The 2016 Gift Guide for Comic Lovers & Beyond

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  • comicgifts2016 anniewuprint Art Prints by Annie Wu

    Superhero comics have a notable dearth of style; based on Big Two “fashion” alone, you’d think every woman in the world wore circa-1992 crop tops as daily casual clothing. Artist Annie Wu, fresh off of a rocking run on Black Canary, is one of the few notable exceptions to the fashion crisis, with a sartorial eye to rival anyone who’s ever competed on Project Runway or RuPaul’s Drag Race. Her INPRNT store offers a range of stunning high-fashion art prints, and picking up one of these beauties before Christmas contributes to a great cause: through the rest of 2016, Wu’s profits from this shop will go to Planned Parenthood and The Trevor Project, with INPRNT matching 10% of the donation. Steve Foxe
  • comicgifts2016 bedtimebatman Bedtime for Batman
    Writer: Michael Dahl
    Artist: Ethen Beavers
    Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

    Michael Dahl and Ethen Beavers' adorable Bedtime for Batman makes an excellent alternative to The Dark Knight Returns for junior Caped Crusaders a little too young for Frank Miller’s take on Bruce Wayne. Bedtime picture books are a cottage industry all their own, and this short tale sweetly juxtaposes one boy’s sleep preparation routine against the Dark Knight’s quest to clean up Gotham, offering a window into nocturnal heroism while also teaching budding sidekicks how to tuck in for a good night’s rest, all rendered in Beavers’ classic Golden Book-esque style. Steve Foxe
  • comicgifts2016 superheroesandpets DC Super Heroes and Pets Papercraft
    Writer: Brandon T. Snider
    Artist: Art Baltazar
    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    DC Comics is a licensing juggernaut in the best way, with quality all-ages offerings primed to inspire tomorrow’s comic readers (and creators!) into lifelong fandom. DC Super Heroes and Pets Papercraft from writer Brandon T. Snider and Tiny Titans fan-favorite Art Baltazar is an adorable introduction to the DC Universe of characters, from Cyborg to Vixen and all of their animal companions in between, complete with pop-out papercrafts to engage young readers. There are much worse ways to keep junior nerds busy while their parents catch up on slightly less all-ages Rebirth offerings that may be waiting for them under the tree this year. Steve Foxe
  • comicgifts2016 deadlyclassbook-01-1 Deadly Class, Book One HC
    Writer: Rick Remender
    Artist: Wes Craig
    Publisher: Image Comics

    Once a fixture at Marvel, writer Rick Remender has stretched genre fiction in engrossing, innovative ways since departing the capes crowd. Though we’re huge fans of all his work at the creator-owned haven of Image Comics, Deadly Class may be the most batshit-crazy, singular series in his recent oeuvre. A love letter to ‘80s drive-in cinema and a reflection on Remender’s misadventures in the Bay Area, the neon epic follows an orphan inducted into a school that trains fledgling assassins. Wes Craig's linework and use of verticality injects the panels with a disorienting ferocity that perfectly captures the hormones and violence of wayward youth. This tome collects the first 16 issues of the series (monthly issue #24 just came out this week) and offers an addictive descent into a grindhouse teenage wasteland. It's also an ideal starting point before the Russo brothers—the directors behind Captain America: Civil War and upcoming Avengers films—translate Deadly Class for the small screen. For that one family member whose favorite Christmas movie is still Die Hard. Sean Edgar
  • comicgifts2016 alienfunkopop Funko POP Movies: Alien Queen 6” Action Figure

    We may have reached the singularity point at which more properties have Funko POP figures than not—the Golden Girls toys were, after all, one of the hottest convention exclusives of the summer. But the baddest momma in film history finally received her super-deformed plastic due this year, and would make a fitting acid-blooded gift for even the most Funko-averse fan of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi opus. If you want to be an extra generous elf this year, pair the Queen with the company’s battle-damaged Ripley—but beware, Funko collections tend to reproduce faster than Xenomorph facehuggers. Steve Foxe
  • comicgifts2016 hellboyfront Hellboy Pinot Noir

    Comics’ favorite paranormal investigator is no stranger to inspiring infernal brews—remember Rogue’s delicious Right Hand of Doom Red Ale from 2015? Even though Mike Mignola's beloved creation retired to a cozy seaside villa in Hades, he’s apparently one hell of a vinter in the afterlife. This limited edition 2011 Hellboy Pinot Noir from Stoller Family Estate adds a grandeur and eloquence to its palate, matching the atmospheric narratives from creator Mike Mignola. Whether this bottle will aid with diabolic family gatherings or transform your head into the ninth circle of the inferno after downing it in one night, it’s an insidiously smooth vino best imbibed in the glow of a warm fire. Though its initial run was quickly snatched during October introduction, new bottles are being labeled just in time for the holidays. Best paired with the trade paperback Hellboy in Hell Vol. 2: The Death Card and a nice Gruyere. Sean Edgar
  • comicgifts2016 jinglebellewholepackage Jingle Belle: The Whole Package
    Writer: Paul Dini
    Artists: Various
    Publisher: IDW

