Comic Book Gift Guide 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

It’s time for the 2017 Collected Editions top comic book trade paperback and graphic novel gift recommendations! As has become a tradition around here, this list is culled both from suggestions you sent by email or posted on our Facebook page, as well as my picks.

As always, I’ve tried to make your holiday season a little easier by suggesting books that go together for ready-made gift packages for the comics fan in your life.

For additional ideas, don’t miss my 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 lists for more comic book suggestions.

DC Universe: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition
Batman/Flash: The Button Deluxe Edition

Just a week from when you’re reading this, DC Comics will release the first issue of their Watchmen sequel, Doomsday Clock. It doesn’t come more improbable than a sequel to Watchmen, but so far DC’s Rebirth-initiative tentpole books have been good enough that they might just pull this off.

If you’ve got a comics fan wondering what the fuss is all about, let me suggest the deluxe editions of DC Universe: Rebirth and Batman/Flash: The Button. DC seems to be using the deluxe size to indicate Doomsday Clock lead-ins books, also including the deluxe Superman: Action Comics: The Oz Effect coming in March. These make for a nice set together on the bookshelf and an easy introduction to DC’s current status quo.

• DC Comics Rebirth Deluxe Hardcovers

Batman: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1
Batman: Detective Comics: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1
Flash: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1
Harley Quinn: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1
Justice League: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1
Justice League of America: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1
Nightwing: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1
Suicide Squad: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1
Superman: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1
Superman: Action Comics: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1
Wonder Woman: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1

Not to be confused with the Rebirth deluxe specials, these are hardcover editions of the first and second trade paperbacks of select individual Rebirth-era DC Comics series (often followed by a hardcover of the third and fourth trade paperbacks). Some of these, like Suicide Squad: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book One, read way better in this extra-long format than they do split into shorter books; others, like Justice League: The Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book One, are epic in their own right but get even more so when the longer book sets one- and two-issue stories next to six-parters. There’s enough of these to make a nice (and nicely sized) gift for comics fans of many interests.

Batman: Knightfall Omnibus Vol. 1
Justice League International Vol. 1

Speaking of big books, DC’s got a couple of much-requested omnibus series going on right now. Batman: Knightfall was essentially DC Comics’s "Death and Return of Batman" storyline that ran in the 1990s. It has been collected piecemeal over the years, but only recently did DC commit to a three volume omnibus collection that includes enough of the nooks and crannies of this story that we’ll call it comprehensive. You or your favorite comics reader can’t really call themselves a Batman fan unless you’ve read "Knightfall," and with the second volume, Batman: Knightfall Omnibus Vol. 2: Knightquest just released and the third volume out in 2018, this is a gift idea that’ll last you a couple holidays and maybe a birthday too.

In the same vein, DC has begun releasing a series of Justice League International omnibuses, collecting a variety of Justice League titles from the 1980s. While Watchmen was grim and gritty, Justice League International was slapstick fun, and the tone has especially been compared to today’s television’s Legends of Tomorrow. Again, this is just the first volume, so this is a gift series that’ll last you for a little while.

You picked ...

Justice League: The Detroit Era Omnibus - Funny how, with time and nostalgia, one of the most derided Justice League lineups now becomes a hotly anticipated collection, likely precisely because we haven’t been treated to much of this team since. This comprehensive trade includes both Crisis on Infinite Earths and Legends tie-in issues.

Batman and Robin by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason Omnibus - Also just released, this is Tomasi and Gleason’s Batman and Robin saga in full, from before the New 52 through plenty of crime noir and into the cosmic heights of the Fourth World -- all rooted in the relationship between a father and a son -- Batman and Robin is a sweeping accomplishment.

Fourth World by Jack Kirby Omnibus - I went through my Jack Kirby phase a couple years ago with the first set of Fourth World Omnibuses, but a bunch of you brought up Kirby now, maybe on the mind because of a bevy of new DC collections releases timed to the 100th anniversary of Kirby’s birthday. About to be released is a new edition of the Fourth World Omnibus that takes all four of the original omnibuses and puts them together in one gargantuan package (a gift option sure to impress), plus collections of Kirby’s Mister Miracle, Demon, and Challengers of the Unknown.

