CBR Holiday Gift Guide: Books

Wed, November 26th, 2008 at 11:58pm PST | Updated: November 27th, 2008 at 10:48am

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor
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If they don't have it, just get them "Watchmen"

Before commencing with our list of books we think you should give to people for Xmas, the staff of Comic Book Resources wishes to stipulate for the record that “Watchmen,” the seminal DC Comics graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is the best, ultimate, and most achingly brilliant gift one human could possibly bestow unto another during this most festive of seasons.

“Watchmen” is available in a number of formats for you to choose from based upon your level of affection for the person in question, including trade paperback; hardcover; prestigious, oversized Absolute Edition; and, for some reason, single-issue. It is on sale now and forever in every book store on Earth.

That being said, the CBR staff is pleased to present to you now our Holiday Gift Guide to comics, novels and art books. Stay with us over the coming days for more recommendations on DVDs, video games, toys and apparel.

Merry Xmas!

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ABSOLUTE KINGDOM COME
Written by Mark Waid
Illustrated by Alex Ross

Few comics come close to "Watchmen" in scope and pathos, "Kingdom Come" is one of them. Whether you already own a copy of the story or are a new reader, this Absolute Edition (in 13" x 9" format) will bring the Alex Ross artwork and Mark Waid story to new life. This is a book that should be in every fan's collection. - Contributing Writer Brian K. Eason

ABSOLUTE RONIN
By Frank Miller and Lynn Varley

Find out what made Frank Miller a comic book legend with this ‘bells and whistles’ absolute edition of his ‘80s Samurai classic. - Staff Writer Jami Philbrick

ABSOLUTE EDITIONS IN GENERAL

Anyone can buy a cheap trade paperback. Go big.  Show 'em you love 'em.  Go Absolute. - Columnist Augie De Blieck, Jr.

ACHEWOOD: THE GREAT OUTDOOR FIGHT
By Chris Onstad

To put the buzz about Chris Onstad's “Achewood” into perspective: when Onstad gave a signing at my friend Alex's store, Rocketship in Brooklyn, NY, the line was not just out the door. It was not just down the block. It was down the block and around the corner! That is how fanatic the devotion some fans have to “Achewood,” and really, it is quite deserved, as Onstad's webcomic is brilliantly and consistently hilarious.

The tale of the Great Outdoor Fight needs to be read. Ray, the protagonist, and his best friend, Roast Beef (who both happen to be anthropomorphic cats) enter into the grueling (and rather absurd, in a rule-less sort of way) Great Outdoor Fight. Hilarity naturally ensues.

Dark Horse recently collected one of the best storylines from the webcomic into an impressive looking hardcover edition, complete with loads of supplemental material by Onstad to give the folks who have already read the story online new information. - Brian Cronin, Blog Manager - Comics Should Be Good

ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY #18
By Chris Ware

Taking a break from the serialization of his long form graphic novel "Rusty Brown," Chris Ware tells a pretty much self-contained story of a mildly depressive woman whose right leg ends just below the knee. It's a straightforward piece of contemporary fiction, not unlike a Cheever or Updike short story, only with much lovelier illustration. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie

ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY #19
By Chris Ware

I do not know if he does this intentionally, but due to the yearly release of his “Acme Novelty Library” series, Chris Ware presents comic book fans with a perfect Christmas present every year!

2008 is no exception, and the latest “Acme Novelty Library” is one of the best comics of the year. The format of “Acme Novelty Library” is such that each edition contains a serialized comic book story by Ware, and is later collected into a standalone graphic novel. However, each issue of “Acme Novelty Library” is specifically designed by Ware to stand on its own, as well.

