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December 1, 2013


The Comics Reporter's Holiday Shopping Guide 2013

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Welcome To The 2013 CR Holiday Shopping Guide.

What follows are 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 in 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 that other forms of media might 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 2013
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94 REASONS (SO FAR) TO SPEND YOUR SHOPPING MONEY ON COMICS THIS YEAR

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AN OPENING SALVO OF GIFTY-TYPE GIFTS, MANY WITH A HOOK INTO THIS YEAR'S COMICS PUBLISHING EVENTS OR SOME ARGUABLE EQUIVALENT THEREOF
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1. Something From One Of The Many Companies Doing Sales Right Now Out Of A Sense Of Something Other Than A Need To Maximize This Quarter's Profits
As of this posting, Fantagraphics still has four days to go on its company-saving crowd-funding campaign regarding its Spring 2014 books. Practically every incentive offered in that campaign is gift-worthy, as is the example of advocacy-based arts purchasing. Drawn and Quarterly still has a necessary book sale going on for the next few days as well, with a massive discount passed along to you. The great comics-maker Stan Sakai needs the help of his professional community in meeting a shortfall created by massive home healthcare costs due to the sickness suffered by his beloved wife Sharon. A contribution or a pre-pledge to the eventual art auction or something in someone's name done in conjunction with one of Sakai's fun books might be a perfect thing for a Usagi Yojimbo fan.

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2. Comics-Related Prints From Telegraph
Telegraph Gallery in Richmond, Virginia has distinguished itself from its comic-store brethren with a line of gorgeous-looking prints and posters from comics-makers galore. There are so many works available the mind almost shuts down in trying to process them. Seeing them live at this year's Small Press Expo in Rockville, Maryland, made me want to re-attend college so I could have some of these on my wall next to my classic Jaime Hernandez Locas image. Okay, not really, but it made me want a room with a pool table in it to frame and hang some of these.

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3. The Great War, Joe Sacco (WW Norton)
This is the most gifty book of the season from one of our great comics-makers: a panorama of a crucial day in the First World War that blends a study of that space with a progression from day to night to day again. It's the most fun you'll ever have pondering the needless death of thousands of young people.

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4. A comiXology Gift Card
I'm one of those print-centric people that can rhapsodize over the smell of decaying paper, so it came as a surprise when I sat down and looked at how much work I own -- or rent -- digitally now. comiXology is the market leader in this area, by which I mean the company that my Mom would find if I left her alone with a computer and told her she needed to download copies of a Mark Millar crossover comic by noon. I try to buy something from them every week -- I find it's a great way to see work and not have to own it, which sounds crazy but there it is.

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5. Original Art From Ryan Cecil Smith
There is a bunch of original art for sale during the holiday season, so let's let the work offered by Ryan Cecil Smith be our entry point into that rich and satisfying world. These seem reasonably price for how handsome they are, and Smith says every last dime gets plowed back into the making of more comics.

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6. The Passion Of Gengoroh Tagame, Gengoroh Tagame Via Anne Ishii, Art Direction By Chip Kidd (PictureBox, Inc.)
One of my favorite memories of 2013 was watching Tagame, Ishii and publisher Dan Nadel sell this collection of incredibly hardcore sex comics on the floor of the Toronto Public Library during TCAF without anyone freaking out or being depressed the way they used to be with the booth-babe days of pushing lurid kids product on the floors of 1990s comic book convention -- showing that you can sell art of all kinds in a classy, above-board way. I thought this was sort of an amazing book, and I certainly can't imagine a better one for the fans of this kind of material.

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7. Shintaro Kago Gag Strip Art
Ed Kanerva of Koyama Press mentioned that these were on sale at the Beguiling book store for super cheap considering that these were originals, and I agree with him.

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8. Something From Ginette Lapalme's Etsy Store
This was suggested by the cartoonist Michael DeForge, and makes this list near the top as both a fine place to get a bunch of comics-like prints and items but as an initial stand-in for the dozens and dozens and dozens of comics-makers and related-to-comics-makers that have stores at this site or others like them.

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9. A Trip To The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
Buying someone something related to travel is advanced-class gift purchasing, but something that can be really memorable. I'll talk about convention-related purchases in another entry on this list, but something to consider is working in a trip to the Billy Ireland facility on the campus of Ohio State University. Columbus has a small-press show called SPACE, one of the WizardWorld shows, the CCAD conference MIX (which I assume will continue without really knowing) and is hosting next Fall's academic crown-jewel conference ICAF, if any of those are the kind of thing that interest your gift-recipient. I think if I were to do it, though, I'd just find a way to work it into another East Coast or Midwestern trip, a stopover flight and a hotel maybe when the Bill Watterson/Richard Thompson exhibit is up, or a place to do a couple of days of arranged-in-advance scholarly work or research. Columbus has an adorable airport and cheap hotels.