DC Universe 10th Anniversary Animated Collection

Not strictly collected comics, I know, but a good number of the 30 animated movies included in this box set are based on graphic novels that you or your favorite comics fan probably have in their collection. There’s a great range here, too -- Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Teen Titans, Green Lantern, supernatural characters, and more. Guaranteed for the pages not to turn yellow or the spine wear out. If your favorite comics fan has every book there is, maybe a big box of movies will surprise.

Black Lightning Vol. 1
Black Lightning: Year One

The newest DC Comics superhero to appear on the CW will be Black Lightning, set to begin in 2018. Among DC Comics’s first African American superheroes, Black Lightning Jefferson Pierce has recently been portrayed as a family man raising superpowered daughters. Both of these collections are early-set Black Lightning stories, which might give a reader a sense of the character prior to the events of the TV series; Tony Isabella’s Black Lightning Vol. 1 collects early appearances of the character in the 1970s, while Jen Van Meter’s Black Lightning: Year One is a more modern re-telling of Pierce’s origins.

Black Panther Vol. 1: A Nation Under Our Feet

Next year’s Marvel Cinematic Universe slate will kick off with Black Panther, fresh from his debut in Captain America: Civil War. Marvel has recently released Black Panther Vol. 1 by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Ta-Nehisi Coates, collecting issues #1-12 of one of the newest series (three earlier collections worth). Marvel will undoubtedly be releasing a lot of Black Panther material in the coming year, but here’s one place for you or your favorite Marvel movies fan to get in on the ground floor.

Royals Vol. 1: Beyond Inhumans

I might be in the minority, but I’m rather enjoying television’s Marvel’s Inhumans. I’m not done yet, but despite a low budget (and maybe low expectations) the show has not been egregiously bad, with strong performances especially by Anson Mount as Black Bolt, an interesting storyline for Karnak, and some cool super-powers among the antagonists. Marvel’s most recent comics Inhuman series, Royals by Al Ewing, has not garnered rave reviews, but it does appear to star a cadre of characters that’ll be recognizable from the show.

You picked ...

Deadpool and the X-Force Omnibus - A reader recommendation, this just-released Marvel omnibus collects a big swath of 1990s comics starring everyone’s favorite Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool, plus Cable and the X-Force. Stories here are by Fabian Nicieza with art by Batman’s Greg Capullo, in the aftermath of the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover. No doubt Deadpool and Cable’s forthcoming cinematic teaming helped to prompt this one.

Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Captain Phasma

If it’s the end of the year it must mean it’s time for a new Star Wars movie, and that means a Marvel tie-in comic. Last time around Greg Rucka wrote a sweeping story that had to try (successfully or not) to bridge the decades-long gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. This year is smaller in scope, if not in importance, as writer Kelly Thompson spotlights Captain Phasma’s actions between Force Awakens and Last Jedi. We didn’t see much of Phasma in Force Awakens but we’re given to understand that she’s going to be important, so your favorite Star Wars fan might enjoy this primer before they head out to the theaters.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I admit my interest in Riverdale went up exponentially when promos started mentioning the Black Hood; I doubt the show’s going to stray so far from Archie and friends as to give us Jaguar or the Fly, but one can hope. Meanwhile it looks like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is headed to TV next, loosely based on the horror comic of the same name. Especially if you have a Riverdale fan in your life, the first collection of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina came out last year, and the second collection is due just before the holidays.

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie

Television has tried a couple different Nancy Drew launches lately, and every time they do, I hear someone say they might as well have just gone with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie by Anthony Del Col and Wether Dell’Edera, from Dynamite. Neither the Nancy Drew nor the Hardy Boys of your youth, this is a noir-ish take on the teen detectives in the spirit of Afterlife with Archie. If you know someone who read these books as a kid, or perhaps appropriate for the Riverdale fan in your life, the paperback collection of this series is just hitting shelves now.

You picked ...