This issue continues the Rusty Brown storyline, which is about a sad young boy who grows up to be a sad adult. In a striking use of a split narrative, the first half of the book is an illustrated science fiction novel written by Brown's father, and the second half is an examination of the rest of Brown's father's life. In examining Rusty’s father’s life, Ware leads us to better understand Rusty's life, as well. - Brian Cronin, Blog Manager - Comics Should Be Good

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: COLLECTOR'S GIFT SET
By Hergé

Before Young Indiana Jones, there was Tintin. This is the perfect primer for readers who don’t know Herge’s globe trotting adventurer and wait until you see the shark-shaped submersible in “Red Rackham's Treasure.” - Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud

ALREADY DEAD
Written by Charlie Huston

Fans of Huston's run on Marvel's “Moon Knight” already know the author has an affinity for spinning tales that mix gritty, street-level, noirish action with elements of the fantastic, but if you really want to see the author at his best, check out the novel, “Already Dead,” the first entry in the series of Joe Pitt Casebooks. The series follows the exploits of Pitt, a vampire who tries to maintain his independence in a New York City that's been divided up by warring vampire clans. Unfortunately for him, his penchant for picking up private detective style jobs from the various clans usually makes that impossible. - Staff Writer Dave Richards

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY
Written by Michael Chabon

This amazing Michael Chabon novel tells the story of Josef Kavalier and Sam Klayman, two Jewish cousins writing and drawing comics during World War II. The book is witty, fanciful and full of life, just like the two lead characters. This is comic books on the other side of the reading aisle. - Contributing Writer Brian K. Eason

AMULET VOL. 1
By Kazu Kibuishi

"Amulet" is the new "Bone". Stunning. And cheap! - Columnist Jud Meyers

THE APOCALIPSTIX VOL. 1
Written by Ray Fawkes
Illustrated by Cameron Stewart

Straight out of the "You May Have Missed It" file comes Ray Fawkes and Cameron Stewart's unspeakably fun introduction to a three-piece girl band rocking their way through the Apocalypse; fighting raiders, giant ants, and superfans. The story is a blast and Cameron Stewart proves on every page that he's the most remarkably versatile artist working in comics today. You could put this in Santa's Bag for probably 80% of the people on your Holiday Gift List. It's just that appealing. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie

ASTERIX OMNIBUS, VOL. 1
Written by Rene Goscinny
Illustrated by Albert Uderzo

Smart enough for the adults, silly enough for the kids.  Generations of European readers can't be wrong! - Columnist Augie De Blieck, Jr.

BLANKETS
By Craig Thompson

Your wife/girlfriend reads novels, but not graphic novels? Guess what? She does now. - Columnist Jud Meyers

Declared by Time to by one of the top ten best graphic novels of all time, Craig Thompson’s “Blankets” is a remarkable, deeply personal, nearly 600-page memoir about life as an evangelical Christian. Thompson’s book was removed from a public library, so you know it’s got to be good! – Staff Writer Andy Khouri

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON EIGHT COLLECTIONS
Written by Joss Whedon, Brian K. Vaughan, Drew Goddard
Illustrated by Georges Jeanty, Paul Lee, Cliff Richards, Jo Chen

Picking up about a year and a half after the end of the beloved television series, "Season Eight" has Buffy and the gang leading a worldwide force of Slayers. All of the things that made the TV series great are here, and Whedon & Co. take advantage of the medium to push he series farther than it could have ever gone on the small screen. A great way to introduce fans of the series to comics. - Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre

Find out who among your friends is a lapsed Whedonite, and bring them back into the fold with the official continuation of the TV series. - Reviewer James Hunt

BURMA CHRONICLES
By Gus Delisle

Plane tickets (and entry visas) to Burma might be hard to come by, but Delisle's travelogue makes the reader feel like they're in this forbidding country. - Reviewer Greg McElhatton

