It’s time for Heroes & Villains AND the annual Holiday Gift Guide! I could wax philosophic right now about how this year has just positively flown by and so forth…but I just don’t have it in me right now. The passage of time is inescapable and acting like that’s a new thing is folly.
Yesterday, I asked my digital assistant/Bluetooth speaker/government surveillance device I keep in my home office for the weather. This is absolutely the gospel truth I’m about to write here… “The weather for <REDACTED> Michigan for Monday is dreary.” Oh, how I laughed and laughed. So, that’s pretty much where I’m at right now.
ON TO THE GIFTS.
The Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging
Originally released in 2014, The Transformers Legacy: The Art of Transformers Packaging is getting a new printing TODAY! As is the case with most, if not all, of my Gift Guide submissions this book is something that I own and can safely recommend. The book has lived on my coffee table since it was gifted to me several Christmases ago and is essential reading for any Transformers fan.
If you’re anything like me and you played with Transformers during their G1 heyday, the boxes very rarely survived beyond the opening of the toy. Which is a damn shame because the box art was some of the most fantastic work produced in the ’80s and ’90s. The art managed to make toys that, if we’re being honest, weren’t that dynamic appear to be completely amazing. The art was also notable for being a complete and total departure from the animation models used in the cartoon and really drove home that these were indeed alien robots that engaged in crazy space battles on the regular.
While flipping through the book, it also occurred to me how effective the artwork was at selling the whole concept of Transformers. Sure, a truck that transforms into a robot is pretty cool (I guess) but if you stick it in a package complete with art that would look appropriate either airbrushed on a van OR in hanging in a museum… Well, then you’ve got yourself a toy line that I’ll still be writing about well into my fourth decade on the planet.
Bags (Or A Story Thereof)
Patrick McHale (W)
Gavin Fullerton (A)
Call this double-dipping since I wrote about this five months ago, but I don’t care. Bags (Or A Story Thereof) is one of my favourite releases of 2019. So much so that I actually went down to my local comic shop and ordered a copy after I had read the advanced PDF for review which is high praise indeed.
To say that I read a lot of comics during the course of a year is an epic understatement. As I mentioned above, I get sent advance review PDFs and I generally review the stuff that I really, really like but due to both budgetary and space restrictions I can’t go out and buy a copy of each book. I can only hope that my reviews materialize into sales for some of these creators.
Bags was a book that stuck with me. It was one of those books where I’ll always remember where I was when I read it and how it made me feel upon finishing it. I had just turned 40, my father was home convalescing after the celebratory (minor) heart attack he had for my birthday and my mother was prepping for a major surgery of her own in the coming days. I was slowly but surely losing my mind and things seemed unrelentingly bleak (but when aren’t they, am I right?) and Bags was so comforting to me during that time. I sat on my parents’ couch next to my dad and had to briefly excuse myself upon finishing the book. I’m not made of stone but I try to limit having complete breakdowns in front of my parents to just once a decade.
Bags (Or A Story Thereof) is a comic that could be perfect for anyone on your shopping list this holiday season. It’s a story of love, suspense, the unknown, and ultimately truth. At the risk of sounding maudlin (Too late -Ed.) it’s a reminder that every interaction you have with the ones who are important to you counts.