Happy Holidays! It’s December which means we are past Thanksgiving and that is an appropriate greeting. I know my calendar has already started to fill left and right with holiday shin-digs. As such, it is definitely not too early to start thinking about gift giving (and in fact, is already too late for Hanukah gifts). So, I have some comic related gift ideas for you this month for both the avid comic reader, the occasional comic reader, and the potential soon-to-be comic reader.
For the Potential Soon-to-Be Comic Reader:
These are what we call the ‘gateway gifts.’
Recently, there has been a massive expansion of producing graphic novels for popular book and televisions shows (see Grimm, Outlander, and Beautiful Creatures just to name a few). Don’t quote me on this because it could very well be mistaken, but I think the continuation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the comic medium really opened the door for these works. Publishers, producers, and other creators began to recognize the stories that would not be possible to tell on film, for whatever reason, could be told in comic (or graphic novel) format. Authors of multi-book thousand page series found that they could provide a much less intimidating entryway into their worlds and in many cases provide a viewpoint that wouldn’t otherwise occur in the books. This is probably the easiest gateway gift as all you need to do is find a comic related to something you know they already love. How great and easy is that? (And of a personal note, Buffy was one of my gateway comics.)
Another alternative is to gift a short self-contained story (often still related to something in other medium) that has art or characters the intended recipient can relate to. My personal suggestions include The Guild and Dr. Horrible. (Felicia Day’s The Guild comics were my other gateway into this wonderful medium.)
For the Occasional Comic Reader:
The occasional comic reader will typically read long serials or large graphic novels when a particular story of interest catches their eye. In this way, this type of recipient is easier because they understand the medium and is typically willing to occasionally try new titles. I would still suggest a more self-contained storyline either in a limited run series or a distinct volume in trade paperback. The DC New 52 volume 1s of several titles are a good bet, but personally I’d recommend Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls story line in the Batman Volume 1. Or reach back and consider a classic Batman storyline that has been getting a lot of attention lately – Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Personally, I would also recommend giving Alan Moore’s Promethea to those friends who tend to think or feel metaphorically and abstractly. The art from JH Williams III alone makes Promethea worth gifting, in my opinion.
For the Avid Comic Reader:
For the avid comic reader it is really question of budget and personality. The avid comic reader would probably be ecstatic with an ‘Absolute’ or ‘Collector’ edition of just about anything. Might I recommend the Absolute Sandman volumes? Or even the Sandman Omnibus? Or how about a vintage copy of an older Superman book?
Of course, there are always the additional options of the various comic related merchandise (mugs, action figures, ;posters, and other collectibles). My personal recommendation for the DC lovers would include the Bombshell statues. I won the Wonder Woman one and can attest to how fantastic it looks.
And of course, you can’t go wrong with a gift certificate/card to one of your local comic shops! For those newbie comic readers, include a note with the card telling the recipient how willing you are to go shopping with them to help them explore all the wonderful things available in a local shop. Introducing someone to the staff and offerings of the shop can be the gift that keeps on giving!
Be sure to let me know in the comments what comic related items you plan to gift and/or what you receive from others so I can drool over what great friends you are (or have). Wishing the merriest of holidays and a safe and happy New Year celebration to you all!