CEREBUS COLLECTIONS
Written by Dave Sim
Illustrated by Dave Sim & Gerhard

Arguably the pinnacle of achievement in sequential art before going horribly, horribly wrong, “Cerebus” presents for readers a stunningly brilliant and hilarious portrait of a brutish, abominable person (aardvark, actually) you can’t help but love; then love to hate; and then just hate. Creator Dave Sim and collaborator Gerhard do nothing less than inspire with an addictive parable about politics, power, violence, love and hate -- virtually everything, really. The Canadian creators turn in chapter-after-chapter of innovation in storytelling techniques for nearly four-thousand pages, after which Sim chooses to run out the clock on his 300-issue limit with some of the most breathtakingly awful comics ever produced. Stop at volume 10 if you must, but Dave Sim fails just as big as he wins, and Cerebus’ slow march into oblivion is in and of itself worthy of study. - Staff Writer Andy Khouri

COMIC ART NOW
By Dez Skinn

Dez Skinn, former publisher of "Warrior" magazine, gathers together an amazing display of comic book art in this compilation, showcasing the work of John Cassady, Alex Ross, Mike Mignola, Dave Gibbons, Frank Cho and many others. This volume celebrates diversity of style and the marketplace acceptance that has finally come to the art form we all love so much. - Contributing Writer Brian K. Eason

COMIC BOOK TATTOO: TALES INSPIRED BY TORI AMOS
Edited by Rantz Hoseley

This oversized collection of gorgeous art and enigmatic short stories would be a treat even if it had nothing to do with Tori Amos. Since it does, “Comic Book Tattoo” is a must-have and a perfect gift. If you really love someone, get him or her the limited edition hardcover. - Staff Writer Shaun Manning

CROGAN'S VENGEANCE
By Chris Schweizer

Pirates! Adventure! The start of a massive generational saga! I can only imagine it's a hardcover because there is too much excitement to be contained in a softcover binding. - Reviewer Greg McElhatton

DEAD SPACE
Written by Antony Johnston
Illustrated by Ben Templesmith

This collected miniseries is the prequel to EA's new horror game of the same name. The Aegis VII mining colony has unearthed a mysterious artifact that has strange effects on everyone who comes into contact with it. Security officer Bram Neumann is caught in the middle of religious fanatics, psychotic colonists and corporate machinations as he tries to keep the colony from descending into chaos. - Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre

THE DOCTOR WHO STORYBOOK 2009
By Mark Gatiss, Various

Forget the BBC “Doctor Who Annual,” it's the Panini/Marvel UK Storybooks that keep the spirit of the old annuals alive. Past years have seen comics and short stories from Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat - one of which formed the concepts behind the Hugo and BAFTA award-winning "Blink." This year, “Doctor Who” star and writer Mark Gatiss takes the helm. - Columnist Rich Johnston

THE ESSENTIAL DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR
By Alison Bechdel

In 2006, Alison Bechdel's “Fun Home” was not only one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of the year, it was one of the most acclaimed novels of the year! However, to a great many readers, Bechdel's talents were already quite evident, as Bechdel has been producing one of the best comic strips out there since the early ‘80s titled “Dykes to Watch Out For.”

The strip follows a group of friends, mostly of the LGBT crowd, as they go about their lives. Bechdel manages to brilliantly work in topical discussions of the issues of the day as the characters' stories progress.

Now, there is “The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For,” putting together the best of the strip’s first two decades, making sure to give readers a refresher course on all the main characters and their various relationships.

Obviously, this works wonderfully for readers whose only exposure to Bechdel was “Fun Home,” but to make the strip worth the purchase for regular readers of the previous eleven volumes of “Dykes to Watch Out For,” this new collection also contains 60 or so recent strips that have not yet been collected! - Brian Cronin, Blog Manager - Comics Should Be Good

EAGLE: THE MAKING OF AN ASIAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT
By Kaiji Kawaguchi

An epic graphic novel collected in five books, "Eagle" takes a look at the American Political system through the eyes of a Japanese reporter, Takashi Jo. Begun in 1997 and concluded in 2001, the story tells the campaign of an Asian-American candidate for the Democratic Nomination for President, New York Senator Kenneth Yamaoka. Starting with his announced run for the party nomination and concluding with the presidential campaign of Yamaoka, the complex and richly-detailed story takes you on a behind the scenes tour of a fictional campaign with all the twists and turns you'd expect, inspired by actual political campaigns. Given the landmark election of Barack Obama in 2008, "Eagle" is enjoying a renewed relevance, and would make an addictive read for your politically-inclined friends and family. - CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland

