Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

















November 27, 2009


Black Friday Holiday Shopping Guide '09

image

Today is Black Friday 2009. Black Friday is the traditional first day of the hectic holiday shopping season.

Following are several suggestions for comics-related gift shopping. They are intended to help spur you along if you've decided that sequential narrative presents and things related to sequential narratives are to be on Santa's list this year.

As I have little chance of actually selecting something for your friend or loved one, please use this as a starting point only. There's a small chance I'll have discovered just the thing. More likely what follows will give you an idea as to what's out there, or spark some brainstorming that leads to an idea for something specifically suited to your loved one.

I'm also quite certain I'm forgetting a list of items and ideas equally as long as the one that follows. That list is almost certainly filled with quality works and books. I apologize profusely for their absence here.

Have fun today and the weeks ahead, and please remember a few simple rules about comics gift-giving:
1. When it comes to gifts, comics are best for people that already like them as opposed to people that may like them someday.

2. The bigger the comics fan, the more likely that person is to be very specific about what it is they want. Be careful!

3. Comics don't have the retail saturation of, say, DVDs, and some of the best things are carried by specific vendors or involve an element of handcraft, so make sure you have enough time to receive the thing it is you want to buy.
All that said: gifts are gifts. It's difficult to do anything wrong when giving someone a gift. Happy shopping, and here's to a fulfilling and safe holiday season.

****
****

THE COMICS REPORTER BLACK FRIDAY HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE 2009
or
100-PLUS REASONS TO SPEND YOUR SHOPPING MONEY ON COMICS THIS YEAR

****
****

****
TWELVE GIFT COMICS FOR THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
****


image
image
image
1. HarperCollins' X-Mas Short-Story Adaptations
I had heard of two of these books as individual efforts but was surprised when a package from the publisher revealed all three -- The Gift Of The Magi, The Fir-Tree, A Kidnapped Santa Claus -- with similar design. It doesn't get much more Christmas-appropriate than gift items tied into the holiday. I think there will be people that like all of these. I liked the Alex Robinson one best -- something about his straight-forward adaptation flattered Baum's weird, stripped-down Santa legend.

image
2. The Book Of Genesis Illustrated By R. Crumb, Robert Crumb (WW Norton)
A drawing showcase for the underground comix master and certainly a vital lion-in-winter offering for one of the greatest cartoonists ever.

image
3. Alec: The Years Have Pants, Eddie Campbell
I'm not sure this collection will get to you before Christmas, but Eddie Campbell's long run of autobiographically informed comics are about as dear and necessary as any comics made over the last 30 years. I so look forward to lugging this book around everywhere I go for the four weeks after I get it.

image
4. Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years Of Playboy Cartoons, Gahan Wilson (Fantagraphics)
This career retrospective is massive and beautiful and I think a lot of people are going to be so happy to have all this work in one place.

image
5. Footnotes In Gaza: Joe Sacco (Metropolitan)
My likely choice for book of the year, it's cartoonist/journalist Joe Sacco at the absolute height of comics-making powers walking us through an elaborate investigation into a pair of past atrocities and then, in a heartbreaking coda, gently questioning the entire enterprise in a way that pulls a second, just-as-compelling narrative out of the book like a spine and rib bones being lifted from whitefish.

image
6. A Drifting Life, Yoshihiro Tatsumi (D&Q)
Very few if any reviews of this massive autobiographical work from the great Yoshihiro Tatsumi note how completely mad it is on a certain level to follow a young man around as he reads and draws comics over the space of several decades. This book more than has the courage of that particular conviction, and I've never seen any artist invoke the relationship-warping monomania of creativity as well as Tatsumi does here.

image
7. Asterios Polyp, David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon)
It's said when the great David Mazzucchelli moved from Marvel comics to his Rubber Blanket, a lot of his fans stared at those books not sure exactly where he was taking them. I imagine many who understood Rubber Blanket without a hitch may have stared at Asterios Polyp in much that same way. I can't imagine too many more enjoyable journeys in comics than to follow a fine cartoonist to the places he wants to take you.

image
8. Stitches: A Memoir, David Small (WW Norton)
The mainstream publishing buzz comic of the year, and an effective use of art within the memoir genre, making it a nice book to have to close down the decade.

image
9. The Photographer, Didier Lefevre and Emmanuel Guibert (First Second)
I had mixed feelings about this award-winning book. Fortunately, 1) this isn't my Christmas list, and 2) Angelina Jolie and practically every adult art comics reader in Europe strongly disagree with me. With many more servicemen being sent into Afghanistan, it's also timely in a brand new way.

image
10. The Complete Jack Survives, Jerry Moriarty (Buenaventura Press)
A very good, somewhat profound, and in some ways even sad book. It speaks through a visual iconography familiar to a lot of non-comics readers.

image
11. Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai, Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)
This is a stand-alone color volume from Stan Sakai done in conjunction with his anniversary year. It may have slipped some fans' notice or work as a gift to a newcomer or someone who used to read the series who doesn't anymore.

image
12. The Hunter, Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
Darwyn Cooke's career-changing adaptation of the first Richard Stark Parker book just looks like something I'd give my dad, were he still with us. It would look great under the tree between a bar of soap-on-a-rope and a tie with little Santa heads.

General Commentary: Some years there are other gift items that crash this initial burst of gift ideas, like the Jimbo doll two years ago. I noticed after compiling a quick list this year that it was going to be all-book, an appropriate strategy for a year stuffed with great books. I don't mean to place any of these here above the suggestions below as just open the guide in a representative fashion. In a few cases, they're not even my favorite recent books of their type, but they feel more "gifty" than the ones I like more. I'll leave you to puzzle out which ones.

