrim

Set to be a major motion picture early next year starring Michael Cera, Scott Pilgrim is soon going to be a title everyone is talking about.  Get your comic book movie loving fans in on the action early with copies of the Scott Pilgrim trades. 


A perennial classic, this landmark graphic novel finally hit the big screen this year.  If they haven't seen it yet, get them the Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut.  If they have the movie already, make sure they have their own copy of what is probably the greatest comic book ever written.

Y: The Last Man

For our last movie related recommendation, give the gift of love with Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughan's creator owned title that is also set to become a movie in the near future.  The fact it's a fantastic comic that will have your friends ordering the entire set of trades or hardcovers will only cement you as their bestest friend.

Gifts Any Comic Fan Would Love

The Stuff of Legend

Possibly the best comic released this year, The Stuff of Legend has two books currently released with the third book set for release early next year.  There won't be an actual trade collection for this until sometime next year, but I implore you to find these issues if you still can.  Amazon has some used copies available from other sellers, but check your comic shop, they may have a copy or may be able to order you one.

Parker: The Hunter

Darwyn Cooke does a masterful job adapting Parker: The Hunter.  Pick up one of the best graphic novels released this year with this one.

Incredible Hercules

Hands down, this is the best book coming out from Marvel currently.  Do yourself or a friend a favour and pick them up some of the trades.  All are pretty accessible, so you can start from the beginning or jump into the enjoyable Secret Invasion tie-in, which featured the God Squad and does not require any knowledge of Secret Invasion to enjoy, or pre-order a copy of the upcoming Thorcules trade.

All Star Superman

You will believe a man can fly.  Just a fantastic collaboration from Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, All Star Superman captures the Silver Age magic that made Superman known and recognized worldwide even to this day yet with enough modern sensibilities for even the most jaded of comic book readers.  I'm almost tempted to say this is the only Superman story you will ever need to read, that's how good it is.

Gifts for the Literature/Art Major

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

This is a beautiful adaptation of the L. Frank Baum story and a tour de force by artist, Skottie Young, who brings the magical world of Oz to life with every panel on every page.  Easily one of the best hardcovers released this year and a book everyone should have a copy of the illustrated The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on their shelves.

Asterios Polyps

David Mazzucchelli's latest foray into graphic novels and a critical darling that is making the tops of everyone's 'Best of' lists this year and even the past decade.  Mazzucchelli plays with the grpahic novel format and changes the way people look at the medium with how he has structured the art for Asterios Polyp.  However, it is a simple story at its heart and one that everyone will enjoy, yet something that will be studied and looked upon as a true work of art for years to come. 


With how Fables plays with many of our classic fables and stories we grew up with as children, it is a joy to read for anyone, but can be a true joy for people that have read and studied many of the characters and stories depicted in the book.  While the first trade is an obvious place to start, I actually found it a bit underwhelming compared to later volumes.  Pick up the 1001 Nights of Snowfall one-shot or the recently released prose novel first and then direct them to the main series once they're hooked and looking for more. Additionally, the James Jean Fables: The Covers hardcover collection is simply stunning and something for coffee table discussions or reference material for artists or simply a great addition to a Fables fan's collection.

Gifts for the Sketchy Uncle (You know the one I'm talking about!)

Apes and Babes: The Art Of Frank Cho

Frank Cho draws some of the, uh hem, curviest women in comics.  Get them his art book and let them read it for the articles and columns inside.  Ya, definitely not for the pictures.


Empowered is manga influenced cheesecake book by Adam Warren.  I think that about covers it.  However, for those that are judging this book by the cover, well, you're right.  To an extent.  It's actually a fun book and isn't just about cheesecake.  Hard to explain, but you'd have to read it to understand.  But there is cheesecake, so don't expect Asterios Polyps either.

Gifts For the Friend Prepping for the Zombie Apocalypse

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is more of a post-Zombie Apocalypse book, but if your friend is preparing for the worst, he'll need to know what to do after the initial wave of zombies.  Give him the The Walking Dead Compendium so he has a better understanding of what he'll need to do to survive in this harsh new world.  Bonus Points! The book's size and volume makes for a perfect bludgeoning tool just in case the zombie apocalypse DOES come. This sucker weighs five pounds and can crack an undead skull with incredibly ease.

Marvel Zombies

Much like real zombies, it's hard to imagine a world without Marvel Zombies, from the covers to the seemingly endless waves of miniseries and tie-ins, seeing our favourite heroes with a taste for brains caught on like wildfire.  Give it to your zombie loving friends and get them hooked on comics.

