Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are fast approaching or, depending on your faith and customs, have already passed. Or are currently ongoing. Or, you know, whatever. But whatever your ambiguous situation, chances are you might be giving gifts to someone and if that someone is a fan of comics, then you might be wondering what to get them. Assuming all of these things happen to be true, then, you're in luck! Because here, without further ado, we present the official Vault Holiday Gift Guide for 2009. And have a merry... whatever.

The Book of Genesis
Illustrated by R. Crumb

Hey, remember the Bible? Big black leather book with your name embossed on the cover that you got from your grandpa when you went to Vacation Bible School that one time and learned how to make wallets out of pipe cleaners? Well, now there's a reason to actually read the Bible, as infamous cartoonist R. Crumb has put together a stunning illustrated version of the book of Genesis. Crumb, of course, is best known as the star and creative impetus behind the underground Comix scene of the late 60's and early 70's, but here had plays it straight with a faithful adaptation that will have fans of both Crumb and the Bible seeing things in a new light. You can pick it up at Amazon for just $14.58.

Asterios Polyp

David Mazzucchelli

David Mazzucchelli is rightfully famous, and not just for having three sets of double letters in his last name. The acclaimed artist -- who rose to fame by drawing two of writer Frank Miller's greatest works, Batman: Year One and Daredevil: Born Again -- seemingly vanished into thin air twenty years ago. Turns out he was actually honing his craft, something that fans of his earlier work might find impossible. The result of his labor; Asterios Polyp, which has become the critical darling of the year in comics cricles and has landed on more than one mainstream media top ten books list this year. You can check out what all the hype is about at Amazon for $19.77. Mind you, we're not sure how they get prices that low without ripping somebody off on the back end, but there it is.

Iron Man Hoodie

Okay, how cool is this Iron Man hoodie, right? It's got a variation on the original logo from the 1968 launch of Iron Man's solo title (sans rivets), while the picture of Iron Man is along the same lines (i.e. it appears at first blush to be the classic armor but upon closer look it's actually an early 90's variation; I can't quite figure out who the artist is, though, if it is Layton). The only down side to this item is that it appears to only come in boy's sizes. There is, though, a 'husky" option, so it's possible you could get it in the right size for your adult friend by ordering it in, say, Quintuple Husky. It's offered by Old Navy of all places for $26.50.

Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives

Art by Ditko, writing blissfully not

Before Ditko became Ditko (in other words, before he went off the deep end courtesy of Ayn Rand), he was an up-and-coming artist working on low brow horror comics for Simon & Kirby, Atlas and Charlton among others, much of it in the pre-code days where anything went. This volume collects some of those rare earliest works so you can see first hand how one of the most acclaimed artists in comics history developed his unique personal style. And, best of all, you don't have to read his obtuse rants about relativism. Hurray!

Knit Lumberjack Beard Hat

Everyone needs to stay warm during the winter, and that often means getting a giant knit hat to keep your head cozy. Unfortunately, that's what most of them look like: oversized tea cozies that are on your noodle. Well, not anymore. With the simple addition of a knit moustache -- which also has the added benefit of keeping your face warm -- you can turn this dowdy hat into a sartorial delight by presenting to the world your own Lumberjack Beard. This brilliant idea comes from the good folks at Beard Head, who also offer Viking and Pirate versions and a wide array of interchangeable moustache styles. They are currently backordered on some styles, but the whole thing can be yours for just $29.99. Best. Idea. Ever.

Kirby: King of Comics
Mark Evanier

For our last choice, we suggest first finding out whether or not your comic fan already has this coffee table tome, because many readers have already picked this gem up. Painstakingly and lovingly written by Mark Evanier, who has carved out a respectable career in comics in his own right, this omnibus covers the whole of Jack Kirby's groundbreaking and unparalleled career, with a wealth of unique and rare images and unseen artwork. Considering that just about all superhero comics made in the past forty years have copied directly from the storytelling language Kirby pioneered, this is a book all comics fans should own and read. Pretty much any bookstore should have this, but Amazon is there if needed; the price tag online is $26.40.

What Not To Get

This hat.

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Oh shoot! I was hoping that somebody would buy me that tacky fuzzy blue x-dweeb hat! Now I'll never get it. I guess I'll have to settle for a 200-shot Red Ryder Rangemaster BB gun with a compass in the stock and a thing that tells time, or maybe a football.