I enjoyed reading Tom Spurgeon’s Holiday Gift-Giving Suggestion List Thing. No, I really did. But when I got to the mini-comics, I knew something was up. Mini-comics? Oh sure, some people will like them, especially from the creator in question but seriously? You rock up at your family abode, they give you a big box, surprisingly light, and inside is a mini-comic? No sir, as we all know, Christmas is about commercial exploitation, love bought with money spent and most importantly judged by the weight of the boxes you have to take home.
So here’s a far more practical comics gift-giving guide. Valued by weight. Oh, and more superheroes as well. Expect lots of Absolute and Omnibuses on the way.
Just out for the holiday season, this is Jim Kruger, Doug Braithwaite and Alex Ross providing big shiny glossy paintings of big name superheroes beating shit up. Not so much comics, more the biggest box of superchocolates in the world. Absolute Justice!!!!
Absolute V For Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Remastered considerably, with David Lloyd assisting on colour and artwork, this is a liberating exhilarating novel for anyone who was disappointed at AMC’s The Prisoner. How one many brings down a government in the name of anarchy.
Absolute Death by Neil Gaiman, Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham and friends is a little on the thin side and also has a couple of issues from Sandman you probably already have in Absolute Sandman. But still, it has some rarities in it, is rather pretty and if you buy it with the Sandman: Dream Hunters hardcover, no one will even notice.
This Walking Dead compendium could indeed knock you dead, combining 8 normal trades into one big motherfucker of a Christmas gift. At over 1000 pages, it could actually kill you.
Absolute Promethea Volume One by Alan Moore and JH Williams – okay, yes, it should have been printed on its side as Absolute format originator Scott Dunbier proposed, and yes this comic made up entirely of double pages spreads does lose aspects that fall into the gutter, but still. This is damn lovely. And damn heavy.
Since we’re on an Alan Moore streak, we have to talk about the Captain Britain Omnibus. From Dave Thorpe to Alan Moore to Jamie Delano to Mike Collins to writer/artist Alan Davis, this is the big one. Possibly Moore’s greatest superhero story to date, probably Alan Davis’ too, with other great people keeping up the quality. Oh yes. The Swamp Thing Volume One and Two also might be worth a quick look. And go and buy them Absolute Watchmen, it’s a safety.
The Ed Brubaker Captain America Omnibus – yep, it’s a dead American icon and everyone running round to replace him, while we all know he’ll be coming back eventually. And yet somehow it’s great. Maybe grab his Daredevil Omnibus while you’re at it.
The Book Of Genesis Illustrated by Robert Crumb.
Doesn’t quite have the angular edge of Chester Brown’s gospels, but Crumb’s strange cosiness suits Biblical battles and origin stories very well indeed. And God as envisioned by 1950s Hollywood.
Marshall Law Omnibus by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill.
Here we go. An early superhero deconstructionist comic that kinda deconstructs by ripping out the intestines. A supercop who hunts down superheroes, Pat Mills, 2000AD originator, basically expresses the view repeatedly with much glee that superheroes are shit. And repeats and repeats and repeats through Marvel and DC’s back catalogue, with The League’s Kevin O’Neill emphasising each stab with all the blood and guts he can. Not subtle, and all the better for it.
Okay now for a big spending purchase. The Golden Age Marvel Omnibus collecting Marvel Comics #1 and Marvel Mystery Comics #2-12. From like a really long time ago. Which is probably why it’s so fucking pricey.
Criminal Deluxe Edition. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. A really good crime comic. Lots of it. All in one. With a great new cover. Nuff said.
Ash Omnibus, from the days when Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti were an item, with Fabian Nicieza and Humberto Ramos to boot. This is basically where New Marvel started, right here, with Ash. The fireman superhero by Quesada and Palmiotti (and friends) which would see them take on Marvel Knights and see Joe take that attitude and apply it to Marvel as a whole.
We talked about Logicomix earlier, it’s a bit high brow, biopic of Bertrand Russell and the madness that accompanies mathematics. It’s no Ultimates Omnibus, but hey.
And Alec: The Years Have Pants by Eddie Campbell. Another highbrow one, the funny observant creator in this semi0-mostly-autobiography and he deconstructs life. And makes a mess putting it back together.
Asterois Polyp by David Mazzucchelli. An architect putting his life back together and using the very nature of the comic book medium to do so. No wonder it got all the plaudits. Where have all the superheroes gone, I didn’t sign on to this. Ah well, it’s a great book this. But seriously, I need to find another superhero book or I’ll be in danger of turning to Journalista and no one wants that…
Richard Starker’s Parker The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke. Okay, close but no cigar. This is a remarkably beautiful portrayal of a classic pulp novel, impressively done worldessly at many points as well, but where are the capes?
The Gene Simmons Comic Group Omnibus? Not quite a superhero book, even if Todd McFaralane is listed as one of the many creators. Still it’s big, it’s heavy and it has KISS relevance. One for grandma then.
Grandville. Funny animals is it? Funny animals who shoot their way through a Steamfurrypunk Paris by the intricately detailed hand of Bryan Talbot?Okay that’s brilliant, and this is wonderful hardcover album to fill a stocking, but where are the capes?
Astonishing X-Men Omnibus. And there we have it. For those of you who like your Joss Whedon mutant comics big and stationary. Not jerking around with twitchy Neal Adams’ mouths over John Cassady faces…