If you’re anything like me (Brian), gift buying is both a joyous and a terrifying process. I love nailing a person’s birthday or Christmas gift, but I live in constant fear that I’m a boring gift giver. Well, we at Multiversity are here to help! Need something for that special someone in your life? Here are some gifts that we think would please any comics fan (and some that aren’t comic related at all!).
If you have any particularly cool gift ideas, leave them in the comments!
“Southern Bastards” Sugah Jug shirt ($20.00 retail)
Our top ongoing series of 2015 was “Southern Bastards,” and this shirt features a design seen in one of the early issues. Besides being hilarious, it is also a nice test to see how much your friends pay attention while reading their comics. This is a nice secret handshake for all the obsessives out there.
Your very own BB8 ($149.99 retail)
Part of the fun of doing a gift guide like this is that it allows me to pretend that I have disposable income/friends who have enough disposable income to actually buy me something like this. Because, let’s face it – does anyone really need an app-controlled BB8? Hell, I haven’t even seen The Force Awakens yet – it could spend the whole movie spewing racial epithets and doing the chicken dance for all I know.
But c’mon, that’s a pretty awesome toy, right?
“American Barbarian” Hardcover Collection ($29.99 retail):
Tom Scioli is one of the best cartoonists working today, as is evidenced by his “Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe” book, which is a marvel for a variety of reasons (chief among them: that crayon layer). Earlier this year, IDW reprinted his entire “American Barbarian” webcomic in hardcover, and it is every bit as glorious as you’d expect it to be. If you like Kirby, or like to laugh, or like revenge stories, this is the book for you.
“Jaco The Galactic Patrolman” ($9.99 retail)
This year, due to the launching of the Multiversity Manga Club, I read this book, which was my first ever manga. To say I loved it is an absolute understatement – it was, perhaps, my favorite comic of the year. For all those folks who haven’t dipped their toe into the manga world, this is a great introduction – take the plunge.
The Flash Season 1 ($60.10 retail)
The Flash is, essentially, a comic book come to life, and a far more adventurous one than we’re used to seeing from the Big 2. Season 1 of the show is a masterclass in how to tell a great Flash story, and might be useful in converting your significant other/sibling/friend into a comics reader.
Lin Beifong Pre-painted PVC Kit ($99.99 retail)
I love The Legend of Korra. It’s a damn good TV show, and it’ll make a damn good comic when the continuation comes out. For the first three seasons of the show, Lin Beifong was my favourite character. The fierce metalbender won me over early on. She doesn’t give an inch and I love her for it. She’s totally Toph’s daughter (who was my favourite from the original series, by the way).
This statue from Zwyer Industries is the first of a series of Legend of Korra statuettes and the only one available so far. Each figure is hand painted stands roughly eleven inches tall. Sadly, due to the licensing deal with Nickelodeon, this item is only available within the United States.
Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two Blu-Ray Collection ($249.99 retail)
Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man. I didn’t buy any of these films because I was waiting for this collection. It’s been a long wait. But this looks like it’s going to a whole lot of fun. The collection has Blu-rays, 3D Blu-rays, and Digital Copies of all the films, an extras disc, a Morag orb, an Infinity Stone, and a bunch of Marvel memorabilia to delight.Continued below
I have the Phase One collection, and it’s a great thing to pull out for movie nights. Everyone likes to explore the set and its memorabilia. Make no mistake, this isn’t just a container for movies; it’s a toy and it’s meant to be played with.
This Christmas there’s going to be a Marvel movie marathon at my place.
“B.P.R.D. 1946–1948” ($34.99 retail)
We got a new “B.P.R.D.” omnibus this year! It’s been a while. This one collects 1946, 1947, and 1948. (I know. Shocking. You’d never have guessed, right?) These stories stand alone pretty well, so they’re great for someone relatively new to Mike Mignola’s Hellboy Universe. And, just like the other B.P.R.D. omnibuses, this has an enormous sketchbook section, which includes even more material that wasn’t even in the trades. You have to see Max Fiumara’s sketches of a 1949 Hellboy. They look great. Plus there’s an afterword from Chris Roberson which may offer some insight into the direction he’ll be talking the “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.” series.
“Rat Queens” Deluxe Hardcover – Volume 1 ($39.99 retail)
I have a friend that runs tabletop RPGs and “Rat Queens” is just like one of her games, which means you’re going to have fun. There will be laughing, alcohol, and general rowdiness. Also brawling and insults (fantastic insults). And sometimes things’ll take a dark turn, and the characters are surprisingly complex, not at all the people you initially assumed they were. Things may get emotional.
