Man is it a good time to be a comic fan. There are so many great titles — and so many great re-releases of classic titles — that we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to our friends and loved ones shopping for us. So do yourself a favor and make their job easier by sending them this comic and graphic novel gift guide; they'll thank you for it (and then you can thank us later).
The Sandman Omnibus
So the first issue of The Sandman Overture is out, but you' dfeel bad about getting your friend a single comic for Christmas. So why not go all the way in the other direction, and spend $100 and buy them the first volume of The Sandman Omnibus, which contains over 1,000 pages of Neil Gaiman's Vertigo opus, styled in a beautiful classic hardcover look.
Star Wars: In the Shadow of Yavin
If you know someone dying for Episode VII, you might want to sate their needs with Dark Horse's excellent new Star Wars comic series. Set in-between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, the comic focuses on Princess Leia as she leads an elite X-Wing squadron to ferret out a spy in the Rebellion. The paperback is $15 here.
Hyperbole and a Half
Allie Brosh's artwork may look deceptively simple, but her comics are anything but. She is gut-bustingly hilarious, especially when she talks about her ridiculous dogs, but also insightful and phenomenally articulate; her treatise on what it feels like to suffer from depression remains, in all honesty, one of the best things ever produced on the internet (and it's still somehow massively entertaining, too). Get this for the smart people who appreciate humor in your life, and they won't be disappointed. The book is a mere $10 in paperback.
Avengers: Endless Wartime
Despite the hit movie, it can hard figuring out where to start with the actual Avengers comics. But wonder no more, as Warren Ellis' stand-alone graphic novel is the perfect place for new readers and old fans alike. Using the team from the movie, along with Wolverine and Captain Marvel, Endless Wartime is a quintessential Avengers tale that's just as deep as it is action-packed and entertaining. It's available here for $16.
The Best American Comics 2013
Some people enjoy comics, but they don't enjoy superhero comics (trust me, they're out there). If you're not up on all the latest indie releases, you can't find a safer — or better — gift that The Best American Comics 2013. Edited by Bone's Jeff Smith, it contains dozens of comics and samples of comics, from both print and web. I guarantee you the percipient will find at least one new comic he/she will instantly love, if not more. Buy it here for $17.
Adventure Time: Mathematical Edition
If you're at all worried that the comic based on the hit cartoon Adventure Time would just be a cheap cash-in, don't. This comic gets the bizarre sensibilities of the show perfectly, and it uses the medium to tell stories in ways only comics can. The first two volumes of the hardcover Mathematical Editions — which contain a multitude of extras — are out now for $25-30 each.
Batman: The Court of Owls
Writer Scott Snyder has been cranking out awesome Batman stories since the New 52 debuted, and none better than The Court of Owls, in which a secret Gotham City society rises up to destroy all the city's leaders and protectors — including Batman and his allies. Greg Capullo's art is a perfect match for the Dark Knight, too. This $17 special edition comes with a super-creepy Court of Owls mask, so hey, bonus.
Strangers in Paradise: Omnibus Edition
Terry Moore's acclaimed Strangers in Paradise remains one of the best, most beloved comics ever created, and now you can help spread the good word with this wonderfully affordable softcover omnibus of the entire series. It contains two volumes of all 2000+ pages of the epic love story, with all the complications life tends to throw in the way, for a mere $67.
East of West
Jonathan Hickman's apocalyptic scifi Western was an instant hit when it was released earlier this year, and it's easy to see why — the post-apocalyptic world he created is brutal but rich, and making the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse heroes trying to assassinate the U.S. president is a pretty bold idea. There's a reason the comic sells put almost instantly, and you owe it to your scifi loving friends to give them the opportunity to check it out. The first volume is $9 at Amazon.
Congressman George Lewis brings this incredible true tale his role in the civil rights movement in general and the 1963 March on Washington in specific in this remarkable graphic novel with co-creators co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell. It begins with Lewis' upbringing in rural Alabama, to his meeting with Martin Luther King Jr., to a decisive sit-in at Nashville's City Hall. March is easily one of the best comics of the year, and is available in hardcover for $25 and paperback for $10.
The Hedge Knight
Continue the story of Game of Thrones will this graphic novel interpretation of George R.R. Martin's side-stories about a young knight named Dunk and his mysterious squire Egg. Set 100 years before the A Song of Ice and Fire books start, this is the most new Game of Thrones you can buy someone before the TV show finally returns in March. It's only $9 here.
Attack on Titan
The hit manga that's taken Japan by storm arrived in the U.S. earlier this year, and it's worth every bit of the hype. In the near future, humanity has been decimates by brutal, unthinking giants who kill (and usually eat) every human they see. The humans all live in one huge city protected by a massive wall — but when a titan somehow finds his way inside, no one is safe. Each volume of the manga is only $6-9, and the first nine volumes are already available.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
A comic based on a videogame — and a fighting game made by the Mortal Kombat guys at that — sounds potentially terrible, but somehow writer Tom Taylor has created one of the most fascinating DC comics of the year. When the Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane, the bereaved superman kills the villain — thus setting off a series of events that will divide the Justice League and possibly destroy the world. The hardcover is a steal at $12.
Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2
The two hit franchises finally collide, thanks to IDW! When the Cybermen team up with the Borg, the Enterprise crew must team up with the Doctor and his companions to safe the universe — and there's not quite like seeing Matt Smith and Patrick Stewart "acting" opposite each other, even in comic book form. It's available for $25 here.
It's always weird to say that Hawkeye is the best superhero in comics right now, even though he doesn't have any superpowers. But as Matt Fraction's mind-blowingly good run on the Avengers' resident archer has proven, Hawkeye doesn't need superpowers, bec he can get himself out of trouble (and more often into trouble) by himself. Readin about Hawkeye's downtime, whether it be pissing off Russian mobsters, pissing off all his ex's, or even just trying to set up his home theater is about twice as good as any other superhero comic you'll read this year. The first two volumes are available for $10-13.
Boxers & Saints
It's difficult to state how fantastic Boxers & Saints is, because the Chinese Boxer Rebellion doesn't sound like the best subject for a young adult comic. But Gene Luen Yang's masterpiece never gets bogged down with history, instead focusing on two characters, Little Bao and Vibiana — Little Bao rises against the Western missionaries abusing his hometown, but Vibiana finds a home among those missionaries and must decide whether to abandon her country or her faith. Boxers & Saints offers no easy answers, but the book is a pleasure to read for audiences of all ages. The two-part boxed set in currently $25.
Mass Effect: Library Edition
Scifi's greatest new franchise comes to comics thank to Dark Horse, and this is the set fans need. It contains all four Mass Effect series — Redemption, Evolution, Invasion, and Homeworlds — as well as the various short stories and specials that have been released. It also comes with running commentary from the comic writers and artists, too. Anyone who enjoys the Mass Effect games will enjoy these comics, and amny people who simply love good scifi will, too. The book is $40 here.
You've heard all the hype, but it's true — Brian Vaughan's Saga is just that good. It's like Star Wars for adults, if Star Wars was funnier, dirtier, and twice as wildly creative. Trying to summarize Saga can't possibly do it justice, so let's just say it includes tree spaceships, dismembered ghosts, sex, bounty hunters, in-laws, a cat that knows if you're lying, a very naked giant ogre, and much, much more. It's also entertaining as hell. Buying both the first two volumes will only cost you $20 at the moment.