I know: you’re looking to buy that perfect, mid-priced, comic book collection for a friend or loved one as a gift for the holiday season, aren’t you? (Maybe, if you’re anything like me, you’re also looking to pick up a little holiday reading for yourself!)
Well, yesterday we posted a list of some higher-priced items. If you haven’t seen it yet (or need to refer back to it), you can find it right here. It’s got some great stuff for any comic book fan in your life.
But maybe those items are out of your price range. No worries. Biff Bam Pop! has got you covered.
In a couple of days, we’re going to list our lower-priced, generally softcover comic book compilations, best to give as gifts this year. Today, we’re in the mid-range. And there’s lots of great stuff to give!
So scribble these books down on paper, type them into your phone Notes app, ask Siri to remind you, or just simply print this page!
Either way, get to a comic book store, a bookstore or get online now – here we go!
Shhhh… a friend of mine is getting this one for their birthday (and pal, if you’re reading this, it’s not you!)
Over the last couple of years, industry and fan favouites, writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting, have been weaving a tale of mid-to-late 20th century espionage on a monthly basis. Velvet is an action-packed and suspense-laden cold war-era spy thriller. It features the breakout character, Velvet Templeton, herself a semi-retired operative of the United Kingdom’s MI5, on a mission to clear her name and shine a light on double agents and secretive government crimes! It’s a wonderful story—really, one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever read in the medium—perfect for anyone who loves John le Carre novels or James Bond films.
Collecting the entire 15-issue series, this 416-page deluxe hardcover compilation includes behind the scenes extras and articles. It’s a must have for approximately $30 at your local comic book shop, bookstore or on Amazon. And, if you read it now, you’ll know all about Velvet before she makes the jump to a hoped-for television series!
Another great series from writer Ed Brubaker, this time joined by top artist (and personal favourite), Sean Phillips!
The Fade Out is the story of Hollywood, in the early days of the Blacklist—where stage hands, actors, producers, agents, police officers, and entertainment reporters all vied against each other to keep their secret, and sometimes political, persuasions in the closet—or unearthed from a rock!
This was an instant classic—illustrating a fascinating time in American history: studio backlots, downtown LA streets and high profile parties…with murder as the backdrop! This 384-page deluxe hardcover collects the entire 12-issue run of the The Fade Out and it’s full of behind the scenes art, preliminary sketches and layouts, illustrations and historical essays that delve deep into the real life actors and players from the eights of American cinema, and believe me, they are fascinating accounts worth the price of the book, just on their own!
At about $34, you can find The Fade Out at your local comic book shop, bookstore or on Amazon.
Speaking of mysteries and suspense from a fascinating time in American history, here’s something that not quote comic books, but should still appeal to fans of the genre.
The Art of the Pulps chronicles through art, naturally, the pulp genre of American fiction: from action, adventure to science fiction and the racy publications of the early and middle part of the twentieth century. There are over 400 examples of the best in pulp graphics from some of the biggest (and some of the most obscure) artists, along with historical essays, profiles and captions. In addition to the artists, there are also chapters dedicated to the great pulp writers as well.
At 240 pages in length, this hardcover book is one for the ages—and specifically tailored for fans of genre, historical and pop culture! You can find it for around $35 at great bookstores or on Amazon (or, within a few days, within my own personal collection)!
Here’s another not-so-comic book, but one that fans of the medium can still relate to. Specifically, it’s geared to fans of movies. Horror movies to be precise!
The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History was published just a few months ago, and since that time, it’s been on my personal “wanted” list… among many other art and film enthusiasts. Edited and compiled by Stephen Jones, who wrote the book The Art of Horror a few years ago, this makes for an outstanding companion piece.
At 256 pages long, this tome details the art that makes up film posters and advertisements, lobby cards, promotional items, and magazine and book tie-ins from films ranging from the silent era right up to the latest releases! It’s full of artist spotlights and editorials that chart the evolution of horror films in chronological order. There are over 600 images here—rare and unique—and both mesmerizing and horrifying!
With an introduction by acclaimed director and screenwriter, John Landis, this is the book for that horror, film or 20th century art buff in your life! You can find it for anywhere between $25-$30 at you local bookstore or on Amazon.
Back to comics!
The late 1980’s saw the publication of one of the most different takes on superhero team-ups that comic book fans have ever been witness to: the revamped Justice League!
Under the pens of writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis and the pencils of breakout artist Kevin Maguire, the Justice League everyone knew and loved, would be turned on its head! Sure, Batman was still here… but he was joined by more obscure and unlikely characters like Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Mister Miracle, Fire, Ice and Rocket Red. And if that’s not obscure enough for you, there were many, many others! The series, in fact, changed title after six issues and became what every fan remembers: Justice League International, as the team became a sort of super-powered United Nations under the administration of billionaire Maxwell Lord. Under an air of comedy and illustrative facial emotions, stories here gave rise to the ever-lasting “one punch!” joke. If you’re not in the know, read this book!
At 1,080 pages, this is one heavy hardcover omnibus… and it’s a little on the high end of the mid-tier price range at about $75, but it’s a worthwhile gift for fans of DC’s iconic (and not-so-iconic) heroes, comic books, comedy… and those moments and publications that absolutely change the medium we so love! Heck, this series gave rise to a horrible pilot TV series that never lasted past the pilot!
You can find Justice League International Omnibus Volume 1 at your local comic book shop, bookstore or at Amazon.
Last, but not least today, we return to old time comic book horror with the Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Omnibus Volume 1.
It’s great to see the muck-encrusted monster get the hardcover omnibus treatment—his entire publication history—and the writers and artists that birthed the characters deserve it. This compilation runs 724-pages and details one of the most acclaimed creations from the 1970s in tales of gothic horror that thumbed its nose at the Comics Code Authority.
It’s a worthy gift for fans of comics, horror and art, specifically the art of the recently departed master of gothic horror, Bernie Wrightson. Truly, this is some of the most beautifully riveting and harrowing line work you’ll ever see!
For approximately $70, it’s a wonderful encapsulation of a prodigiously creative time in American comics. You can find it, of course, at your local comic book shop, bookstore or at Amazon.
Be sure to check back in a couple of days when we list or final installment of holiday gift comic book collection ideas. This time, it’ll be great comics at a lower price point! See you then… and happy shopping!