Friday, December 4, 2009

Great Gifts for Under Ten Bucks!

Want to buy everyone on your list at least ONE graphic novel? All five of these pictured are no-brainers, and every single one costs UNDER $10! Share the joy of sequential storytelling without breaking the bank.

All five of these are books that most every comic fan already owns, but this list isn't for YOU, it's a short list of books you can buy for OTHERS. Do I really need to spell out why each of these would make a "perfect gift?" I guess there really isn't much point to this blog if I don't give you my personal opinion at every possible opportunity, now would it?

Walking Dead Volume One. WE all know what a great book this is, but how about all of your friends, do THEY know how great this book it? Any horror fan on your list NEEDS this book. I think I've encountered one soul that I recommended this title to that did NOT like it. It's that good, especially if you are even mildly interested in zombies, this book is for you. But Walking Dead isn't just about the undead hordes, it's also about the characters that Kirkman has created, there is a huge stable of them, each one unique, but the real kicker is Kirkman does not hesitate to mix things up on regular basis. One thing for sure, don't get too attached to any one character because you just never know when that character might be ripped to shreds by the roamers, lurkers, or some crazed maniac human, or by their own hand, because don't forget the world of Walking Dead is about what happens AFTER the zombie apocalypse.

Serenity Volume One. Ah, Joss Whedon I love you so. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a little Joss, imo. Any Joss Whedon fan on your list NEEDS this book, and I can only assume that there is at least ONE Whedon fan on there, if not two. And if they are indeed a Whedon fan, than we can only assume that they too are Firefly/Serenity fans. This great little graphic novel, bridges the gap between the end of the short-lived tv show (Firefly) and the movie (Serenity). Joss even co-wrote the three issue mini-series that this graphic novel collects. It's a nice little arc, ESSENTIAL reading for all Whedon fans, and again UNDER $10!

Fables Volume One. If you don't know my love of Fables yet, than I guess you've missed half of my posts. I love recommending this book to all kinds of people. Volume One is only $9.99, and it's just enough to whet your appetite for MORE Fables! Makes a great gift because the world of Fables requires absolutely no explanation whatsoever to non-comic-reading-folks on your list. Everyone is familiar with the story of Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs, the Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and the rest of the fables and fairy tales that all remember from their days as a youngin. Take those characters that we all know and love, and put them in the middle of present day New York, it's very much a "what happened next" scenario. After the stories we remember from childhood, what became of these beloved characters? We all know of course, because all comic fans with good taste read Fables, but this holiday season is a great time to give the gift of wonderful storytelling to your loved ones and friends. Buy at least one copy of Fables Volume One to give as a gift this Christmas.

Chew Volume One. This is a brand new addition to the stack of possible gift-giving affordable graphic novels. Wow, TWO Image books made this list, who would have thought that would happen? And look at that, not one Marvel book made the list because they ALL cost MORE than $10. Again, who would have thought that? What a bunch of jerks. It looks like even Image figured out the Vertigo publishing model. I could make a huge list of $9.99 Vertigo graphic novels, but I'm pretty sure I've done that at some in the recent past, so instead I should get back to discussing Chew. Chew is a lot of fun. If you are looking for something new and different to give to one of a person of distinguished taste on your list, than look no further. The back of the book describes the series better than I can, so here you go: "Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets physic impression from whatever he eats. It also means he is a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of FDA, the most powerful law environment agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre case."

Bone Volume One. OK, technically this book is $10.99, not $9.99, but it WAS $9.99 until very recently. Scholastic is using a strategy that is opposite of the Vertigo model, making the first volume of a series MORE expensive than the rest (As of right now volumes 2-9 are still priced at $9.99, but this could change in the near future. Perhaps all subsequent printings of Bone will be priced at $10.99 each.) Scholastic knows for a fact that many many many people will buy volume one of the series, but not as many people will buy volume two, this is a fact, no matter how good Bone is as an all ages fantasy adventure, volumes ones ALWAYS sell better than volume twos, this is a proven fact. Also happens with floppy comics too. #1's are almost always the best selling issue of a series, with occasional exceptions of course. (Sometime a new artist, writer, or character or event, becomes hot and that will bump the numbers for that particular issue #). If you have a child on your list and you haven't bought them a copy of Bone Volume One yet, you really should. Bone is one of those magical series that will capture a child's imagination and engage him/her and get them truly excited about reading. Any Harry Potter fan on your list, adult or child, do them a favor and buy them volume one of this series. No doubt they will be asking you about volume two in record time.

I really have to mention a book that Marvel did offer recently for under $10.00. The annual Marvel Holiday comic. This year, it's called the Marvel Holiday Spectacular, is magazine size and retails at a whopping $9.99. Contains material originally published. Marvel has been doing this an awful lot lately, mixing new material with old material and jacking up the price. If they had made the book normal comic book size, and taken out all the reprints, the book would have easily retailed at half the price, which would mean more people would have bought it. The price point and dimensions of this book are really killing the potential sales of this book. It could have been the perfect stocking stuffer for the Marvel zombie on your list, but Marvel dropped the ball on this one.

Join me for my next gift-giving themed blog will be about great gifts under $15.00. (That potential list is quite a bit bigger, but I will try to limit it to 10 items or less).


  1. Those are all great books (though I haven't read the Serenity book, may have to get on that...). Anyway, the worst part about the Marvel thing is that 3 years ago, they did put out a really nice Holiday Special digest for $8 that was all reprints, but quality stuff (including the hilarious Santron story). That was the absolute definition of the "perfect stocking stuffer". So they can do stuff right, but then they go right back to doing it wrong again.

  2. That Marvel Holiday Digest you are talking about Jason, I would have put on my list, BUT Marvel let it go out of print. Makes me very sad, because it was a great collection at a great price point.

  3. I am often a Marvel apologist, but I have to agree with you on this one. Marvel's trades are quite over-priced compared with the rest of the market. More frustrating than that, though, is the fact that Marvel puts out a lot of nice editions of trades and hardcovers, but then quickly lets them go out of print. It would be nice if one company could put out quick trades of almost all their books, keep them in print, and sell them for a reasonable price. Oh well, nobody's perfect.

    Also, I would add Northlanders Vol. 1 as a great deal at under $10.00. It collects the first eight issues of the series, which is a lot of material for a low low price. The story itself is very good as well, and should appeal to a broad base of people who may not necessarily be interested in standard superhero fare.