Warren Ellis's Blackgas

Fan favourite Warren Ellis took a crack at zombies a few years back and Blackgas was the result.  While the story doesn't offer anything new to the genre, it's a fun read and should not disappoint any fan of zombies.

Gifts for the Marvel Zombie

War of Kings

War Of Kings was the latest event in the Marvel cosmic universe and a real crowd pleaser.  If they call themselves a Marvel zombie, they should already have this on the shelf next to your copies of Annihilation and its sequel, Annihilation: Conquest, but if you've been holding out, pick them up a copy of one of the best events of the year with War of Kings.

Secret Invasion

Speaking of Secret Invasion, it's hard to believe, but it actually just wrapped up earlier this year and, while not the greatest event ever, would probably make a Marvel fan happy.

Thor: Ages of Thunder

Thor: Ages of Thunder came out last year and was absolutely stunning, both in writing and art.  Matt Fraction handled the writing chores and banged out one of the best Thor stories ever covering the eariler days of Thor and how his father, Odin, eventually was forced to teach him some humility by forcing him to share a body with a human host.  Sound boring?  It's not.  Thor wrangles a blood colossus, battles a horde of skeletons, and introduces frost giant faces to a big ol' hammer.  Yes, I just said those words and it is awesome. Add some of the best art of Patrick Zircher's career (yes, that is an interior shot pictured above) and it's a must have for any comic fan.

Captain Britain & MI13: Vampire State

Captain Britain & MI13 was a victim of low sales earlier this year and was promptly taken from us too soon in life.  Find out why this was one of the best new series to come out from Marvel and why everyone was always raving about it with the fantastic Vampire State storyline. 

Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter

Kieron Gillen is making waves at Marvel this year that sees him taking over for JMS on the critically acclaimed Thor relaunch and Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter was the start of that wave that has propelled him to that position.  Grab the trade and see what all the fuss is about.  You won't be disappointed, I guarantee it.

Gifts for the DC Faithful

Green Lantern, Green Lantern, Green Lantern

Pretty much anything Green Lantern, from getting them up to speed with his origin retelling in Green Lantern: Secret Origin to the Sinestro Corps War epic that made everyone rethink how they view the Green Lantern franchise to the current set of trades leading up to Blackest Night, everything from Green Lantern or its sister title, Green Lantern Corps, is fair game for a DC fan.  Send them over to our Blackest Night primer for some ideas on trades that are essential or a breakdown of current events if they want to jump right into monthlies, too!

Secret Six

The best comic currently being published from Marvel or DC, Secret Six is an absolute must read for the, well, thousands of people that are NOT reading it.  Yes, I'm talking to you.  No, don't act like I'm talking to someone else.  You.  This should be a top ten seller, yet is not.  Buy the trades.  All of them.  Buy some for your friends while you're at it. Go on, I'll wait.

Final Crisis

Like Secret Invasion, it's hard to believe Batman died (zomg, spoilers!) earlier this year in the always divisive Grant Morrison penned tale, Final Crisis.  While there were many criticisms for the title, even from myself, I think it's failures as an event make it a fantastic read as a story in and unto itself.  Those that wanted the standard event book came off disappointed by the unique new way Morrison approached the story and it's more DC's failing that they chose such a grand stage and promoted it as an event that hurts it more than the actual content.  In trade form, this reads even better and as it warrants multiple reads as it is, makes the trade a perfect gift


These are just  handful of potential gifts and the people they'd be best suited for.  I tried my best not to just throw out a list of every Absolute and omnibus from DC and Marvel or a series of random trade recommendations that you can find anywhere, but I'm curious as to what books or trades you think I missed that warranted mention.  Let us know what you thought or any gift recommendations and who they'd be suit in the comments below!

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Klep said...

I have to say I read Long Halloween for the first time last week, and I was underimpressed. Tim Sale's artwork is absolutely fantastic, but Loeb was... Loeb. He wasn't as bad as he's been in the past few years, but a lot of the elements that make me hate almost everything he does are still in Long Halloween. I don't know that I regret picking it up, but I wouldn't give it to someone I wanted to get into comics. Year One is a VASTLY superior option.

wirehead4ever said...

The War of Kings hardcover is FANTASTIC. You get so much content for the reasonable price of $39.99 retail and that's before any discount you get with online sites.

brandon said...