*****
FIVE BARGAIN GIFT IDEAS FOR A YEAR OF RECESSION
*****


image
1. Something via AbeBooks
This is the interface that I use to access used bookstores. One thing that such stores tend to have that comic shops usually don't is classic "cartoon books" from artists like Peter Arno, Charles Addams, Pat Oliphant, B. Kliban and so on. But you can frequently find all sorts of comics and comics-related books for cheaper than the standard, going price. It's worth checking.

image
2. Crafts
Like most men around the age of 40, I like to make coasters out of old comic book pages. You can use just about any old coaster project description that comes up when you search on Google. I prefer the take old coasters and fasten laminated comics imagery onto the top of them technique, but I've also used old CDs and cork to assemble some pancake-style. The important thing is to get good lamination and to be careful as you attach the art. Comics art offers a lot of opportunities for such handmade gifts if you're inclined to go that way. Be creative.

image
3. Various Calvin and Hobbes Books -- or Something Similar -- at Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble carries a lot of the classic Calvin & Hobbes collections at a reduced rate. That's a tricky buy for someone right now as many older fans will certainly have this material while a lot of younger fans may not know Calvin from Hobbes. But if you have someone for whom it's appropriate, those are good deals. I have to imagine a lot of work from recent years gets processed into the discount sections of such stores, so it might pay to look around in the discount sections.

image
4. Amazon.com's Used Books Options
Most comics in trade collections or in original graphic novel form come with an ISBN. In most of those cases, that means used copies can be sold on Amazon. I don't believe in selling review copies, but from the number of used books that pop up in the listings every single time there's a new comics release, I'm guessing most folks disagree with me. Not only can you find slightly older books on Amazon.com at a highly reduced rate, you should be able to find all-but-new ones at a discount as well.

image
5. Non-Mint, Not Super-Popular, Older Comic Books From A Shop Or On-Line Store
Most comic book stores sell discounted comics in some fashion. Ebay has given price-point noogies to many a store owner who once upon a time held onto comic books no one wanted for 15 years or more because they were certain that a dollar's worth of desire out there would someday and somehow compound itself up to $7.50. With a little effort, you can snag readable runs of unpretentious adventure comics ranging from Master of Kung Fu to Power Man and Iron Fist to Thriller to Camelot 3000 to The Intimates for less than $1.50 an issue. Try reliable on-line retailers like Mile High and MyComicShop.com (especially during their sales); try eBay for things like Chicago Comics' manga sales; try Google Maps or the Comic Shop Locator service to find a store near you.

General Commentary: I'm not kidding about the crafts. I made wrapping paper for a friend of mine a couple of years ago, and I may try some fold-over stationery this year. It's probably technically a violation of some law out there with some of these things, so don't sell them. Also, I think I may have noticed that they have certain Peanuts books at Barnes & Noble for the same generally cheap prices at which they're selling Calvin and Hobbes volumes. One last note about wrapping paper: comic book spreads are perfectly sized to wrap most DVDs.

*****
SIX WAYS TO FACILITATE THEIR DOING THE SHOPPING FOR YOU
*****


image
1. Gift Certificate From Amazon.com
Here's one way to let people buy comics for themselves, a gift certificate/gift card to the bookstore Amazon.com, which of course by virtue of comics' journey into the world of book sales is a prominent comics retailer just about any way you measure it. I think it's all gift cards now, but I love the look of that certificate. It looks like it lurched out of a computer circa 1991.

image
2. Gift Card From Barnes and Noble
There's an added advantage with an Barnes and Noble gift offering in that you can use it in the brick and mortar locations of the chain.

image
3. Gift Certificate From Mile High Comics
I've purchased these before and had no complaints.

image
4. Gift Certificate From Your Local Comic Book Shop
Your shop may not do this, but it never hurts to ask. I imagine there are several that would take money from you and apply it to store credit even if there's not an official certificate in the offing.

image
5. Something From Someone's Amazon.com Wish List
I have an Amazon.com Wish List devoted to Marvel's Essentials and DC's Showcase reprint series, but I'm a nerd. Most comics fans just have a few comics on their regular Wish Lists waiting for you to purchase them.

image
6. Something From A Want List Someone Made At Their Local Shop
Many comic shops will let their customers leave a list of comics they want their friends and family members to buy them. If your store doesn't have a program like this, they might be convinced to do it for someone that asks nicely. This has the advantage of keeping your comics fan's local store in the purchasing loop. Many comics readers are devoted to their local shop in a way that's admirable and slightly scary.

General Commentary: I have a few friends that swear by the holiday gift registry/want list at the local shop idea. The low-tech version, of course, is asking the person you know and love for a list of books and hoping there's no overlap.

*****
EIGHT SUBSCRIPTIONS, THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
*****


image
1. Subscription to an Archie Publication
It's like having a little piece of supermarket checkout right there in your home.

image
2. Subscription to a DC Comic Book
This could make a nice nostalgia gift for a one-time weekly comic shop visitor. I'm not as familiar with these titles as I used to be, but I always like whatever Grant Morrison is working on, I hear people speak well of various Superman titles, and Geoff Johns is fairly burrowed in at the publisher.

image
3. Subscription to a Marvel Comic Book
Where once this was maybe the best way to guarantee getting a comic book, it's now an equally nice way to have a recurring gift that the reader might not otherwise pick up. I'd suggest whatever books Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction are working on. With the movie, it might be a good year to think about a sub to Invincible Iron Man. I liked the first few issues of the Hickman/Eaglesham Fantastic Four, and I bet they make that a parking spot for talented teams for the next few years.

image
4. Subscription to a TwoMorrows Magazines
There are certainly enough of the TwoMorrows magazines that one of them at least should be worthy of your attention. You can't go on buying them at conventions forever, you know.

image
5. Subscription to Shonen Jump
I had a gift subscription this past year and it was great to see that fat little sucker peeking out at me from the mailbox once a month.

image
6. Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited Subscription
Marvel's first serious step into the world of digital comics may not last forever, but some form of Marvel Comics on-line is certainly going to be the norm from now on. The thought of having a bunch of Marvel as close as a click or two of the mouse without having to store them actually seems sort of cool to me at this point in my life; I may give one of these subs a whirl.

image
image
image
7. DailyInk.com Subscription
It may eventually go the way of the Dodo as more and more syndicates choose the strategy of "free," but for the conceivable future there's DailyInk.com from King Features, a site that features old and new material at a size that actually rewards your reading it on a computer screen. A solid gift for your friend that knows which strips run on the Houston Chronicle web site as opposed to which run on the Seattle P-I's.

image
8. Subscription To John Porcellino's King-Cat Comics And Other Stories
The greatest of all mini-comics and a national treasure, King-Cat can be purchased in subscription form which the cartoonist will faithfully service over the next few years. In a perfect comic book America, these would be available next to check-out in every store the moment they were published, but that America does not exist yet.

General Commentary: I was sad to see two items on this list from last year, Nick Magazine and Shojo Beat, go the way of the Saturday Evening Post. Another great subscription value, The Comics Journal, is going on-line full-time. I'm tempted to buy a few classic comic book subscriptions myself -- some are priced at half the cost of buying them on the stands. Also, I'm not sure they always did this, but it looks like Twomorrows also has digital subscriptions.