    In a rundown of Christmas icons, literature has Ebeneezer Scrooge, cinema has Buddy the Elf, music has Johnny Mathis and comics has Jingle Belle. Though less ubiquitous than the other yuletide ambassadors, the spunky teenage daughter of Santa Claus is just as memorable. Her creator, Paul Dini, is responsible for a litany of legendary comic runs and characters, including the legendary Batman foil and cosplay queen Harley Quinn. But despite being another fair-haired pistol, Belle is more indicative of Dini’s experience in the animation trenches—he wrote and produced series ranging from Animaniacs to Tiny Toons and Ultimate Spider-Man. That frantic, goofball energy courses through this trade paperback that collects every appearance of the character, from her early black-and-white strips to her later full-color adventures. If you’ve ever wondered what a Kringle family counseling session looks like or wanted to see a narwhal do some damage against mystic foes, this is the book for you. It also features a show-stopping collection of art from the likes of J. Bone, Jill Thompson, Sergio Aragones and Jeff Smith. Sean Edgar
  • comicgifts2016 legendofwonderwoman The Legend of Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Origins
    Writer/Artists: Renae De Liz with Ray Dillon
    Publisher: DC Comics

    DC Comics offered fans no shortage of Amazon origins this year, from Jill Thompson’s gorgeous Wonder Woman: The True Amazon to Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette’s controversial Wonder Woman: Earth One to Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott and Liam Sharp’s in-continuity Rebirth soft reset. For our money, The Last Unicorn illustrator Renae De Liz did best by Diana this year in The Legend of Wonder Woman. This nine-issue outing retells Wonder Woman’s origin on Themyscira and her first encounter with the world of man in a way that distills the best, most hopeful aspects of the character for a brand-new audience—as well as the legion of Wonder Woman fans unhappy with her inconsistent treatment over the years. Illustrated with a clean line and clear respect for the subject matter, The Legend of Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Origins is the best sequential introduction to a character everyone is going to be talking about in 2017, as the heronine becomes the first female character to headline a solo superhero flick. Steve Foxe
  • comicgifts2016 yellowsubmarinex Lego Yellow Submarine

    Want to construct a glorious out-of-body experience without taking mammoth loads of hallucinogens or meditating for countless hours? Paste’s favorite Danish block-makers have crafted a new Lego playset featuring John, Paul, George and Ringo and the titular submersible of their most psychedelic album and the cartoon movie it inspired. You already know if this is for you; it’s gorgeous, fun retro splendor, and a potential bridge to get Generation Z into ‘60s counterculture without going full Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. If this takes off, we might get Lego renditions of the Blue Meanies or Pepperland. As is, it’s the perfect all-ages toy to work on after all the socks, gift cards and boutique soaps have been opened. Sean Edgar
  • comicgifts2016 ecmoebius2 Moebius Library: The World of Edena
    Writer/Artist: Moebius
    Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

    For parents, spouses and lovers having trouble finding gift ideas for the comic omnivore who already has everything, may this deep cut be your salvation. Moebius, born Jean Giraud, is the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby of European comics, a man who blew minds and color schemes with relentless creativity. Despite being a pillar of modern comics, finding his work can be frustrating as much of it has fallen out of print; haloed tomes like The Airtight Garage can only be found used online at ridiculous prices. Thank publisher Dark Horse for picking up the rights to Moebius’ entire library. The first entry—The World of Edena—may not be as recognizable as some of the cartoonist’s other contributions, but it’s just as valuable. The story revolves around galactic repairmen who trip on a paradise planet. Even if the plotting wasn't top notch (it is), the lush, colorful artwork offers the perfect visual escape from the icy wastelands of winter. Sean Edgar
  • comicgifts2016 tomie Tomie: Complete Deluxe Edition
    Writer/Artist: Junji Ito
    Publisher: VIZ Media

    We’re Junji Ito evangelists here at Paste, and this December sees one of the most glaring gaps in his English-language bibliography filled with the publication of the Tomie: Complete Deluxe Edition from VIZ Media. The book collects the entire saga of Ito’s breakthrough terror tale in a handsome hardcover to match his Uzamaki and Gyo volumes. Tomie, first published in the late ‘80s, spawned eight (!) films and a television series in Japan, but fell out of print in America years ago. The story concerns the titular Tomie, a young woman who inspires deadly devotion in men, often leading to her own death and supernatural resurrection. Even in this first major outing, it’s clear that Ito has a knack for the disturbing, and no horror manga collection is complete without this formative work. Steve Foxe
  • comicgifts2016 unbeatable-squirrel-girl-beats-up-the-marvel-universe-ogn-fr The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe
    Writer: Ryan North
    Artist: Erica Henderson
    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    This year has brought plenty of surprises—most of them utterly hellish—but one of the best was that Squirrel Girl has climbed the ranks at the House of Ideas to earn her own original graphic novel from the creators who turned Doreen Green into a viable star in the first place. Ryan North and Erica Henderson have been knocking it out of the park on the Squirrel Girl monthly, but the extra page count of this standalone tale allows the duo to dive deep into the humor and heart of the rodent-inspired character. Whether your Secret Santa recipient is a fan of Doreen’s ongoing adventures or a new inductee into the bushy-tailed fan club, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe is one of the funniest and most heartwarming tales to come out of Marvel all year. Steve Foxe
  • comicgifts2016 wacom Wacom Intuos 3D

    Wacom has quickly ascended into the hearts of comic creators and aspiring creatives alike with hardware that makes it easy to seamlessly translate passion into digital media. Aside from the Cintiq line of portable monitor/canvas hybrids, the Intuos tablets remain one of the coolest, most affordable ways to draw on your computer through a refined pad and pen. Intuous 3D take the next logical leap forward, offering software and tutorials to sculpt, paint and render character models. At $200, the pad is a fantastic way for aspiring artists and animators to get their feet wet without breaking the bank. If your kid asked for Nintendo Classic and you’re debating overpaying that sketchy third-party seller on Amazon, give her or him the ability to make their own games and sprites instead with this deeply nuanced, yet accessible, tool.
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