Read This Book Holiday Gift Guide 2022: Six Great Trades for Hard to Shop For Friends

Hey there kids, it’s your old pal Uncle Mac here to share in your holiday shopping pain. Like many of you, I’ll be you’re scrambling for some last minute gifts to get those friends in your life that are just impossible to shop for.

Thankfully, I’m here with some solid comic suggestions just in time to save you from your shopping panic. I’ve got some solid comic recommendations for anyone in your life, so let’s dive in together and help save Christmas once again!

One-Star Squadron

Here’s the blurb: Meet DC’s superhero team where heroism meets capitalism. This ragtag group of heroes led by Red Tornado is here to provide service with a smile. All you must do is send a request via their on-demand hero app and they’ll answer any call. Whether it’s a children’s birthday party or an alien invasion, no job is too small or too big!
 
Brought to you by Eisner nominee Mark Russell (The Flintstones, Wonder Twins, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles) and Eisner winner Steve Lieber (Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen), you’ll want to invest in this one-of-a-kind collection that promises a story filled with heart, heroism, and humor. Collecting One-Star Squadron #1-6.

Why it’s great: Outside of indies, I’ve always considered myself to be a DC guy at heart, but lately, well, DC just doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing. That’s why when I saw this book hit the shelves I was initially a bit skeptical, but I think Mark Russell is great, so I gave it a shot, and boy am I glad I did.

Filled with humour, social satire, and enough deep cuts to please even the nerdiest of DC nerds, One-Star Squadron is a loving and touching homage to the lesser know heroes of the DC Universe. It’s relatable enough for anyone to enjoy, but esoteric enough that you’ll get some serious DC cred for recognizing half the heroes on this team. Plus it’s god Red Tornado, so if you have any Young Justice fans in your life they’ll be sure to love that!

Who it’s best for: DC Comic nerds, fans mourning the loss of Legends of Tomorrow, people who complain comics have gotten too corporate.

Pick it up here

Catwoman Vol 1: Dangerous Liaisons

Here’s the blurb: Meow, Catwoman is bored of Alleytown and has returned to Gotham City proper for bigger fish to fry and to go back to doing what she does best…stealing crime boss secrets for blackmail and looking damn sexy while doing it, of course.
 
Writer Tini Howard (Excalibur) makes her DC Universe debut alongside artist Nico Leon, as they place Catwoman in her first blackmail heist disguised as a stripper at Gotham’s most secure underground club!
 
With Batman out of the picture, it’s on to the Trixie, a retro-glam apartment building in Gotham that houses mob wives, side chicks, and mistresses—and Catwoman has secretly taken a whole floor to herself eavesdropping on mob wives and mistresses to blackmail them.
 
And guess who’s ready to make his play? Black Mask wants to be the dirty little secret of the Gotham underworld… but Catwoman’s even better at being a secret when she needs to be.
 
This volume collects Catwoman #39-44.

Why it’s great: Catwoman has had a lot of series. Mini series, ongoing series, one-shots, tie-ins, she just always seems to struggle to get the traction she deserves. Her latest run is no exception, with the first 38 issues trying hard to establish a new status quo for her, and while there was a lot of good in those issues, there was also a serious attempt to separate her from a lot of what made her popular in the first place.

This collection seeks to fix that problem, and honestly, it’s one of the best Catwoman books I’ve read in a long time. Issue 39 was the start of a soft reboot for the series, taking her back to Gotham and back to her roots. It’s exciting heist drama at it’s finest, and the art is top notch.

Who it’s for: Fans of The Batman who want more of that kind of Catwoman, People looking for powerful female comic characters, and fans of crime drama.

Buy it here

That Texas Blood Volume 2

Quick note: If you’re wondering why I didn’t recommend Volume 1, I totally do, but you can pretty much jump into this one without having read the first volume so it works fine as a stand alone. If you’re feeling generous, buy em both!

Here’s the blurb: A recent string of violent events leads Sheriff Joe Bob Coates down the long and winding road of memory to a dark night in September 1981 that saw a boy killed, a girl missing, and a dangerous cult on the loose in Ambrose County, Texas.

Scott Snyder (NOCTERRA, WYTCHES, Batman) calls the series: “a dark and twisted Texas mystery with tons of heart.”