And at the end of it, you’ll want to know one thing: when’s the next one?
This over-sized hardcover collects “Rat Queens” #1–10, and the Braga special (which hasn’t been previously collected).
“Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” ($60.00 retail)
One of the best comics I’ve ever read, this is from the masterful filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (director of Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away), so you know the story is going to be epic, yet deeply personal. There’s also a film of this comic, and it’s fantastic, it really is, but I think the comic is unquestionably better. This comic is among Miyazaki’s very best work, a fantastically complex piece, over a thousand pages long. Purely on a layout level, I’d recommend this comic as a must-own book. All the sound effects are in their original Japanese, but you’ll hear every single one perfectly, knowing exactly what they are, purely from the context, and the quality of the lettering.
This collection is in two hardcover volumes with color illustrations in the front. I cannot recommend this enough. Of everything on my list, this is the one I recommend most highly.
Raina Telgemeier’s Graphic Novel Adaptations of Ann M. Martin’s The Baby Sitters Club series: “Kristy’s Great Idea” ($10.99 retail), “The Truth about Stacey” ($10.99 retail), “Mary Anne Saves the Day” ($10.99 retail)
Before the success of Smile, Drama, and Sisters catapulted Raina Telgemeier to the top of bestseller lists and earned her well-deserved praise and fandom, she adapted the first four books of the classic 1980’s young reader series by Ann M. Martin into graphic novels. Those adaptations have been available for a while, but Graphix produced color editions this year and they have been selling like hotcakes, edging out any room on those bestseller lists for non-Raina titles.
If there’s a kid on your holiday gift list, especially one bitten by the Telgemadness, these will be a surefire hit. And if their parents (most likely moms, but we shouldn’t presume) read the original novels when they were kids, you’ll likely spark some fun conversations and nostalgia between generations over the friendship drama and good-natured interplay of the four titular characters (“Claudia and Mean Jeanine,” the fourth and last in the series, comes out in January.)
Finally — I almost hesitate to give this one away — Raina currently sells original art pages from the books on her website which would make incredible gifts to inspire young, future cartoonists.
Absolute “Court of Owls” ($99.99 retail)
What? I need to convince readers of this site why Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo at 10×15 inches would be a mind-blowing gift?Continued below
If the sticker shock hasn’t murdered you, here’s why shoppers for a MUCH-beloved special someone might actually drop a Benjamin for this: I love a lot of Batman artists, but not counting Darwyn’s “New Frontier,” none of them have an Absolute Edition. No offense, Tim Sale. But the initially-odd but proven-brilliant pairing of Capullo’s lively plasticity with Snyder’s ominous gravity made ‘Court of Owls’ an artistic revelation. If your loved one has a conscience, they will feed a small village rather than plunk down the cost of these 11 collected issues. The only moral justification is if you gift this to them.
“Walt and Skeezix” Collections, by Frank King, ed. Chris Ware, Drawn + Quarterly ($29.95 retail)
I’ve extolled the virtues of “Peanuts” in collected form, but the biggest surprise of comic strip reprints has been Drawn + Quarterly’s “Walt and Skeezix,” curated with intense and scrupulous care by the great Chris Ware. You might get a quizzical reaction from someone who opens the gift-wrap to find you’ve bought them a heavy book of newspaper comics from 1922 about a “Gasoline Alley” of car enthusiasts, one of whom raises a baby left on his doorstep. But to clarify, I’ll tell you the target demographic for this series: anyone with a beating heart.
Because this is sentiment-stirring comics. Essays bookending the strips touch on cartoonist Frank King’s roots, the problematics of its black characters, syndication. But at the center is the unusual comic strip premise of characters who actually age, and “Walt and Skeezix” feels like it operates on a different rhythm and time than any other comics. That means for Skeezix, the aforementioned doorstep urchin, each subsequent volume takes him through babbling infancy, curious toddlerhood, precocious childhood, and <”a href=”https://www.drawnandquarterly.com/walt-and-skeezix-six”>soon-to-be-released budding adolescence. And those pangs of bittersweetness, the wonders of quiet vacations in the canyons, the trappings of a town that doesn’t know it will become Americana, even the mild melodrama of custody battles and simple courtships… Hey listen, I grew up on gangsta rap and HBO shows, but if your gift recipient’s true colors are Tupac’s tenderness or Friday Night Light’s noble parenthood, this might be the gift they thank you for six months later.
