Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Comic Book Compilations

If you’re still looking for a gift for that comic book lover in your life, fear not. Although shopping deadlines are beginning to loom large, we’ve got you covered. In a year defined by COVID-19 concerns, delayed released schedules, inherent long lines at physical comic book shops and bookstores and even closed-up shops, both temporally and permanently, there were still plenty of books published that beg attention. And gift-giving!

Here, then, is a list to help you find that perfect book for that family member, friend or loved one:

The Oracle Code & Shadow of the Batgirl

Over the last two years, DC Comics has been specifically publishing a line of books aimed at a younger demographic, featuring superhero characters that you know and love in fresher, deeper character dives that resonate with a pre-teen and teenage audience. The line has been a big hit, featuring characters such as Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Raven. The books are all written and illustrated by out-of-the-box, but award-winning and fan-favourite, authors and illustrators. It’s been an enormous success, really, bringing in in new readers to comic books while also serving long-time fans. 

This year sees more publications in that line, including The Oracle Code, written by New York Times bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp (This Is Were It Ends, Before I Let Go) and illustrated by Italian artist and designer Manuel Preitano (Destiny NY) and Shadow of the Batgirl, written by Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex novels) and wonderfully illustrated by Nicole Goux. Biff Bam Pop! actually reviewed the latter book earlier this year, so click that link to get a sense of what these graphic novels have to offer.  

Both paperback books can be purchased at better comic book shops and bookstores for under $20 and make a great and exiting gift or stocking stuffer for the young reader and/or comic book lover in your life.           

Something is Killing the Children (Volumes 1 and 2)

How about a little horror in your holiday stocking this year?

There’s plenty of fright to go alongside the yule log with the 128-page first and 148-page second volume of Something Is Killing the Children. Isn’t that a great title? Written by the award-winning James Tynion IV (The Woods, Detective Comics) and moodily illustrated by fan favourite, Werther Dell’Edera (Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Dark Entries), it’s a story of mystery, monsters and small town terror in the heartland of America.

In Archer’s Peak, kids are going missing – and those that return are damaged, telling impossible stories of creatures and death. And only the mysterious stranger named Erica Slaughter, monster killer, believes them. The story and art here is wonderful in its sense of unease and deep, delicious, horror. Any fan of television and film productions like Twin Peaks and Signs and comics like Wytches and Gideon Falls will love Something Is Killing The Children, which should be available at your local comic book shop, bookstore or online retailer. 

Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams

If you or someone you love misses David Bowie, and let’s face it, who doesn’t? then you’ll be elated to find yourself in the possession of Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams. It’s the comic book biography of Bowie’s ascent from folk singer to larger-than-life musical artist and legend, full of rock and roll and glam and human pathos throughout.

The book also has the equally brilliant storytelling of Michael and Laura Allred (Silver Surfer, FF, Madman, iZombie) and Steve Horton (Satellite Falling). It’s the perfect team to showcase Bowie’s life journey and his art, while interacting with other musical luminaries such as Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones and Marc Bolan.

If you needed any further convincing, Biff Bam Pop! has already reviewed the glorious book here and as that review succinctly states, Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams perfectly melds comics and rock and roll. Don’t miss this story.

You can find the hardcover version of Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams at better comic and bookstores, everywhere – from ground control all the way to Major Tom.       

Superman Smashes The Klan

Superman Smashes The Klan, Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru, DC Comics

Amidst all our glorious, every day, pop culture chaos that is comic books, cartoons, video games, television, and film, it’s easy to sometimes forget Superman’s importance, his history and his inherent symbolism. The Man of Steel means different things to different people and different cultures and all these perspectives are equally significant.

Superman Smashes The Klan returns Krypton’s only surviving son to his mid-20th century roots, steeped in national politics, xenophobia, racism and violence. Written by bestselling author Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers and Saints) and wonderfully illustrated in a manga style by Gurihiru (Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Unstoppable Wasp), the 240-page graphic novel crosses the Chinese-American immigrant experience with the immigrant experience of an otherworldly super hero. It’s an important work with an important and personal message for young and old readers alike and sits on the pantheon of great Superman stories.

You can find the paperback version of Superman Smashes The Klan for close to $20at better comic and bookshops everywhere, or online if you can’t. it’s a perfect gift for lovers of comic  books, American history, truth, justice and, of course, Superman.      

Swamp Thing: Roots of Terror H/C

Who doesn’t love a good compilation book during the holiday season, especially when it’s horror-centric and starring everyone’s favourite muck-encrusted mockery of a man, the Swamp Thing?!?

The Swamp Thing: Roots of Terror 168-page hardcover carries a long list of great creators, whose stories reproduced here come from various DC publications over the last few years. Within these pages you’ll find stories featuring Brian Azzarello (Batman: Damned, Joker, 100 Bullets) and Greg Capullo (Dark Knights: Metal, Batman); Eisner nominated Mark Russell (The Snagglepuss Chronicles) and Frazer Irving (Batman and Robin, Uncanny X-Men, Xombi); Tim Seeley (Grayson) and Kyle Hotz (Incredible Hulk, The Goon); and Eisner Award-winning Tom King (Mister Miracle, Batman, Omega Men) and Jason Fabok (Detective Comics, Justice League).

Told you it was star-studded!

Of special note, you’ll also find the final story from Swamp Thing co-creator, Len Wein, before he passed on the great Green. Joined by the acclaimed Kelley Jones (The Sandman, Batman, Deadman), together they present the wonderful “Spring Awakening” story.

You can find the approximately $20 Swamp Thing: Roots of Terror at your favourite comic or bookstore, or online, of course. It’s a perfect gift for horror, swamp monster buffs, or lovers of great story and art. In the meantime, hopefully this list helps you check off gifts for the special someone in your life this holiday season.

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