Over the course of our Holiday Gift Guide, you’re going to find a ton of reading suggestions for the comic book fans in your life. It just so happens that many of us writing for Biff Bam Pop!, myself included, are just big fans of the genre, but we’ve all got specific titles and styles we love. On that note, here’s a potpourri of books that are well worth considering for the comic and/or pop culture fan in your life:
For fans of comic history:
Our friends at TwoMorrows Publishing never let us down with their fantastic offering of books about the history of not just comics, but pop culture as well. This year saw three big titles roll out that are definitely worth picking up for anyone who is interested in the rich history of comic books and, in one case, British pop culture.
The Team-Up Companion
NOW IN FULL COLOR! The Team-Up Companion examines team-up comic books of the Silver and Bronze Ages of Comics—DC’s The Brave and the Bold and DC Comics Presents, Marvel’s Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-in-One, plus other team-up titles, treasuries, and treats—in a lushly illustrated selection of informative essays, special features, and trivia-loaded issue-by-issue indexes. Go behind the scenes of your favorite team-up comic books with specially curated and all-new creator recollections from Neal Adams, Jim Aparo, Mike W. Barr, Eliot R. Brown, Nick Cardy, Chris Claremont, Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, Steven Grant, Bob Haney, Tony Isabella, Paul Kupperberg, Paul Levitz, Ralph Macchio, Dennis O’Neil, Martin Pasko, Joe Rubinstein, Roy Thomas, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, and many other all-star writers and artists who produced the team-up tales that so captivated readers during the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s. By Back Issue and RetroFan editor Michael Eury!
Order The Team-Up Companion here.
American TV Comic Books 1940s-1980s
American TV Comic Books (1940s-1980s) takes you from the small screen to the printed page, offering a fascinating and detailed year-by-year history of over 300 television shows and their 2000+ comic book adaptations across five decades. Author Peter Bosch has spent years researching and documenting this amazing area of comics history, tracking down the well-known series (Star Trek, The Munsters) and the lesser-known shows (Captain Gallant, Pinky Lee) to present the finest look ever taken at this unique genre of comic books. Included are hundreds of full-color covers and images, plus profiles of the artists who drew TV comics: Gene Colan, Alex Toth, Dan Spiegle, Russ Manning, John Buscema, Russ Heath, and many more giants of the comic book world. Whether you loved watching The Lone Ranger, Rawhide, and Zorro from the 1950s—The Andy Griffith Show, The Monkees, and The Mod Squad in the 1960s—Adam-12, Battlestar Galactica, and The Bionic Woman in the 1970s—or Alf, Fraggle Rock, and “V” in the 1980s—there’s something here for fans of TV and comics alike!
Order American TV Comic Books 1940s-1980s here.
Britmania: The British Invasion of the ‘60s in Pop Culture
Remember when long-haired British rock ’n’ rollers made teenage girls swoon — and their parents go crazy? Britmania plunges into the period when suddenly, America went wild for All Things British. This profusely illustrated full-color hardback, subtitled “The British Invasion of the Sixties in Pop Culture,” explores the movies (A Hard Day’s Night, Having a Wild Weekend), TV (The Ed Sullivan Show, Magical Mystery Tour), collectibles (toys, games, trading cards, lunch boxes), comics (real-life Brits in the DC and Marvel Universes) and, of course, the music! Written and designed by Mark Voger (Monster Mash, Groovy, Holly Jolly), Britmania features interviews with members of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, the Kinks, Herman’s Hermits, the Yardbirds, the Animals, the Hollies and more. It’s a gas, gas, gas!
Order Britmania: The British Invasion of the ‘60s in Pop Culture here.
Want to convince your snooty friend that there’s a lot more depth to comics than they realize? Anatomy of Comics is for them:
Anatomy of Comics
An illustrated history of the most important and exceptional comics of the past 150 years.
This comprehensive history of the world’s best comics art includes masterpieces by cartoonists from Richard Felton Outcault in 1896 to Chris Ware today. These comics—populated by meta-humans, hybrids, and superheroes—present imagined fantastical worlds that have attracted generations of devoted fans.
A critical reference, this book is also a celebration of the characters who have accompanied readers from their first forays into reading through adolescence, and on into adulthood—from Tarzan to Tintin, Little Nemo to Betty Boop, the Fantastic Four to Batman, the Silver Surfer to Sin City, or the underground comics of Robert Crumb. A motley crew of characters—spandex-wrapped heroes with impossible muscles, hard-boiled detectives in soft hats, emancipated vamps, space-opera acrobats in chain-mail underpants, zombies, and scrawny underground freaks—span all genres of this international art form. Featuring important American and European artists, this broad retrospective decodes the symbolism and artistry of a richly creative form of reading pleasure.
Order Anatomy of Comics here.
For the ‘80s fan:
For those of us that grew up in the 1980s reading comics, many of us have an extreme soft spot for the classic G.I. Joe series that Marvel published for years, and which IDW carried on when they got the rights to publish Joe books towards the end of the 2000s. With the IDW era of G.I. Joe coming an end, they’re going out with a gorgeous hardcover that reprints a classic moment in time for the franchise:
G.I. Joe: Rise of Serpentor
Writer: Larry Hama
Artists: Michael Golden, Rod Whigham and Herb Trimpe
Discover the history of one of the most notorious members of Cobra with this collection of stories from the original 1980s comics!
