2013 Gift Guide for Comics Lovers

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2013 Gift Guide for Comics Lovers

From the casual reader to the devoted fan, comics lovers are an eclectic bunch. With that in mind, we’ve assembled gift ideas from all corners of the comics universe.

Pair classics with newer titles, throw in some related paraphernalia, and you’ll have the perfect mix of gifts to match every item on your favorite comics buff’s wish list.

Fables Encyclopedia Deluxe Edition
Writer: Jess Nivens, Bill Willingham
Artist: Mark Buckingham, Others
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Price: $25

Bill Willingham’s update of the public domain fairy tale crowd has blazed through 135 issues and a library of fiction multiverses, ranging from The Brothers Grimm’s Euro downers to Frank L. Baum’s whimsical Oz mythology. To help sift through this fantasy nexus, Vertigo has released a nifty encyclopedia to keep track of the sprawling ensemble. Though accessible, no comic has shifted and pivoted through as many directions as Fables, and this is the perfect companion to help ease your dive into one of the most rewarding books the DC family publishes.

Hawkeye, Vol. 1
Writer:   Matt Fraction  
Artist: David Aja
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $22

Guys: Hawkeye is so damn good. It is, without a doubt, the best book Marvel publishes (when it actually comes out) and the best comic Matt Fraction has ever written. This isn’t a story about grandiose universe-threatening men in outward-facing underpants fighting a pantheon of heroic men in outward-facing underpants and the lone weirdo with a bow and arrows: it’s about life. It’s about mistakes, relationships, third-life crises (we just made that up — it’s a thing now), impromptu Hurricane Katrina benefits, unreliable siblings, and not knowing what the hell’s going on, like, ever. It is by far the best indie comic published by one of the biggest comic publishers in the world and you should be reading it yesterday. Bonus: David Aja’s illustrations and their grindhouse photo-copy grit look glorious.

Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps
Writer/Artist: Art Spiegelman
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Price: $22

Art Spiegelman will forever be remembered as the creator of Maus, the writer/artist’s intimate Holocaust memorial that helped christen the genre of literary comics, but the man has produced a lot of work over an incredible period of time. Co-Mix is a comic completionist’s dream, including such ranging esoterica as Topps trading cards, Playboy cartoons, and New Yorker (wife Francois Mouly happens to be the art director) pieces. Endlessly thoughtful and clever, this wide-angle view of an auteur’s history only confirms the legend of a creator who elevated an entire medium.

Battling Boy
Writer/Artist: Paul Pope
Publisher: First Second
Price: $13

Paul Pope blazes into the world of kids entertainment with Battling Boy, a hyper-creative modern classic that deserves to be devoured by any age group. A melange of manga, old school Disney, and Saturday morning escapism, this first digest (of two) is a perfect example of what happens when talented artists make things for your children instead of corporate marketing departments. The tale of a young god tasked with protecting a crumbling metropolis infested with gnarly monsters, Battling Boy will fill the cotton void of Christmas stockings with style and substance.


The Walking Dead Lunch Box
Artist: Charlie Adlard
Publisher: Image Comics 
Price: $15

Whether you prefer tuna sandwiches or brains, this lunch box lets you tote your meal in post-apocalyptic style. Featuring new art from series artist Charlie Adlard, the lunch box practically screams, “Don’t you dare steal my pudding cup!”
Bonus: It also functions as a weapon in a pinch.

RASL Hardcover
Writer/Artist: Jeff Smith
Publisher: Cartoon Books
Price: $30

What does the creator of a cherished fantasy embraced by adults, kids, and massive media corporations alike do for his next project? If you’re Jeff Smith, you pull a complete 180 and craft an insidious sci-fi matinee about a reality-hopping art thief known as RASL. Smith’s Cartoon Books imprint has always done a wonderful job with their collections, offering an economic way to experience an entire series in one volume. The RASL hardcover not only presents the entire break-neck noir from start to finish, but also colors the previously-monochrome pages in bright, striking hues. Alt-dimension debauchery has never looked so lovely.

Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe
Writer/Designer: Tim Leong
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Price: $13

Infographics on steroids, anyone? Using everything from Venn diagrams to scatter plots, Super Graphic charts the good, the bad, and the bizarre of the comic world. Including entries as varied as “The Politics of Good vs. Evil” and “Rappers Who Take Their Names from Comics,” this book explores both significant and random topics alike.

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Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Christmas Treasury Gift Box Set
Writer/Artist: Carl Barks
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Price: $30

Uncle Scrooge may get the most holiday attention for his starring roll in Mickey’s Christmas Carol, but the dour duck actually stepped into the limelight for the very first time in another yuletide production, Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Christmas on Bear Mountain from 1947. Fatagraphics has combined that story with “A Christmas for Shacktown” for a massive no-brainer gift. Writer/illustrator Carl Barks was simply a living treasure of story and art, and his work on Disney’s comics are some of the few works that can rival the quality of the brand’s films. Iconic, nostalgic, and gorgeous, this one’s worth a trip to the money vault.

The Sandman Omnibus Silver Edition
Writer:   Neil Gaiman  
Artists: Various
Publisher: DC/Vertigo
Price: $500

Neil Gaiman’s sublime Sandman series comes in more variations than a Transformer: single issue, trade paperback, 10-volume slipcase, entry-level English major dissertation, and menthol just to name a few. Even though we thought we reached the pinnacle of production value with the Absolute series, The Sandman Omnibus Silver Edition delivers the most luxurious package of the 75-issue epic, at least until next year. Two massive tomes heavy enough to anchor a small rowboat, a gorgeous slipcase, and an “art page” with Gaiman’s scribbled signature, this elusive beauty is limited to 500 units. If anything, the Omnibus is yet another reason to maintain a special budget line item for Vertigo’s eternal flagship title. And, obviously, we’re pretty fond of the story.