*****
TWENTY-ONE SUGGESTIONS FOCUSED ON YOUNG PERSON-FRIENDLY GNS, COMICS AND/OR KIDS BOOKS WITH CARTOONIST HOOKS
*****


image
1. A Kids Book From Toon Books
The new line spearheaded by Francoise Mouly employs a staggering number of talents familiar to older comics readers, from Frank Cammuso to Eleanor Davis to Art Spiegelman to Dean Haspiel to CR pal Jeff Smith.

image
2. One of the Kids-Focused Books From First Second
A number of the graphic novels in the First Second line are aimed at kids at a range of ages, including the Tiny Tyrant successful Sardine series (up to six volumes for the latter, I think) for very young kids and the award-winning Laika for slightly older ones.

image
3. Bow-Wow Books
Formalist comics master Mark Newgarden co-authors this line of children's books that count on subtle visual effects and bright, funny plotlines. I've given these to a couple of families with really little kids and they've liked them enough to keep them in the heavy rotation for the several months since then.

image
4. Something From Shaun Tan
The success of The Arrival may open up all of the Shaun Tan-illustrated books for reading by comics fans interested in how he employs imagery. Most of them are all-ages friendly.

image
5. One of Richard McGuire's Children's Books
Richard McGuire's children's books -- What Goes Around Comes Around, Night Becomes Day, What's Wrong With This Book? and Orange Book -- are full of the sharp visuals and formal play that distinguishes his comics like "Here."

image
6. One of Lorenzo Mattotti's Children's Books
Mattotti provided book illustration as idiosyncratically colorful as any of his more famous comics albums on works like Eugenio. If they're not still on the shelves where you are -- they aren't where I am -- they're pretty easy to find on-line.

image
7. The Usagi Yojimbo Series, Stan Sakai
Oh, to be ten years old all over again and have these solidly-crafted, cartoony violent and engrossing comics ahead of me to read.

image
image
8. All-Ages Superhero Comics Efforts
Both Marvel and DC Comics have comics they publish aimed at younger readers, and many of them are quite a bit more fun to read by readers of all ages than a lot of today's continuity-obsessive, clenched-sphincter, standard comic books and collections.

image
9. Various Kids Comics, James Kochalka
James does a lot of comics for kids, all of which have an undeniable power similar to his work intended for adults.

image
10. The John Stanley Library, John Stanley et al (D&Q)
D&Q has begun a super nice-looking series of Seth-designed reprints of comics from the great John Stanley. They'll probably be among those books of your kids you'd rather they not color in, but I know parents whose kids have taken to these in a big way.

image
11. Various Books, Edward Gorey
Although I've focused mostly on current books for kids, I can't let the comics-related books I loved most as a child go without mention. There are stand-alone Edward Gorey books that are perfect for slipping into a stocking, and there are four fine anthologies -- Amphigorey, Amphigorey Again, Amphigorey Too and Amphigorey Also -- that are easy to track down.

image
12. The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Series, Jeff Kinney
This list wouldn't be complete without this publishing phenomenon on the list.

image
13. Tintin, Herge
Any comics list for kids also need this classic series, just waiting out there for kids to discover. There may be a smaller window for kids to enjoy these comics the way kids have for a few generation now, but it's still there. Also not hard to find at all through a variety of standard methods. According to Amazon.com, they seem to be selling these in really cheap omnibus-style hardcovers.

image
14. Various Manga Series Out There For Kids
A ton of manga out there is certainly suitable for kids, just as a ton of it may not be depending on the household rules that apply. There's material that's hilarious and I think totally harmless in some translated kids manga I read that would have ended with my parents grounding me had I sneaked it over to Chris Cotton's sleepover. There's also manga that's aimed at adults that I would have no problem giving to a child of someone that employed me. Of series out there that I would have liked as a kid, Naruto, Yotsuba&!, Dr. Slump, Slam Dunk and Hikaru No Go all spring to mind as stuff I might have obsessed over in one way or another. For older kids and teenagers, this list becomes like 200 titles long. One thing to keep in mind is that manga is an area where people are really, really into what they're into and not into what they're not, so you need to be careful and might opt for a gift certificate or shopping spree or something like that.

image
15. Kids-Oriented Comics From Boom! (Boom!)
It seems to me that kids does a lot of book that may be good for kids -- some obviously so, some with maybe a flip-through by the responsible adult in the equation. There's a point in my life I would have given up burning ants with a magnifying class for two years if I could have had a Muppet Show comic book series.

image
16. Little Lulu Digest Series, John Stanley (Dark Horse)
I don't have tactile familiarity with this series, but these are some of the best comics in the world and color is usually a very nice thing.

image
17. Chiggers, Hope Larson
I picked up a copy of this sweetly-told summer camp story for the 12-year-old daughter of a friend a summer or so ago and she was thrilled by it.

image
image
18. The Amulet Series, Kazu Kibuishi (Graphix)

While this series has taken up space either outside or under the radar of traditional comic book talking poins, it has sold scads of copies in the book market.

image
19. The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My, Tove Jansson (D&Q Enfant)
The last but certainly not the least on this short list. This book is lovely-looking, from the incredible pedigree of all things Moomin, and marks D&Q's first, tentative steps into potential full-time book publishing of this type.

image
20. Andy Runton's Owly Books, Andy Runton (Top Shelf)
One of the few outright indy-comics debut hits of this decade. A nice thing about it is that Runton has stuck around to do several books rather than just one and done.

image
21. The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics, Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly and Jon Scieszka (Abrams)
The nasty thing people always say about children's anthologies is that they feel like a bunch of kids' comics that adults would like to read. That doesn't seem to be the case with this amazing compendium, if multiple reviews from my friends with kids are any indication -- adults surely loving this material is the dessert here, not the main course.

General Commentary: This is a strong sampling rather than a comprehensive listing. I wanted more than any one single thing promote the idea that there are a lot of comics and comics-related items of interest to kids, if you dig a bit. All warnings about the highly particular nature of comics reading when it comes to gift giving applies ten-fold to kids, who invest greater significance in Christmas presents than hopefully you or I do.