Created by a secret cabal of Cobra scientists who combed the tombs, sarcophagi, and relics of the great despots of history to produce a clone with the military genius of Napoleon, the ruthlessness of Julius Caesar, the daring of Hannibal, and the fiscal acumen of Attila the Hun into the ultimate Cobra Emperor—Serpentor!
Scripted by G.I. Joe legend Larry Hama, this oversized hardcover collection contains the G.I. Joe Yearbook #2 (March 1986) story “Triple Play,” A Real American Hero issues #46–53 (April 1986–November 1986) that detail the creation of the infamous character, and Special Missions #1–2 (October 1986–December 1986).
Order G.I. Joe: Rise of Serpentor here.
For horror fans:
Our friends at Dark Horse Comics are absolutely the publishers of some outstanding horror books, and they all come in glorious hardcovers that look good and feel even better in your hands. Regardless of how familiar someone may or may not be with a given title, Dark Horse’s Omnibus and Library Editions are top of the line and welcome readers in to whatever book they’ve got their fingers on
Joe Golem Occult Detective Omnibus
Writers: Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Artists: Patric Reynolds and Peter Bergting
Joe Golem is an occult detective…and so much more.
In an alternate, half-submerged version of Manhattan, Joe Golem uncovers the truth behind strange and occult happenings that threaten the city’s inhabitants. But perhaps the biggest mystery of all is his own past. Fight demonic rats, pursue forbidden knowledge, and much more as Joe and his compatriots tackle the supernatural together.
Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden bring us a heartfelt and harrowing saga that combines hardboiled detective with emotional drama and lots of magic and mystery! Featuring art by Patric Reynolds and Peter Bergting with colors by Dave Stewart and Michelle Madsen.
Order Joe Golem Occult Detective Omnibus here.
Blackwood Library Edition Volume 1
Writer: Evan Dorkin
Artist: Veronica Fish
From the multi-Eisner award-winning creator of Beasts of Burden and the superstar artist of Archie and Slam comes this supernatural fantasy about a magical murder in a sorcery school, now in a deluxe, oversized hardcover format.
When four teenagers with haunted pasts enroll in Blackwood College—a school that trains students in the occult—their desire to enhance their supernatural abilities and bond with others is hampered by an undead dean’s curse, ghosts in their dorm, a mischievous two-headed mummy-chimp, a plague of mutant insects, and the discovery of an ancient evil that forces our heroes to undergo a crash course in the occult for the sake of the world.
Collects the first two volumes of Blackwood in a deluxe, hardcover, and oversized format with a new cover, a bonus sketchbook section, pinups by Peach Momoko, Becky Cloonan, Andrew MacLean, Tyler Crook, and many more!
Order Blackwood Library Edition Volume 1 here.
For fans of Denis Villeneuve, David Lynch, Frank Herbert and the spice Melange:
We’re a year off from the second half of director Denis Villeneuve’s big screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune, but Abrams continues its novel accurate adaptation of the famed sci-fi novel.
DUNE: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’Dib
Writers: Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
Artists: Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín
In DUNE: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’Dib, the second of three volumes adapting Frank Herbert’s Dune, young Paul Atreides and his mother, the lady Jessica, find themselves stranded in the deep desert of Arrakis. Betrayed by one of their own and destroyed by their greatest enemy, Paul and Jessica must find the mysterious Fremen, or perish.
This faithful adaptation of the 1965 novel, Dune, by Brian Herbert, son of Frank Herbert, and the New York Times bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson, continues to explore Paul’s journey as he evolves from boy to mysterious messiah. Illustrated by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín, this spectacular blend of adventure and spirituality, environmentalism, and politics is a groundbreaking look into our universe and transformed by the graphic novel format into a powerful, fantastical tale for a new generation of readers.
Order DUNE: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’Dib here.
For fans of pop culture, cool comics, or hell, Michael Allred:
Ok, this is me wearing my heart on my sleeve here, because Michael Allred is one of my top two favourite artists, basically duking it out with Alex Ross for the honour. If you want to see why I rate him at the toppermost of the poppermost, look no further than the latest edition of Dark Horse Comics’ ongoing and essential reprints of Allred’s famed Madman series.
Madman Library Edition Volume 3
Writer: Michael Allred
Artists: Michael Allred and Laura Allred
The Madman comics universe returns—with over 650 pages drawn by legendary comics creator Michael Allred in this true homage to superhero fiction, metaphysical philosophy, 1950s science fiction films, rock and roll pop music, and much more!
Volume three collects Michael Allred’s popular comic series The Atomics #1–#15 and the cult classic graphic novel Red Rocket 7. Both essential Allred commentaries on superhero team antics, music pop culture, and zany sci-fi fun!
This six-volume Madman universe omnibus library edition series collects all of Allred’s award-winning Madman universe (a.k.a. the “Madmaniverse”) stories in selected reading order for the ultimate Madman fan!
Order Madman Library Editon Volume 3 here.