EX MACHINA DELUXE EDITION VOL. 1
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Tony Harris and Tom Feister

For all the attention “Y: The Last Man” receives--and that attention is well deserved--it's surprising Brian K. Vaughn's devastatingly clever political drama doesn't get a bit more love. The story of the world's first superhero giving up his jetpack to become the mayor of New York is a great choice to get a non-comics reader to look seriously at “graphic novels,” and Tony Harris's already-stellar art looks even better in the deluxe hardcover edition. - Staff Writer Shaun Manning

I know “Y: The Last Man” gets all the mainstream media buzz, but I’m with Brad Meltzer. The adventures of Mayor Mitchell Hundred, formerly the Great Machine, will go down as Brian K. Vaughan’s true masterpiece. - Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud

FABLES: COVERS BY JAMES JEAN
By James Jean

Assuming you haven’t already distributed a large number of “Fables” collected editions to friends and family, “Fables: Covers By James Jean” is a gorgeous gift that any comic book or art lover will enjoy. Collecting all but six of Jean’s award-winning covers for Vertigo’s similarly acclaimed series, “Covers” offers in one deluxe package the outstanding work of an artist who left comics almost as suddenly as he arrived. - Staff Writer Andy Khouri

One of the best things about going to the comic book store is that, every month, whether you collect "Fables" or not, you get a new work of art from James Jean staring back at you from the rack. This flat-out gorgeous hardcover volume collects the first 75 of these (Rats, my favorite is #76. What are the odds?) in a lovely edition with a new cover and all sorts of other extras. It's oversized and looks stunning wherever you put it. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie

FELL: FERAL CITY
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Ben Templesmith

People love cop dramas about passionate, quirky detectives and this book has plenty of that. - Reviewer Chad Nevett

GI JOE: AMERICA'S ELITE—WORLD WAR III OMNIBUS
Written by Mark Powers, Mike O'Sullivan
Illustrated by Mike Bear, Mike Shoyket, Pat Quinn, Jean-Francois Beaulieu

Collecting the last 12 issues of the Devil's Due comic book series, "WWIII" features the return of Cobra Commander and just about every Joe that ever appeared in the book. Cobra takes control of MARRS and creates worldwide chaos as a backdrop for Cobra Commander's latest bid to take over the planet. A fitting end to a great run of GI Joe comics by Devil's Due. - Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre

GOTHAM CENTRAL VOL. 1: IN THE LINE OF DUTY
Written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka
Illustrated by Michael Lark

A personal choice from my own Christmas list, this volume collects the first two arcs of the award-winning series by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark. Great for anyone interested in comics but who might be unsure about all the capes and tights. - Contributing Writer Justin Eger

HARBINGER: THE BEGINNING
Written by Jim Shooter
Illustrated by David Lapham

Fans of the show "Heroes" and comic books in general will love this Jim Shooter classic from the '90s that Wizard called the collectible of the decade. - Staff Writer Jami Philbrick

HARLEY QUINN: PRELUDES AND KNOCK-KNOCK JOKES
Written by Karl Kesel
Illustrated by Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson

While everyone is so focused on The Joker this year, pay some attention to his favorite gal-pal! Collecting the first issues of Harley’s one and only solo run, Karl Kesel’s team-up with Terry and Rachel Dodson is a fantastically fun romp through the DCU. - Contributing Writer Justin Eger

HEAVY LIQUID
By Paul Pope

For the appreciator of good comics. Vertigo’s recent hardcover release of Paul Pope’s first work at the publisher is an object of beauty. Recolored and given the love and care it deserves. Set in Pope’s non-specific future it -- oh, that would be telling. It’s Pope. Future Fashions. Weird Technology. Creepy G-Men. What’s not to love? - Contributing Writer Erik Amaya