*****
ELEVEN BOOKS MY 67-YEAR-OLD MOTHER LIKES
*****


image
1. Bone (One-Volume), Jeff Smith
My mom's a longtime prose fantasy fiction fiend, and she took great pleasure in this lengthy blending of the Carl Barks and JRR Tolkien traditions. The ongoing color volumes from Scholastic have been a hit, too, to the point that she read a color book recently and wondered if she had a whole new book.

image
2. Persepolis: One Volume Edition, Marjane Satrapi
My mom enjoyed this peek into another culture through the eyes of Marjane Satrapi, first as a child and then a teen, in the cartoonist's award-winning and reputation-making work. For Mom, the relative simplicity of Satrapi's drawing was a bonus rather than a hindrance: it made the book much easier for her to read, and she could impress upon it a vision of revolution-era Iran that might have been impossible for any artist to do justice.

image
3. Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits, Art Spiegelman and Chip Kidd
Mom is old enough to have fond memories of buying Police Comics on the stands. You'd be surprised how many older people, if you have some on your list, can speak to some sort of memory of Cole in the comics pages or in Playboy. (Or if not Cole, someone like that.) This is an at-times melancholy book cut heavily with the energy of Cole's work in a way that comments on the text in a fashion missing from the prose when it appeared as an essay in the New Yorker. My mom was unfamiliar with the lives of of some of the poorly treated cartoonists out there, so this helped her see the field in a new light, as well.

image
image
4-5. Gemma Bovery and Tamara Drewe, Posy Simmonds
My mother really, really, really enjoyed both of these books, Posy Simmonds' breezy adaptations that offer readers an attractive prose-comics combination as opposed to a straight-up American comic book approach to the form. Mom appreciated how the comics provided a range of effects not available to prose, like the background events that crop up from time to time while something happens in the foreground simultaneously or how the atmosphere of a room can change as a number of people fill it. The link above is to the UK listing, but they're both available from American publishers now.

image
6. Little Orphan Annie Vol. 1, Harold Gray
My mom is extremely fond of Little Orphan Annie, and has fond memories of following her adventures as a young girl in the late 1940s. While this book of early material doesn't feature the absolute best of what Gray would go on to do a bit later, it was surprising how quickly and in how many ways the cartoonist was up to speed from day one. I love the strip, too. No one carved space from a strip better than Gray.

image
image
image
7-9. Aya, Aya of Yop City and Aya: The Secrets Come Out, Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie
The big attraction here for Mom was the sweetness of the stories and their insight into a little-discussed area of the world (the Ivory Coast) during an even less-discussed period of time for that area of the world (the late 1970s). I think Mom probably also had a positive reaction to the visual sumptuousness of these books. They can be lovely.

image
image
10. Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, David Petersen (Archaia Studios Press)
These are nice-looking books in a kind of classic all-ages vein. My mom took to them very quickly. They have a very stately pace.

image
11. Grimwood's Daughter, Jan Strnad and Kevin Nowlan (IDW)
Again, like Mouse Guard, it's the fantasy thing that appeals here with this early Fantagraphics story reprint. You'd be surprised how you can put together a little gift bundle for someone matching comics to a genre or favorite kind of story.

General Commentary: This is an updated version of Mom's list from last year, to reflect her comics-related reading since then. Mom's a reader with specific genre interests and not a lot of patience for comics that don't provide a positive visual experience in terms of clear storytelling and strong craft elements on display. I think her taste reflects that of a lot of readers out there.

*****
SIX WAYS TO GIVE BY GIVING BACK
*****


image
1. A Donation in Someone's Name to The Cartoon Art Museum
Of all comics' sources for donations this may be the least appreciated and also, as it turns out, one of the stronger performers in terms of routinely fulfilling their mandate.

image
2. A Donation in Someone's Name to the scholarship fund at The Center For Cartoon Studies
Help keep tuition low at James Sturm's institute of higher comics learning.

image
3. A Donation in Someone's Name to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF)
The CBLDF continues its advocacy work on behalf of free speech issues in comics, and is a popular source for donations.

image
4. A Donation in Someone's Name to the Hero Initiative
The charity formerly known as ACTOR (don't ask) has slowly grown in stature over the last few years, working behind the scenes to aid cartoonists in need and families of late cartoonists in dire straits.

image
5. A Donation in Someone's Name to the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art (MoCCA)
You've maybe gone to their art festival, and you can certainly see the advantages of having such a group in New York City. Why not give in someone's name?

image
6. Buying Items Or Services Related To One Of These Charities
Each one of the above charities at times may offer premiums or items as an inducement for you to donate, or as a flat-out sales mechanism in order to generate cash. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund site has a very elaborate store set-up, such as the above image related to its Neil Gaiman fragrances.

*****
TWELVE NOT-COMICS IDEAS THAT AREN'T A PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICE OR BAKED GOODS
*****


image
image
1. Jimbo, The Doll; Herbie, The Doll
A pair of vinyl figures for people who don't really "get" vinyl figures.

image
2. Postcards From Jordan Crane
These are lovely, and in high rotation in my office as postcards. Others may even just want them as a little art book.

image
3. Postcards from Tom Gauld
One of my favorite comics-related items of the last five years, these get a lot of kudos from people outside of comics that receive and enjoy them.

image
4. Manga-related Toys
I'm not a toy person, but anyone with rudimentary googling skills should be able to find toys related to their favorite big-name series if they are out there to be purchased. Sometimes they are listed as "anime toys" in deference to the more popular of the two media here in the US.

image
5. Toys From Jim Woodring
Everything you can find in Jim Woodring's store is fantastic.

image
6. Merchandise From PictureBox, Inc.
Dan Nadel has really fine taste in t-shirts, CDs and DVDs from the artists he supports.

image
7. A Moleskine Journal
I haven't spent any time talking about art supplies, and I'm not really qualified to do so, but one thing writers and artists all seem to like are the legendary notebooks made by Moleskine. By the way, a place to get really cheap notebooks -- not moleskine -- is at those big box bookstores; I've been picking up notebooks for $3-$4 a pop there for most of this calendar year.

image
8. Prose Works By Your Favorite Comics People
Peter David, Mike Carey, Alan Moore and Warren Ellis are among those well-known comic book writers with prose works out there to track down and devour. Don't forget Neil Gaiman. Check the used books sites, too, where you can find gems like comics critic supreme Bob Levin's 1978 novel.

image
9. Something From Debbie Drechsler's Store
The on-line store from the cartoonist Debbie Drechsler is almost entirely made up of card offerings. They look snazzy.

image
10. Something From Souther Salazar's Etsy Store
More and more artists are selling at least supplementary material through a spot at etsy.com -- Souther Salazar's is one of many I track for stuff I'd like to purchase. I believe the conventional wisdom is that the more churn you have in terms of offering new stuff the better you tend to do, so it's a good place to find cheaper items in particular.

image
11. A Comic Wallet From The Comic Wallet Guy
I can't remember the first person that sent me a link to a page where a guy makes wallets out of comics material like Batman #197 there, but I'm grateful. Never held one of these in my hands, so I can't fully endorse them, but they look pretty cool and for that price I would imagine they're at least solidly constructed or someone would have hollered by now.

image
12. T-Shirts And Other Stuff From Your Favorite Artists
Make sure to check around the various artists sites for either merchandise listings or links to merchandise listings. Here's four I was able to come up with in 45 seconds of google, all of which look promising to awesome: Richard Thompson's Uh-Oh Baby clothing, rotating Warren Ellis-related t-shirt and merchandise designs, a new Tony Millionaire t-shirt, a new Usagi Yojimbo t-shirt.