Avatar the Last Airbender — The Complete Series DVD Set ($39.98 retail)
For a pretty decent price now, you can get the 16-disc, four season Complete Series of the animated show Avatar the Last Airbender, co-created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, introducing a universe expanded in the later (also awesome) The Legend of Korra series.
If you’re unfamiliar with the award-winning show, Nickelodeon ran the anime/American cartoon hybrid from 2005-2008. It features appealing adolescent protagonists, including the “Avatar” himself, Aeng, who struggle to unite factions in a world where “benders” can manipulate the four elements (Earth, Fire, Air, Water) to do battle, solve problems, try to take over the world, or somehow save it. The scale is grand but the character paths are interesting and well-earned.
But it lands on my list because of its proportions. Just long enough to be binge-able, short enough not to break the bank. Mature enough to stay interesting for adults, kid-friendly enough to watch with an upper primary or elementary school. Recognizably Western in narrative structure, but a mixed Asiatic cultural backdrop of influences that feel fresh and respectful.
The Dark Horse comics that follow the series are also excellent, but it all starts with these four seasons.
“Southern Bastards” Hardcover Vol 1 ($29.99 retail)
By this point we all know “Southern Bastards” is really good, so why not get this nice hardcover that collects the first two arcs? It looks good on the shelf, contains eight issues of some of the best comics in recent years, and has recipes for things like fried apple pies, biscuits, banana pudding, and more from readers and both Jasons’ moms. What other comic can say that?
Kindle Fire ($49.99 retail)
As someone who reads 99.9% of his comics digitally, I’ve been wanting a tablet, but am also very cheap. So when I heard that there were $50 Kindles, I was intrigued. It’s not the best tablet in the world, but for $50 I doubt you could really do much better, and could do a lot worse. Buy this, download the Comixology app, and get to reading all the digital comics you can handle.Continued below
“The Multiversity” Deluxe Hardcover ($49.99 retail)
No, I’m not just picking this because it shares the name of our beloved website. “The Multiversity” is a series I patiently awaited for years, and I was far from disappointed when it released last year. Wrapping up earlier this year, “The Multiversity” is the spiritual sequel to the divisive but wonderful “Final Crisis.” Framed by bookending issues, each issue of “The Multiversity” sees Grant Morrison and a breathtaking team of artists explore a different world in the DC multiverse. Some are reimagined worlds from DC’s history, such as the “Watchmen” esque Earth-4 or the Shazam-centric “Thunderworld.” Others are new creations, like the pulpy world of Earth-20. Few books can match “The Multiversity” for the sheer amount of creativity, world-building, and high concept science fiction, and this gorgeous oversized hardcover is arguably the best way to experience this story.
Star War Rebels Complete Season 1 Blu Ray ($45.99 retail)
Star Wars Rebels is one of the most delightful and exciting additions to the Star Wars universe in years. Taking place approximately 14 years after Revenge of the Sith (that’s about 5 years before A New Hope), “Rebels” follows a diverse cast of characters that make up the beginnings of what will one day be known as the Rebel Alliance. Rebels blends the tone of the original trilogy with the history of the prequels to truly bridge the gap, creating something that nearly any Star Wars fan should enjoy. While aimed primarily at children, Rebels never feels juvenile in the way that Clone Wars occasionally did. The story carries a level of depth and urgency that adult fans will appreciate. The second season is nearing the halfway mark, and by all counts is even more impressive than the first. With The Force Awakens right around the corner, Rebels is a great way to feed the Star Wars hype machine.
Splatoon ($59.99 retail)
I’m a pretty big online shooter fan, and one of the most enjoyable shooters I played all year was “Splatoon.” Admittedly, this game isn’t for everyone. It’s occasionally archaic online structure, limited options, and cartoony atmosphere doesn’t cater to the Call of Duty crowd. However, when you give it a chance, you’ll find that Nintendo has once again brought an innovative take on a well trodden game type. Using a diverse range of wacky weapons like ink-guns, paint buckets, and giant rollers, players take on the role of humanoid squids. Rather than racking up kills (though there is some of that) the most basic game type sees players attempting to cover the greatest area with their color of ink. What results is a competitive shooter that feels utterly unique, but no less satisfying than your Halo’s or Call of Duty’s. The short matches create a fun feedback loop that allows you to play for as short or long as you like while still feeling a sense of progression through the game. The Wii U may not seem like the best investment at this point, but with games like Splatoon, it’s certainly worth a look.
