I got some gift suggestions for this holiday season, with something for everyone out there..
Below, are my hardcover comic book volume and graphic novel suggestions, (away from the superhero genre). Why such things for gifts? Because, the hardcover format gives a lasting quality for those who like their books on a shelf, and adds a bit of deserving specialness to it. The sequential art form within can hold deeper, longer lasting appreciation to those holding a hardbound shell. That’s how I see it, as I find myself bound to the hardcovers in my collection.
So, these picks below are hand-picked favorites by me (Orion!), having read and enjoyed each one. Each pick is likely available through local comic and retail book stores. Ordering online is good too, but part of the fun for the holidays is visiting local shops and checking out the holiday deco around. So, print or write these out, and don’t forget the wrapping paper!
- Writer/Artist: Jeff Lemire
- Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics imprint)
- Hardcover Publication Date: Sept 8, 2015
- Pages: 296 Price: 29.99 ISBN: 978-1401258719
- Contains violent and mature content
“Kids like Gus have a price on their heads. Seven years ago, the Affliction raged like a forest fire, killing billions. The only children born since are part of a new breed of human-animal hybrids. Gus is one of these children, a boy with a sweet soul, a sweeter tooth-and the features of a deer. When vicious hunters descend on his isolated forest home, a mysterious and violent man called Jepperd rescues Gus. The hulking drifter promises to lead Gus to The Preserve, a fabled safe haven for hybrid children. As the two cross this dangerous new American frontier, will Jepperd corrupt the boy he’s nicknamed Sweet Tooth, or will Gus’s heart change Jepperd? Written and illustrated by spectacular talent Jeff Lemire, SWEET TOOTH is a haunting tale of survival in post-apocalyptic America of friendships formed in tragedy, and the good and bad in humankind. Collects SWEET TOOTH #1-12, as well as never-before-seen sketches and an introduction by celebrated actor Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex, Frost/Nixon)..“
Note: For anyone who loves a good hero’s journey through difficult times, with some fantastic twists and character development along the way. It’s got the right blend of humor, action, drama in post-apocalyptic storytelling.
- Writer: Eric Shanower
- Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
- Publisher: IDW, HC Publication Date: July 23, 2015
- Pages: 120, Price: 19.95, ISBN: 978-1631400599
“An all-new, all-ages series full of magic and whimsy from award-winning creators Eric Shanower (Adventures in Oz) and Gabriel Rodriguez (Locke & Key)! Spinning out of Winsor McKay’s brilliant early 20th Century strip, Return to Slumberland sees King Morpheus’ daughter, in the Royal Palace of Slumberland, selecting her next-playmate – Nemo! Only Nemo has no interest in being anyone’s playmate, dream or no dream! Winner of the 2015 Eisner Award for Best Limited Series.. “
Note: A magical blend of breathtaking art and storytelling; for anyone who enjoys a fresh fairy-telling with all the magic of the original Windsor McCay strips. This book is a true imaginative escape, for all ages.
- Writer/Artist: Archie Goodin
- Publisher: Fantagraphics, HC Publication Date: May 1, 2015
- Pages: 60 Price: 24.95, ISBN: 978-1606998328
“Sally is a teddy bear who gets separated from her owner while on a drive in the country. Desperate to find her way home, she stumbles upon Kurdleton, home to a most peculiar group of characters in the midst of a crisis: their forest house has grown hair, eyes, and a mouth! The creatures work with their new friend to keep Kurdleton from growing legs and running away! Goodin, an animation industry veteran, delivers a timeless classic in his debut graphic novel, introducing an unforgettable and charming cast of characters. Printed in an oversized format to showcase Goodin’s stunning, hand-painted artwork, The Kurdles will capture the imagination of all ages. “
Note: A warm story for all ages, and a good starter for the those discovering comics for the first time (and not so much interested in the superhero stuff out there).
- Writer/Artist: various
- Publisher: Dark Horse, HC Publication Date: October 21, 2015
- Pages: 1,232 Price: 29.95, ISBN:978-1616558772
“The toy juggernaut Masters of the Universe and its subsequent action figure lines featured memorable pack-in minicomics that aided in playtime for children across the world. This oversized hardcover collection features sixty-eight US releases, including all minicomics from the eighties Masters of the Universe line, the eighties Princess of Power line, and the eighties and nineties He-Man line, plus an introduction to the minicomics in the current Masters of the Universe Classics toy line. Relive the illustrated adventures that fueled your imagination! “
Note: Ridiculous fun on some many levels, as these reprinted comic stories originally came with the toys (with pushes to buy other relayed MOTU toys). Many comic artists and writers had their early start with these in the early 1980s – Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead), Bruce Timm (Batman), Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), and many more. Plus, it’s packed with interviews and other surprises. Overall, a gem for 80s nostalgia lovers, fantasy art seekers, and MOTU fans.
- Writer: Joe Hill
- Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
- Publisher: IDW, HC Publication Date: June 4, 2015
- Pages: 328, Price: 49.99, ISBN: 978-1631402241
- Contains mature and violent content
“Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder: Locke & Key. Written by Hill and featuring astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them… and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all… Locke & Key creator Hill has received the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story, and the Sydney J. Bounds Best Newcomer Award-2007, among his growing collection of critical accolades.”
