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Holiday Gift Books for the Superhero Reader

Holiday shopping for the superhero fan in your life is a tough gig. There are often alternate universes, timelines, and eras for a single character, and that special someone may have a preference for one while despising another. What follows below is a quick guide to a few high-end, sure-fire holiday releases that any superhero fan will treasure this season.

Go big: It’s always the thought that counts when gift giving, but if you want to hedge your bets and impress that loved one with sheer weight and size, there are a few great, recent options--starting with The New 52. Without a doubt, the biggest comics news this year was that DC Comics planned to reboot their entire universe, restarting 52 series at issue #1. This gigantic, 1,200-plus page tome collects all the first issues in a time capsule hardcover. It’s the perfect gift if you are at all unsure of which superheroes he or she follows since this one collects them all. There is a wide variety of contributors, from superstars like Jim Lee and Geoff Johns to artists’ artists like J.H. Williams III. The individual series will not be collected until later in 2012, so think of this as a shiny, historic sampler for teens and older.

If that superhero fan has a sense of humor and appreciates a good satire based on his or her favorite hobby, then the long-awaited X-Statix Omnibus is your go-to gift. This clever, gorgeous, and enormous hardcover (it also clocks in at over 1,200 pages) rounds up every appearance and piece of comics miscellany that involves the X-Statix team, from the original series (X-Force), to mini-series involving Wolverine, Dr. Strange, Gwen Stacy, and more. Plus, it features the stylized artwork of Mike Allred, Darwyn Cooke, Paul Pope, and others. The individual collections are long out of print and hard-to-find; this one is a winner and a real boon for collectors.

Perhaps your favorite fan is more of an indie superhero reader. No problem. BOOM! Studios has a deluxe, slipcover beauty for the holidays: The Definitive Irredeemable Vol. 1 by Mark Waid and Peter Krause. Here is the story of a superhero gone bad and the ensuing apocalypse left in his wake. At this oversized scale, the artwork really breathes—and it’s over 300 pages of destruction and revelations (note: not for the squeamish). It also features behind-the-scenes supplemental artwork and notes.

Stick with the basics: Chances are at one point in the reading life of your fanboy or fangirl, his or her favorite superhero was either Batman or Wolverine (or both), and there are two new releases this season that celebrate them. If you’d like to mix a little Christmas spirit into your superhero gift, then check out the #1 New York Times bestselling Batman: Noel. Lauded artist (and now writer) Lee Bermejo retells Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in Gotham City. The images are unbelievable; Bermejo’s love for detail and attention to, well, everything from cityscapes to Batman’s boot treads is something to behold. It’s a fine addition to the usual holiday reads and will no doubt be a favorite over a glass of eggnog. (For teens and up.)

Meanwhile, in the new Uncanny X-Force series Wolverine helms a secret team of X-men who must do the dirty deeds that regular heroes swore not to. It’s a very dark book, but writer Rick Remender balances the mood with quips and humor. The ubiquitous Wolverine is written anew in Uncanny X-Force, and it’s easy for any fan to jump into the first volume and feel comfortable with the context. The second volume is just as good, and the third, The Dark Angel Saga Book 1, released last month and is the best yet. Be aware that it ends on an incredible cliffhanger, so don’t be surprised if your giftee is begging for more come January (more will be available in March 2012). This one is definitely for the older reader. (See more Omni coverage on the series here.)

There’s still time to find that perfect gift! For more comics holiday shopping, you can find plenty to choose from in our Holiday Gift Store and our picks for Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2011. Happy Holidays.

--Alex

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