I was in the malls on the first day of December. I knew what to expect so Iâ€™m not going to pretend to be surprised by the slow-ass-walking not-looking-where-theyâ€™re-going congregating-in-hallways stupid-asshole-consumers, not even for dramatic effect, but yeah. Forget that noise. (Seriously, these people were posing for photographs in the middle of busy mall thoroughfares. What is this shit, Anime North?). But it isnâ€™t the first of December anymore, Decemberâ€™s half way done and youâ€™ve got less than 9 days of shopping left. Are you gonna fight for parking? For elbow room? For the last whatsits on the shelf? I didnâ€™t think so.
Now, more than ever? Comics For Christmas. Listen, you and me? Letâ€™s be honest with ourselves. And Each Other. Weâ€™re going to the comic store every week ANYWAY. Sure, weâ€™re broke and weâ€™ve got gifts to buy, but Christmas be damned, weâ€™re going to drop 15 or 20 bucks on funnybooks. For ourselves. Because we earned it.
So, and I say this with full knowledge that I am a comics pusher and probably not to be trusted, why not just give comics for Christmas this year? Graphic novels, manga, â€˜artbooksâ€™, even stuffing stockings with floppy little reads? Comics for Christmas. 2007 is a year where comics have legitimacy, whether you take the highbrow route and claim them as important works of literature, or the lowbrow route and demand that the Super Friends are our collective Modern Mythology, youâ€™ve never been more entitled to share your hobby/addiction/choice of literate reading material with your friends and loved ones!
Tom Spurgeon put together a 200-item list of awesome comics and related items that make great gift ideas, and you should totally go check that out. But if youâ€™re running in and out of the comic book store this week and youâ€™re double-parked and you need 5 easy gift ideas for folks on your list that any well-stocked comic shop is guaranteed to have, Iâ€™ve got you covered. Here goes:
Male or Female, Adult, literary gift idea, a book:
1. The Acme Novelty Library 18 and a Half, $32.00
This issue of Chris Wareâ€™s Acme Novelty Library is anything but, instead itâ€™s a collection of his covers for the Thanksgiving issue of 2006â€™s New Yorker magazine. Featuring 5 beautiful prints on heavy stock and narratively inclined, these are gorgeous and not terribly well-known outside of comics circles; the tens of thousands of civilians whoâ€™ve read and enjoyed Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Boy On Earth will likely enjoy and appreciate and even hang this fantastic, economical art collection. Recommended for: Men or Women, Adults, Literary gift idea, Not a book.
2. The Petit Livres, by Drawn & Quarterly, $10-$12 each
Drawn & Quarterly have been releasing a fabulous collection of little art books by comics creators for the past few years, called â€œPetit Livresâ€ or â€œLittle Booksâ€. Weighing in between 80 and 120 pages, these little books feature comics and art in a beautiful presentation. Collections are available from well-known artists including Julie Doucet (Lady Pep), Guy Delisle (Alene and the Others, Albert and the Others), and Marc Bell (The Stacks), but the collections by young and cutting-edge cartoonists including Chris Von Szombathy (Fire Away) and Julie Morstad (Milk Teeth) are beautiful as well, and will impress any art lover on your list. Recommended for: Men or Women, Late Teens/Adults, Inexpensive but cool/â€™coolâ€™.
3. The Dark Tower HC, by Stephen King/Marvel Comics, $25 or Buffy: The Long Road Home, by Joss Whedon/DH, $15
Donâ€™t underestimate the power of either of these two graphic novels. Stephen King fans tend to read literally anything by Stephen King, right down to his book ABOUT writing books. The readers of the Dark Tower series tend to be the choosiest King readers as well, with Dark Tower being â€œThe only Stephen King I readâ€¦!â€ While the Dark Tower graphic novel does cover ground that the novels have gone over, the perspective is fresh and beautifully illustrated, making this a solid gift for the billion-or-so Stephen King fans on the planet. Meanwhile, anyone who watched Buffy right up to the end of the last season will want to know what happens next, and with series creator Joss Whedon writing The Long Road Home chances are itâ€™ll be a well received Christmas gift. Recommended for: Men or Women who are already fans of this author or character but donâ€™t have everythingâ€¦ yet.
4. Owly Volume 4, by Andy Runton/Top Shelf, $10 or Amulet Volume 1, by Kazu Kibuishi/Scholastic, $10.
We know that the kids on your list have already read bone. Either theyâ€™re bang-up-to-date on the Scholastic series (which just dropped volume 7) or theyâ€™ve already tackled the massive 1300 page all-in-one edition. But whatâ€™s next? Scholastic is hoping that itâ€™s Amulet, the new full-colour fantasy adventure series by FLIGHT ANTHOLOGY co-editor Kazu Kibuishi. Itâ€™s a rollicking good read with plenty of action and gravitas, the hallmarks of any good adventure story. Meanwhile, younger Bone fans should definitely be treated to the Owly seriesâ€¦ Runtonâ€™s nearly-wordless graphic novel adventures are gentle, humourous, and affirming tales. While their wordless nature may make you think â€œunder 5â€³, youâ€™d be surprised to find how many 12 and 13 year olds enjoy the series too. Recommended for: Any kid under 14, and a few over 14 too.
5. Original Art
This is a pretty specific-to-The-Beguiling thing, but weâ€™ve got tons of original art for sale, from $50 to $3000, and a variety of artists working in a plethora of styles. We can get it wrapped up for you in under 30 minutes, or have it waiting for you at the front cash register if you call ahead and give us an hourâ€™s notice. Even if you donâ€™t live near the store, we can have it shipped to you next day FedEx if you like. Check it out, here are 5 of my favs that are still available:
Kim Pine Painting, $300, by Bryan Lee Oâ€™Malley
King III P10-11 Panel 5, $100, Ho Che Anderson.
The Black Diamond Detective Agency Page 11, $220, by Eddie Campbell.
Somersaulting pg 49 panels 3, 4, & 5, $300, Sammy Harkham
L.A. Times: Graphic Novel Readers, $1500, by Maurice Vellekoop
Thereâ€™s five (and a bit) quick gift suggestions that should cover more-or-less everyone on your list. Sure, there are amazing titles like Acme Novelty Library 18, Scott Pilgrim, Black Dossier, Exit Wounds, American Born Chinese, We Are On Our Own, Runaways, or I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets as well, but those sorts of things require thought, and searching. This? Just run in, pick it up, no fuss no muss and youâ€™re all done until the bills come in January.
If you live near The Beguiling. If not? Well Iâ€™m sure your local comic store will have something to sell you, because even thatâ€™s probably a lot better than trying to fight through the crowds for the next few daysâ€¦