X-Men: Magneto's Testament for the history buff not really into super heroes is an excellent read. It contains no super powers or costumes and is entirely during the holocaust.

Elephantmen for the sci-fi folks as well.

There's tons of great stuff out there really.

The Dangster said...

Two Words: Atomic Robo.

Novaguy said...

Final Crisis is phenomenal - especially if you read the Jack Kirby 4th World Omnibuses right before (which make great gifts as well, but they're omnibuses and thus evergreen gifts). I read Final Crisis first, then got the Omnibuses, and then read Final Crisis again, and began to pick up on a ton of little things I missed the first time around.

All-Star Superman is great as well - and I will probably upgrade my HC's to the absolute edition, if/when that comes out. If you read All-Star Superman, it'll enhance your reading pleasure to slightly familiar with the DC 1 Million storyline, but it's not needed. I believe that All Star Superman is the only DC story that makes any reference to the Superman events of that storyline.

Kirk Warren said...

@The Dangster - Holy crap, I cant believe I forgot Robo. He even has the 3rd trade coming out this December.

Primewax said...

@Kirk - Dangster hit it on the head. Atomic Robo appeals to everyone. Even my wife likes it. Great stuff, appeals to the sci-fi buffs, the history buffs, and anyone who likes awesome.

Chris said...

Nice choices, I got my best friend, who doesn't read comics, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz hardcover because he loves The Wizard of Oz and loved the art in this book so much he got a sleve tattoo of all the characters, its really cool.

Anonymous said...

I think I'll just send this article to my family and friends, as I have no one to buy comics for (oh, the shame).

Flip The Page said...

Ooh I've got a nice obvious one for the prose readers who you'd want to break into comics:

Sub-Mariner: The Depths

Seriously if that doesn't dig into the well read and make them curious about the medium I don't know what would.

smkedtky said...

I'm buying the ALL-STAR SUPERMAN hardcovers for my father-in-law-to-be. He's a big fan of Superman (the character) and Smallville (yes, he's the one...who admits it, anyway) but his exposure to the comics has been limited. Anyone who likes Superman, in any form, needs to read ALL-STAR SUPERMAN. It is, easily, the greatest Superman story ever told and, among other things, includes what may be my favorite re-telling of Superman's origin.

For ME: I buy 99% of my books in single issues. I've been in love with comic books since I was a kid and, to this day, still enjoy going to the LCS every Wednesday and working through that week's stack. Still, I'd like to have some of my favorite stories in hardcover. This includes ALL-STAR SUPERMAN (though I'm waiting for an Absolute edition before I'll commit to buying it). Also, I'm hoping for ABSOLUTE DARK KNIGHT by Frank Miller (I haven't read it in a while and I'm really looking forward to doing so) and the WEDNESDAY COMICS collection (which I enjoyed the first issue of, but dropped with the hopes that the collected version would be oversized...glad I did..and it's the same price!). I'm also eyeing the FINAL CRISIS hardcover. FC gets better with every read and the packaging for it is gorgeous (plus, FINAL CRISIS: SUPERMAN BEYOND is reprinted w/out 3-D. The story was complex enough without the distraction of 3-D. Not to mention, it was unnecessary with Doug Mahnke on art). Lastly (for now), I wouldn't mind an ABSOLUTE HUSH. It wasn't the greatest Batman story but Jeff Loeb definitely milked Jim Lee's talents for all they were worth here (unlike Brian Azzarello w/ their SUPERMAN run). Jim Lee drew everyone and drew them well. Thin plot aside, this book is just so damn pretty.

Anonymous said...

i just got my War of the Kings HC. I was dissapointed that the stories aren't printed in chronological order.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

These are some great choices. I'm a die-hard comic fan, obviously if I'm posting here, and I just picked up Parker and Asterios Polyp, I'm a zombie nut and I already have all of two of those suggestions, and I'm a Marvel Zombie and I picked up Secret Invasion because I thought it would at least be fun, and it certainly was, especially seeing I haven't read many crossovers because they generally don't appeal to me. I loved the Thor books and am presenting it to one of my brothers, which he'll love, and I really want to get that Captain Britain trade, the Hercules books, and Beta Ray Bill. I already have all Y trades, but I'd also get Pride of Baghdad for any literature fan who needs needling tino the comic realm. I also want that Oz hardcover. Man, so much to buy and buy for others.
Great post!

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