General Commentary: This is another area of the guide where it's more clear than usual I wanted to suggest a general orientation regarding merchandise than promote any one item, because there's certainly an avalanche of material out there. Somehow I avoided mentioning any of the stores run by webcomics cartoonists, which are usually very aggressive with the supplementary items. Also, it occurs to me that a big supplementary item for comics anymore is movies related to single properties, including anime, which hopefully is easy enough for you to figure out on your own.

*****
FOUR WAYS TO ENGAGE GIFT-BUYING POSSIBILITIES IN MANGA
*****


image
1. Something From Osaumu Tezuka And Vertical Press
I believe 2006's Ode to Kirihito to be a fevered masterpiece of craft on a level with films like The Wild Bunch or White Dog; there is also much of interest craft-wise and story-wise and because it's Tezuka history-wise in 2007's MW and Apollo's Song. Vertical's also done a terrific job with the Dororo, Black Jack and Buddha series. Buddha is an all-time classic, Black Jack is a big hit book, and Dororo is the rare gift of something not obviously one of those first two things getting the deluxe treatment.

image
2. Various Volumes From Ongoing Series
Okay, this is advice that covers a ridiculous amount of material. Like saying "Buy Food From A Grocery Store." Frankly, manga can be a difficult buy as a present because much of it comes in long series of individual books and many of its readers have highly refined tastes. Chances are a manga fan is already following the series they like best, and they may not be convinced to buy into another series where they didn't scope things out and initiate the purchase themselves. It's a good crowd for whom to buy gift certificates and the like aimed at allowing them to continue on the path they're on. That being said, the link takes you to Shaenon Garrity's great list covering "overlooked" manga. I suppose there are some general strategies one might employ, like buying first volumes in a few series with promise to extend the one someone likes best, buying another series from a previously-enjoyed artist, or buying manga that relates to someone's hobby or other interests. Among the many, many series I could argue are openly appealing and addictive are Fumi Yoshinaga's Antique Bakery, Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba's Death Note, Ai Yazawa's Nana, Kazuo Koike's Lone Wolf And Cub, Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Takehiko Inoue's Slam Dunk and Kiyohiko Azuma's Yotsuba&!.

image
3. Manga From Drawn And Quarterly
Manga cartoonists publishing English language editions of powerful manga through D&Q include: Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Imiri Sakabashira, Susumu Katsumata and Seiichi Hayashi. That's quickly shaping up to be a significant imprint within the imprint.

image
4. PictureBox Inc. Manga
PictureBox offers work from artists like Takashi Nemeto, Yuichi Yokoyama, Ken Kagami and Hanakuma. Not a stinker in the bunch. I don't know how to do direct links to pages within the PictureBox site, but they're findable in the drop-down creators menu.

*****
FIVE WAYS TO GET YOUR HANDS ON HANDMADE BOOKS
*****


image
1. Mini-Comics from Global Hobo
A number of talented artists work through this classic comics collective.

image
2. Mini-Comics From Little House Comics
No pair of artists has put out more quality mini-comics of a wide variety the last five years than Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing. This entry reminds us that it's worth tracking down artists' sites directly for the latest minis they might be offering. I know that's why I check out John P.'s site, for instance.

image
3. Mini-Comics From Partyka
Always well-crafted.

image
4. Homemade Books From PictureBox, Inc.
PictureBox carries some higher-end homemade comics from the artists with which it works.

image
5. Mini-Comics From Poopsheet Foundation
This is the best source for a wide variety of mini-comics out there right now, and maybe the only one in terms of being able to track down historically important mini-comics. Rick Bradford is a swell guy, and I'm sure he'd be willing to work with anyone intimidated by the number of titles and artists represented if you were to contact him directly.

General Commentary: Handmade comics are certainly rare enough to qualify as a good gift, but you're also operating on pretty specialized cartoon turf if you're getting this specific. But this is comics at its beautiful heart. I hope that Bodega -- down except for its newest book titles -- gets back up again because I think comics can use that kind of "here is the best of the best" mini-comics site and between Bodega and Global Hobo I think we came somewhat close to having that.

*****
EIGHT COMICS-RELATED ART BOOKS I LIKE AND OWN, AND ARE WITHIN FIVE FEET OF MY DESK AS I TYPE THIS
*****


image
1. Gary Panter, Gary Panter (PictureBox)
I keep going back to this ambitious and exquisitely-priced PictureBox effort from a couple of years back, which is a huge positive for art books of this type. Plus it looks intimidating on my shelf.

image
2. Hot Potatoe, Marc Bell (D&Q)
This is really a book of cartoons, but I think it functions as an art book because I love staring at it.

image
3. The Wonder, Tony Fitzapatrick (Last Gasp/La Luz De Jesus)
Fitzpatrick and those who read his work as comics may disagree on whether or not this boxed set qualifies as a kind of sprawling graphic novel about memory and cityscapes, but we can all agree it's an art book with a lot of arresting visuals in it.

image
4. Conceptual Realism, Robert Williams (Fantagraphics)
This is an exhibition catalog, so it has both examples of Williams' paintings and prose about them.

image
5. Bat-Manga!, Chip Kidd (Pantheon)
This is from a couple of years back, but I think remains a strong, appealing and very gift-like book for the right person.

image
6. The Art of Bone, Jeff Smith
I thought this was a super-solid book that fairly came and went on its first appearance. Also, there simply aren't as many major Bone-related books left to buy at this point as there used to be.

image
7. The Art Of Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind Watercolor Impressions, Hayao Miyazaki
There's a whole world of manga-related art books, mostly I think related to series in the way this one is.

image
8. The ACME Novelty Datebook Series, Chris Ware
I love these books, and I think they're just as important a presence in terms of the visual diary comic form as Ware's formally-conscious comics stories are in the realm of art comics.

image
9. Postcards From Brussels, Dave McKean (Allen Spiegel Fine Arts)
There are more than one of these, I think, and I very much like McKean's work in vein. This is actually not near me when I write this, but I wanted to list it because this is the kind of book that can be purchased through Stuart Ng Books, along with a lot of limited edition sketchbooks and projects from various artists you love. I have Stuart Ng listed as a place to get old cartoon books somewhere below, but they're probably more valuable to me as a place to pick up art books.