HOWARD THE DUCK OMNIBUS
Written by Steve Gerber
Illustrated by Steve Gerber, Val Mayerik, Frank Brunner, John Buscema, Carmine Infantino

The most pointed satire in the world, and it comes from a duck.  Appreciate Gerber’s genius one last time. - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas

JACK KIRBY DC OMNIBUSES
By Jack Kirby, Various

For the hardcore comics fan, six Jack Kirby DC hardcovers. Pick up "The Fourth World Omnibus" volumes 1-4, and, while you're at it, grab "Jack Kirby's O.M.A.C." and "Jack Kirby's The Demon" too. Build a small fort out of the books, live inside of it, and revel in Kirby's manic Bronze Age artistry. - Columnist/Reviewer Timothy Callahan

JOKER
Written by Brian Azzarello
Illustrated by Lee Bermejo and Mick Gray

Doesn't get much meaner, nastier and psychotic. Anarchy! - Columnist Jud Meyers

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIONS
Written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMattias
Illustrated by Kevin Maguire, Terry Austin, Al Gordon, Bill Willingham, Luke McDonnell, Bob Lewis, Steve Leialoha

Essential reading for the superhero fan. In addition to genuinely laugh-out-loud superhero situation comedy, "JLI" features the beginnings of the now famous Blue Beetle-Booster Gold friendship; early appearances of Lobo; the Martian Manhunter's introduction to Oreos; and comics' all-time best ever fight: Batman vs. Guy Gardner. - Staff Writer Andy Khouri

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ho-ho-ho! - Reviewer Doug Zawisza

KIRBY: KING OF COMICS
By Mark Evanier
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STRANGE AND STRANGER: THE WORLD OF STEVE DITKO
By Blake Bell

Is your comic book aficionado friend a Kirby fanatic, or a Ditko die hard? To a Marvel fan, that’s like asking “Beatles or Elvis?” of a music fan. Both of these books are packed with amazing art that will enrapture readers for hours. - Staff Writer Seth Jones

THE LAGOON
By Lilli Carre

Following Carre's hilarious debut, "Tales of Woodsman Pete," this sophomore effort is a more somber story that matches Craig Thompson's work for lyrical precision. - Contributing Writer Van Jensen

LOCAL
Written by Brian Wood
Illustrated by Ryan Kelly

The sort of book that will appeal to just about everyone, with twelve stories taking place over twelve years in twelve different cities, and gorgeously designed to boot. -Reviewer Greg McElhatton

MARVEL BOY
Written by Grant Morrison
Illustrated by J.G. Jones

The "Final Crisis" creative team introducing a character who plays a big role in "Secret Invasion." It's like having both Marvel and DC's event books in one package! - Reviewer Chad Nevett

MARVEL CHRONICLE
Edited by Catherine Saunders, Heather Scott, Julia March, Alastair Dougall

A thorough history of the Marvel Universe from Timely to today, it's a beautifully packaged compendium. Too bad it treads lightly on the company's controversies. - Contributing Writer Van Jensen

MARVEL DIGITAL COMICS UNLIMITED SUBSCRIPTION

It would be rather difficult to fit 5000 comics under the tree, but there is a less back-breaking way to gift a comics collection. Subscribing to Marvel's digital comics service will give your friend or family member a robust supply of reading material throughout the year. - Staff Writer Shaun Manning

Here’s enough comics to keep even the most avid reader busy!  Plus, it won’t clutter the home sitting in long boxes… - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas

THE MIGHTY BOOK OF BOOSH
Written by y Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding
Illustrated by Dave Brown

The surreal comedy duo The Mighty Boosh from their BBC TV show revisit the annuals of their past with this enormous hardback tome, featuring extracts from Howard Moon's jazz detective novels "Trumpet Full Of Memories," lyrics to a number of their crimping performances, and comics! Monty Python meets Jamie Hewlett. - Columnist Rich Johnston

