Fresh, exciting graphic novel gifts for the 2018 holiday season!


Hey gift shopper, here’s a cool idea…buy a graphic novel or trade paperback volume for that special person this holiday season.

Give the gift of lengthy sequential art that can be put on a shelf, or opened to reveal a new world away from the screens and work stress. You can give, but also take a risk in finding out later if hated or loved. Any thoughtful literature and art are worthwhile, for heavy time and love was put into its composition. And if enjoyed, then the book will be treasured far longer than a boring gift card.

However, there is a risk for those who appreciate such large comic book forms. There is a chance they either read or know enough of the most popular work out there to have read it already or no interest at all. Such can be a tough decision when works including Watchman, Saga, Ghost World, Batman: Killing Joke, Sandman, etc, are on the many top graphic novels lists out there.

So instead, be fresh and daring. Reach out for something less likely to have, yet may find stimulating. And maybe, get something interesting enough to borrow later.

Below, here are my nine gift picks for graphic novels and trade paperback volumes published in 2018. These still obtainable at major retail book chains, comic book stores, and wherever new books can be gained or ordered. I also have provided an Amazon link for those lacking the proximity or time to visit such wonderful places.

Take a look!

Devilman: The Classic Collection Vol. 1


Devilman: The Classic Collection Vol. 1
Writer / Artist:  Go Nagai
Published by: Seven Seas
Format: 680-page Hardcover
ISBN: 162692757X

Hordes of demons, once thought entombed forever in the underworld, have now returned to Earth. Evil and corruption begin to seep into our world, as demons seize human hosts. Mankind’s only hope for salvation is to use the demons’ power against them–-and only a pure-hearted man like Fudo Akira can do so without losing his humanity. Once little more than a crybaby, Akira now wields the terrible power of a devil, yet holds the innocent soul of a man–-Devilman!

Get this forSomeone who appreciates horror and manga/anime in diverse forms. It’s not for kids, but also not meant to be taken too seriously. It’s light-hearted fun but with some violence and nudity at times.  Go Nagai’s art and storytelling style has a childlike innocence that shifts toward unrestrictive awesome horror, subversive for its time (originally published in 1973).  Also, very high-quality hardcover and page quality. page link


Eleanor & the Egret


Eleanor and the Egret
Writer / Artist:  John Layman / Sam Keith
Published by: Aftershock Comics
Format: 120-page softcover
ISBN: 1935002767

The most daring art thief in Paris has struck again, and the police have assigned their best detective to the case. His only clue? A single white feather left at the scene. Could this feather belong to the thief? To the thief’s accomplice, an oversized talking egret? Or will his investigation lead him to somewhere even stranger? (Answer: all of the above.)

Presenting a peculiar and unforgettable tale of birds and banditry, paintings and pets, larceny, love and…lamprey-wielding assassins? From the legendary creator of The MAXX and co-creator of Sandman, Sam Kieth, and the considerably less-legendary creator of Chew, John Layman!

Get this forFor someone who loves art, humor, with really strange and surrealness to the comics storytelling. Also, for those who enjoyed either the classic The MAXX comics and MTV series for its art and weirdness, also by the artist Sam Keith. The story itself is an awesome unraveling mystery, deeply involving a small cast of bizarre players. There are great unexpected concepts and twists throughout,  Overall, just a fun book that’s very different from the others. page link

Sleepless, Volume 1


Sleepless, Volume 1
Writer / Artist:  Sarah Vaughn / Leila del Duca, Alissa Sallah
Published by: Image Comics
Format: 168-page softcover
ISBN: 1935002767

Lady “Poppy” Pyppenia is guarded by Cyrenic, her faithful Sleepless Knight. But when a new king is crowned, an assassin threatens her life, ushering in a new and dangerous time. As Poppy and Cyrenic work to discover who wants her dead, they must navigate the dangers of life at court—and of their growing feelings for one another. Collects Sleepless #1-6

Get this forSomeone who loves fantasy and romance, but more focused on the drama, intrigue, and relationships. All here, with renaissance elements, rich environmental detail, detailed diverse characters, beautiful coloring with an immersive art style a reader can really fall into. The story is ongoing, giving the reader more to follow in later volumes. Personally, I feel this is a very underrated gem. page link

DC Meets Looney Tunes


DC Meets Looney Tunes
Writer / Artist:  various
Published by: DC Comics
Format: 248-page softcover
ISBN: 1401277578

DC’s iconic superheroes meet the wacky characters of Looney Tunes in some of the most surprising stories in comics in DC MEETS LOONEY TUNES! When Elmer Fudd sets his sights on Bruce Wayne, it’s a “wabbit hunt” you’d never imagine! Prospector Yosemite Sam strikes it rich, but can circus performer Foghorn Leghorn and bounty hunter Jonah Hex keep him alive long enough to enjoy it? Plus, Wonder Woman enlists the help of the Tasmanian Devil to save the Amazons; Lobo gets caught in the war between a mutated Road Runner and a wily super-genius of a coyote; and the last survivors of Mars fight over the fate of planet Earth! Finally, when the Legion of Super-Heroes needs help, a wrong turn at Albuquerque means the future’s survival depends on…“Super” Bugs Bunny! Worlds collide, courtesy of some of comics’ greatest talents, among them Tom King, Lee Weeks, Jimmy Palmiotti, Mark Texeira, Tony Bedard, Bill Morrison, Kelley Jones, Steve Orlando, Sam Humphries and more!

