The Quarter Bin

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The Quarterbin’s 2008 Guide to Comic Book Christmas Shopping

Posted by Luke Brown On December - 19 - 2008

Procrastinators of the world unite for today is your lucky day. I present to you a gift guide the likes of which have been you have never seen… on this site. After the jump, you’ll find a few recommendations on what books to buy for those in your life that need some graphic storytelling injected into their lives. I’ve tried as best I could to stay away from the obvious ones *cough*Watchmen*cough*, and I hope you find the choices I’ve made to be suitable for your friends and family.

I know how tight the times are, so I’ve taken care to not select anything that would cost more than $30. If you can’t get a good story for that price, maybe the story’s not as good as you thought.

DARKHORSE COMICS

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Road Home – $15.95

Whether you’re a fan of Joss Whedon’s heroine or not, good writing is good writing. Even though the series is essentially the eighth season of the televised show, the book does a great job of introducing the world and characters to new readers. As good as Whedon’s writing is, the book is helped even more by artist Georges Jeanty’s terrific pencils. Whedon’s stories have always been character-centric, and Jeanty’s art conveys emotion and characterization perfectly. Besides, who doesn’t like a strong female lead?

Hellboy: The Chained Coffin and Others – $17.95

Hellboy is awesome, and this collection of stories are among my personal favorites. This book is the third collection available, but the great thing about Mignola’s stories are they way they’re instantly accesible, and not bogged down in continuity. Sure, there’s a long running story, but each tale is definitely strong enough to stand alone, and this collection is a prime example.

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite – $17.95

What can I say about Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s wonderful mini-series that hasn’t been said already? Critically lauded, the book is must read for anyone interested in the medium, or interested in storytelling in general. The way Ba and Way collaborate, you’d think they’d been working together for years, but this book was only the beginning. The book is filled with seriously messed up characters, and some bizarre situations, that under any other creators, would’ve been a joke. Thankfully, it wasn’t, and these two craft a story well worth the price of admission.

DC COMICS

America’s Best Comics Primer – $4.99

Want to introduce people to Alan Moore beyond Watchmen, but don’t want to drop V for Vendetta on their lap? Welcome to America’s Best Comics, an entire imprint of books written solely (at least at the outset) by Alan Moore. Contained in here are the first issues of all those books, including Tom Strong, Top Ten, Tomorrow Stories and Promethea. Some of the world’s most talented artists, like JH Williams and Chris Sprouse, make their marks here as well. It’s a great way to get people interested, and shows that Alan Moore is the predominant expert comic literature.

The Spirit: Volume One – $19.99

Darwyn Cooke did more justice to Will Eisner’s creation during his run on this book of new Spirt stories than Frank Miller will do damage to the legacy of the father of modern comic storytelling with his film, and this collection is the only Spirit your friends and family should be seeing this holiday season. If there was ever a character that needed to be brought up to date, it was the Spirit, and Darwyn does an amazing job paying tribute, and acknowledging what came before, while at the same time modernizing a hero of the Greatest Generation. Even if you haven’t read this, treat yourself to an early gift, but make sure this is under someone’s tree.

Y: The Last Man Deluxe Edition, Volume One – $29.99

Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra created one of the greatest comics of the last twenty years, and this is one story that shouldn’t be missed by anyone, whether they dig comics or not. Focusing on a plague that wipes out all mankind, save for Yorrick Brown and his monkey, Ampersand, readers are taken on a journey that spans a lifetime in just 60 issues, the first 12 of which are collected here. I know this is probably popping up on a ton of “What to buy” lists, but there’s good reason. Giving someone the gift of great story is probably the greatest gift of all. This is a good place to start.

IMAGE COMICS

Invincible: Family Matters – $12.99

In what is probably the most realistic takes on teenage superheroes since Spider-Man came onto the scene, Robert Kirkman’s Invincible is without a doubt the best all-ages comic Image publishes. Introducing someone to this is not only one of the most American things you can do, but will also score you some points with the big guy upstairs. He loves Invincible. Anyhow, now nearing its 60th issue, reading this book, and watching Mark Grayson grow into the hero he has become has been an utter delight. You’d be good people to stick this in somebody’s stocking.

Tellos Colossal, Volume One – $17.99

$18 for nearly 300 pages worth of Mike Wieringo art? If that’s not the steal of all steals, I’m not sure what is. I’ve said before that fantasy tales are very hard to pull of, but people of all ages should have no reason to hate on this book by Todd Dezago and the late Mike Wieringo. Pirate princesses, magic, tiger warriors, mystery… these are the things that will delight you from open to close. Besides, if that cover isn’t enough to sell you on the book, then you have no heart. No heart at all.

