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Comic Book Holiday Gift Guide: A Comic for Everyone!

It’s that time of year again, folks: Tis the season for gifting both the grateful and ungrateful alike.  With so many possible gifts out there, and so many people in your crazy family, shopping can be a very overwhelming experience.  Don’t worry; I’m here to lighten the burden.  No, I’m not Santa—nor am I an elf.  I’m just a guy who enjoys reading comic books and who also happens to be skilled in the art of thoughtful gifting. I happen to be of the belief that there’s a comic book out there for everyone.  And where’s the fun in giving people what they want or need for the holidays?  Instead, give them what you think they need.  That’s the true family way—I know from experience.  Well, I think my family—and all of yours—needs comic books this holiday season.  Here's a meticulously thought out comic book holiday gift guide to help you spread the yuletide cheer to every member of your dysfunctional family unit!  



Impressionable Younger Sibling: Let us begin with the most important gift.  It wouldn’t be almost 2014 if every one of us didn’t have a younger cousin or sibling who spends too much time staring at their phones.  It’s a digital epidemic out there, folks.  What’s even more startling is their reluctance to listen to anyone who isn’t pocket-sized, rectangular, and wi-fi friendly.  That’s why I have TWO suggestions for this impressionable young one.  For the more ambitious gifters out there, grab them a copy of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema.  Plant the seed and hope it grows.  Or, if getting them to look at anything besides their device just isn’t possible, get them a gift card to ComiXology, a website for digital comics!  This is the digital age, after all, and digital comics are blowing up right now.  Put your impressionable young one on the forefront of this literary movement and fill their phones with something other than terrible music.  



  Curmudgeonly Grandparent: Once you’ve given grandpa his fourth gin and tonic on Christmas Eve, he’s ready for just about anything.  It’s the perfect moment to slip him his Christmas gift.  I thought hard about this one.  After all, everyone’s grandparents are different.  What do they all have in common?  Age!  Get him something that he might have been reading when he was young.  That’s right!  Get your curmudgeonly grandpa the Complete Peanuts strips from whatever applicable decade.  Charles Schulz was writing Peanuts strips from 1950 all the way to the year 2000.  It’s the perfect gift for anyone’s grandparent, curmudgeonly or not.   CompletePeanuts Movie Buff: We’ve all got a movie buff in our family, haven’t we?  In my family, that’s me, which is why I’ve got just the thing for the cinema addict in yours!  If you can manage to steer the conversation away from their fury about 3D as an affront the medium—or if you need an excuse to—hand them their personalized Christmas gift.  This is an easy one: get them A History of Violence by John Wagner and Vince Locke.  It’s a great comic that was made into an awesome movie.  Not only is it in 2D, but it’s black and white as well.  Take your movie buff relative all the way to the time before color pallets, and let their sensitivity about progress be tempered with something a little lighter on the senses—Nothing fancy here!  Just an out of this world read.   41YNMJS81ZL   Conservative Aunt or Uncle: I know—this is a strange one.  I did say that there’s a comic book out there for everyone, didn’t I?  Well, I meant it.  This is actually a great chance to really pretend like you were listening to their offensive rants over Thanksgiving dinner a month back.  Nothing says, “I’ve heard too much” quite like Political Power: Rush Limbaugh from Bluewater Productions.  In fact, Bluewater has tons of options.  You could also grab an issue of Faith Series: Jesus Christ, Political Power: Ronald Reagan, Political Power: Glenn Beck, or Female Force: Sarah Palin—only to name a few (believe it, there are more).  The options are actually-surprisingly-plentiful.  Like I said, there’s a comic out there for everyone.  



Pretentious Cousin:  This is a great one!  What comic book will you get the person who reads more than anyone in the family?  On the surface, this might seem difficult—but then again, we found a plethora of comics for the Conservative in the family, didn’t we? Approach your pretentious relative with caution.  If they stop bending your ear about Nietzsche long enough to see you aren’t listening, hand them a collection of Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson and let them pour over the strips with reckless abandon!  Calvin and Hobbes has no shortage of philosophical subtleties for them to busy their pretensions with.  If they’re as smart as they claim, they’ll go out the next day and buy The Complete Calvin and Hobbes box set—I know I did. Calvin-Hobbes   Television Addict: If you can tear apart the movie buff from the television addict long enough for them to stop spitting fire at one another, you can slip them their personalized comic book gift.  “Yes!” you assure them, “I’ve seen The Wire and it is quite good, but here’s”—what?  Well, if they like the political cop & robber drama that is the Wire, give them something within the same ballpark—no, don’t give them the Walking Dead just because it was made into a show.  And no, don’t get them Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 just because it was once a show.  Give them an original comic book that rivals all those great shows out there.  That’s right; get them Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan (Volume One, at least).  It’s easily as riveting as any show out there.  Tell them, “Vaughan was a writer, executive story editor, and producer on Lost, you know?”  Then, say a thing or two about all the awards he's won as a writer, and let your T.V. addicted relative get lost in what is easily one of the best comics I’ve ever read.  


For True Comic Book Readers, the Exceptionally Open-Minded, or General Fans of All Things Good: If one or a few of your family members have any of these three virtues, I prepared a list of a few must-read comics for those who don’t so easily fit into the categories listed above.  Here’s a few straight forward comic book gifts that are guaranteed to entertain: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan (ongoing), Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan (complete), Black Science by Rick Remender (ongoing, in its early stages), Sandman by Neil Gaiman (complete), Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman (complete) Kinski by Gabriel Hardman (ongoing, early stages), V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (complete), From Hell by Alan Moore (complete), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore (ongoing).  


Absolute Sandman 2 cover

  Family Dog: And don’t, for even a second, think that I forgot the family pet!  I realize that dogs don’t read—all except for mine that is—but what is my holiday philosophy again?  That’s right, get them things that YOU think they need.  Well, this holiday season you should get Snoopy a copy of The Spirit on DVD and let him do to Frank Miller’s movie what Miller did to Eisner’s book (once shredded, it also makes a very satisfying kitty litter for your very own lying cat).   Spirit_2_lg


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