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10. An Oily Comix Subscription
One of my favorite things to get in the mail is monthly missives from Chuck Forsman's Oily Comics empire. This a small envelope stuffed with a selection of mini-comics and other ephemera. It's the best way to keep up on a bunch of different comics-makers, and to get the rare beautiful thing from someone with whom I'm already familiar, like Warren Craghead. You can also pretty easily score any back issues or fill-in-the blank items necessary via their easy-as-pie web site. There are a bunch of ways to subscribe to micro-press offerings right now, many of which will be covered with entries on the guide.

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11. A Subscription To The Phoenix
This combines digital comics, kids comics and British comics in a very good year for all three.

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12. An Artist's Edition Book From IDW
This is one of the rare holdovers from year to year, but these Artist's Editions books make such great gifts for both fans that are super into a specific artist and for fans that were once a fan but don't really have much interest in the comics they see on the stands every week. You might have to eBay around for some of them, but I've enjoyed every one I've seen. It's the Mark Schultz one that everyone told me was the opinion-changer for them this year.

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13. RASL, Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)
I'm giving this to a relative that like science fiction/fantasy, adored Jeff Smith's Bone and doesn't read a whole lot of comics. There aren't a whole lot of narrative-heavy in-one new-comics packages out there from established artists, so this stands out even more than usual. The coloring by Steve Hamaker is super-pretty, too.

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14. Co-Mix, Art Spiegelman (Drawn And Quarterly)
It's both a stand-alone book and a companion to the big various-iteration comics show of the last two years, now settled in at the Jewish Museum in New York City. This is also a good gift for someone who has Maus and maybe a couple of issues of RAW and very little else.

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15. A Stand-Alone Volume From This Year's Fabulous Boutique Publisher Offerings
It was a pretty strong year for comics from the smaller alt- and art-comic publishers; that group has had strong years pretty generally, lately. I'll try to recommend some others further down the list but stand-alone books from some of the top publishers that spring to mind as worthy-of-and-suited-for-giftage are Society Is Nix, Edited By Peter Maresca (Sunday Press Books); Incidents In The Night Vol. 1, David B. (Uncivilized), Hagelbarger And That Nightmare Goat, Renee French (Yam Books); Delusional, Farel Dalrymple (AdHouse Books); Iron Bound, Brendan Leach (Secret Acres), Very Casual, Michael DeForge (Koyama Press); Bittersweet Romance, Victor Cayro (Drippybone Books); Monster 2013, Various Cartooning All-Stars (Hidden Fortress Press); Frontier #2, Hellen Jo (Youth In Decline) and Picnic Ruined, Roman Muradov (Retrofit). The Leach even comes with a selection of music, which makes it super-gifty. Also, I'm not sure how many even saw the Cayro but yow.

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16. Manga By Kyoko Okazaki
I thought Helter Skelter was a blast, and I'm looking forward enough to Pink that I'd be happy to recommend it unseen. Helter Skelter may not have intellectually rigorous -- there's not an idea in there I haven't encountered elsewhere -- but it's really funny and filthy and odd-looking and the art is used to an effect that you usually don't see -- Jesse Reklaw may have come closest in North American comics this year. This was my most pleasant surprise in an excellent year for translated manga.

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17. Maximum Minimum Wage, Bob Fingerman (Image)
I wanted something on the list to represent the explosion of solid, terrific-selling material that Image has released into the market over the last 40 months or so. Bob Fingerman's Minimum Wage came later in the alternative comics movement but was much-liked and under-read. I hope that this volume or the forthcoming series allows for greater dives into the richness of 1980s and 1990s indy/alt work.

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18. Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists, Edited By Chris Duffy (First Second)
First Second had a pretty strong year across the board, and I imagine that Lucy Knisley's Relish and Gene Luen Yang's Boxers And Saints can be found elsewhere on this list -- those seem to me like books that you could give a lot of people whether they're fans of those artists or not. Still, for an initial salvo, Fairy Tale Comics feels a lot more gifty than even those books, and Duffy is a phenomenal editor of such material. (I'm using a First Second photo here because I don't think they put up a proper cover image anywhere, which is weird.)

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19. Monster Christmas, Lewis Trondheim (Papercutz)
A family member walked by while I was working on this on their way to the room with the TV showing college football and told me it was dumb to have a Christmas gift guide without any Christmas books on it. This Trondheim effort from I think that period of initial flush of success in the French-language mainstream, is the book with a holiday theme that came to mind over others. There are bunch of good ones, though, including a bunch or more classic reprints, that we'll get into further down the page.