The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki ($249.99 retail)
Hayao Miyazi is one of the greatest and most inspiring film makers of our time. If you’ve never had the opportunity to view one of his delightful films or have only dabbled previously, now you have an opportunity to check out the entire library in one beautifully curated package. While a little pricey on the whole, the price per movie comes out to about $18 each, a rather reasonable price. Factor in the numerous special features and the convenient design and the value of the package is totally justified. If only the set contained the Ghibli-centric documentary “The Kingdom of Dreams of Madness,” you would have all you need for the ultimate Miyazki Ghibli experience.
Lego Ideas Doctor Who set ($59.99 retail)
I love Lego. I love Doctor Who. Of course I’m going to love this well constructed and imaginative take on the Doctor’s Tardis in Lego form. Much like the Lego DeLorean set, this is something few would have ever dreamed of existing, making it all the more desirable. The attention to detail is terrific, as is the large number of character mini-figures from the Doctor Who universe. Lego truly went out of their way on this one, a gift that any Doctor Who fan will proudly display.Continued below
Assorted Funko Pop Figures (Approximately $11-15 each)
My own collection is completely growing out of control. I think I’m up to about 100 of these figures now but they are adorable and addicting to collect. I included this last year but in just one year the offerings have grown exponentially. You can get almost any variation on comic book characters you can imagine, including many different Batmans and Harley Quinns.
You can also get tons of movie characters and television characters too, including keychains and stuffed toys. The possibilities are endless and it won’t break the bank. It’s the perfect gift for someone you can’t find anything for and easy to get last minute.
“Wayward” Deluxe Hardcover ($39.99 retail)
“Wayward” is one of the best series going right now and it’s terribly under-appreciated. Written by Jim Zub with pencils by Steve Cummings and colors by Tamra Bonvillain, this series follows Rori Lane, a half Irish, half Japanese young woman who moves to Japan with her mother. While there she discovers she has super powers and there’s something much more magical hiding in the streets of Tokyo. This is a great gift for someone new to comics and has a love for anything involving fantasy or magic. They’ll fall in love with the characters and be sucked right in by the gorgeous, manga inspired art.
“Ms. Marvel” Hardcover ($34.99 retail)
Here’s another great book to buy someone who hasn’t had the great opportunity of getting into comic books. “Ms. Marvel” is the best book that Marvel is putting out and has been for quite some time. It’s funny, charming, dramatic, full of action and has a new character that will eventually be as iconic as Spider-Man. This hardcover collects the first 11 issues of the series but whoever you buy this for will only need the first issue to know they’re a fan of Kamala Khan.
“The Private Eye” Deluxe Edition ($49.99 retail)
Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s “The Private Eye” was a self published, pay what you want, sort of experiment that was never supposed to see print but here we are. Without saying too much about the plot, the story takes place in a world where everyone has a secret identity and the internet isn’t used anymore. This is a book that really hits on some themes that ring true with what is happening in our world today and Martin’s art is gorgeous. For Vaughan fans who “don’t do digital”, you have no excuse to pass on it now and it makes a great gift because of the size, the print quality and the accssibility for newer readers. Use the holidays as an excuse to get new comic book readers is basically what I’m getting at here with my picks.
The Complete “Eightball” ($119.99 retail)
Dan Clowes is one of the all-time great American cartoonists, and this is certainly a collection befitting of the title. From 1989 to 1997 Clowes poured his creative energies into “Eightball,” a series that the artist used to tell stories and hone his craft. It was in this comic’s pages where seminal works like “Ghost World” and “Art School Confidential” first appeared. These stories, and a plethora of others, were serialized over the months and years, appearing in this one man anthology long before ever being collected into prim and proper ‘graphic novels’ we now know them as.
To celebrate the magnificent work contained in “Eightball,” Fantagraphics has produced a gorgeous, two volume slip case edition of the entire series. Each issue is presented as it was originally published, from the covers all the way down to the less-than-flattering letter columns. Every inch of this thing is beautifully designed, from the spines to the paper stock, and even features art on the inside of the slipcase itself. This is a big-ticket gift for sure, but will be perfect for the alt-comics fan closest to your heart.
