You just got into town.
You’ve been procrastinating.
You completely forgot. (Really?)
You just don’t know what to get.
Look, It’s December 24th. It’s finally here: Christmas gift giving.
And. You. Are. Out. Of. Time.
But fear not! It’s not quite DEFCON 1 – just yet! Biff Bam Pop! has got you covered on all of your last-second gift-giving needs!
For right now, you need to give the gift of Gift Cards!
Well. It’s been some year, hasn’t it? Vilified and maligned, 2016 has been the honey badger of years. But even as we give it the award for zero caring, speeding onto the charts with a bullet is young 2017. Watch that one. It’s gonna be a doozy. In the disjointed reality of gleeful holiday cheer as the world breaks an axle and goes careening into the ditch, I give you a Christmas list for surviving troubled times. Give these to friends, or give ’em to yourself. Santa doesn’t care either. He’s hiding in a bunker, sweating as the ice melts, wondering if Trump’s tax break will finally enable him to install A/C. At least now he can bust that pesky elf union.
America, it’s time to embrace Russia’s favorite drink. Your President’s about to hop into bed with Vladimir Putin, and that’s some shipping no one needs to picture. So have an ice cold drink to steel your resolve. There’s a billion different flavors of vodka now, and the easiest part is they’re pretty much all horrible. So pick anything. You couldn’t do worse than, oh I don’t know, an election.
Legendary windmill tilter, director, and Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam dropped Brazil on the world in 1985, one year after the fateful arrival of 1984. He doubtless wanted it to come out a year earlier, for the sheer Orwellian synchronicity of it all, but Gilliam being Gilliam, he was late to his own party. The movie is stunning, visually brilliant and a scathing satire which blends eighties society with the dystopian bureaucracy of 1940s fascism. It’s George Orwell’s prophetic totalitarian novel 1984 in a funhouse mirror. Jonathan Pryce (superb as the High Sparrow in the last season of Game of Thrones) stars as Sam Lowry, a hapless bureaucrat trying to sort out a paperwork snafu that led to the execution of the wrong man. He runs afoul of the bureaucracy himself and falls in with the rebels, led by handyman Harry Tuttle (a hilarious Robert De Niro, over a decade before Analyze This). There’s two cuts of the film, a studio edit dubbed Love Conquers All, and Gilliam’s cut, running over 40 minutes longer at two hours and 20 minutes. In Gilliam’s superior version, love conquers considerably less.
Speaking of Orwell, his other classic novel is a fine pick to mull as we enter the uncharted waters of countless conflicts of interest and gobbling at the trough. Written as an allegory for Stalinism in Russia, there are plenty of parallels to be found in the animals’ struggle to run their own farm. Napoleon and his fellow pigs stage a revolution over the human farmer Mr. Jones with the help of all the farm animals, but soon they’re enriching themselves and putting down the other beasts. A great short read, and the 1954 animated version packs a punch, too (better than the more recent 1999 version).
Cuz you’ll get tired of vodka. And also, once Donald engages in a full-on trade war with Mexico, as the wall (fence) goes up from sea to sadly bemused sea, tequila could be a fabulous investment. Cash in your retirement savings and buy Patron. Even if the market skyrockets and Trump is the best president ever, you’ll still be able to sit in your underfunded nursing home with no drug plan and liquidate your portfolio. And tequila just erases everything.
DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB
Lest you worry, it’s a non-stop love-in with Russia for the next four years, Trump’s explicitly said he wants to start a new nuclear arms race to bolster American power. He could be full of it, or we could be entering a new phase of multilateral rearmament with China, North Korea and the Saudis joining the fun along with Europe, Russia and hey, maybe Japan can join, too! Kubrick’s early farcical masterpiece is a hilariously bleak and wacky take on an out of control military-industrial complex, bent on global immolation through bureaucratic stubbornness and insanity. Peter Sellers is brilliant, playing three separate roles as a British colonel, the American president and an ill-disguised former Nazi rocket scientist. As an added bonus, it’s black and white, just like everything in contemporary life!
A BOMB SHELTER
Art Spiegelman’s classic comic allegory of the Holocaust is equal parts touching and terrifying. In this surreal story, the Nazis are cats and the Jews are mice. But the narrative is deeply personal, a young comic artist describing his fraught relationship with his survivor father, as it delves into their history and his father’s darker experiences. It’s truly an outstanding story.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Margaret Atwood’s speculative sci-fi masterpiece might yet prove eerily prescient. Especially if Vice-President Mike Pence ever gets to sit in the big chair. American society’s freedoms are dissolved by an authoritarian coup, and before you know it, Christian fundamentalists have taken over the government. Women basically become chattel for marriage and procreation. It’s a dark and unsettling vision, told with cool precision. The book is receiving a new adaptation which will appear on Hulu next year, so that’s gonna be one to watch for sure.