MOUSE GUARD: FALL 1152
By David Petersen

This is the item on the list that makes you think, “Oh, right! I’ve been meaning to get a copy of that for my girlfriend/boyfriend/teacher/student/[insert assorted humans here].” David Petersen’s medieval tale of noble mice defending their homes in a perilous world of giant horrors and treachery is a modern classic, and a comic book for everybody, if there ever was one. - Staff Writer Andy Khouri

OOR WULLIE ANNUAL 2009
By Peter Davidson

Okay, back to an actual traditional kids Christmas annual. “Oor Wullie,” the comic tales of a poor wee Scottish boy, sitting on his bucket, dealing with life at his philosophical best. Running since the 1930s in The Sunday Post and created by the British equivalent to Jack Kirby, Dudley D. Watkins. Best enjoyed, ripped from wrapping paper at 5 in the morning on Christmas Day and read under the covers, sucking on a satsuma. - Columnist Rich Johnston

POPBITCH: CELEBRITY EXCESS AND OTHER MONKEY BUSINESS
By Various

Basically a very grown-up version of the Jackie annuals that all 30-50-ish women will know from their childhood, spent staring at a Bay City Roller or working out why boys don't fancy them. But with otters, celebrity blowjobs and Billie Piper comics. - Columnist Rich Johnston

THE POWER OF THE DOG
Written by Don Winslow

Readers of crime comics like “Scalped” and “Criminal” know that things aren't usually black-and-white when it comes to the actions of criminals and those tasked with catching them. Those readers will love Don Winslow's novel “The Power of the Dog,” which examines the drug war in North and South America through the eyes of an interesting and eclectic cast of characters. The book is truly an epic and spans a twenty-year period starting off in the '70s, when the DEA was founded, and ending in the '90s. - Staff Writer Dave Richards

THE PUNISHER: GARTH ENNIS OMNIBUS
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Steve Dillon, Tim Bradstreet, Various

A pricey item, but this collects the first half of Ennis's stellar run, pairing him with longtime collaborator Steve Dillon and some other great artists. - Reviewer Chad Nevett

THE PUNISHER MAX COLLECTIONS
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Lewis Larosa, Tim Bradstreet

With Garth Ennis's mature readers "Punisher" run now complete, just about any of the Punisher MAX collections would be perfect for your crime-fiction loving friends. - Reviewer Greg McElhatton

Grim. - Staff Writer Andy Khouri

THE QUESTION: THE FIVE BOOKS OF BLOOD
Written by Greg Rucka
Illustrated by Tom Mandrake, Matthew Clark, Jose Saiz, Diego Olmos, Manuel Garcia, John Van Fleet

Picking up on the aftermath of DC’s incredible weekly series “52,” Greg Rucka’s story is, bar none, the best miniseries I’ve read all year, collected in a very attractive hardcover package. Perfect for fans of both The Question and “52.” - Contributing Writer Justin Eger

RUNAWAYS COLLECTIONS
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Adrian Alphona

So your relative, friend or significant other doesn't read comics but enjoys Joss Whedon's modern television classics, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Angel?” Well, then you've got two good ways of introducing them to your four-color obsession. You can give them collections of Dark Horse's “Buffy” or IDW's “Angel” series, or you can surprise them with this book which collects writer Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona's entire first volume of “Runaways.” The series is about teens rebelling against the nefarious agenda of their supervillain parents and features action, humor and pathos that are sure to please any fan of Whedon's tv shows. Also note that this recommendation has been road tested among my group of friends and works for both male and female fans.- Staff Writer Dave Richards

SCALPED COLLECTIONS
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated by R.M. Guéra

In a recent issue of his ongoing Native American crime saga, “Scalped,” writer Jason Aaron listed his inspirations for the series which included the novels of James Ellroy and Cormac McCarthy, the music of Johnny Cash, and HBO's recently completed crime series, “The Wire.” This makes “Indian Country,” Volume 1 of the series, a great gift for fans of any of those who have yet to discover the title, be they longtime comics readers or someone who hasn't read a comic book in their life. Like “The Wire,” “Scalped” uses the pulpy elements of crime fiction, in this case an FBI agent undercover in an organized crime ring on an Indian reservation, to examine the relationships and societal ills of a whole community. And like “The Wire,” which was one of the best shows on television, “Scalped” is one of the best comics currently being produced. - Staff Writer Dave Richards