“Named a “modern masterpiece” by The A.V. Club, the critically acclaimed series takes on new life in a reformatted hardcover collection. The Locke & Key Master Edition, Vol. 1 features the first two arcs, “Welcome to Lovecraft” and “Headgames,” with all-new cover art and design by co-creator Gabriel Rodriguez. “
Note: My favorite comic horror story epics of all times. This is my favorite edition of the series for its cool cover design and book-shelf friendly spine. A fantastic comic story that takes you about a third of the way in, and leave you wanting more. Highly recommended for anyone who loves classic Stephen king stories, character building, and plot twists.
- Writer: Jim Zub
- Artist: Steve Cummings, Tamra Bonvillian, John Rauch
- Publisher: Image Comics. HC Publication Date: October 14, 2015
- Pages: 300, Price: 39.95 ISBN: 978-1632154736
“Rori Lane is trying to start a new life in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her, threatening everything she holds dear. Can she unlock the secrets of her power before it’s too late? Image Comics’s new supernatural sensation gets the deluxe treatment in this oversized hardcover collection that includes every stunning cover illustration, design sketches, and extensive essay material on Japanese culture and mythology by noted monster scholar ZACK DAVISSON. Collects WAYWARD #1-10.
Note: Fantastic for those who love a little modern Japanese supernatural horror, combined with Japanese mythology. The art is beautiful, especially for those who appreciate modern digital coloring style. Story is great too, but enhanced further with the many extras within this edition.
Archie vs. Predator – HC editon
- Writer: Alex De Campi
- Artist: Fernando Ruiz
- Publisher: Dark Horse Comics, HC Publication Date: November 4, 2015
- Pages: 128, Price: 19.95, ISBN: 978-1-616558055
- Contains violent content
“When Archie and friends head south for Spring Break, party games and beach games are soon replaced by the Most Dangerous Game! As the unparalleled fierceness of Betty and Veronica lures the trophy-collecting Predator to Riverdale, will the kids even realize they’re in danger before it claims them all?! Collecting issues #1-#4 of the smash-hit series!”
Note: This one is pure fun with all that one could love about the Riverdale case, combined with the over-the-top violent actions of the Predator. This is highly recommended for those with a sense of humor, and old-school slasher flicks.
- Writer/Artist: Don Rosa
- Publisher: Fantagraphics, HC Publication Date: Dec 2015
- Pages: 192, Price: 29.99, ISBN: 978-1-606998663
“Uncle Scrooge, the world’s richest duck, knows exactly where he got every coin he ever earned. And in this fourth book of Duck epics by Don Rosa, that story begins to unfold at last! Relive Scrooge’s Scottish boyhood as “Last of the Clan McDuck,” then his teenage years as “Master of the Mississippi” on Uncle Pothole’s steamboat! Witness Scrooge’s first fights with the Beagle Boys and Flintheart Glomgold — and in a bonus “Chapter 0,” his earliest meeting with Magica De Spell! Presented with brilliant color and a treasure trove of Rosa’s cover art and behind-the-scenes factoids, these Duckburg epics are back in a definitive, comprehensive edition for posterity — at a bargain price worthy of Scrooge himself!”
Note: Why Volume 4? Because, this reprints the early half of the greatest Duck story of all, “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck.” Currently out of print as a standalone story, this story is now available through the Don Rosa Library (probably through volume 5, and maybe six). A sky-high recommendation for anyone who appreciates gripping art and storytelling, with solid character development on our iconic richest duck
- Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
- Artist: Fiona Staples
- Publisher: Image, HC Publication Date: November 24, 2015
- Pages: 504, Price: 49.99, ISBN: 978-1632150783
- Contains mature content, graphic imagery depicting sex and violence.
“Collecting the first 18 issues of the smash-hit series, this massive edition features a striking new cover, as well as special extras, including never-before-seen sketches, script pages, and a roundtable discussion with the creators about how SAGA is really made. Altogether, this hardcover contains over 500 pages for less than fifty bucks! Written by Eisner Award-winning “Best Writer” BRIAN K. VAUGHAN (Y: The Last Man, The Private Eye) and drawn by Harvey Award-winning “Best Artist” Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), SAGA is the story of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Now, Hazel’s fugitive family must risk everything to find a peaceful future in a harsh universe that values destruction over creation. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in a sexy, subversive drama for adults that Entertainment Weekly called, “The kind of comic you get when truly talented superstar creators are given the freedom to produce their dream book. “
Note: My personal favorite ongoing comic series now ongoing. I can’t recommend this enough to those wanting everything in their sci-fi, fantasy stories…action, humor, philosophy, conflict big and small, challenging ideas, concepts and landscapes that open the imagination, character development, an involving cast..the list goes on. This deluxe edition will give new readers plenty to jump on, and sturdy enough to reread as I have multiple times.
That’s all for now. I may come back with a second helping of suggestions who also waiting till the last-minute. in the meantime, if you have any added suggestions or notes to add, please share in the comments below!
– Orion T