General Commentary: I think there's a rich vein of art books to be explore if you're a comics fan, particularly in limited edition sketchbooks and projects that aren't around for very long. Like for instance I recall that Darwyn Cooke and Cameron Stewart had art books out last year -- maybe two years ago -- that were quite lovely, but I can't find a current listing for them now. So I guess this is a two-pronged entry. There are art books like the first eight that are somewhat widely available that I'd recommend just as I recommend any other book, and there are art books that kind of exist at the periphery of comics that I'd additionally suggest for fans of X, Y, Z cartoonist.

*****
EIGHTEEN WAYS TO GIVE THE GIFT OF ORIGINAL ART
*****


image
1. Custom Art From Gary Panter
The great Gary Panter continues to offer up custom art, drawn according to words that you provide him. Forget friends and any and all members of your family, this is what you should get me.

image
2. A Piece Of Art From The Comic Art Collective
This is a great site/service, where a lot of alt-comics talent has been allowed to upload art offerings for free. They don't have an agent selling for them, but they do get to keep more of what they sell that way. I've bought maybe ten pieces through this site over the years. One thing it's quite good for is the illustration work that a lot of these folks do that never gets seen but is sometimes more frameable and hangable than straight-up comics art.

image
3. Custom Art From Johnny Ryan
I have purchased two pieces of custom art from Johnny. The results in each case, one being Judge Dredd here, were phenomenal.

image
4. Original Art From Albert Moy
I've never purchased art through this site, so I can't endorse them, but the number of artists represented seems pretty staggering to me, and they're certainly a first-rate looking outfit in terms of their web presence.

image
5. Original Art From Comicartfans.com
I'm not familiar with this site, and can't vouch for it, either, but it seems to be a place where comics fans and a few professionals put up galleries of original art they own, including a large "classifieds" section of art for sale. I would imagine that many of the ads on the site might be helpful as well.

image
6. Original Art From Denis Kitchen Art Agency
Denis doesn't have as many clients as some people, but they're all heavy hitters like Frank Stack. Kitchen has a long enough track record in the industry I can certainly endorse him, too.

image
7. Original Art From Fanfare Sports and Entertainment
I don't know a thing about this company except that they strip their name into their jpegs. Looks like a fine line-up of comics talent, though, and it looks like they may more aggressively price to sell.

image
8. Original Art From Mike Burkey
Again, I have no personal experience beyond knowing they've been around for a while.

image
9. Original Art From The Artist's Choice
Over 60 artists represented at the site, including many of the finer practitioners of mainstream superhero comics art.

image
10. Original Art From The Beguiling's Art Store
Retailer Peter Birkemoe is a classy guy who runs a classy comics business, and I hear he does very well by his client artists. Just a staggering line-up of cartoonists with work available here, including Paul Pope.

image
11. Original Art From Hope Larson Through Her Etsy Store
I think you'll start to see more and more artists (like Livon Jihanian) use a not-exactly-their-personal-site place like etsy.com for their direct original art sales, so I'm happy to get one on this list. It's a good one, too. Larson's original art is very, very attractive.

image
12. Posters And Prints From PictureBox, Inc.
I haven't seen any of these up close, but PictureBox has been a first-class outfit so far in terms of its comics publications, so I would imagine their prints and posters are of similarly high quality.

image
13. Prints From Brusel
I have a beautiful Dupuy & Berberian print from these guys. I'm not sure what it's like to order from them, but I bet they have a different suite of artists than most American companies working this part of the market.

image
14. Prints From Buenaventura Press
Alvin started out from the printmaking end of things, and what he's had for sale in this department has always been first class. You'll groan when you see what's no longer available, which should spur you to get something that still is.

image
15. Prints From Dynamic Forces
I have no idea what their prints are like, but I know they certainly take a different, maybe more aggressive approach than most of the companies here in terms of who they're putting out there.

image
16. A Print From Todd Klein
The above -- obscured so the image can't be knocked off for piracy purposes, I'm guessing -- is "Comic Book Dreams," the third of three reasonably recent prints done by letterer Todd Klein. This time the collaborator is Alex Ross; previous collaborators on prints that will have new editions available were Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore.

image
17. Comics Or Other Original Art From Heritage Auctions
CR pal Robert Boyd writes in: "I would add one source for the original art category, Heritage Auctions. They are an auction house in Dallas that do a lot of comics, and one can bid online like eBay -- although they also have floor auctions. I have found some reasonable deals there on old comic strip art. They sell a lot of mainstream comic book art as well, as well as some illustration art... I agree that original art is an especially wonderful gift."

image
18. A Print From Drew Friedman
He doesn't make comics the way he used to, but he certainly still makes unforgettable visual imagery.

image
19. A Scott Pilgrim Poster
This really needs to be on as many dorm room walls as possible.

General Commentary: This is a real starter set of recommendation -- the hardcore art buyers do all this stuff and go to conventions and buy stuff directly, which is a good thing to do but costs a lot of money, of course, and they buy from eBay, which is a strategy potentially loaded with difficulties in terms of getting what you think you're paying for. Artist's sites are an obvious great place to find stuff, too, like this one for Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer, which is an adjunct to their main site. I've given maybe a dozen pages as Christmas gifts in my adult life, and they're all on walls somewhere.

