Today sees the first part of three columns dedicated to comic book compilations released throughout the year. This is stuff that your comic book loving friends and family (and you) need to be reading during the cold days and even colder nights of December, January and February.
This first column will focus on the more affordable offerings – trade paperbacks of great comic book series’ and one-offs. We’ll kick that up with the next two columns, taking a closer look at must-have hardcovers and giant-sized omnibus and absolute edition volumes.
You know, for those that you really, really love. And have a budget (or a strong enough gift bag) to shoulder it.
In every case, happy holidays… here begins the comic book gift of reading that you should be giving this season!
Sheriff of Babylon Volume 1: Bang. Bang. Bang.
You’re going to see writer Tom King’s name come up a few times in this column. The year 2016 kind of belonged to him. While not writing a shattering series featuring a character you’d never guess would have his own monthly for Marvel Comics, King was busy establishing his brand at Vertigo Comics with his creator-owned series, Sheriff of Babylon.
Inspired by King’s real-life experiences as a CIA operations officer in Iraq, Sheriff of Babylon is the story of military contractor Christopher Henry, in the center of the lawless, post-Saddam Hussein Baghdad. It’s a 21st century military and political whodunit, as Henry investigates the murder of one of his Iraqi police recruits.
Along with artist Mitch Gerard, King has received an enormous amount of praise for Sheriff of Babylon. And you should bestow the first collected volume of the monthly series (issues #1 – #6) on a loved one this holiday season. You can find it at Amazon for only $7.95!
On this special occasion, he’s teamed up with fellow Canadian, Gord Downie, the front man for the seminal Canadian rock band, The Tragically Hip. Downie Has always had a mind that was political and humanistic and with Secret Path, he’s written the story (with Lemire drawing) of the real-life experiences of 12-year-old Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, on his flight home from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School he attended. Only Charlie didn’t know that his home was 400 miles away.
Secret Path is a story that ponders the question of the preservation of indigenous people and culture in Canada, the school system, and of reconciliation. It calls to attention big, important, human questions.
Along with the paperback of the graphic novel, you also get the corresponding 10-song album that Downie wrote, a stirring piece of music that brings to bear the emotion of Chanie’s story. Proceeds from Secret Path will also go towards The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at the University of Manitoba.
That’s true gift giving this holiday season.
You can find Secret Path on Amazon for $26.99.
The Omega Men: The End is Here
It’s Tom King again!
The Omega Men: The End Is Here trade paperback collection was highlighted in our August 24 edition of the weekly Wednesday Run column, which you can read right here.
Written by King and illustrated by Barnaby Bagenda, Toby Cypress and Ig Guara, it tells the story of a band of space-faring outlaws that walk the line between villainous terrorists and freedom fighting heroes. I won’t go into it much here – you can click on that Wednesday Run link above for more information – but The Omega Men: The End is Here is one of the most highly regarded comic book stales of 2016.
Collecting the 12-issue series, this is a collection you can give as a gift this year to your favourite sci-fi loving loved one! You can find it on Amazon for $15.23.
Moon Knight Volume 1: Lunatic
This time, he’s writing the amazing monthly series featuring everyone psychotic breakdown, Marc Spectre, a.k.a., Moon Knight. And look! We featured the first issue of the series on the Wednesday Run back in April of this year!
I tell ya, the series didn’t disappoint. Not only has Lemire weaved a wonderfully exciting and mystifying story, but it’s been gorgeously brought to visual life by artist Greg Smallwood – an unbelievable talent!
If you or a friend is looking for superheroes, tinged with Egyptian mythology, with more than a pinch of madness, give the action-packed Moon Knight Volume 1: Lunatic as a gift. It compiles the first five issues of the brilliant monthly series… and whets your appetite for more to come!
You can find it on Amazon for $12.21.
Paper Girls Volume 1, 2
Here’s something you wouldn’t expect in a comic book story: a group of young teen friends who have a paper route, witness a crazed sci-fi event seemingly out of the Twilight Zone. It takes them down a rabbit hole that illuminated the secret going-ons of the world, behind their world.
Past, present and future collide and you get space ships, dinosaurs, crazy aliens, weird language and Apple iPods in Every. Single, Issue.
It’s just great! And, as a quick aside, we knew it would be… highlighting it on the omnipresent Wednesday Run on October 7 of last year!
Paper Girls Volume 1, which collects issues 1-5 of the series can be given as a gift for only $8.99 on Amazon. Why don’t you complete the set with Paper Girls Volume 2, which collects issues 6-10? It comes out on December 6 and can be had on Amazon for $9.20.
Vision Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man and Vision Volume 2: Little Better Than A Beast
Tom King is at it again, bending the rules of what stories the comic book medium can tell.
Published by Marvel Comics, and this time joined by illustrators Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Michael Walsh, these two trade paperback volumes collect the monthly Vision series (everyone’s favourite sentient machine Avenger) from issues 1-12.
Here is the story of a robot and a human that fell in love and tried to raise a family. All they wanted was to be ordinary.
But ordinary can’t happen for the suburban Vision family, can it?
Vision is a superhero comic turned on its head… and you should give it as a gift to turn the head of a loved one. Volume 1 can be had at Amazon for $12.18 while Volume 2, released on December 13, can be had at Amazon for $13.40. It’s some of the best comics anyone will ready this year!
Be sure to check back in a few days where we’ll take a look at hardcover (and slightly more expensive) comic book gifts to give this year!