The Walking Dead, Book One – $29.99

Zombie stories don’t get much better than this, my friend. Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard all team to bring you one of the most entertaining, heartbreaking, and action-filled books available today. Focusing on a select group of survivors after a zombie outbreak, Walking Dead will have touting it’s tales to anyone who’ll listen once you read it. If you thought all zombie stories were the same, you or the person you’re getting it for are in for quite a treat. Here, the first 12 issues of the critically and commercially successful book are collected for easy reading. If you don’t buy this for someone, you clearly hate them.

MARVEL COMICS

Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day, Volume One – $24.99

200 pages of spectacular spider-action for under $30? How are you still sitting down and reading this, not rushing out the door to your local comic shop? Seriously though, there’s a lot of good going on in the Spider-books right now, and this is the perfect place to start. Guggenheim, Slott, McNiven, Jimenez… the list goes on and on with contributors to this collection. Everyone could use a little Spidey in their stocking.

Criminal: Coward – $14.99

This is by far my most favorite of all the Ed Brubaker written comics, and it sure helps that Sean Phillips provides the art. These two are the predominant crime fiction storytellers working in the medium today, and people who aren’t reading this are truly missing out. Each of the stories under the Criminal banner are self-contained, so any volume is technically a good volume, but since this was the first collection, I figured this would be the best place to introduce people to the awesomeness that is a Brubaker/Phillips collaboration.

Invincible Iron Man: The Five Nightmares – $24.99

If the Iron Man movie made the character relevant again, then Matt Fraction and Salvador Larocca have made the character interesting. This book, containing the first arc of the all-new series, reminds people why Tony Stark is such a fascinating character when handled properly. Matt Fraction’s scripting and characterizations are top notch, and allow people who haven’t been following character for years to synch up without missing a beat. Larocca has redefined his artistic style so many times over the last few years, but the art in this book is perfect, and I wouldn’t want any other person drawing it. Get people interested in superheroes the easy way: buy them this book.

ONI PRESS

The Apocalipstix – $11.95

Ray Fawkes and Cameron Stewart have created what could possibly be the best new book of the year. It would be a shame if you, or someone you love, didn’t read this. The story centers on an all female band traverising the nuclear wastelands to make it to California. Along the way, hijinxs and band battles ensue. The digest sized story is chock full of Stewart’s amazing art, and there are sequences that will have you pining for this book to get the full-on animated treatment. If there ever was a list of artists whose books you should buy on name alone, Cameron Stewart is on that list. Honestly, you’d never think a Josie and the Pussycats/Mad Max smash-up could be this good.

Local – $29.99

Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s complete run of Local is collected in this wonderful hardcover edition, and if you don’t give this as a gift to someone, it’s considered a crime in 47 states. You don’t want to spend New Year’s Eve in jail do you? I didn’t think so. Anyway, this book is probably on more of these kinds of lists than any other book to come out this year (or the past few years for that matter), and for good reason. Over the course of the last few years, there hasn’t been a better monthly independent book published at any company. Watching Ryan Kelly grow as an artist over the course of this book has been one of the highlights, as has reading a solid Brian Wood story just about every month. Don’t go to jail, buy this book.

Queen and Country: Definitive Edition, Volume One – $19.99

Tara Chace is by far the strongest female lead in a comic ever. I don’t care about any other name you put on the table, there’s no way they can compare to British spy whose been shot at, wanted by her own country, kidnapped, tortured, and still managed to overcome it all. Greg Rucka has created a realistic female spy that puts every other fictional spy to shame. Containing the first three stories of Tara’s carrer at MI-6, Q&C:DE is a great introduction not only to the series, which has seen two novels as well, but also to a bunch of fantastic artists, like Steve Rolston, Brian Hurtt, and Leandro Fernandez. Greg Rucka’s writing on this series is among his best, and the only comic character of his I enjoy more than Tara is Tara’s boss, Paul Crocker. If you know someone into action flicks, or espionage films/books, you owe it to them to give them this.

Hopefully, you can find something on this list to give. If you can give all of it, good for you. Come buy me some stuff while you’re at it. Anyhow, there’s never been a better time to get people into comics, so if you have someone you haven’t convinced to start reading, now’s the time.


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