The fine folks at SLG Publishing (known back-in-the-day as Slave Labor Graphics) are having a pretty solid sale right now—40% off their whole web store at http://slgcomic.com/—to help them through some rough economic times. Things aren’t DOOMy or anything, just a sort of a “hey look over here if you’ve got some money to spend”. I was considering telling you about 5 great books from the SLG catalogue that I own, and that you should buy them, but then I thought “My readers are givers, and what with the holidays right around the corner, I’m certain that they’d much rather have a list of recommendations for what to buy for Other People.” And since I have been enjoying and selling (and enjoying selling) SLG products for the better part of 15 years, I thought “Gift Guide!” and so here we are!
But this is no ordinary gift guide.
You see, SLG publishes a wide range of stuff, much of it difficult and strange and unique, and since everyone has a couple of people on their shopping list that are impossible to buy for, the comics and products manufactured by the fine folks at SLG would work wonderfully as gifts… for the difficult, strange, and unique people on your list. (Note: books are also appropriate for folks that do not match the stated criteria.) And with no further ado we present:
5 GREAT GIFTS FROM SLG PUBLISHING FOR DIFFICULT-TO-BUY-FOR-PEOPLE
For The Guy That Makes Inappropriate Jokes At Inappropriate Times…
FUN WITH MILK & CHEESE VOLUME 1
By Evan Dorkin.
Reg: $11.95. SALE: $7.17
I’ve been running Evan Dorkin’s awesome DORK comic strips here at Comics212 for the past few months and while I can’t speak for you guys, it’s been lovely waking up every morning (or so) to see a new Evan Dorkin strip on the site. So while I’ve been recommending DORK for the past few months, let me instead make a recommendation for MILK AND CHEESE, Dorkin’s most famous creations. Dairy Products Gone Bad, they are sociopathic, anthropomorphic bits of food, that Dorkin uses to both satirize society and to just draw vicious, unapologetic insanity. We’ve all met that person who says the most profoundly tasteless thing at exactly the wrong time, and an angry carton of milk and an angry wedge of cheese forcing an old woman into her coffin and beating a senior citizen with his own cane because they were forced to wait behind old people in a line one time? That is the comic for that person. Misanthropy!
For Your Friend’s Teenage Daughter Whom No One Understands And Is Possibly A Lesbian…
By Andi Watson and Simon Gane.
Reg: $10.95. SALE: 6.57
PARIS is a wonderful book, a sensual, energetic, surprising work that reflects its titular setting. A restless young aristocrat and a talented young painter both find themselves in the city of lights, and after a chance encounter with a portrait painting session, they can’t stop thinking about one another. Did I mention that they’re both young women? A couple of major plot twists and Romeo & Juliet allusions conspire to keep the two young ladies apart, but thankfully (for a change) it’s not about the love that dare not speak its name, but instead about the class divide. Ooh la la! PARIS is beautifully drawn, with cute characters and an expressive line. It’s a bit “Classic British Farce”, a bit “Backpacking Across Europe”, a bit “Hollywood”, but really it’s just a wonderful little book, to make you feel good about falling in love.
For recent “Cool” young parents, to remind them not to move to the suburbs…
I FEEL SICK #1 & #2 and SPOOKY SQUEAK TOY
By Jhonen Vasquez, w/ Rikki Simmons
Reg: $17.85. SALE: $14.69
Jhonen Vasquez is the creator of cult-fav comics JOHNNY THE HOMICIDAL MANIAC and SQUEE, but he’s probably best-know around the world as the creative mastermind behind the incredibly popular Invader Zim television series for Nickelodeon. My favourite of his comics efforts is this two issue mini-series. It’s about the nature of creativity, and compromising artistic ideals for comfort and commercial success, and the struggle therein. It is surprisingly, hilariously good, and poignant, and could only have been written by someone who had a difficult birthing process with a creative property at a multinational corporation… like say Nickelodeon? Anyway, it’s edgy as all hell (even almost 10 years after its initial release), with great art and lovely colours by Rikki Simmons (the voice of Gir on Zim).
