The last few years, I’ve been writing our From The House of Ideas column, a look at new releases from Marvel Comics. As a Marvel Zombie, it’s great to keep up with what the the company is publishing regularly, and you can go back and see what I’ve read and enjoyed from the past year. For this Holiday Gift Guide entry, though, I’m going to be highlighting a ton of books for the Marvel fan in your life that aren’t regular comics, but that they’d absolutely love to get for the holidays. So face front, True Believers (as the great Stan the Man would say) and check out our recommendations:
Gil Kane’s The Amazing Spider-Man Artisan Edition
John Buscema’s Silver Surfer Artisan Edition
Comic collectors are likely familiar with IDW Artist’s Edition line of oversize hardcovers that compile stories from legendary artists using colour scans of their original artwork in their original size. Those books, of which I own more than a few, are absolutely stunning. But they’re also pricey offerings. However, over the last few years Marvel and IDW have been offering Artisan Editions, which are paperback collections along the same lines that are smaller and less expensive. That’s the tradeoff, but it’s more than reasonable, as you can see from both Gil Kane’s The Amazing Spider-Man Artisan Edition and John Buscema’s Silver Surfer Artisan Edition. Each title collects complete and significant storylines from the artists’ heydays, and allow the reader to see how great their work was before going into a traditional comic book setting, and it all comes at a reasonable price. As a die-hard Spider-Man fan, I especially enjoyed Kane’s edition, as it features the Wallcrawler’s Comics Code-free drug stories and “The Death of Gwen Stacey” issue in all their black and white glory. These books manage to find the sweet spot between historical artifact and entertaining reads.
With Great Power: How Spider-Man Conquered Hollywood during the Golden Age of Comic Book Blockbusters
While we’re on the topic of Spider-Man, CinemaBlend’s managing director Sean O’Connell has written the definitive take on the trials and tribulations that studios, writers, and directors went through to eventually bring Peter Parker to the big screen. With Great Power features interviews and insight from many of the biggest names in the franchises’ history, and is a great look at the potholes and pitstops that eventually lead to the record-breaking numbers that the Spider-Man movies have generated. That includes last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, which made an incredible $814 million in North America, making it the third highest-grossing film of all time.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Webslinger, Hero, Icon
Captain America: Avenger, Hero, Icon
There have been many, many books detailing then histories of various Marvel characters, but very are as beautifully put together as The Amazing Spider-Man: Web-Slinger, Hero, Icon and Captain America: Avenger, Hero, Icon. Written by comic industry veteran Rich Johnson, these two titles contextualize their respective heroes via classic storylines while offering fans, be they newcomers or veterans, stories that are worth exploring. There is lots of stunning artwork throughout both books, not only from their respective comics, but also from their Marvel Studios incarnations. Word of advice – if you get one for someone, get them both, as they’re part of an ongoing series that go well together (and fyi, there’s an Incredible Hulk edition coming in 2023 as well).
Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet
Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Artwork by Brian Stelfreeze
Introduction by Walter Mosely
The Folio Society
This book is absolutely gorgeous, and is essential reading for the Black Panther fan in your life. The original comic run by Coates and Stelfreeze was an instant classic when it started publishing in 2016, and this slipcased, hardcover edition from renowned publisher The Folio Society only serves to strengthen the story’s importance. Yes, Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet has appeared in various formats over the years, but I feel confident in saying it has never been in one this high-end and beautiful. The Folio Society version features:
All twelve issues of Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet
Bound in blocked laminated paper
Prelims set in Miller with Benton Sans as display
296 pages printed 4 colour throughout
Metallic foil blocked slipcase
10½˝ x 7˝
While Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet from The Folio Society may be the most expensive book on this list, I can confirm that it is well worth the price.
Protectors of Wakanda: A History and Training Manual of The Dora Milaje
While the movie may be called Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, I have to say that one of the big highlights for me was the increased focus on The Dora Milaje. For younger fans who also dug Wakanda’s elite special force, this book feels designed especially for them. Writer Karama Horne gives history and insight into the Dora Milaje and characters like Shuri, Queen Mother Ramonda, and General Okoye. Protectors of Wakanda: A History and Training Manual of The Dora Milaje is easy to pick up and read, and is perfect for fans wanting to dive deeper into the world of Wakanda.