Holiday Gift Guide 2022: Comic Book Compilations – Part 1

If you’re a regular reader of this site, or if you’ve just stumbled across it due to some eyebrow-raising social media post, you probably have an interest in all things pop culture. And, hopefully, comic books.

That’s what this column is about at any rate. Comic books and gift giving this holiday season!

2022 has seen a number of great comic book publications make the rounds and if you’ve got a comic book lover, or a pop culture aficionado, or just an avid book reader in your life (for whom you’re still looking for that awesome holiday gift to unwrap), this is the column for you. Hopefully, it’ll aid you with making what can be an overwhelming decision at your local book shop or comic bookstore.

Here we go, then. Part one (of two columns, the second of which is mere days away) of recommended comic book gifts to give that special someone in your life, later this month, wrapped in a bow:

Miracleman Omnibus

This is the comic book series that, in the early 1980’s, took a fresh look at the superhero genre and turned it on its head, reengineering it for a new time, a more mature audience and forever shaping the way pop culture views comic books and their stories.

Bold words, sure, but it’s the truth.

Originally created as Marvelman in 1954 by writer/artist Mick Anglo, the near decade-long UK comic book series was repurposed and rebooted under the pen of acclaimed writer Alan Moore in 1982, rooting the character in a more real-world take on superheroes and superpowers. Miracleman ushered forth the beginning of a darker age of comic book publishing that would help give rise to comic book titles (alongside Moore’s comic book writing career) such as Watchmen, The Dark Knight, The Question (more on that character in a bit) and many, many  others. Miracleman, via publisher Eclipse Comics, would become a must-read book. After Moore left the title, other famed writers took the reins including Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman. Artists on the series were also a who’s who of outstanding talent including Garry Leach, John Totleben, John Ridgway and Rick Veitch.

After some financial difficulty with Eclipse, some confusion and an ownership battle over character rights, Marvel Comics bought Miracleman in 2013…and promptly sat on the character waiting for the right time to bring him back to audiences. At 808 pages, this Omnibus contains all the stories you need to read that were originally published via Warrior through the Eclipse comics, along with a treasure trove of covers, features and original artwork.

If someone you know is looking for dark, postmodern superhero stories that are important touchstones in the evolution of the comic book medium, the Miracleman Omnibus is your go-to. It’s as strong a story today as it was four decades ago!

Fantastic Four: Full Circle

Everyone loves illustrator Alex Ross – he’s one of the artistic greats that have graced the comic book medium since the 1990’s. With a distinctive, hyper-realistic style that evokes Norman Rockwell, Ross’ work has graced both the interiors of comic books as well as many covers – illustrations that stand out from the rest of the work on the Wednesday new comics bookshelf.  With Fantastic Four: Full Circle, Ross undertakes the story as well as the art, putting in a tour-de-force performance that makes for notable and enthralling reading!

Biff Bam Pop! has covered this book earlier in our Holiday Gift Guide, courtesy of Editor-In-Chief, Andy Burns, which you can read right here. (You’ll notice that the previous entry is there as well – which shows you how beloved these suggestions really are!)  

The Fantastic Four: Full Circle standalone hardcover graphic novel, published by Abrams ComicArt under license to Marvel Comics (naturally) is a superhero sci-fi adventure, full of excitement, danger, wonder and family drama. A swarm of invading parasites from another dimension have infiltrated our world using humans as hosts. With a romp across the Negative Zone, only the FF can risk their lives in order to save the cosmos!

This book makes for perfect reading this holiday season for anyone who loves comics, science fiction…or delightfully brilliant art.

Seven To Eternity H/C

When I was first reading comics, reaching out for more mature fare than the monthly Star Trek, Batman and Silver Surfer issues (as great as they were), I grabbed hold of Epic Illustrated and Heavy Metal magazines. Those numerous sci-fi and fantasy tales quenched my thirst for those genres alongside a growing interest in art.

Thirty years later, enter acclaimed writer Rick Remender and illustrator Jerome Opena’s wonderful seventeen-issue science fiction series Seven To Eternity, collected into a fantastic hardcover prestige compendium. Not only does it have the entire story of Adam Osidis and his desperate fight against the tyrannically evil God of Whispers and the temptation of everything he might ever desire, but the 544-page tome also comes with bonus material in the form of sketch covers, scripts, model sheet designs and much more.

For anyone who loves sci-fi fantasy world-building adventures and stories full of moral ambiguity, hindrances and human truths, Seven To Eternity is a must-have gift this holiday season. It reminisces all of the great 1970’s and 1980’s stories from those previously mentioned magazines and spins them into a brilliant new yarn for the twenty-first century, making for exciting and beautiful storytelling!       

Echolands Vol. 1 H/C

Imagine every horror, science fiction or fantasy book you’ve ever read. Now mix those characters, settings and ideas all up in a blender and sprinkle them with the pop culture cartoons and comics you experienced as a kid.

What you’ve got is Echolands!

Sure, under any artistic hand, all of those elements might seem overwhelming and impossible to contain inside a coherent story, but Echolands isn’t under just any artistic hand. No, alongside acclaimed writer and long-time partner, W. H. Blackman, Echolands is being steered by J.H. Williams III, one of the greatest illustrators working in the comic book medium today. Here’s a talent that pushes the boundaries of what comics can do – and look like!

We excitedly talked about the monthly landscape-format series here, on our The Wednesday Run weekly column. The sci-fi fantasy thriller that is Echolands Volume 1 H/C compiles the first major story arc of the series along with a host of covers and extras. It’s a beautiful sight to both hold and behold, surely, but the story of Hope Redhood and her run from a tyrannical wizard and his unstoppable daughter while on a headfirst crash into a multiple-worlds war is a thrilling page-turner! The story is non-stop fun, but the art is exquisite. Look closely and you’ll find something or someone from nearly every corner of your childhood pop culture mind: Transformers to vampires to superheroes to Saturday morning cartoons!

The Echolands Vol. 1 H/C makes for a perfect gift for anyone into fantasy and still dreams of their childhood loves!

The Question Omnibus Vol. 1

This writer’s personal, all-time favourite comic books gets the big omnibus hardcover treatment.

The Question was a monthly series that ran for three years in the late 1980’s and later again as a short series of quarterly installments. Written by comic book legend Denny O’Neil and illustrated by fan favourite illustrator Denys Cowan, The Question told the story of news reporter by day, crime fighter by night, Vic Sage, a man in search of his own identity in a crime-filled city that could not clean up its act.  

Here was a comic book tale like no other – one that invoked Zen philosophy and included O’Neil’s recommended reading list every month: a book or novel that either summoned the spirit, or directly influenced, the writing of that month’s issue.

How does violence inform a man? Can he escape the shackles of his own making? Can a man change? These, and many others, were the big questions that The Question constantly asked – and didn’t always answer.

The Question Omnibus Vol. 1 collects the first twenty-seven issues of the monthly series along with a handful of the famed annuals that featured the character. Pleasingly, it also provides the monthly letter column of the comic book which showcased many thoughtful reader responses to what O’Neil and Cowan were presenting. It was certainly a column that I looked forward to reading nearly as much as the comic book itself.

At 952 pages, The Question Omnibus Vol. 1 is a perfect gift for any comic book reader, a lover of noir crime fiction, or a seeker of truth through eastern philosophy or human endeavour. Of course, it’s also an important series in the maturity of comic books into a more recognized and accomplished art form.

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