For the HBO addict. Get all three trade paperbacks or scoop up all the back issues of this complex crime drama from Jason Aaron and R. M. Guera. - Columnist/Reviewer Timothy Callahan

SPIDER-MAN MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION
By Various

Perfect for a young fan who may be just now learning that before there were comic movies, there were comic books. In addition to fun comic stories, readers get pull-out posters, games and drawing tips. - Staff Writer Seth Jones

Click here for subscription information.

STARMAN OMNIBUS VOL. 1
Written by James Robinson
Illustrated by Tony Harris, Wade Von Grawbadger, Various

A handsome gift for the comics-curious. Packaged beautifully in this hardcover omnibus; Volume One reprints the mid-nineties series “Starman” from issues zero through seventeen. In those seventeen issues, readers are introduced to reluctant superhero Jack Knight, his father, and other colorful characters populating fictional Opal City. Writer James Robinson’s characters come to vivid life from the first page which, ironically, features a character about to die. The art of Tony Harris starts fresh and just gets better. Its distinctive look, engaging characters, and wholly contained storylines make it a perfect gift for someone new to comics or on the fence about superheroes. And it’s a great read if you already love superheroes! - Contributing Writer Erik Amaya

If you’ve been reading TRINGENUITY here at CBR, you already know that my writing partner Brian Eason and I have a lot of love for James Robinson and Tony Harris' “Starman.” Great storytelling and artwork make for another selection from my own Christmas list. - Contributing Writer Justin Eger

A great read for anyone - comic fan or not! Of course, comic fans will enjoy it a little more. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza

The only downside to the first volume of the Eisner award series is that Vol. 2 isn’t due out until March. - Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud

Sophisticated. Urbane. Cool. In “Starman,” James Robinson and Tony Harris recreated the superhero genre with the best and most charismatic (and most sorely missed) protagonist of the 1990s. This incredible story of a majestic superhero dynasty belongs on the shelves of all comic book readers and fans of pulp fiction. - Staff Writer Andy Khouri

STINKY
By Eleanor Davis

For the little comic book reader. "Stinky" by Eleanor Davis is the delightful tale of a swamp monster, a bottomless pit, and a maybe-sorta-kinda friendship. - Columnist/Reviewer Timothy Callahan

SUBURBAN GLAMOUR
By Jamie McKelvie

Kids love fantasy stories, so Jamie McKelvie's girl-meets-fairies mini-epic is perfect for the moody teenager in your life. If the relatable characters don't win them over, the music references should! - Reviewer James Hunt

SUPERMAN AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES
Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Gary Frank and Jonathan Sibal

Modern day master Geoff Johns already gave this book as a gift to Superman on his 70th birthday and the Legion on their 50th. And while the story alone is epic, Gary Frank’s Superman is the arguably the best since Curt Swan. - Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud

Writer Geoff Johns synthesizes and updates in this almost dizzyingly kinetic volume everything great and classic about Superman, while illustrator Gary Frank outdoes himself with his incredibly touching to tribute to the late Christopher Reeve, who we can now see flying far into the future and battling high-tech, super-powered tyrants in a way that we never could on film. - Staff Writer Andy Khouri

THOR BY J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI VOL. 1
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Illustrated by Olivier Coipel

"Iron Man" was the sweeping hit of 2008. With Thor pegged to rock the silver screen, this is a place for comic or movie fans to start. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza

TRAVEL
By Yuichi Yokoyama

This moment-by-moment narrative of three men riding a train grabs readers and pulls them quickly through the journey. At the same time, its brilliant art demands to be appreciated slowly. - Contributing Writer Van Jensen