*****
FIVE NEWSPAPER-RELATED IDEAS
*****


image
1. Something From Patrick McDonnell
Patrick McDonnell books are a recent gift-giving tradition in my family. A very prolific and consistently fine comics author, with a number of jumping-on points for gift-buying. I wanted to list him here to represent all of those cartoonists currently in book serialization, which you can find as easily as typing your favorite strip's name into amazon.com. Many are from Andrews McMeel. Be careful with all modern cartoonists that you're not overlapping -- gift books are likely to feature cartoons published elsewhere and the big series are likely to have big collections and smaller collections that are easy to suss out if you remember to take the time.

image
2. A Volume From a Classic Comic Strip Series
It's a new golden age for comic strip archival-type series, all of which would make a great present for the right fan: D&Q has Walt and Skeezix and the Moomin comic strip, Fantagraphics has Prince Valiant, Dennis the Menace, Popeye and Peanuts, IDW has Terry and the Pirates, Dick Tracy, Family Circus, Little Orphan Annie, Bloom County, Rip Kirby and that great Noel Sickles book; NBM has stand-alone volumes featuring work by Opper, McManus and Fisher; that's just scratching the surface. I love them all, and certainly someone on your list might. Except for Peanuts, each of the series is fairly early on in its progression, with only a few volumes available, if that many.

image
3. Something From The Dark Horse Webcomics Line
Dark Horse has been doing well with print versions of super-popular webcomics, and I've generally liked the volumes I've read. This includes work from Nicholas Gurewitch, Chris Onstad, Jesse Reklaw and David Malki.

image
4. Herblock: The Life and Works of the Great Political Cartoonist, Herblock and Harry Katz (WW Norton)
This is a new biography and collection featuring the great political cartoonist, and comes with a DVD of 18,000 cartoons. If I don't get this at X-Mas, I'm getting it for myself for Christmas.

image
5. My Shorts R Bunching. Thoughts?: The Tweets of Roland Hedley, Garry Trudeau (Andrews McMeel)
I like to include one shameless gift-type book from a newspaper cartoonist on this list every year, and this time out the one that jumped out at me was this cute-looking book of "tweets" from Trudeau's television newsman Roland Hedley. People hardcore into comics either cut on or ignore Garry Trudeau more than they praise him as a great cartoonist anymore, but name me another cartoonist who could publish a legitimate joke book starring his 26th most popular character.

*****
OLD STUFF
*****


image
1. Old Comic Books From Ebay
Ebay is the great marketplace of old comics just like it is with most entertainment objects anymore; if you've bought a comic book for cheap recently, you likely have on-line auction sites to thank. All the usual warnings apply, but I've purchased some great books this way.

image
2. Old Comic Books From Mile High Comics
A lot of people bag on Mile High Comics, but I order a couple hundred dollars of stuff from them a year and as long as you avoid some of their more peculiarly priced items -- double-check every price you're given -- I've found them to be quite serviceable. I usually buy lower-grade reading copies from them during sales when you can get extra money off.

image
3. Old Comic Books From MyComicShop.com
Buddy Saunders' on-line shop is probably the comic shop in North America where year in and year out I drop the most money. A wide selection, half-way reasonably priced -- or so it seems to me.

image
4. Old Comic Books From Your Local Comic Book Shop
Most comic shops have an array of back issues ranging from stuff under glass to a quarter box or two of bargains. All sorts of comics and combinations of books can make fine gifts. Plus you just shopped local.

image
5. An Old Cartoon Book via Stuart Ng Books
I try to visit Stuart Ng Books every time I'm in southern California. They have a big of high-end art, and cartoon books that kind of run the gamut, price-wise.

General Commentary: This has been the biggest area of growth for me in terms of gift-buying over the last three years. I usually buy a family member or a friend a range of comics based on something that was a common experience a long time ago. Like one year I bought one of my brothers a run of odd Fantastic Four comics from the 1970s that we read together, once upon a time. The great thing about this is that you can buy such comics in really degraded conditions and they're still readable and fun.

*****
EIGHTEEN PERENNIALS
*****


image
1. RASL Volume One: The Drift, Jeff Smith
Jeff Smith's return to comics post-Bone put out its first collection late last year, an oversized book collecting the first three issues. I think RASL has been a fun story so far, skewing much older than Bone while featuring the same kind of genre mash-up at the heart of Smith's more well-known fantasy. The RASL collection in particular shows off elements of Smith's art that just never got a workout in Bone.

image
2. Books From The Ignatz Series
It's a sign of comics' great wealth right now that a series of volumes that would have crushed our hearts with their awesomeness back in the 1990s is merely another great vein of riches today. One great thing about the series is that some of the initially-launched titles are wrapping up.

image
image
3. One Of The Fletcher Hanks Books, Fletcher Hanks (Fantagraphics)
An unforgettable look back at one of Golden Age Comics' greatest and most unlikely talents.

image
4. Zot!: The Complete Black and White Comics, 1987-1991, Scott McCloud
I think this is one of the medium's really good stories for young people, and a nostalgic look back for those of raised in slightly boring neighborhoods with nuclear holocaust hanging over our heads who thought we could imagine ourselves away from both.

image
5. A Book (or More) From DC's Absolute Series
DC offers several of its more successful recent titles in deluxe, oversized editions that are generally quite nice-looking and gift-worthy. Some, like Absolute DC: The New Frontier above, are the really only suitable gift collection of that material. Others, like the line's take on the Promethea series, may change the way you look at the original comics.

image
6. Image's New Deluxe Hardcovers
Image Comics has been testing the waters on a few high-end hardcover collections of material, for titles like Invincible, Walking Dead, Silver Star and Casanova.

image
7. A Book (or More) From DC's Showcase Series
A cheaper, black and white series collecting lots and lots of material in progressive, issue-to-issue form, these books are generally a lot of fun.

image
8. A Book (or More) From Marvel's Essential Series
Marvel's huge series of giant books collected old material in cheap, black and white editions, there are more than enough books of this type to please any fan who remembers these titles and to launch a lot of jokes out of the meaning of the word "essential."

image
9. Art out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969, Dan Nadel
One of the best anthologies of this decade, Dan Nadel's look at how outsider art was folded into comics' mainstream before there were other outlets feels like it was built to last.

image
10. Hicksville, Dylan Horrocks, Black Eye, 1998.
There's a newer edition out from Drawn and Quarterly that's still in print, and that's where the link takes you, and an even newer edition than that due I believe sometime next year. If you don't have this book, you need this book.

image
11. Love and Rockets: The Latest Reprinting
These books are so good and so perfectly priced I not only got a set for a friend but I dumped my much-beloved albums in their favor.

image
image
12. One (or both) of those giant Andrews McMeel comic strip collections.
Although an extended series of such books seems like a no-go at this point, Andrews McMeel's giant collections of The Far Side (Gary Larson, 2003) and Calvin and Hobbes (Bill Watterson, 2005) are still in print at deeper than ever discounts if you look around a bit.

