Comic Book Gift Guide 2016

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's time for the 2016 edition of the Collected Editions top trade paperback and graphic novel gifts recommendations! This year I've crowd-sourced our listings ahead of time to include books that have been on my radar, what the helpful folks on the Collected Editions Facebook page have recommended, and also what you've all emailed to me.

As always, I've organized some gift packages for you of books that go together to maybe make some buying for yourself or the comics fan in your life a little easier.

For additional ideas don't miss my 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 lists for more gifting suggestions.

Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo Box Set
Batman Vol. 10: Epilogue

The final volume of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's epic run on Batman, Vol. 10: Epilogue, comes out just before the end of the year. If by some bizarre chance you know a Batman fan who hasn't been reading it for the past five years, surely the whole ten volume set wrapped together would impress. If you're looking for a smaller investment, there's the three-book slipcase box set of Snyder and Capullo's first three volumes, including the "Court of the Owls" saga and a fight with the Joker.

DC Universe: Rebirth Deluxe Edition

I'd be remiss if this list didn't give some deference to DC Comics's juggernaut "Rebirth" initiative this year. This single issue DC Universe: Rebirth Deluxe Edition hardcover is the perfect way for your favorite fan to commemorate "Rebirth"'s kickoff. Includes the issue itself plus behind-the-scenes material.

Omega Men: The End is Here

Considered perhaps the best book DC Comics has released in recent memory, Tom King's Omega Men is not only an action-packed sci-fi space romp, but also a complex treatise on war, violence, terrorism, and religion, full of complex paneling by artist Barnaby Bagenda. For fans of Watchmen or Saga or just good comics that might have overlooked this one, Omega Men is a complicated book that's sure to please.

Superman: American Alien

For more "traditional" superheroics with a twist, consider Max Landis's Superman: American Alien. Another Superman origin is a hard sell to me, but Landis has fashioned a smart, twenty-first century Superman story that reimagines a variety of the mythos concepts in astute ways, and each chapter also features art from a different, prominent artist, including Francis Manapul, Jae Lee, and Jock. Superman fans might've passed this up, but it's worth a read.

Doctor Strange Omnibus Vol. 1
Doctor Strange Epic Collection: A Separate Reality
Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph & Torment
Doctor Strange: The Flight of Bones
Doctor Strange: The Oath
Doctor Strange Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird

Timely is always a good way to go for a gift, and if you know a comics fan who enjoyed Marvel's latest blockbuster, you might consider one or more Doctor Strange collections. As recommended on Facebook, here's a variety of options.

For starting at the beginning, consider the newly-released Doctor Strange Omnibus or Epic Collection, which include some of the first Doctor Strange stories from the 1960s and 1970s.

Triumph and Torment collects the graphic novel of that name from the late 1980s plus related issues, with a spotlight on the creepy art of Mike Mignola. Equally the 1990s Flight of Bones "Marvel Knights" miniseries has Starman's Tony Harris's art and sees Strange in the role of detective.

Among more recent collections are The Oath by Saga's Brian K. Vaughan; the miniseries both revitalized the Dr. Strange character and focuses as much on the supernatural as on Strange's role as an actual medical doctor. Way of the Weird is the first collection of the most current Doctor Strange series by Jason Aaron (Star Wars).

Star Wars: Kanan Omnibus

Marvel's certainly made a splash with their Star Wars comics, now about to enter a "phase two" of sorts; there's a couple of good collections of both the Star Wars and Darth Vader titles out now that collect a couple volumes each of the previous trades. But a Star Wars title I really enjoyed this year was Kanan, aka "The Last Padawan," a loose Rebels tie-in that details the plight of Kanan, aka Jedi Padawan Caleb Dune, after Order 66 and the decimation of the Jedi. In a story legitimately hair-raising at times, former Rebels producer Greg Weisman details the sometimes-questionable actions young Caleb had to take to survive. This omnibus collects the entire twelve issue series.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe

An extra-sized graphic novel by the monthly Unbeatable Squirrel Girl team of Ryan North and Erica Henderson. In the current popular semi-comedic, semi-animated style, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe is a romp with heart, a loving lampooning of the Marvel Universe. For fans of the recent "Burnside" Batgirl series, Black Canary, Luberjanes, Gotham Academy, and so on, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe is a self-contained primer on the monthly book.

Vision Vol. 1: A Little Worse Than a Man

Another Tom King book on this list (such that you could pair it with Omega Men for a gift set), Vision has been referred to as "the Breaking Bad of the Marvel Universe"; the robotic Vision builds himself a family and settles in suburbia, and as these things do when a robot builds themselves a family, terrible events ensue. Knowing Tom King's Omega Men, I can only imagine the emotion King brings to what's apparently an exceptionally claustrophobic, harrowing read.