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20. March Vol. 1, John Lewis And Andrew Aydin And Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
This will make a ton of folks' lists of this type, and should find its way onto a lot of Best-Of-Year lists as well: John Lewis getting this attention is a great thing for comics and a great thing comics has done. Another way to look at this book that was stressed to me by two different people on the floor of SPX is as the latest offering in the career of prodigious comics-maker Nate Powell, who has a chance to have an enormous amount of comics work to his name by the time he's finished with the art form.

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21. A Comics T-Shirt Featuring A Cat
I think the classic King-Cat shirt is a must-have for every comics fan and one of my favorite things in the world to see people wear; this year there's also the Lying Cat t-shirt from the mega-successful Saga book. Between those two, you've covered about 85 percent of older folks reading comics.

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22. Peanuts Every Sunday Vol. 1, Charles Schulz (Fantagraphics)
It's astonishing that we can have a book out reprinting the early Peanuts Sundays in color and not spend all of our time paying attention to it. Peanuts is a gift-buying institution, something I've received at various time in my life for my entire life. This new book is lovely and a lot of fun, and I picked up a copy at a big-box bookstore to give to a cousin who's a fan.

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23. Hand-Drying In America And Other Stories, Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
I spent a lot of time in New York in November trying to figure out various candidates for book of the year. This is the book that came up most frequently. We don't pay a lot of attention to Katchor -- except maybe the real dyed-in-wool Katchor for whom he is comics -- but that doesn't have anything to do with how good the work routinely is. This is the architectural magazine strips.

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24. A Piece of Art From The Comics Art Collective
The best comics-related gift-buying site on the Internet for like a decade now. This is a site where you can look at and buy art from various participating comics-makers with the full knowledge that they will be getting 100 percent of the profits. I must have a dozen things from here, and likely bought another half-dozen things for others. My favorite kind of original art to buy is black and white line art featuring stand-alone images, so this is basically a store built for my interests and my interests primarily.

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25. Hawkeye, Vol. 1, Matt Fraction And A Bunch Of Artistic Collaborators, Primarily David Aja
I like this superhero series: I think it's a lot of fun and I own every issue having bought and paid for them myself as Marvel laughs at press requests of that nature generally and mine specifically. The book makes this list in the first bunch of suggestions, though, for the way in which it strikes me as one of the few things I could think of to buy a fan of the recent Marvel movies where it's both non-foreboding in terms of plot complication as well as trafficking in that more casual, adult tone that the Avengers movie in particular evoked very well. Between you and me, I get lost in some of the regular titles and who is doing what to whom and which adjective in front of which brand-name means what. Hawkeye I understand, though.

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26. A Kids Book From Flying Eye
Zainab Akhtar reminds me that NoBrow has a kids imprint called Flying Eye; we can both recommend the Luke Pearson books that they've re-released through it.

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27. In Love With Art, Jeet Heer (Coach House Books)
I am terribly behind on my reading-about-comics. The Secret History Of Marvel Comics book I just cracked last night, I haven't read the Philip Nel book on Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss and I have the Jonathan Barli book on Virgil Partch slotted as my reward book later this month when a certain amount of tasks are completed. The new Trina Robbins survey book I haven't even seen yet. I did see see, read and enjoyed Jeet Heer's think volume on the great Francoise Mouly, and think it might make a good throw-in or even stocking stuffer. Mouly's career is wholly admirable.

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28. Animal Man Omnibus, Grant Morrison And A Variety Of Artist-Collaborators But Mostly Chas Troug, (DC Comics)
Both DC and Marvel have re-released large swathes of their publishing endeavors of the last quarter-century in multiple formats. The one that strikes me as worth mentioning up top is writer Grant Morrison scripting for artists such as Chas Troug the reality-warping adventures of one of DC's under-utilized characters. In serial form, Animal Man was one of the few comics I was able to find and read in the small town where I went to college, so I have fond memories of it. Grant Morrison is a superior mainstream comics-maker, and his work has a substance to it that rewards collection; that is a unique accomplishment given how most of the genres in which mainstream comics trade may resist the making of stand-alone, stop-and-ponder work.

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29. In The Days Of The Mob, Jack Kirby (DC Comics)
I didn't even know this was out until I started compiling my list, and it's not work I've even seen in ten years. For a lot of comics readers and even fans of Jack Kirby, it may be work they haven't seen at all. Every last thing Jack Kirby did is worth our attention, even if it's just taking a pass on the material itself. In this case, I think a lot of this work is fun.