Collects THAT TEXAS BLOOD #7-12

Why it’s great: Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips are working on a modern masterpiece of crime drama with this series, the likes of which I have not seen in a long time. Dark, gritty, and with a surprising amount of heart, That Texas Blood is one of the best crime books on the shelves today, and single handedly raises the bar for all indie comics on the shelf.

Volume 2 is fantastic, with memorable new characters joining the cast in a bizarre story sure to satisfy the darkest of horror and crime drama fans. And Volume 3 comes out in March, so now’s the time to get them hooked!

Who it’s for: Fans of Truman Capote, true crime podcasts, and Law and Order-style TV.

Buy it here

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr

Here’s the blurb: Humanity is on the verge of discovering immortality. As a result, the avatar of Death is cast down to Earth to live a mortal life in Mumbai as twenty-something Laila Starr. Struggling with her newfound mortality, Laila has found a way to be placed in the time and place where the creator of immortality will be born. Will Laila take her chance to stop mankind from permanently altering the cycle of life, or will death really become a thing of the past? A powerful new graphic novel from award-winning writer Ram V (These Savage Shores, Swamp Thing) and Filipe Andrade (Captain Marvel) that explores the fine line between living and dying through the lens of magical realism. Collects The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1-5.

Why it’s great: So I’ve raved about this series before, and I’ll do it again! Weird, beautiful, and wonderful, this trippy tale through Hinduism and existentialism is a fantastic meditation on life, the universe, and our place within. This comic is great for your friend who into new age mysticism, or just a person full of questions about the meaning of life. This is a highly recommended title for anyone you struggle to find something for, and guaranteed to help start some great conversations.

Who it’s for: People exploring philosophy, people who like to debate the meaning of life, lovers of great comics.

Buy it here

The Nice House on the Lake

Here’s the blurb: With Something Is Killing the Children and The Department of Truth, James Tynion IV has changed the face of horror in modern comics—now get ready for his most ambitious story yet, alongside his Detective Comics partner Álvaro Martínez Bueno!

Eisner Award Winner 2022, Best New Series

Everyone who was invited to the house knows Walter—well, they know him a little, anyway. Some met him in childhood; some met him months ago. And Walter’s always been a little…off.

But after the hardest year of their lives, nobody was going to turn down Walter’s invitation to an astonishingly beautiful house in the woods, overlooking an enormous sylvan lake. It’s beautiful, it’s opulent, it’s private—so a week of putting up with Walter’s weird little schemes and nicknames in exchange for the vacation of a lifetime? Why not?

All of them were at that moment in their lives when they could feel themselves pulling away from their other friends; wouldn’t a chance to reconnect be…nice? In The Nice House on the Lake, the overriding anxieties of the 21st century get a terrifying new face—and it might just be the face of the person you once trusted most.

Why it’s great: True story- one of the most popular Christmas traditions used to be sitting around and telling ghost stories. Just look at A Christmas Carol if you don’t believe me! Well, this tale of horror deserves it’s place at the table too. A shocking and disturbing tale, told by an increasingly untrustworthy narrator, this break out title from DC’s Black Label line is sure to give even the most jaded of horror fans a good fright, and a thirst for more!

Who it’s for: Horror aficionados, fans of Wednesday Addams, and those grumpy teens who think comics are for little kids.

Find it here

Spy x Family

Alright, I’m cheating a little here. Technically this is a manga, not a traditional comic, but this book is hot right now and it’s not hard to see why, so I’m going to include it anyways and let the chips fall where they may!

Here’s the blurb: Master spy Twilight is unparalleled when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions for the betterment of the world. But when he receives the ultimate assignment—to get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head!

Why it’s great: This is such a fun series. Imagine James Bond being forced to settle down and play family man as part of a mission of world peace. Throw in a secret assassin wife, a secret telepath daughter, a bizarre and wonderful cast of supporting characters, and enough blood, violence, and laughs to make each volume fly by, and it’s no wonder this is one of the hottest books on the market today! Plus Amazon has the first 8 volumes in an $80 bundle with free Prime shipping, so if they like Volume 1, the rest is pretty darn affordable to buy!

Who it’s for: Teens who like spy movies, adults who like spy movies, senior who like spy movies

Buy the whole bundle here

Alright folks, that’s it for me. Hope this list helps you find something good for that hard to shop for person in your life!

Until next week, stay safe!

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