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November 25, 2011


The Comics Reporter's Black Friday Holiday Shopping Guide 2011

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Today is "Black Friday" 2011. "Black Friday" is the traditional first day of the hectic holiday shopping season.

Rolling out in the following document over the next few hours will be several suggestions for comics-related gift shopping. These suggestions are intended to help 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. It's unlikely 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. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, and anyone that thinks such a list is even possible these days may be a fool.

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.

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THE COMICS REPORTER BLACK FRIDAY HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE 2011
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ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-NINE REASONS TO SPEND YOUR SHOPPING MONEY ON COMICS THIS YEAR

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TWELVE "GIFTY"-SEEMING COMICS GIFTS FOR THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
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1. Nelson, Edited By Woodrow Phoenix and Rob Davis (Blank Slate Books)
This is a big, full-color anthology featuring work from various stalwarts of the surprisingly under-appreciated -- and therefore under-seen by most North American comics fans -- current British comics scene, with proceeds being donated to the homelessness charity Shelter.

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2. Richard Stark's Parker: The Martini Edition, Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
IDW has done a really nice job with their various deluxe editions across the line, and that's certainly the case with this edition of Darwyn Cooke's first two Parker adaptations, bound together and stuffed with extras including an interview from this site. I can't really compare the experiences of reading the actual comics involved, but I know two people have reached for it right off of my bookshelf that didn't ever show interest in the initial publications.

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3. Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture, Jack Davis (Fantagraphics)
I haven't seen this new Fantagraphics volume yet, but Jack Davis is an outside, little-discussed candidate for Best Living Cartoonist and I can't imagine any decent survey of his artwork not being something to behold.

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4. A Piece Of Tony Millionaire Art Featured On His Yuletide Gallery, Tony Millionaire (Self-Published)
Tony Millionaire's originals are gorgeous and sometimes even humbling. This group of original art is priced in the "you gave me a kidney" or "I am the 1 percent" territory as far as most people are concerned, but I have to imagine it's worth it.

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5. Full-Color Bone In A Deluxe Or A Slipcase Edition, Jeff Smith With Steve Hamaker (Cartoons Books)
Cartoons books is rolling out their one-color editions with a lot of discipline; there's an fancy edition loaded with extras and a slip-cased version at this point. The work looks really gorgeous in cover, and you won't get anything better in the way of production values for this work. Also, Jeff Smith is signing everything purchased from the company store until mid-December.

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6. Genius, Isolated, Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell (IDW)
This book is such an obvious king of the gift-getting lists that I recommended it last year, before it was even available. Seeing it on my shelf only reinforces my feelings that just about any fan of comics art will want this. Plus if they like it, there will be other editions in the Toth biography series for you to purchase down the road.

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7. Behold The Dinosaurs Print, Dustin Harbin (Self-Published)
A lot of cartoonists have individual items of note up on their sites or at their Etsy stores right now, like Dustin Harbin, who has a lovely-looking print of these all-time objects of childhood obsession available for purchase.

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8. The Someday Funnies, Edited By Michel Choquette (Abrams)
A comics anthology with a legendary back story, this screams gift to me for multiple reasons: there are entrance points for about any kind of comics fan, and cartoonists for those same fans to discover; the book is of extreme historical interest above and beyond the quality of its comics parts; and also it doesn't necessarily seem like something a comics fan might pick up in the average course of their consumption of the form.

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9. P. Craig Russell Opera Adaptations Set, P. Craig Russell (NBM)
This is pretty well known, much liked material that I would imagine gains power when put together in a single set like this. Russell was an early adopter from a specific mainstream comics heavy perspective of making comics of sophistication and excellence in craft for an adult reader, and this work is probably his most sustained, recurring expression of that idea.

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10. A Personalized Book From The CBLDF's Spirit Of Giving, Various Authors (CBLDF)
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is offering up personalized books, by which they mean a bookplate in the book signed from the creator that's indicated to the person receiving it. That sounds nice, plus you get to support the CBLDF, a popular and well-entrenched group that fights on behalf of comics-related enterprises against laws that limit free speech.

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11. The Eyes Of The Cat, Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowsky (Humanoids)
Apparently this is the first collaboration between the pair, given oversized publication treatment. This becomes primetime gift material because of its limited-edition nature. Plus one has to imagine it's gorgeous and extremely cool looking.

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12. Someone's Gathering Of The Complete Adventures Of Tintin, Hergé
I've rolled my eyes a couple of times at writers penning their Christmas film previews that claim there are no comics movies for this time of the year; there's a very big one, of course. I don't know if the Spielberg/Jackson version of the kids' comic great will be much more than a very boisterous, classily produced effort, but I welcome any renewed attention it may bring the books.