Colder Omnibus - The acclaimed horror series by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra has recently received an omnibus edition from Dark Horse Comics, featuring the immortal detective who can get inside other peoples’ madnesses. I’m not as familiar with Tobin but Ferreyra’s painterly art has often been can’t-miss on DC Comics’s Rebirth Green Arrow.

Black Hammer Vol. 1: Secret Origins - The first collection of Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Eisner award-winning series is already out and the next volume Black Hammer Vol. 2: The Event will be out in January, so this makes a good set of holiday and birthday presents, for instance. The book follows a team of heroes wiped from existence by a "crisis"-style event in this meta-commentary on reboots and relaunches.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Year One Deluxe Edition - You read Doug Glassman’s rave review of the first collection of this Kyle Higgins series, and now BOOM! is collecting the first twelve issues of the series in a deluxe hardcover. Power Rangers nostalgia is at an all-time high these days, so if the new movie wasn’t enough, this will surely make a great gift. Reader Scotty Beattie says this comic takes "the fantastic premise of Power Rangers ... and use[s] it to tell sophisticated stories that the original show either couldn’t or wouldn’t." Reader Bobby Barrett agrees the series is "fabulous for nostalgic fans. Kyle Higgins clearly has reverence for the material and it’s quickly becoming one of BOOM! Studios’ flagship franchises."

Rick and Morty Hardcover Book 1 - I will admit I mainly know about Rick and Morty due to the recent unfortunate Szechuan sauce incidents. But you all seem to love ‘em and recommended them for this list, with the second hardcover just released of the Oni comics based in the Cartoon Network "adult swim" cartoon, called a cross between The Simpsons and Futurama. Apparently the second book includes a sound effects chip.

Night Night, Groot
The X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird

For your littlest comics and sci-fi fans (or comics fans-to-be), two recent fun ones are Night Night, Groot and The X-Files: Earth Children are Weird. Both are lush pictures books with decidedly all-ages takes on these properties. These may be more geared toward parental nostalgia than juvenile understanding; the X-Files book for instance is a heap-load of "revisionist history," though certainly no less fun. (For grown-ups, also don’t miss the audio drama X-Files: Cold Cases, based on the Season 10/Season 11 comic books by Joe Harris, and with the voices of David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis, and others.)

What else would you suggest? What were your favorite books of 2017? What comics or comics-related stuff are you wishing for this season? (Appreciation again to the Collected Editions Facebook page for the added suggestions!)

Thanks to everyone who keeps reading Collected Editions. This has been an exciting year for the site, with more new trades coming out sooner and sooner I’ve been able to shrink my reading backlog a bunch in order to bring you reviews of the newest books faster. It wouldn’t be half as much fun without all 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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5 comments:

  1. Was expecting to see the DC Rebirth Holiday book on here. Oh well. Next year maybe

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  2. I certainly hated the Detroit JLA, but will be getting that omnibus!

    I recommend IDW's books that reprint classic comic strips like Terry and the Pirate, Steve Canyon, and Dick Tracy. Great quality, great stories.

    Another non-super hero recommendation is the current Corto Maltese series by IDW's Euro Comics imprint. Nice soft covers with maps of where Corto Maltese journeys in that particular book. Hugo Pratt's art is amazing, very similar in some ways to Alex Toth, and the stories are as action packed as anything else out there.

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  3. I've read that they've used bad scans for the "Justice League International Vol. 1", so I wouldn't put it on a Christmas list.

    Some good books that just came out "The Demon by Jack Kirby TPB", "Night Force By Marv Wolfman And Gene Colan HC" and "JLA A Midsummer's Nightmare Deluxe Edition".

    Other good books that came out earlier this year: "Raven", the "Flash by Mark Waid" reprints and the "Zatanna by Paul Dini" reprint.

    And if you're going for Rebirth books I'd pick Detective Comics and Wonder Woman.

    For those who speak french, we have of course the first part of Batman: The Dark Prince Charming.

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    Replies
    1. I"ll second that Night Force book. It read well, a lot better than I expected, and Colan's art is great for this type of book. Definitely a win for someone who likes horror/mystery comics.

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