Klaus by Grant Morrison

Not too long ago I recommended Grant Morrison's Christmas story/crime-drama-with-a-cartoon-blue-horse Happy! for the holidays, and I'm glad for this suggestion of another from Morrison, BOOM! Studios's Klaus. Described by Morrison as an All-Star Superman/Batman: Year One-esque take on Santa Claus, the book has a decidedly swords-and-sorcery tone (side note, also great, Gail Simone's three Red Sonja books). Though not necessarily all-all-ages, apparently this one isn't so adult that you might consider it for your favorite superhero action fan.

Paper Girls Vol. 1

Another work by Brian K. Vaughan for the list, with art by Wonder Woman's Cliff Chiang, Paper Girls sees four newspaper delivery girls solving an "otherworldly" mystery in their suburban town just after Halloween 1988. Shades here no doubt of both Stranger Things and X-Files, this makes a fine gift for fans of both; both the first and second volumes retail for under $10.

The Fade Out

Hard to go wrong with Gotham Central's Ed Brubaker and Criminal collaborator Sean Phillips. Fade Out is a crime noir miniseries set in Hollywood 1948, perfect for any mystery fan. Pair this with something like a couple volumes of Scott Snyder's Batman, or heck the Gotham Central collections are always the right size, or the Batman by Ed Brubaker book, and you've got a ready-made gift set.

Walt Disney's Donald Duck (Carl Barks) Christmas Box Set

This wouldn't have been on my radar but a reader recommended this new box set that includes Fantagraphics's fifth and sixth volumes in their Carl Barks Library series, which just in time for the holidays includes "Christmas on Bear Mountain" and "The Old Castle's Secret." Fun for kids and nostalgic for adults, these stories reprint Scrooge McDuck's first and second appearances (just in time for that DuckTales revival!).

DC Super Hero Girls: Hits and Myths
Superman Family Adventures Vol. 1

Currently taking the merchandising world by storm, DC Super Hero Girls is novels, comics, cartoons, action figures, and just about everything else DC can put them on. Most recently released is Hits and Myths, which sees a focus on Wonder Woman with Supergirl, Batgirl, and others at DC Super Hero high school, a follow-up to the earlier Finals Crisis. At under $10, this is a fine book for the young superhero fan in your life, or to pad out an order for free shipping and donate to your local school or Goodwill.

Special mention also of Art Baltazar and Franco's Superman Family Adventures collections, also for the youngest readers, which aside from being adorable and entertaining went pretty well nuts with continuity, and is continuing into DC's upcoming Super Powers series.

So what did I miss? What are your favorite collections of 2016? What else is on your wish list for the holidays? (Thanks again to the wise voices of the Collected Editions Facebook page for their suggestions.)

Thank you all for your comments and contributions to Collected Editions! This site is such a joy for me and it wouldn't be the same without each and every one of you.

(Lots of bloggers have affiliate links like the ones above, and when you do your holiday shopping after clicking these links, the blogger gets a few cents. This year, if you’re buying gifts online, consider clicking on someone’s link before you buy -- when I buy online, I always try to click through a blog before I do. There are lots of hard-working bloggers out there [see blogroll], and this is a great, easy way to support them. Thanks!)
Collected Editions 2017 Comic Book Gift Guide
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7 comments:

  1. American Alien was a really great read. I'd probably add Sweet Tooth Dlx Vol 2

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    1. Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth is a series I know I should be reading. Has it completed at this point?

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    2. Yes. The tpb are all out and complete, and the last Deluxe volume (3) is being released next week for a beautiful full series.

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  2. I've put the first 2 books that reprinted Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol on my Christmas list. To bad the new Secret Six book comes out a bit late.

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    1. I've been hesitant about the new Secret Six series. Is it going to thrill me and make me feel like Secret Six is back, or cast shade on the legacy of the original. Or are you talking about the "new" Secret Six reprints?

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  3. I was talking about the new Secret Six series. I redid this text a few times, since every time I noticed it contained spoilers.

    The first book reminded me most of the Villains United book published around Infinite Crisis. Of course the stakes weren't as high as back then and the end was a bit underwhelming, but it still was an intriguing read. The art does change throughout the book, but this seems to be based on where the story takes place.

    I'd love to talk about it, but like I said it's hard not to spoil anything. Let's just say that even if the book isn't for you, it will at least bring some beloved characters into continuity.

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    1. Thanks! I'll take a look one of these days.

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