“Alternative Comics Are Dead” ($24.95 retail)
Need something for a fan of alt-comics and awesome cartooning but don’t have the bank to drop on that “Eightball” collection? Then allow me to humbly suggest “Alternative Comics Are Dead,” a nigh-200 page anthology form the folks at Alternative Comics (the publisher, not the genre.) Between its covers, this anthology is a who’s who of talented cartoonists. Box Brown, Noah Van Sciver, Sam Alden, Jeffrey Brown, Anya Davidson, Sam Spina, Sophia Foster-Dimino, Charles Forsman and Melissa Mendes are just a few of the folks who have contributed to this book. Plus there’s an astounding cover by Hellen Jo. I’d recommend this collection for anyone who’s looking for high quality comics that are outside of the mainstream.Continued below
Pentel Pocket Brush Pen ($19.99 retail)
Want something for the artist/burgeoning cartoonist in your life? Look no further than the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. This is a high-quality, versatile tool that can positively change the workflow of the aspiring comics artist on your gift list. Pentel has created a true workhorse of a pen here, as this thing is capable of everything from crating delicate, wispy lines all the way up to spotting large, chunky black areas. With one pen artists are capable of achieving slick, dense linework or a textured, dry-brush look, and just about anything in between. It’s got all of the versatility of traditional drawing brushes, but without any of the clean up and do not require an ink well. These pens are refillable and last a long while, making their affordable price point even more attractive.
Alice W. Castle
Blue Yeti USB Microphone ($149.95 retail)
While this isn’t strictly comics related, it does have a connection, trust me. While contributing to Force Ghost Coast To Coast, our podcast project leading up to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I’ve been bitten by the podcast bug pretty hard. Podcasts have become a major part in how we talk about media these days because, let’s face it, who has time to read anymore? That time you spent reading through someone’s weekly column could have been spent doing that really important thing you need to do while listening to that column in the form of a podcast instead.
In my efforts to look into effective and affordable ways to get into podcasting, this is always the microphone that comes up. I don’t really have the space here to go into all the technical aspects, but it’s been described as a microphone that’s easy enough to use that it will suit beginners (so it will do me fine) while having enough technical depth to satisfy those with more experience. If you know someone like me who’s basically an loud-mouthed, opinionated asshole buy them this so that the internet can listen to them so you don’t have to!
Marvel has had an amazing year thanks mostly to their new Star Wars series and if you know someone who’s into comics or general geeky media, chances are they’re a Star Wars fan. Seeing as the holidays will be just after the release of The Force Awakens, it’s a great chance to cash in on that Galaxy Far Far Away hype and get that person one of the trades of one of Marvel’s series.
Personally, I would mostly recommend the main “Star Wars” series as it’s a good baseline if you don’t know how into Star Wars they are, plus it’s a good introduction for someone – like a young child – whose first introduction to the universe will be The Force Awakens! If you do know that they’re into Star Wars, maybe go for “Shattered Empire” instead as it focuses more on the aftermath of Return Of The Jedi and has some neat connections to The Force Awakens. And if you know that they’ve been watching Rebels – this goes double for kids – definitely get them the trade of “Kanan: The Last Padawan” as it’s an excellent supplement to the series.
“Darth Vader” and “Princess Leia” are also available, but I didn’t particularly enjoy them enough to put them on the top of the recommendations list.
Take everything I just said about the Star Wars comics and repeat it here. Now is the best time to start throwing Star Wars novels at the Star Wars fans you know because, with the new canon and all, these are actually excellent novels that add a lot to the universe and are canon.
These three picks are a good cross-section for pretty much any Star Wars fan you know. “Lords Of The Sith” works for pretty much any fan you might know because it’s a buddy cop novel featuring Darth Vader teaming up with Emperor Palpatine set just after Revenge Of The Sith. It’s amazing and everyone should love it. “Aftermath” is pretty much in the same vein as “Shattered Empire” in that it’s probably a good recommendation for the more hardcore Star Wars fan in your life (assuming they’re not so hardcore as to have read it already). Finally, “Dark Disciple” is a novel that really only fans of The Clone Wars will really dig, but it’s amazing. Seriously. If you have someone in your life who has seen The Clone Wars and hasn’t read this, buy it for them and you will make their year.Continued below
DC: The New Frontier ($49.99 retail)
After “Multiversity”, after “Convergence”, even after the whole DCYou thing, there’s still something missing from the DC Universe for me. There’s a levity, a grandiosity of seeing this universe evolve thanks to the existence of this pantheon of incredible beings. I haven’t read an issue of “Justice League” since the ‘Origin’ arc. I haven’t read an issue of any of the Superman titles since he started rocking that jeans and Max Fleischer t-shirt look. I haven’t read an issue of “Wonder Woman” since the first year of the New 52. I haven’t read an issue of “Batman” since halfway through ‘Endgame’. I feel like I’m missing out on all of these tentpole characters that I love because they just haven’t felt the same since the New 52.
You know what fixes that, though? Sitting down with Darwyn Cooke’s “The New Frontier”, the best book DC has ever published that’s finally collected in a deluxe hardcover. If you know someone in your life who loves DC characters, it’s your duty to make sure they own this book.