Holiday gift guide 2005

December 19, 2005 | Trades


Ho, ho, ho and all that stuff.
Have you been a good boy or girl this year?
Then you deserve a great comic book read as part of your holiday festivities. And since this is the season when all that goodness and cheer you’ve spread all year comes back to you in kind, let’s take a look at some really nice (see not cheap) books to start.
There are five real golden choices as far as high-end comics this year, beginning with the fabulous The Complete Calvin And Hobbes ($200, Andrews McMeel Publishing). This is one of the most impressive collections of any series ever. It contains all 3,160 strips produced by creator Bill Watterson in three hardcovers, inside a slipcase. This may be a bit steep for a book (although some retailers are slashing the price), but for a fan of comic strips it is worth every penny.
For more traditional comic book fans, Watchmen: The Absolute Edition ($75 US, DC Comics) is likely to be high on the ol’ wish list. This oversized, digitally restored, hardcover edition of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons 1980s miniseries about the dark side of super-heroes and humanity is a perfect compliment for this landmark title.
Crisis On Infinite Earths: The Absolute Edition ($99.99 US, DC Comics) has all the bells and whistles as The Watchmen, along with an entire second book of bonus material looking back at this series that defined the DC Universe for an entire generation of fans by streamlining 50 years of history into one (sort of) cohesive unit.
For something more contemporary, try The Walking Dead Omnibus ($100 US, Image Comics), a whopping 560-pager collecting the first two years of this hot series about a band of people fighting to stay alive and sane in a world filled with the undead.
Thanks to filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and a boatload of Hollywood stars, most people now know all about Sin City. But to really get the feel of this seedy little town, a copy of Frank Miller’s Sin City Library Set Vol. 1 ($150 US, Dark Horse Books) is a must. This oversized, four-hardcover, slipcased set contains the first few Sin City tales and a slew of extras, spanning 840 pages.
For those on a more modest budget, there are lots of great choices among recently releases, including:
Identity Crisis ($33.99, DC Comics) was the hottest title of 2004. This murder-mystery involving the death of a famous hero’s spouse had fans guessing for months and the ramifications of this story are still being felt in almost every DC Comic sold today.
Image Comic Hardcover ($24.99 US, Image Comics) was overdue by three-and-a-half years, but well worth the wait. The four remaining Image founders — Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino — each return to their original independent creation (or in the case of Larsen continued on) taking the Savage Dragon, Spawn, Cyberforce and Shadowhawk back to their beginnings in a reminder of why these creators are so influential and inspiring.
Green Lantern: Rebirth ($33.99, DC Comics) was just slightly behind Identity Crisis on the buzz-o-meter. Orchestrating the return to the DC Universe of the silver age Green Lantern, Hal Jordan — who had turned evil, died and been merged with the Spectre — was a very tough task. But writer Geoff Johns, along with artists Ethan Van Sciver and Prentis Rollins, did a masterful job, reminding us why Jordan is the greatest and most deserving to wear that emerald power ring.
The Complete Peanuts 1957-58 ($28.95 US, Fantagraphics) is the fourth out of 25 planned collections of Charles Schultz’s comic strip masterpiece coming over a 12-year span. Giving these books out should be a holiday tradition.
Image Holiday Special 2005 ($11.80, Image Comics) is proof that holiday-themed comics don’t have to suck. This anthology dips into some of the best of Image Comics’ talent — including a Walking Dead story by Robert Kirkman, some PVP strips by Scott Kurtz and a Savage Dragon-a-la-Sin-City tale by Erik Larsen —and produces a bargain book that is not to be missed.

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