Get this forSomeone who loves DC Comics, but hasn’t stepped foot in a comic store in a long time, or at all. Also, anyone who looks really hard at old cartoons, for deeper meaning and philosophy. And wow, do these short stories deliver in a mix of madness, light and dark humor, and crossover insanity that will leave the reader speechless at times. As a hardcore DC Comics fan and somewhat Looney Tunes fan, I found this among the biggest surprise of both, leaving me laughing and amazed. page link

The Book of Ballads and Sagas


The Book of Ballads and Sagas
Writer / Artist:  Charles Vess
Published by: Titan Comics
Format: 240-page softcover
ISBN: 1782763325

This award-winning compendium of English and Scottish fairy tales and folklore returns to print in a sumptuous new collection! Beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess and featuring adaptations by Neil Gaiman – Vess’ collaborator on the hugely successful Stardust – and a host of famous fantasy writers, this new edition also boasts never-before-seen art and an amazing gallery of sketches!

Includes contributions from World Fantasy Award winner Charles de Lint (Moonheart; The Cats of Tanglewood Forest [illustrated by Charles Vess]); acclaimed fantasy writer Emma Bull (War for the Oaks; Bone Dance) and New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb (The Ballad of Frankie Silver; St. Dale; She Walks These Hills). 

Get this for Any fan of fairy tales and folklore, in the more unrestricted and less watered down forms. Also, fans of the movie Stardust, and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and other work. The painted and extremely detailed art of Charles Vess is stunning, grabbing appreciating eyes and pulling them to these fantastic other worlds of magic and creatures. page link

On a Sunbeam

On a sunbeam

On a Sunbeam
Writer / Artist:  Tillie Walden
Published by: First Second Comics
Format: 544-page hardcover
ISBN: 9781250178138

Two timelines. Second chances. One love. A ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together. Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love—only to learn the pain of loss. With interwoven timelines and stunning art, award-winning graphic novelist Tillie Walden creates an inventive world, breathtaking romance, and an epic quest for love.

Get this for Anyone cool with young adult books and an open mind for abstract science fiction, queer relationships, stunning art through a lot of pages. Also, someone who likes to travel or enjoys adventure, and interested in meeting new people. It’s an epic tale that takes the reader through space, time, and the heart. page link

Star Wars Lost Stars, Volume 1 (manga)


Star Wars Lost Stars, Vol. 1 (manga)
Writer / Artist:  Claudia Gray / Yusaku Komiyama
Published by: Yen Press
Format: 256-page softcover paperback
ISBN: 1975326539

The Empire can be seductive, particularly if you’re an aspiring young pilot…Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree both know this very well when they enroll Imperial Academy, eager to pursue their dreams. When Thane discovers the darker side of the Empire, though, and defects to the Rebellion, the pair’s lifelong friendship will be put to the ultimate test. Will Thane and Ciena’s relationship — or even they themselves — survive this galactic conflict…?

Get this for Someone who loves Star Wars, but not the recent movies bearing its franchise (or, maybe they do). Also, for someone who likes manga with the usual black and white art, visual styles, and techniques. But more so, are the intertwining new characters set in the time of the classic Star Wars movies, with a few surprise appearances and events thrown in. There are fresh perspectives from the military and civilian lives of the overall space opera melodrama, leading to a new space opera within the space opera. Very engaging! page link

Isola, Volume 1


Isola, Vol. 1
Writer / Artist:  Brendon Fletcher / Karl Kershcl
Published by: Image Comics
Format: 141-page softcover
ISBN: 1534309225

An evil spell has been cast on the Queen of Maar and her Captain of the Guard will do anything to reverse it. Their only hope lies on an island half a world away—a place known in myth as Isola, land of the dead. Gotham Academy creators Brendon Fletcher and Karl Kershcl reunite with series colorist Msassyk and letterer Aditya Bidikar for a breathtaking fantasy adventure two decades in the making. Collects Isola #1-5

Get this for Someone who loves the Studio Gibli/Miyasaki films for its complex themes and world-building. Also, for those into nature fantasy, and camping. The art is vibrant, moody, with excellent use of colors and inking to set the mood. The storytelling is mystical, daring and fresh. It’s not for everyone, but for those willing to step into strange new worlds and accept complexity…this is a real treat. page link

Quantum Mechanics


Quantum Mechanics
Writer / Artist:  Jeff Weigel
Published by: Lionforge Comics
Format: 208-page softcover
ISBN: 1941302661

On a nowhere asteroid on the far rim of the galaxy, two young alien girls—Rox and Zam—spend their days tearing apart and repairing clunkers in a spaceship junkyard. These aspiring gearheads yearn for the chance to test their skills on something besides rusted old rockets and broken-down planet-hoppers. Their big chance finally comes when the captain of a mysterious ship called the Quasar Torrent enlists the kids for some repair work. But what initially looks like a golden opportunity quickly becomes a nightmare when the young friends find they’ve been kidnapped by what turns out to be a band of space pirates! Rox and Zam find themselves swept up in the astro-buccaneers’ vendetta against a huge intergalactic corporation that’s forced this motley band of working stiffs from across space into a life of crime. Now the girls must choose: do they want the comforts of home and family, or the glamorous adventure of a lifetime—to be part of a crew of colorful misfits intent on plunder, revenge, and excitement? Their lives, friendship . . . and maybe even the fate of a galaxy . . . hangs in the balance!

Get this for Someone who loves campy, light-hearted science fiction surrounding young friendships and space adventure fantasy. It’s escapism in the purest form, with all the tropes and thrills from the days of pulp novels to Firefly, and beyond. Yet still fresh and different, and cheerful. The art and sequential art form are rich in detail and traditional form, adding to the awesome story and thrill ride for readers of all ages. page link

That’s all for now. I tried for a wide variety, yet not beyond my own reading interests. After all, it’s my personal list. But, if you have something you would like to add to that list, post it in the comments below.

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