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30. Something To Remember The Great Kim Thompson
Kim Thompson's passing last summer reminded us how blessed we are to have this great generation of comics-industry folks heading into their various lions-in-winter phases; it's a tragedy the talented and prolific Thompson can't join them. He had his hands in just about everything Fantagraphics ever published, and is well-known for his recent efforts in bringing over the cartoonists Jason and Jacques Tardi. The one that stands out for me as a potential gift, though, is The Adventures Of Jodelle, a lovingly produced book that Thompson worked on for quite some time to get exactly right. It's beautiful in the way that changes young artists, and it's wonderful it even exists.

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SUGGESTIONS FROM LAST YEAR'S TOP 30 THAT STILL WORK THIS YEAR

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31. Todd Klein's Prints
The lettering legend Todd Klein is a nice man that runs a fun web site and sells various collaborative prints from it. Wanted: more people in comics like Todd Klein. The prints are generally a lot of fun, and at times very comics nerdy, which I appreciate.

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32. Something Written By Ed Brubaker For Image Comics
The writer Ed Brubaker currently splits his time between film/TV projects and work for Image Comics, including the successfully launched new series with Steve Epting, Velvet. He has a small army of collections available. I'd recommend multiple books from Image: a collection of his Scene Of The Crime mini-series with Michael Lark, and three distinct volumes collecting his Fatale series to date, in collaboration with Sean Phillips. A fourth book for Fatale, a first book for Velvet and a big Winter Soldier collection from Marvel should sustain Brubaker's momentum through 2014.

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33. A Trip To A Convention, Or A Segment Of Such A Trip
This is kind of an odd present, but I was thinking about what I would want from a friend or family member with whom I had a Significant Gifts relationship -- I've had a few of those in my time -- and this is what popped into my head. There are really fine comics shows now, all over the country, ones that you can reasonably rely on being the same from year to year. Because of that reliability, you can project or outright buy in advance certain segments of such a trip -- advance tickets, guaranteed hotel rooms, air travel, a shopping budget, a per diem so that the other things can be saved for, etc. Like I said, it's kind of an odd thing, but I can't imagine anyone saving for a trip to, say, Comic-Con, that wouldn't love seeing an air travel voucher in their stocking, or someone heading to Angouleme that wouldn't love receiving an envelope of local currency. I love the fact that comics affords us the opportunity to buy event and lifestyle gifts now.

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34. Building Stories
Hello, book of the year. Not 2013: 2012. Still, I'm giving away two copies this year to people that I'm sure will like it.

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35. Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
This was the monster book-about-comics from 2012, and last summer's Eisner winner in its category. I must have had 20 conversations with all sorts of different people all of whom said that they couldn't believe how good it was.

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36. Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Vol. 1-2 Box Set by Walt Kelly
We're still in a golden era of strip and comic book archival collections. That is an acknowledged top 25 all-time comics efforts by a lot of people, top five by others, #1 for several. I love the early Pogo work best of all the Pogo work, and these volumes are attractive in a way that's extremely difficult to guarantee with a post-World War 2 offering. They were cramming the strips into papers by then, making tear sheets and originals an even greater premium than is usual.

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38. The Team Cul De Sac Book
Richard Thompson retired his beautiful Cul De Sac newspaper strip in 2012; a major retrospective at the Billy Ireland in 2014 will accompany his release of the entire strip under one cover. Until then, enjoy the 2012 charity book Team Cul De Sac, which won its instigator, Chris Sparks an industry humanitarian award last summer.

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39. The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song
This one won an Eisner last summer, and hopefully marks the return of artist Dave Lasky and writer Frank Young to more frequent participation in the comics world. It's a good book, and a sturdy gift choice for music fans if you haven't given it away yet.

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40. Color Moomin Books From Drawn And Quarterly
Drawn and Quarterly started out publishing the black and white comic strips from the much-loved Moomin characters, but they've ended up with quite the little storehouse of color Moomin works, all of which are lovingly presented and contain the evocative-looking, sometimes-wistful and frequently-funny stories by which their reputation was made. Their kids line is generally pretty strong, maybe as strong as exists anywhere in comics and certainly as consistently excellent first offering to last.

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41. The Shark King
There are enough kids' comics out there for the category to gain its own section in this gift guide, a section which will eventually appear below. My favorite kids' comic of the last year was the exuberantly drawn The Shark King effort from R. Kikuo Johnson and Toon Books. This is one snappy-looking, pretty comic book, and while the story doesn't transcend its target audience in the way some kids' books might, you'll probably be drinking in the visuals with too much pleasure to care. Or, you know, you could actually give it to a kid and just borrow it for yourself later on.

