With the winter months come the holidays and with the holidays come the gift-giving. Perhaps you have a comic reader on your list and you're not sure what to get for them. Or perhaps you know someone who still hasn't discovered comics yet and you're looking for the right book to introduce them to funnybooks. Or, maybe you're saying "Screw those guys. They never get me what I want anyhow. A bag of tube socks?! Are you freaking kidding me!?! I'm gifting myself this year, thank you very much."
Whatever the case, Mania is here to help you select the perfect comics related gift.
Nobody does superheroes better than Marvel and DC Comics. So here are a pair of picks from the big two.
The Death of Captain America Omnibus – This deluxe hardcover focuses on the recent death of one of Marvel's most enduring characters (so enduring he's no longer dead). Marvel's top writing talent Ed Brubaker takes you through the assassination of Steve Roger and restarts the legend of Captain America for the 21st Century. A must-read for Marvel fans.
Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps. Wars Vol 1 and 2 – Ask any DC Comics fan what they're reading today and they'll tell you "Blackest Night". Well, the amazing comics writer Geoff Johns sets the stage for that epic event with this thrilling tale which gives the ultimate Green Lantern villain an army of his own.
Know someone who hates the costumes worn by most comic book crime fighters? Someone who shuns the super and prefers their dames dangerous, their cops corrupt and their good guys bad?
Then you can't go wrong with Ed Brubaker's Criminal – Deluxe Hardcover Edition. This edition contains three graphic novels under one cover, each teeming with lowlifes, misdeeds and lives gone awry in the dirty back alleys of the city.
Horror author Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) transitions seamlessly into comics with Locke & Key: Welcome To Lovecraft. The book focuses on a family who ventures to the childhood home of their deceased patriarch in search of healing, but instead find doorways into the mysterious and macabre.
There are different flavors of Science Fiction. There's the Isaac Asimov flavor, with stories rooted in hard science and feasible technology. Then there are the pulpy science fiction tales found in classic magazines like "Astounding Science Fiction" and "Tales of Wonder".
Rick Remender's Fear Agent is the latter, telling the two-fisted tale of a drunken space cowboy named Heath Huston running mercenary jobs against a myriad of aliens on a myriad of alien worlds, but never able to escape his fall from grace as Earth's greatest hero. Start someone off on this series with Volume 1 – Ignition.
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life gets the nod for folks looking for something outside of the more violent genres. Bryan Lee O'Malley's slacker hero must navigate the perils of rent, parties and band jams and try to land the newly-discovered girl of his dreams (literally). This could be a run-of-the-mill romance comic, but O'Malley colors the whole thing with a never-fail sense of humor and patently absurd fist fights that play out like video game boss battles. Great fun!
Graveslinger comes from comic writers Jeff Mariotte and Shannon Eric Denton. It goes against the grain by casting a crotchety old Sam Elliot type as its hero: Frank Timmons. Then they give the whole thing a novel supernatural spin. See, Timmons was an undertaker for a New Mexico prison, when he ran afoul of an native Shaman. The Shaman's dying act of vengeance was to raise every dead bad guy that Timmons put in the earth and disperse them across the old west. Now Timmons has to round them all up to remedy the curse.
Comics aren't just for kids anymore, but kids comic books have seen a real boom in recent years. That's due in part to the fine books being produced by Boom! Studios, including their outstanding line of books based on Disney characters, Pixar movies and The Muppets.
If you want to put a smile on some youngster's face this year we highly recommend Meet the Muppets and Muppet Robin Hood, both collected in trade paperback.
There was no more anticipated event this year than the big screen adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal graphic novel Watchmen. Of course, while the book had to be pared down for the screen, director Zack Snyder struggled to include all as many of the story's interesting elements as possible. Now fans can pick up Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut on Blu-Ray, which restores missing scenes and interweaves the animated film Tales of the Black Freighter into the movie's storyline, just as it appeared in the comics.
It's easy to take comic books for granted, but if it's better to give than receive, then a fan who enjoys comics may want to give back to the comics community in the form of a charitable donation in their name.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund exists to allow creators the freedom to create comics and retailers the freedom to sell comics without fear of censorship and persecution from the government. They've been fighting for your first amendment right to read funnybooks for over 20 years. http://www.cbldf.org/
The Hero Initiative is around because, frankly, the comics industry can be a brutal one. An artist's fame may not outlast his taxes, medical bills and other expenses that one incurs during the golden years. This group helps provide benefits to aging comic creators in need. http://www.heroinitiative.org/
Please consider a donation to both for your comic-loving friends.
Do you like Mania columns such as "Comics2Film" and "The No Fly Zone"? Well then you might also dig the comics work of the authors of those columns.
C2F writer Rob M. Worley's original graphic novel The Revenant hit book stores late last year. It's a violent and vulgar tale of guns, ghosts and gangsters in the tradition of old pulp crime-fighters like The Shadow and The Spider. Praised by "Ain't it Cool News" as a four-star book. http://www.therevenantcomic.com/
NFZ author Kurt Amacker takes you to the undead underworld of New Orleans in Dead Souls. The book resurrects Prince Vlad Dracula and Countess Elisabet Bathory for a modern crime spree you will not forget. The book has earned kudos from none other than Alan Moore. http://www.seraphemera.org/deadsouls.html
Still Need to Shop? Then Try: 10 Must Have Anime Gifts
Want more Comic Book Action? Then Read 5 Comics That Should Be Rated R Movies
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