The Robot 6 Holiday Gift-Giving Guide, Part 1

‘Tis the season for decking those halls, trimming those trees, lighting the menorah and, of course, figuring out what to buy for your friends and family. To help give you some ideas, we reached out to a few comic creators, asking them:

1. What comic-related gift or gifts would you recommend giving this year, and why?2. What gift (comic or otherwise) is at the top of your personal wish list, and why?

We've gotten back a bunch of suggestions, which we'll run between now and the end of the week. So let the merriment commence ...

Jim McCann

1. Exclusive 2011 Janet Lee Holiday Ornaments Every year, Janet does about 12 ornaments, three sets of four. This year, she has done Hipster Animals, Scary Toys and Art Nouveau Angels. They are signed and dated, and at the end of the season, that's it! She stops making them. I've been collecting them since 2007, and now our tree is almost completely filled with Janet's art. You can buy them exclusively through her Etsy shop.

Oh, and if you're REALLY nice, she MAY have a very limited Dapper Men ornament or two. Just ask!

2. This year, for myself, I'm going with a mix of Blu-Rays (portable Blu-Ray player, please, Santa!) and books. But the thing I'm REALLY excited for is the hardcover edition of the Complete Ripley novels, by Patricia Highsmith. Most people only know of Ms. Highsmith through The Talented Mr. Ripley (and classic film lovers through Strangers On a Train). There were actually five Tom Ripley novels, and the collection looks amazing. Why these books? My spouse recently Tweeted a quote from John Lithgow that struck me as a writer: "Duality, duplicity, truth and deception, good becoming bad and vice-versa are crucial elements of great storytelling." Highsmith was and remains an unsung hero of mastering that, so I hope I learn something in the process!

Happy Holidays from the Dapper Lariosa-McCann household!

Jim McCann is the writer of Return of the Dapper Men and its upcoming sequel, Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol, Hawkeye:Blindspot and the upcoming Mind The Gap.

Matt Kindt

1. The gift I'd recommend would be The Sixth Gun trade #1 and #2. There are very few comics that are just good fun well-told stories. And even less that are also westerns. And it's got a giant mummy. Seriously. I love it.

2. What I really want is for publishers to start bringing back comic book subscriptions. And I don't mean iPad notifications. I want them to mail me single issues as they come out and wrapped in those brown kraft paper envelopes that are open on the ends.

Matt Kindt is the writer of the Robotman comic you can find in issues of DC's My Greatest Adventure and artist on the Oni graphic novel The Tooth. He's also the man behind Revolver, 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man, Super Spy and the upcoming Supernatural.

Daryl Gregory

1. For the kids in your life, you can't do better than the e-Comic. It's as thin as a monthly comic book, with a folding screen that opens to allow two-page spreads. It's high-res, so you can read word balloons easily while still be able to take in all of the surrounding art. The e-Comic comes loaded with every Jack Kirby comic, under a generous licensing deal with the Kirby estate. Plus, it only costs $25. When it's invented in 2018, give one to every kid on your Christmas list, and SAVE COMICS.

Until then, take the kids to a comics shop and buy them something great. My son highly recommends Journey Into Mystery by Kieron Gillen -- it's loads of fun.

2. I very rarely allow myself to play video games--nothing destroys writing time like a good game--but every Christmas I take a week off and do nothing but hang out with my family, eat and play with toys. I usually ask for one video game, and for that week I throw myself into it. Previous stockings have been stuffed with Battlefield 142, Company of Heroes, Left 4 Dead 2, Portal... and this year I want to play Arkham City. There, I've said it. Fortunately, it's also on my son's wish list, so I don't have to use up one of wishlist slots I usually reserve for specialty beer. So you know what that means: Dad gets to punch the Joker while buzzed on Westemalle Tripel.

Daryl writes Planet of the Apes for BOOM! Studios. His novel Raising Stony Mayhall was named one of the best SF books of the year by Library Journal, and his short story collection Unpossible and Other Stories was named one of the best SF books of the year by Publisher's Weekly. Daryl loves one of them better than the other, but won't say which--it would hurt their feelings. You can reach him at darylgregory.com.

Jim "Zub" Zubkavich

1) There are a ton of great new comic titles to give/receive this year. High on my giving list are:

  • 27 for music-loving friends
  • Atomic Robo for people who crave action/comedy/pure joy
  • Chew Omnivore Edition for dark-hearted humorous pals
  • Green Wake for horror and mystery readers
  • Return of the Dapper Men for fans of faerie tales and the fantastic
  • The Sixth Gun for the western aficionado
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ultimate Collection for Gen X-Yers
  • Who is Jake Ellis? to the espionage-thriller reader
  • and One Soul for the intellectual poet in your gift-giving circle.