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SEASONAL GIFTS
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image13. The Economist Year-Ahead Calendar, From KAL
This is primarily a premium for Economist subscribers, but I've had one on my desk for a few years and I haven't seen the magazine since college. If I were a kid and my dad had one in his office, every time I'd visit I'd run over and look at it, if you know what I mean.

14. The Great Treasury Of Christmas Comic Book Stories, Edited By Craig Yoe (IDW)
Craig Yoe's 2010 release features classic Christmas stories, comics made back when hitting the widest possible audience with things they might actually like was the comic book mandate.

15-17. HarperCollins' X-Mas Short-Story Adaptations
It doesn't get more Christmas-y than this triptych of stand-alone works from HC from I believe 2009: The Gift Of The Magi, The Fir-Tree, A Kidnapped Santa Claus. I liked the Alex Robinson one best.

image18. Monster Christmas, Lewis Trondheim (Papercutz)
I greatly enjoyed this stand-alone, translated Christmas fable from Lewis Trondheim. It's slightly odd, but it's also very grounded in what I can remember as a kids' perspective on the holidays and how the adults in my line of sight fussed around it. It also has a basic plot I've rarely seen used -- a family taking a trip for Christmas rather than staying home.

19. Hellboy Ornament
Which one of your frightened, crying children will get to hang this lovely piece of comics-related merchandise? A Spurgeon family tradition for more than a half-decade now.

20. Classic Christmas-Related Comics
These are great novelty gifts for people that collect Christmas items of for someone that like X-property but didn't know they did a Christmas comic. Or you can just buy them this issue of Justice League Of America, which scared the crap out of me back when it first appeared on the stands.

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BARGAIN GIFT IDEAS FOR YET ANOTHER YEAR OF RECESSION
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image21. Something via AbeBooks
This is the interface I use to access used bookstores. One thing that such stores tend to have that comic shops 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.

22. Crafts
Like most men that live alone and don't have a real specific reason why that is, I like to make crafty things from old comic book pages. Comics art offers a lot of opportunities for such handmade gifts if you're inclined to go that way. Be creative.

23. Various Calvin and Hobbes Books -- or Something Similar -- at Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble has for years carried 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 -- perhaps that giant, expensive set -- 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 -- I've seen a few Peanuts books there, and some MAD material -- so it might pay to look around in those areas.

image24. 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 provide an industry-wide correction to store owners, 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.

25. 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. That means if there's something new and fancy out, you should probably check Amazon's used books before buying a new copy. That can sometimes lead to heartbreak, but you're usually okay if you use vendors that are selling a lot and have generally high ratings from their buyers.

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WAYS TO FACILITATE THEIR DOING THE SHOPPING FOR YOU
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image26. 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 -- maybe the prominent -- comics retailer. It's become an even hotter destination this year with their Kindle Fire, DC Deal, and DC-Branded Dedicated Store.

27. Gift Card From Barnes and Noble
There's an advantage with a Barnes and Noble gift card that you don't get with one from Amazon: you can use it in the brick and mortar locations of the chain. I would imagine that, like something from Amazon, this one would have an additional appeal to users of their Nook device, as some publishers most notably Marvel have aimed some material through that offering for the Christmas-buying season.

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

30. 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 or they have to make a certificate with a backing board and a sharpie. As I will likely mention more than once in putting this list together, a lot of comics fan are devoted to their local store.

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

30. 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.

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SUBSCRIPTIONS, THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
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image31. Subscription to an Archie Publication
It's like having a little piece of supermarket checkout right there in your home.

32. Subscription to a DC Comic Book
This could make a nice nostalgia gift for a one-time, now-lapsed, weekly comic shop visitor that didn't quite get the urge to jump back in with the New 52 but may have heard of them. Grant Morrison's books are always solid, and people seem to be taking to Scott Snyder's comics for the Grand Old Man of The Funnybook Business in a significant way.

33. Subscription to a Marvel Comic Book
Once upon a time, this was maybe the best way to guarantee getting a comic book -- you couldn't really count on the grocery store owner to care about a complete run as much as you did. I can generally recommend whatever books Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction are working on. The Jason Aaron-written Wolverine And The X-Men seems to be the belle of the Lee-Kirby ball right now.

34. 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. Luggage restrictions.

image35. 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. When people talk about what they can do for the art form of comics, the talk usually gravitates towards giving people greater exposure or proselytizing in general about the great books. That's all good stuff, but it would also be beneficial if we could manage to simply give more money to talented, committed-for-life cartoonists like Porcellino. I'd be all for replacing "Read Comics In Public Day" with "Send John Porcellino A Five-Dollar Bill Day."

36. Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited Subscription
Marvel's first serious step into the world of digital comics may not last forever as the iPad- and device-related stuff ramps up, but I have a fondness for this program as a way to facilitate reading a bunch of Marvel stuff I'd never see otherwise, and I hope they keep some iteration of it.

37. DailyInk.com Subscription
Still going strong is 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 nice gift for that friend of yours who knows which strips run on the Houston Chronicle web site as opposed to which run on the Seattle P-I's.

38. Subscription To The New Yorker
A number of first-rate cartoonists like Ivan Brunetti and Chris Ware appear on the covers, and growing number of young cartoonists from the webcomics and small-press worlds have work on the insides, too. I'm told the articles are pretty good.

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SUGGESTIONS FOCUSED ON YOUNG PERSON-FRIENDLY GNS, COMICS AND/OR KIDS BOOKS WITH CARTOONIST HOOKS
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image39. 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.

40. A Kids Book From Toon Books
The comics-for-kids line spearheaded by Francoise Mouly employs a staggering number of talents generally familiar to longtime comics readers, from Frank Cammuso to Eleanor Davis to Art Spiegelman to Dean Haspiel to great friend of CR Jeff Smith. They've settled in last year with a new distribution partner, so they have to be everywhere.

41. The Smurf Series From Papercutz, Peyo (Papercutz)
Peyo's Smurf books are effective, enjoyable comics and an obvious long-time kids favorite. This series of books may strain a few parents' eyeballs because of the size at which they're published, but having this material out there on the stands right now is a definite blessing. I know at least two sets of kids that have read every one.

42. 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 Tiny Tyrant, the 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. They've actually made doing comics for kids and teens a greater focus for the company recently, I think, so there's a lot of material here to look over. When I was a kid I would have liked the weirder stuff they've done, like Dawn Land.

image43. A Kids Book From A Favorite Cartoonist
There's a lot to choose from here, such as the Bow-Wow books Mark Newgarden works on, the classic little kids books of Richard McGuire and the gorgeous painted books Lorenzo Mattotti did once upon a time. If you have a favorite comics artist, look up their sites or check out abebooks.com for their kids book work.

44. 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. Marvel's actually between lines here, as I recall, but they always seemed to me -- based on the scientific sample of me walking around Wal-Mart and looking at things while waiting for a prescription to be filled -- a little bit more aggressive than DC is right now in terms of licensed kids books that tie into their movies.

45. 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.

46. 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.

image47. Hybrids And Picture Books
There are a lot of books in the bookstores that function as hybrids -- offering comics/cartoons and prose -- or as straight-up picture books. The Wimpy Kid series is one of a few super-successful kids series in the hybrid corner of the market. Two of my favorites in this category that some may not think of for their comics properties are The Invention Of Hugo Cabret, which breaks up its prose with lovely silent comics sequences (and is now a movie), and the books of Shaun Tan, particularly The Arrival.

48. 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. 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 something 200 titles long.

49. 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 solid years if I could have had a Muppet Show comic book series.

image50. 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.

51. Hope Larson's Books
I like all of Hope Larson's books; more to the point, I know people that aren't yet old enough to drive that like Hope Larson's books.

52. The Amulet Series, Kazu Kibuishi (Graphix)
While this series has taken up space either outside or under the radar of traditional comic book talking points, it has sold scads of copies in the book market.

53. Two Picture Books From Tove Jansson: The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My and Who Will Comfort Toffle? (D&Q Enfant)
These books are beautiful-looking efforts from Drawn and Quarterly's still-burgeoning kids' book line, and are gorgeous. Can be paired with the other Jansson efforts at the company such as the strip reprints or enjoyed on their own.

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

55. 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.

image56. The Secret Science Alliance Vol. 1, Eleanor Davis (Bloomsbury USA)
Another very promising cartoonist, working in full-color and really going to town. I thought this book -- a couple years old now -- was extremely clever.

57. The Unsinkable Walker Bean, Aaron Renier, First Second
Like the Eleanor Davis book, I wanted to give this one a special shout-out: Aaron Renier's tale of sea monsters and soldier ships is like the best 1970s Wide World Of Disney live-action movie executed with 2015 cgi. As opposed to a run of books for kids and early teens that seem to embrace formula as if making a comic where you can always tell what's going to happen ten pages later will add years to your life, Renier's work retains its indy-comics funk, hitting all the traditional high points in slightly left-field but still very logical fashion. It's also stuffed with detail, a key to a later re-read.