TRUE STORY, SWEAR TO GOD ARCHIVES VOL. 1
By Tom Beland

“True Story, Swear To God Archives, Volume 1” by Tom Beland– Trying to make a loved one understand the appeal of comics?  Give them this, and hope it’s the gift that keeps giving. - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas

THE TWELVE VOL. 1
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Illustrated by Chris Weston, Kaare Andrews

If you can’t wait to see what JMS does with the iconic characters of DCU and Archie Comics in the pages of “The Brave and the Bold” next spring, this tribute to the Golden Age heroes of Timely Comics should hold you over. - Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY: APOCALYPSE SUITE
Written by Gerard Way
Illustrated by Gabriel Bá

If you'd told me that Gerard Way, the lead singer of certainly not my most favorite rock band My Chemical Romance (although "Dead!!" was a pretty great song to play in Guitar Hero II), would end up being the most imaginative new talent to hit the comics industry in recent years, I'm sure I would have laughed at you. But he is, and Gabriel Bá's art and Dave Stewart's coloring bring the wild ideas and charm of this book into stark and awesome relief. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie

V FOR VENDETTA
Written by Alan Moore
Illustrated by David Lloyd

Three words: Better than "Watchmen." - Staff Writer Seth Jones

VAGABOND VIZBIG EDITION VOL. 1
By Takehiko Inoue

It's like an Akira Kurosawa samurai epic on the printed page, with over 600 pages of jaw-droppingly beautiful art. Look generous even while being frugal! - Reviewer Greg McElhatton

VIZ ANNUAL: THE LAST TURKEY IN THE SHOP 2009
By Various

“Viz Comic” is the almost-monthly British comic that outsells everything else on the shelves. Labelled "Not For Children," it is of course fourteen-year-olds who love its rude and crude deconstruction of children's comics, but for that it always has a grasp on social, cultural and political satire that rivals the likes of The Onion and Private Eye. One for all the family, as long as that family likes saying the word "bollocks" a lot. - Columnist Rich Johnston

THE WALKING DEAD COLLECTIONS
Written by Robert Kirkman
Illustrated by Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard

Here ya go. Comic book crack for the holidays! - Columnist Jud Meyers

WATCHING THE WATCHMEN
By Dave Gibbons, Chip Kidd, Mike Essl

Dave Gibbons' behind-the-scenes chronicle of how one of the greatest comics of all time came together is a must-own for any self-respecting comics geek - film or no film! - Reviewer James Hunt

Y: THE LAST MAN COLLECTIONS
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Pia Guerra, Various

Brian K. Vaughn's epic tale of Yorick and Ampersand, a man and his monkey who appear to be the only male survivors of a plague that kills every mammal with a Y chromosome. What happened, why they were unaffected, and how the world is coping are just some of the questions that are explored over the sixty-issue series that is already considered a modern day classic. And since "Y" is slated to be adapted into a movie, it's as good a time as ever to check out this great series. - Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre

Words of advice for those of you looking to get your girlfriends into comics: Neil Gaiman and Brian K. Vaughan are your friends! Gaiman has done a lot of work in the fantasy genre, which some women sort of find off-putting or not really interesting, and if your girl falls in that category, “Y:The Last Man” might be the way to go. Because the series involves the exploits of the last male alive on planet Earth after a plague wipes out all the others, there are elements of science fiction, but for the most part it's pretty grounded and features character driven action and interesting relationships. This is another recommendation that's been road tested. I gave the first volume of “Y” to a friend, a 32-year-old non-comics reading mother of two and she quickly devoured the whole series and has moved on to reading other works in her husband's comic collection.- Staff Writer Dave Richards

No matter how popular or acclaimed a thing can become, nobody can ever read every great book, listened to every amazing album, or seen every classic film. There’s somebody out there who hasn’t yet read Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s “Y: The Last Man,” and you need to make sure they do. - Staff Writer Andy Khouri

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TAGS:  cbr holiday gift guide, watchmen, starman

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