The 2016 Gift Guide for Comic Lovers & Beyond

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The 2016 Gift Guide for Comic Lovers & Beyond

After wrapping the gifts and hosting the fam, there’s only one solution to unwinding after a yuletide onslaught: kicking back with a comic. That’s why any Santa-bound list should be packed with sequential art goodness, but what requests should be made on the North Pool printer? This year hasn’t lacked good reading material (check back on Monday for our Best Comics of 2016), but Paste has your back on a range of gifts for all ages and preferences. Parents may want to bestow Bedtime for Batman to their tots a day early in preparation for the jolly one’s arrival, while Squirrel Girl and The Legend of Wonder Woman are perfect for teen readers. The mature comics aficionado will dig less, um, wholesome material like Tomie and Deadly Class. Outside of panels, we’ve also listed coolness including Xenomorph figures, psychedelic Lego playsets and Hellboy wine, because of course we did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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