See? Comics for everybody! :)

2) Original comic art is a unique and classy thing to give a comic fan and it's always high on my personal wish list. Even less expensive options like a convention head sketch or random comic page original can make for a great show piece in the home of a fan. I have a lot of framed originals and they give the right touch of geek chic to my place. Getting an original from my favorite artists, new or old, is now something I look for throughout the year and Christmas is no exception.Jim Zub is the co-creator and writer of Skullkickers from Image Comics and the creator of Makeshift Miracle, UDON's online graphic novel serializing with new pages every week at www.makeshiftmiracle.com.

Jamie S. Rich

1. If you're giving the gift of comics, than my cohorts at Oni Press have the two books from 2011 that I think have the broadest appeal and will get you the most mileage this holiday season. First, there is Petrograd, Philip Gelatt and Tyler Crook's riveting alternative history of the assassination of Rasputin. It's got danger and intrigue and Tyler is one hell of an artist. The handsome hardcover package has a lot of flair and though the $30 price point is totally reasonable, it would never occur to the person you're giving it to that you were at all frugal.

Second is Ray Fawkes' amazing One Soul. Ray has done an amazing thing here, using the standard nine-panel grid to tell the concurrent stories of 18 different people spanning the ages, separated by space and time. Though it's possible to read each life individually front to back, the experience of reading each one moment by moment, cycling through all 18 on every double-page spread is exhilarating. One Soul is both emotionally moving and intellectually thought provoking, and despite all the formalist experimentation, a damn good read. Also another wonderfully designed, smartly priced hardcover.

More self-serving for me, and a higher ticket item, is the Madman 20th Anniversary Monster, coming from Image in just a few short weeks. I helped Mike Allred put this massive hardcover together, and I even wrote the two-page framing sequence that he and Jim Valentino drew to tie it all together. Mike has done a new story, there are 20+ all-new one-pagers from the likes of Matt Wagner, Darwyn Cooke, Patrick McEown, and all three Hernandez Bros., and also every pin-up we could get our hands on from the last 20 years of the series. Yes, that includes masters like Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, and Frank Frazetta, and also relative newbies like Joëlle Jones, Emily Carroll, and Chris Samnee. There are over 260 pages and the whole shebang is 11" x 17", the same size as the Wednesday Comics collection.

2. There are three items I would really like this Christmas. All of them are expensive collectors editions of material by artists that have been extremely influential on my creative development, but that I have yet to save the pennies to buy myself. They are:

(1) The Blu-Ray edition of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, bundled with the DVD of his second film The Magnificent Ambersons.(2) The Smiths Complete--All of the Smiths albums remastered with Johnny Marr at the boards. I'd love the Super Deluxe box with the book and the dual version on vinyl and CD, but I'd settle for the straight CD versions, too. The music is the thing, and what I have heard of these new mixes is quite astonishing.(3) The Who: Quadrophenia Director's Cut: Super Deluxe Box Set: Okay, here is one where I have to have the massive version with the bonus 5.1 disc and all the books and such. Quadrophenia is like a religious experience for me. My first book, Cut My Hair, is named for a track on the original album, and so this new opening of the vaults is utterly essential.

Both the Smiths and the Who, as well as Orson Welles, helped change my artistic path when I was a teenager, and they still provide inspiration to this day.

Jamie S. Rich is a writer who regularly publishes through Oni Press, and quite often with the likes of Joëlle Jones, Nicolas Hitori de, and soon Natalie Nourigat and Dan Christensen. His most recent comic book release was Spell Checkers, vol. 2: Sons of a Preacher Man. You can read his sort-of kind-of frequently updated blog at http://www.confessions123.com.

Ryan Cody

1. The one comic related gift I always recommend is the Complete Bone by Jeff Smith. My children read it cover to cover at least once a year. Jeff Smith's epic is a great read, fun and adventurous for any age group. For adults I would recommend American Vampire, it's been my favorite book this year as I catch up on it. You can also never go wrong with Hellboy. A more unique gift for a comic or pop culture fan would be original art. Full size comic pages look gorgeous framed and hung and there is probably artwork out there to fit all budgets.

2. I don't usually buy a lot of comics myself, but I'd be more than happy to get some original art, or a nice sketchbook or two from my favorite artists. An original Sean Murphy, Cory Walker or Mignola page and I'd be one happy camper Christmas morning.

Ryan Cody is an artist and writer whose past credits include ICARUS, Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun V2 and Villains. See more of his work at http://super75comics.wordpress.com/

Be sure to come back tomorrow for more suggestions!

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