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42. The One Comics-Related Gift I've Given Four Years In A Row: The Little Nothings Series From Lewis Trondheim
I've bundled off these wry memoirs from Lewis Trondheim to a number of friends the last few years, more than one a season. I think they're super-accessible, pretty, funny and show off a couple of the great strengths of comics when it comes to presenting tone and facilitating a kind of casual, narrative density. I'm giving a set again this year, so I'm glad that NBM has them all in print.


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WAYS TO GIVE THE GIFT OF ART
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43. Prints From Gerhard
Gerhard was the backgrounds artist for the bulk of the run of the comic book Cerebus and is a talented image-maker. I wasn't aware that he had set up shop for selling Cerebus and non-Cerebus art on-line, but here is that site for you.

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44. A Drew Friedman Print
This may be the only entry were I don't have to say anything. Just look at this stuff.

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45. Custom Art From Gary Panter
You won't find a better gift on this list. 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.

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46. 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.

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47. Original Art From The Beguiling's Art Store That Is Not From Shintaro Kago
Retailer Peter Birkemoe is a nice man and a snappy dresser 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.

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48. 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.

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

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50. 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.

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51. 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.

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52. 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.

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53. 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.

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54. 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.

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55. 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.

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56. A Print From Tom Gauld
Tom Gauld is one of my favorites and his work lends itself extremely well to prints and cards and other items. He also smartly gathers in one place the things he sells and the stuff other people sell on his behalf. It's my understanding Gauld's first North American book did very well this year, so hopefully there will be more.

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57. A Print From Jordan Crane
Always gorgeous-looking; usually slightly disturbing: Crane is one of our best image-makers and his production work is top-notch.

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58. 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.

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WAYS TO GIVE BY GIVING BACK
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59. A Donation In Someone's Name To The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
It is comics' nicest place. They completed their big capital drive for the new library, but they can always put any money to good use -- they've proven it over the years. I'm not sure if they're totally set up to do regular donations again after their time doing that building fund, but you can certainly inquire and they'll get back to you.

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60. A Donation In Someone's Name To The ToonSeum
I sometimes lose track of the Toonseum, but they seem pretty well-ensconced in the Pittsburgh arts community.

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61. 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.

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

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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.

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64. A Donation in Someone's Name to the Hero Initiative
These good folks focus their attention on older comics creators in need. I've had the opportunity to work with them for the first time this year, and found that to be a positive experience.

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65. A Donation In Someone's Name 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 network of hospitals.

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66. A Donation In Someone's Name To The Dylan Williams Scholarship Fund
The Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland has a scholarship fund for the kinds of students -- comics and graphic novel students -- that the late cartoonist and publisher taught when worked with IPRC.

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67. A Donation In Someone's Name To SAW
Tom Hart, Leela Corman and the good folks at The Sequential Artists Workshop do nice work down in Gainesville and could always use a donation or two -- they even spend some of the money they bring in on paying young professional cartoonist a cash honorarium in order they further their work.

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68. 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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OLD STUFF
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69. An Old Cartoon Book Or Comics Publication Via Stuart Ng Books
I try to visit Stuart Ng Books every time I'm in southern California. They have a big array of high-end art and cartoon books that kind of run the gamut, price-wise.

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70. Old Comic Books From Ebay
The foundational auction site eBay is probably still the great marketplace of old comics. 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.

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71. 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.

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72. 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.

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73. 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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BARGAIN SHOPPING
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74. 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.

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75. Crafts
I like to make things with my hands and give them to the people I love. Comics art offers a lot of opportunities for such handmade gifts if you're inclined to go that way. Be creative. One easy one is coasters.

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76. 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.

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77. 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.XX. 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.

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78. 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 unless they're doubles or absolutely not the kind of thing the site covers, 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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79. Gift Card 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.

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80. 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.

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

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82. Gift Certificate From MyComicShop.com
They have them, too, although I hadn't seen them until 20 seconds ago when I double-checked.

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83. 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.

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84. 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.

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

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87. 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, but he may be winding down his time with their regular, monthly titles; people have taken to Scott Snyder's comics for the Grand Old Man of The Funnybook Business in a significant way.

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88. 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. 0

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89. 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.

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90. 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."

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91. 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.

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92. 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.

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93. 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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AND THEN FINALLY, WHEN YOU'RE DONE SHOPPING...

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94. ... Remember That NoBrow Has Gift Wrapping

Or you could go this direction.

I will almost certainly run any letter I get that doesn't say "Not For Publication," and may not read the ones that say "Not For Publication." It's a gift guide, not an attack on you.

Have a happy holiday season.

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posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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