image
13. Tales of the Bizarro World, Jerry Siegel and various, DC Comics, 2000
I've given this book as a gift more than any other comic book. If, like me, you laugh every time you see that stupid square planet hanging in the sky, this book is for you or your similarly-inclined friend.

image
14. Curses, Kevin Huizenga, Drawn and Quarterly, 2006
Kevin Huizenga may be the most important cartoonist to emerge this decade. This is his best collection-to-date. 'Nuff said.

image
15. Abe: Wrong For All The Right Reasons, Glenn Dakin, Top Shelf, 2002
I've given this book about a half-dozen times as a Christmas gift: it's a nice, sturdy read.

image
image
16. The Beasts! Series, Various, Edited and Designed by Jacob Covey (Fantagraphics)
These are old-fashioned look and wonder books featuring many of the best artists of the current, still-emerging generation. I'm very happy to own them.

image
17. Most Outrageous, Bob Levin (Fantagraphics)
The best book about comics and cartooning written to date: an almost impossibly sad and bewildering look at the life and eventual fate of Hustler cartoonist Dwaine Tinsley. So few people have read this -- and I understand the subject material is ruthless -- that it makes my soul hurt. It's the only prose work about comics where the next con I attended it spilled out of us as a topic of conversation, so good and so raw we couldn't help ourselves.

image
18. What It Is, Lynda Barry (D&Q)
Lynda Barry's celebration of the creative process and inquiry as to its effect on her life would be a welcome gift any year.

General Commentary: These are books that I've either purchased for people over and over again or seen purchased for people. It's not very different year to year, and not a very complicated or complex list, but I think it's a necessary one.

*****
TO WRAP THINGS UP HERE ARE SIXTEEN APPEALING NEWER COMICS OFFERINGS IN THE POPULAR BOOK FORMAT, REPRESENTING A SMALL AND COMPLETELY INADEQUATE SAMPLING OF SUCH VOLUMES OUT THERE RIGHT NOW SO SHUT UP I TRIED
*****


image
1. Masterpiece Comics, Bob Sikoryak (D&Q)
A very, very fun collection and quite gifty in that I think a wide number of people could enjoy it.

image
2. Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days, Al Columbia (Fantagraphics)
A potential book of the year: Al Columbia's haunting set of almost-complete drawings invoke a world where the very act of creativity summons evil.

image
3. Driven By Lemons, Josh Cotter (Adhouse)
Josh Cotter's sketchbook comic and a virtuoso arts performance generally.

image
4. AD, Josh Neufeld (Pantheon)
Josh Neufeld is about as nice as they come, so it pains me to say I'm not fully on board with this comic. The book is very clear, though, and I think would be a good one for people interested in Hurricane Katrina no matter their level of ability when it comes to reading comics.

image
5. West Coast Blues, Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)
The second-best thing about this new Tardi initiative at Fantagraphics has been reading and listening to Kim Thompson enthuse about the great cartoonist. The first-best thing is that we get books like this lean thriller.

image
6. Never Learn Anything From History, Kate Beaton (TopatoCo)
A superstar in the making, Kate Beaton is a very funny cartoonist.

image
7. Blazing Combat, Archie Goodwin and a cast of illustrating geniuses (Fantagraphics)
This is a wonderful and necessary collection of Archie Goodwin's 1960s attempt at Warren to replicate the best of the war-focused EC comics of the previous decade. Beautifully designed and all-in-one, too.

image
8. Children At Play, Richard Thompson (Andrews McMeel)
My favorite strip cartoonist right now. This is the second book starring the Otterloop family.

image
9. The Eternal Smile, Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim (First Second)
Although not up to the standards of their solo books, The Eternal Smile is a very genial book sure to please fans of both cartoonists.

image
10. George Sprott (1894-1975), Seth (D&Q)
Maybe my favorite book of the year and one of the best, it's Seth's re-working of his New York Times cartoon into something big and mostly melancholy. I've read it or looked at it maybe a dozen times.

image
11. Scott Pilgrim Boxed Sets, Bryan Lee O'Malley (Oni)
If I remember correctly, boxed sets gathering multiple volumes of this much-loved series are available in Barnes and Noble for the holiday. The book should be on your radar generally, too.

image
12. Refresh, Refresh, Danica Novgorodoff (First Second)
I can't remember if this is the second or third or fourth book from the cartoonist. It deals with those left behind by soldiers overseas. Very promising work.

image
image
13. The Little Nothings Series, Lewis Trondheim (NBM)
Nothing brings me more outright pleasure than this series of funny, wry autobiographical works from the great Lewis Trondheim. Another book will be published in January.

image
14. Humbug, Harvey Kurtzman And Friends (Harvey Kurtzman And Friends)
One of the great and under-seen humor magazines of the 20th Century, now in complete and easy to access form. I was very excited to receive mine, that's for sure.

image
15. xkcd volume zero, Randall Munroe (Breadpig)
The first book from the great sensation within webcomics over the last 18-24 months.

image
16. The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion, Brian M. Kane (Fantagraphics)
In a year without a lot of good comics history books, this old-fashioned take on the Prince Valiant strip stands out more than usual.

image
image
image
17. The Color Trilogy, Kim Dong Hwa (First Second)
First Second's first crack at manhwa. There are some lovely artistic effects in here, although I was disappointed by the series overall. I have to read it again, though.

image
18. The Secret Science Alliance Vol. 1, Eleanor Davis (Bloomsbury USA)
Another very promising cartoonist, working in full-color. I thought this book was really, really cute -- in a good way, I swear.

image
19. You'll Never Know, Carol Tyler (Fantagraphics)
A beautifully painted book by one of the world's greatest cartoonists, You'll Never Know is a work in progress that should find a special place in the hearts of those who lived with World War II veterans that could never bring themselves to talk openly and freely about the experience.

*****

If I didn't list your book, item, art or project, it's probably because I hate you. No, I probably just forgot. I'm sorry; don't be disappointed. It's hard to remember everything. I used to invite people to write in and suggest work I might have overlooked, but an ugly, entitled few ruined that exercise for everyone -- because yes, I love being lectured about how it's my responsibility to add 27 works by someone whose work didn't occur to me on my own. That said, I may add a few more books to various sections as they turn up. Happy Holidays to one and all.

*****
*****
 
posted 6:05 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
Daily Blog Archives
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
 
Full Archives