The Collected Editions blog is back again with our picks for this year's top ten ideas for trade paperback presents for the comic book lover, fan, or collector in your life.
Last year we offered eleven suggestions of books could you get for under $25 -- and, with a little Collected Editions magic, free shipping, too! This year our focus is on ten complete volumes -- standalone books or sets that you can get your favorite comics fan, where they won't have to run out and buy twelve more books in order to understand it. Not all are under $25, but most are -- and we're back with more tips how you can get free shipping!
* Fables Deluxe Edition Vol. 1
A deluxe hardcover makes a lovely, impressive gift under your Christmas tree, and you can't go wrong with the newly-released first volume of the Eisner award-winning Fables series, which pairs fairytale characters with modern, real-world settings. This book features the first and second Fables storylines previously only available in paperback, in this director's cut oversized edition. And, Fables writer Bill Willingham just released a Fables prose novel; pair this book with Peter & Max: A Fables Novel to make a lovely set with free shipping.
* Asterios Polyp
Every comics fan knows David Mazzucchelli's name as the artist on Batman: Year One, but he's also drawn novel adaptions and cartoons for New Yorker magazine. His first graphic novel, Asterios Polyp, would be a cerebral change-of-pace for your favorite comic book fan, the richly illustrated story of a New York architect whose misanthropy culminates with a self-imposed exile to the American midwest. Pair this book with one of two great graphic novels, Will Eisner's The Dreamer or Amanda Vanhamaki's The Bun Field, and you've got two trade paperbacks for just about $25.
* Absolute Death
Be forewarned, this is a pricey book, but it's sure to leave your loved one happy. Ask any comics fan, and you'll find that among their top ten gateways into comics was something to do with writer Neil Gaiman's character Death -- either her appearances in Sandman or her much acclaimed miniseries. Don't let Death's goth girl appearance fool you -- these are stories full of philosophy and magic, and a necessary addition to any comics fan's shelf. Free shipping on this and any book you might pair with it.
* Astonishing X-Men Omnibus
Keeping with our focus on done-in-one volumes this time around, this gigantic X-Men hardcover collects all twenty-four issues of Astonishing X-Men written by Buffy, the Vampire Slayer's Joss Whedon, with art by John Cassaday. Whedon's run also won Eisner awards -- whether your favorite X-Men fan loved X-Men Origins: Wolverine or hated it, this collection will give them something to enjoy. Shipping on this book is free!
* Trinity Vol. 1
Among the Final Crises and Blackest Nights of the past year, DC Comics's weekly Trinity event starring Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman slipped quietly under the radar. Just in time for the holidays, all three volumes of this sweeping, fifty-two part superhero saga are now available in paperback; tied up in a ribbon, this too would make a nice complete set under the tree. Pair one volume with our illustrated Beowulf stocking stuffer, or pick up all three -- either way, free shipping!
* Bone: One Volume Edition
Talk about hefty -- this graphic novel clocks in at over 1,000 pages for just over $25. Independently published and called one of the top greatest graphic novels by Time magazine , the art style of Jeff Smith's Bone looks at first like something from the Sunday funnies, but is really a sweeping fantasy saga in the spirit of Lord of the Rings. Another done-in-one volume -- this is every Bone issue in one place, and sure to keep the recipient reading for a long time.
* Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (Two-Disc Special Edition)
One of my favorite trade paperbacks is the first volume of Superman/Batman, Public Enemies, so I was more than a little excited when DC announced they'd bring Jepf Loeb and Ed McGuinness's story to the small screen. Admittedly, the DVD's been met with mixed reviews, and doesn't quite do the original story justice -- at the same time, there's something about McGuinness's manga-inspired, big muscled art, especially combined with voices from the original Superman and Batman animated series, that's very compelling. Together, the book and movie are good for free shipping -- another great package, and your comics fan can decide for themselves which is better.
* Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
Scott McCloud launched a series of books about comics with this, the illustrated Understanding Comics. Using the medium's own vernacular, McCloud examines the language of comics and how they use pictures to make meaning. This should be on any comics reader's shelf -- I read it a while back, and it completely changed how I read my comics and the details I noticed from panel to panel. Pair with the The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks for a bit of irreverent fun (and free shipping), or just about any of the other full trade paperbacks on the list.
* Star Trek: Countdown
I loved, loved, loved the newest Star Trek movie, and not just because they were willing to take risks like the relationship between you know who or blowing up you know where. I also loved it because of the continuity, that's right, that J. J. Abrams still managed to make the new movie fit with all the old ones (obviously, I'm something of a continuity wonk). For the Star Trek fan on your list, Countdown further bridges the gap between the old and new Star Trek continuity -- it's a fun book that adds a little more to the movie. Add to Understanding Comics for free shipping, or your favorite sci-fi fan might like the Flashforward novel, Dilbert's Scott Adams' essays Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!, plus Will Eisner's The Dreamer to boot -- once again, four books just about $25 and free shipping!
* The Bun Field
This abstract story by Italian artist Amanda Vahamaki redefines the graphic novel genre -- a moody piece where reality is fluid and the rules of perception are made to be broken. I've read Bun Field, the abstract story of a day in the life of a inquisitive child, a couple times since it came out, and I find a different meaning in it each time. I like the idea of pairing Bun Field with The Dreamer, looking at where comics started and where they're going; include Star Trek: Countdown alongside and you've got free shipping.
And for more help qualifying your order for free shipping ...
* The Dreamer
At this very moment, the graphic novel The Dreamer by legendary comics creator Will Eisner is only $5. Eisner literally invented the graphic novel format, and The Dreamer is Eisner's own autobiographical tale of the early days of the comics industry. If you want to add some more weighty trade paperback reading to your gift-giving this year, you can't go wrong with this one; pair The Dreamer with Asterios Polyp and the lighter Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain! for free shipping.
* The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks
From the big screen to the Blackest Night, I don't have to tell you zombies are all the rage this year (and what says the holidays like zombies?). Max Brooks takes on zombies throughout history in this illustrated "guidebook," just one in a series by Brooks. Better yet, this will round out your free shipping with Understanding Comics, Asterios Polyp, and just about everything else you'll find on this list.
While not a graphic novel, I was fascinated to find in the bookstore that the new ABC series getting so much attention is based on this novel by the same writer, with reportedly more of a focus on the government action. I've got a copy on order from the library, but in the meantime I've been thinking of picking this up as a stocking stuffer myself. Pair with Star Trek: Countdown and just about anything below for free shipping.
* Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!: Cartoonist Explains Cloning, Blouse Monsters, Voting Machines, Romance, Monkey Gods, How to Avoid Being Mistaken for a Rodent, and More
Scott Adams of Dilbert fame offers this book of essays on religion, technology, and just about anything else that comes to mind. Though a little outside the realm of graphic novels, if you've got a Dilbert fan at home, this 400-page book is less than $3 and should help you on your way to free shipping.
* Beowulf: A Tale of Blood, Heat, and Ashes
John Howe of the Lord of the Rings movie fame illustrated this slim volume which retells the legend of Beowulf. While not perhaps the shining jewel of your gift list, this will make a nice stocking stuffer for a fan of fantasy artwork, or a younger reader you'd like to introduce to the epic poem. At just over $5, pair this with Asterios Polyp and The Dreamer and get free shipping, or drop it in with Bone: One Volume Edition for a shipping-free stocking stuffer.
Happy holidays to all, and to all good reading!
(Lots of bloggers, by the way, have Amazon links like the ones above, and when you buy anything after clicking on these links, that blogger gets a few cents. This holiday season, if you're buying gifts through Amazon, consider clicking on someone's link before you buy; I know I will. There are lots of hard-working bloggers out there (see blogroll), and this is a great, easy way to support them.)