Bonus: Appearing in the comic itself is a little skull-faced squeak toy, called SPOOKY: THE THING WHAT SQUEAKS. It is pretty adorable, and it squeaks, and it’s pretty ‘cool’ as far as baby toys go. SLG’s store seems to be out of stock right now, but the toy has been ‘in print’ for years and many retailers should still have it in stock. We do at The Beguiling, for example… 🙂
For anyone you know that works in I.T., graphic design, or really any computer-related field…
NIL graphic novel
By James Turner
Reg: $12.95. SALE: $7.77
Drawn entirely in vector-based illustration tool Adobe Illustrator, NIL has a stark, complex, ‘designy’ look that is wholly unique in comics. The visuals of the world in this graphic novel are fully-realized, creating an engrossing place to get lost in. And? It’s a really good story too. NIL is a satire, an extension of nihilist chic taken to an absurd and therefore amusing degree. It’s about a man who’s job it is to quell outbreaks of hope or belief in a nihilist society, and anyone who’s ever heard “Can you make the logo bigger?” or uttered the phrase “Have you checked to make sure it’s plugged in?” will sure understand and appreciate the dark, dark humour. And it’s Canadian too, so double-excellent.
For someone you know likes Superhero comics but you have no other idea what they like or read, like none, and you want to get something that they almost-assuredly haven’t read AND is really good AND reflects your personality as the gift-giver…
By Jim Rugg and Brian Maresca
Reg $14.95. NOW: $8.97!
So here’s the deal: The protagonist of this book is a homeless 12 year old girl who rides a skateboard and kicks ass. In the first chapter she fights like a hundred ninjas. In the second she fights Spanish Conquistadors and Ireland’s first man in space, “Cosmick”. In the third: Satan. It only gets bigger from there. Seriously, this is the work of a dude who’s taken in a LOT of pop culture over the years, and is letting it flow back out of his mind, through his pen, onto the page. It’s visually inventive, more sophisticated than you might imagine, and has all of the stuff in it that nerds like. The new edition even has shiny paper! One of my favourite comics of the past few years, and aside from being incredibly pink, any die-hard superhero fan who gets this one is going to love it.
Bonus: Free Comics for you to read…
SLG loves getting folks to read its comics, so it has all kinds of freebies that you can throw in whenever you place an order on their website. I personally recommend the beautifully-illustrated BOMBABY graphic novel by Antony Mazzotta, which is FREE, or the totally f’d up sci-fi graphic novel VAISTRON by Andrew Dabb and Boussourir. Grab one of everything from their FREEBIES SECTION, it’s all at least interesting and a bunch of it is really good!
So that’s 5 recommendations, but really, SLG has a pretty fantastic catalogue of books and products, and narrowing it down to just these five was kinda tough. So here’s 10 more suggestions:
- Agnes Quill, by Dave Roman and friends – Spooky stories about a spunky girl detective.
- Bill and Ted’s Most Excellent Adventures Volume 1 & 2, by Evan Dorkin – We’re almost ready for 90s nostalgia, get ahead of the curve with these surprisingly awesome comic books (they’re seriously great).
- Farewell, Georgia, by Ben Towle – Tall tales and modern myth from down south.
- H’eofigendlic Lodrung: A Collection of Stories by FSc – A fantastically talented Singaporean cartoonist working in a “goth” style, with wonderful results. Collects almost everything she’s ever drawn.
- Milk & Cheese Vinyl Toys – based on the violent dairy products above. Only for hardcore fans, but for hardcore fans, they’re only $35.97, down from $69.95!
- Rare Creature, by Kelley/Ken Seda – A pretty, quiet, short graphic novel about strange and quiet kids. Very ahead of its time.
- Skaggy The Lost, by Igor Baranko – A very funny story about an incompetent, high-energy Viking who ‘discovers’ Incan gold. Hilarious, great euro-style art. Underappreciated gem.
- The War At Ellsmere, by Faith Erin Hicks – A ‘Mean Girls’-esque boarding school drama about a school with secrets to hide.
- Wonderland, by Tommy Kovac and Sonny Liew – Beautifully illustrated side-story to Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland. A lovely full colour hardcover book.
- Zombies Calling, by Faith Erin Hicks – Zombies, fun art, a satire of the college experience.
Now this sale might not extend much past the next few hours (check your shopping cart to see the discounts), but these books are great year ’round. I recommend picking them up from the SLG store, or from your local comics retailer (when available), and you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
(Header photo by Chuck Rozanski/Mile High Comics. Stolen from here.)