58. Lost In The Andes, Carl Barks (Fantagraphics)
These are just really great comics, re-colored as if they're brand-new, and anchored by the first great duck adventure story. To think we get 15 years of this kind of material is a wonderful, wonderful thing. There's no guaranteeing that a kid is going to love these like kids did in my generation and the generation preceding did, but it's not going to be because the material is lacking in any way.

image59. Gil Jordan, Private Detective: Murder By High Tide, Maurice Tillieux (Fantagraphics)
These are more all-ages safe than directed at kids, maybe, but they're fun, involving comics and I would have adored them when I was 10-12 years old. The mysteries are quirky enough, but like the best detective stories in any medium it's watching the character move with idiosyncratic style through an entertaining setting that's the key to one's enjoyment.

60. Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Barry Deutsch (Amulet Books)
This is the veteran cartoonist's webcomic turned full-length book, drawn in a clear and engrossing style and about as friendly as your average resident of Mayberry. This actually came out in late 2010, but didn't register on my radar until that next Spring, just based on the weight of the number of people that told me they enjoyed it.

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WAYS TO GIVE BY GIVING BACK
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image61. 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.

62. A Donation in Someone's Name to The Cartoon Art Museum
Of all comics' donation destination, CAM may be the least appreciated and also, as it turns out, one of the stronger performers in terms of routinely fulfilling their mandate.

63. 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, having expanded its mandate in the past few years .

64. A Donation in Someone's Name to the Hero Initiative
These good folks focus their attention on older comics creators in need.

65. A Donation To Child's Play
This charity started by the team of folks behind Penny Arcade, they focus on fulfilling wish lists from kids at their networks of hospitals.

66. 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.

67. 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 print depicted above.

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NOT-COMICS IDEAS THAT AREN'T A BOOK OF COUPONS FOR HUGS
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image68. The Walking Dead Action Figure That Actually Walks
This is more of a TV show thing than a comic book thing, just like Walking Dead is now, really. Still, I have to imagine any fan of the comic book would get a kick out of something like this if it's as advertised.

69. Little Baby Jumpsuits Modeled After DC Superhero Costumes
This is good because it's cute and it's also blackmail material for whatever will have taken the place of Facebook twenty years from now.

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

71. 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. Every Death Note toy I've ever seen has been adorable.

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

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

74. 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.

75. 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.

76. 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.

image77. Something From Souther Salazar's Etsy Store
Souther Salazar hasn't made a new comic in a while, but he still offers some of those he has made along with other items at his Etsy store.

78. 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 Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1 there, but I'm grateful. I keep all of my money stuffed into live fruit I hang around my neck, but this wallet idea sounds interesting.

79. A Place To Put The Business Cards That Won't Go In Your Comic Wallet
Seriously, there's about 18 billion pieces of comics-related merchandise out there if you just plug in a publisher or character's name and the item you're looking to buy.

80. 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.

image81. Something From A Syndicate Store
I know at least one of the syndicates has a store where you can go buy mugs and t-shirts from the business partners of some of your favorite cartoonists, as opposed to a cartoonist themselves: King Features.

82. Webcartoonists With Merchandise Options
Your favorite probably offers something. I've purchased stuff for other folks from Achewood's dedicated store and from the portions of this company's site devoted to Ryan North and Kate Beaton. I've been staring at this page featuring Goats-related material far too frequently to be healthy. R Stevens has a first-class set-up. Just look around.

83. Dame Darcy's Store
She has a devoted store at her site, complete with a link to her etsy offerings.

84. Paul Hornschmeier's T-Shirt Store
I'm way too old to wear any of them, but I admire the consistency of Paul's t-shirt offerings.

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WAYS TO ENGAGE GIFT-BUYING POSSIBILITIES IN MANGA
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image85. Something From Osaumu Tezuka
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. This year's Vertical/Tezuka biggies were the excellent The Book Of Human Insects and the seminal Princess Knight.

86. Non-Tezuka Manga From Vertical
Vertical has always offered more than just Tezuka; with series like Twin Spica, Chi's Sweet Home and 7 Billion Needles, those offerings taken as a group seem like a stronger part of their catalog than ever before. One of their major offerings this year is the long-anticipated English translation of The Drops Of God.

87. Various Volumes From Ongoing Series At A Major Publisher
I realize this is advice that covers a ridiculous amount of material. Like saying "Buy Food From A Grocery Store." Please remember: manga can be a difficult buy as a present because a) a bunch of it comes in long series of individual books and b) many of its readers have highly idiosyncratic taste. A manga fan is probably already following the series they like best, in some form or another. It's a good crowd for whom to buy gift certificates and the like, purchases 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. 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&!.

image88. 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. This year's offerings included Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths and A Single Match.