The latest book from James Gleick delves into the cultural history of the twistiest of wishful scientific endeavors. The author of Chaos (another mind-bending field of sciencey pursuit) returns with a playful look at time travel in literature, pop culture and philosophy. But how’s it dystopian, you ask? Figure out the mysteries of time travel and you could be the hero of our age, going back in time and shooting, well, someone. Several someones? Time travel’s tricky stuff. Maybe stick to the tequila portfolio.
If you want to dig further into our dysfunctional maybe future, you might dig all the way to China. There’s The Hunger Games and the now-on-Netflix Brazilian mashup 3% (which is quite good). Children of Men will really bring you down, and I haven’t even gotten into the vast swathes of zombie metaphor for modern collapse.
Maybe everything’s gonna be hunky dory. Or even great again. But I wouldn’t bet on it. So enjoy your egg nog and the folks around you. Next year the American government goes full gonzo reality show, and you won’t like the guys producing the scripts. Merry Christmas!
You can find the first part of our trilogy of lists here, which showcases a number of more affordable trade paperback collections.
Last week, the second installment focused on hardcover collections, although slightly more expensive. You can find that list right here.
Today, we’re getting into the crème-de-la-crème of comic book collections. Save these for someone you really care for…or for even someone like yourself! Who wouldn’t want these tomes wrapped up?
With only a few days to go before Christmas, and without further ado, here is the final installment of our list of comic book collections for the 201 6holiday season!
One of the things we love here at Biff Bam Pop! is books, probably because we’re all writers as well as readers. Therefore I’d like to suggest some books here that folks who regularly read our website might also enjoy reading, perhaps because some are by us, and some by friends, and some we just really dig. Meet me after the jump for the Gift of Reading.
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Every few years, we get the chance to take a look at the latest means of e-book consumption. And while there are people who may swear by their Kindles, as far as I’m concerned (along with a lot of folks I know), the best e-readers out there come from the folks at Rakuten Kobo.
Though my e-reader experience began some of years ago with the now defunct Sony E-reader, the world has expanded significantly over the years and Kobo has really led the pack. Their latest, economical e-reader is the Kobo Aura Edition 2, and it’s absolutely the best device I’ve used so far.
Whether you’re into films or video games or both, there have been lots of great DC releases out this past year. You can’t go wrong with getting any of these for the fan in your life, regardless of how familiar they are with the stories or characters.
I can’t recommend this collection highly enough for a few reasons. First, let’s start off simply by saying how great this series is, especially at telling the story of a 21st-century Batman. It has certainly stood the test of time from its late 1990s debut, and I say this as someone who just began watching it via this new set from Warner Brothers. Secondly, this is an economically sound way to get the three-season run of a show that was just as strong as the groundbreaking Batman: The Animated Series, which it is connected to in no small part by the voice of Kevin Conroy as an aged out Caped Crusader who takes teenage Terry McGinnis under his wing. Absolutely essential.
I love working for Biff Bam Pop because not only do I get to interview some really cool people, I also get to review films and television series. This time, our fearless leader, Andy Burns, asked me to review Zhen Lyu’s science fiction book, Intruders. It was an interesting read, but would the book make a great gift idea? Pull up that easy chair and meet me after the jump. Read the rest of this entry
For my last Pump Up The Jam column of 2016, I thought I’d talk about six 2016 releases that would make excellent gifts for the discerning music lover in your life (don’t forget to pick up copes for yourself while you’re at it). I’ll be back in 2017 with more new music!
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Back in September we wrote about the pretty spectacular Playstation VR – imagine entering the world of a video game, and letting it fully immerse you, sight and sound (I suppose we’re still waiting on smell, which may or may not be a good thing). Playstation VR is a perfect and, in context, a reasonably priced entry way into experiencing what is in all likelihood the future of gaming.
Playstation VR is now available for purchase – if you get the Launch Bundle version, you’ll receive the headset, two move controllers, and Playstation Camera. You’ll also receive the VR Worlds game, allowing you to taste the breadth of experience that comes with virtual reality. It’s hard to find though, but you can find the Playstation VR Core Edition and build up from there.
Playstation also made sure that there was a large assortment of games and add-ons that would be available at launch and slightly post, so it’s not as if you’re stuck with five or six titles at a time. Some of the ones we’d suggest:
This is probably the best game of the bunch we’ve played. You want to be Batman? Well, in this game from Warner Brothers you put on the cowl as you work to uncover who killed one of your closest allies. This game isn’t about fighting; it’s about solving a mystery. It’s a short game, roughly an hour or so, but as far as an experience living out the dream of being the Bat, this game is it.
Last week, we highlighted a number of trade paperback comic book collections, perfect gifts for friends and loved ones (or yourself) this holiday season.
If you haven’t already, you can check out that particular list right here.
But maybe you want to kick it up a notch this month.
Maybe you’ve got a special someone that really only likes hardcover books on the bookshelf. Or maybe you’re looking to find something that carries a slightly higher budget than softcover collections.
No worries. This week, we’ve got your back.
Here’s the second installment of our Holiday Gift Guide: Comic Book Collections!