Yikes, was everyone else aware that the holiday buying season is almost over? The good news: there are plenty of good-looking comics to give as gifts. The bad news: there isn’t a lot of time! Here are a few noteworthy, stand-out books that would make perfect presents for the comics reader in your life.
For the music buff: The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, and Kyle Baker: The cultural fascination with the Fab Four will never wane so long as new stories continue to be unearthed and told. Here, The Beatles’ manager and visionary, Brian Epstein, receives his due in this dreamy, eccentric graphic novel. There are three editions of this book, depending on how “fab” you want to get: standard hardcover edition (and digital edition), a collector’s edition (with bonus materials), and a limited edition (only 1,500 copies) with a slipcase, bonus materials, and a signed tip-in sheet by writer Tiwary.
For the goofball: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh. This famously bizarre and manic webcomic is finally available as a collection (with new stories!) and it does not disappoint. Amazon editor Mari Malcolm had this to say in her glowing review: “Neurosis has rarely been so relatable and entertaining.” Brosh captures her childhood and adult awkwardness in deceptively simple illustrations, allowing for a universal appeal and accessibility. Parp!
For the lit major: This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz was already a critical hit when it first published in September 2012, but this new slipcased edition includes illustrations by beloved indie artist Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets). There are full-page illustrations for each story, and Hernandez's deep, economical lines perfectly suit Diaz's layered tales [Hope I find this one under the tree!]. Speaking of layered stories, if your special someone does not yet have a copy of The Sandman on his or her shelf, now is the time to remedy such a void with The Sandman Omnibus Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman. Presented in a sturdy, richly detailed hardcover (with over 1,000 pages), this is the gift edition to make any Grinch’s heart swell.
For the history buff: The Boxer Rebellion is told from two perspectives in Boxers & Saints (Boxed Set) by Gene Luen Yang. Appearing on many Best of the Year lists (including ours), Yang’s ambitious examination of the human condition as told through one of the most controversial moments in Chinese history is not as daunting a read as it sounds. Rather, this is a treasure, both in narrative and packaging.
For the superhero fan: Daredevil Vol. 1 by Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera and Hawkeye Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction and David Aja: Two street-level heroes received fresh starts in 2013, and these handsome hardcovers collect their very accessible, humorous and visually inventive stories. They both belong on the shelves of any super-fan. (For more on Hawkeye, see our Omni spotlight.)
For the adventurer: Say that special someone in your life has a thirst for the wild, then Dark Horse Comics has two gigantic releases that will sate the thirstiest of readers. The first is Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan: The Sunday Comics, 1931-1933 by Hal Foster—and it’s a doozy! It weighs almost eight pounds and its format is newspaper-sized, making this an object special enough to shout from the treetops. The second tome is The Colossal Conan, a massive, 13-pound (!) omnibus that collects all of writer Kurt Busiek’s run with Robert E. Howard’s iconic character. At over 1,200 pages, even the most voracious appetites will be in the shadow of this beast.
Happy Holidays, Omni readers!