89. PictureBox Inc. Manga
PictureBox offers work from artists like Takashi Nemeto, Yuichi Yokoyama, Ken Kagami and Hanakuma. Not a stinker in the bunch. A big release for them this year is Yokoyama's Color Engineering.

90. Fantagraphics Manga
Fantagraphics is still a bit light on the manga offerings, but you couldn't do much better than a collection from Moto Hagio as a first book out of the gate, or this year's book from Shimura Takako, Wandering Son.

91. Last Gasp Manga
Last Gasp published Yusaku Hankuma's Tokyo Zombie in Fall 2008, and I guess we're all still waiting for their edition of The Strange Tale Of Panorama Island by Suehiro Maruo, a much-anticipated book for sophisticated manga fans across the board. (I actually sort of thought that was out; I guess I was wrong.) They also carry a ton of work in their role as a distributor. Don't forget they're around.

92. Ax: A Collection Of Alternative Manga Vol. 1, Edited By Sean Michael Wilson (Top Shelf)
There's a certain kind of person for whom you can purchase comics slightly off the beaten path from the comics they'd usually desire, but if you have one in your family and they're a manga fan, this 2010 anthology of alt-manga works might engender a voyage of discovery.

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WAYS TO GET YOUR HANDS ON HANDMADE BOOKS
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image93. Mini-Comics from Global Hobo
A number of talented artists work through this classic comics collective.

94. 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.

95. Mini-Comics From Partyka
Always well-crafted.

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

97. 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.

98. Comics From Quimby's
Chicago's longtime home for handmade comics work may offer a wider selection of work than ever before, but comics is still a strength.

99. Comics From Profanity Hill
It's hard to imagine a better guide to today's NW mini-comics scene than cartoonist and comics editor Jason T. Miles.

100. Comics From The Secret Acres Store
Everything in their store is at least good if not great work of its kind.

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


image101. A Commission From Keith Knight
Keith's one of the good guys in comics and one of its enduring warriors. One way in which he supports himself is doing commissions for the holidays. He'll draw anything you want him to (within reason, one supposes).

102. Prints And Art From The R. Crumb Web Site
I haven't seen any of this stuff in person, so I can't totally testify as to the material's general quality, but I know from years of wondering at parties whether or not to risk ending a friendship through an attempt at theft that Robert Crumb's art looks great on a wall.

103. A Drew Friedman Print
This may be the only entry were I don't have to say anything.

image104. 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.

105. 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.

106. 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.

107. 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.

108. 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.

image109. Original Art From The Beguiling's Art Store
Retailer Peter Birkemoe is a nice man 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.

110. 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.

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

112. 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.

113. 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. I'm not sure if the temporary glitch getting to the original art sales is a temporary glitch or an indication that the site has abandoned this sales track, though.

114. A Poster Or Print From The Beguiling's New Store Section
This is a new section for their store, so I wanted to give it some extra-emphasis this year. The selection is small but everything is super-attractive and affordable.

115. 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.

116. 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.

117. 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.

118. A Print From Todd Klein
Todd Klein has been self-publishing prints featuring his lettering, and they're all a) very handsome, b) co-starring creative talent from various corners of the wide world of funnybooks.

image119. A Print From Mike Bertino
I think Mike's been killing it for a couple of years now; I'm particularly fond of the assault of colors his work in single images tends to bring. There's not a whole lot left for sale there, though.

120. Art From Jim Blanchard
And all-time favorite print and portrait maker, and ink-slinger for the ages. Blanchard's print of Redd Foxx should go into whatever museum you'd put things like prints of Redd Foxx.

121. Tom Gauld's Epic Tales Print
Tom Gauld is one of my favorites and his work lends itself extremely well to prints and cards and other items.

122. A Print From Jordan Crane
Always gorgeous-looking; usually slightly disturbing.

123. Print Of A King Features Comic Strip
When Dan Wright and I were doing Wildwood for King Features, we'd give friends -- and random people that weren't really friends at all -- inkjet-made "prints" of good strips. This looks much more legal.

124. Discounted Art From Mark Burrier's Etsy Store
The coupon code that was sent to me was GIVEART2011.

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OLD STUFF
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image125. 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.

126. 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.

127. 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.

128. 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.

129. 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.

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The author of this blog would like to apologize for being too distracted by his day job of tossing feces to get to the entirety of this shopping guide. Another 100 or so entries should come sooner rather than later. Until then, please enjoy this Ted Hawkins video.

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posted 4:30 pm PST | Permalink
 

 
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