My mum often says that she would love to buy me some comics gifts for the holidays, or my birthday, but she doesn’t really know where to start looking. She knows that I am quite fussy about which titles I will read from Marvel and DC, but when it comes to smaller (or less well known) publishers, she doesn’t know where to start with buying a gift for a comics fan.
There are some amazing small and independent press comics that would make the ideal Christmas present for the comics fan in your life. Fantagraphics are obviously always worth looking at: their reprints of Schulz’s Peanuts are beautiful editions that anyone would be delighted to receive. However, the following ten books are what would be top of my Christmas list for a gift for a comics fan!
101 Movies to Watch Before you Die by Ricardo Cavalo
This book is brilliant for both the casual and die-hard movie fans in your life and is a follow up to Cavalo’s 101 Albums to Listen to Before You Die (perfect double gift if you are feeling very generous). Structured as though it is a diary, this is a moving look at how films and their fandoms have shaped Cavalo’s life and experiences. I certainly saw a few that I haven’t seen and they have gone to the top of my to-be-watched pile!
Hostage by Guy DeLisle
Guy Delisle is best known for his travelogues, but his latest book tells the story of Christophe André who was kidnapped in 1997 when working for Doctors Without Borders. The book tells the story of how André sought to keep himself alive during three months of solitary confinement, and the psychological struggles that he faced in this seemingly hopeless situation.
Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld
Gauld’s collection of literary cartoons would be the perfect gift for the literature graduate in your life. Funny and smart, this is a perfect book to dip in and out of at leisure.
The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg
This book is SO beautiful. I love Greenberg’s artwork and her storytelling is perfectly paced and thoroughly engaging. This gift would go down a treat!
Queer: A Graphic History by Meg John Barker and Julia Scheele
This non-fiction exploration of the history of queer thought and discussion of privilege, exclusion, and gender roles is thought provoking and absolutely fascinating.
Nelson by Woodrow Phoenix and Rob Davis
This anthology comic is the story of one woman’s life, loves, and heartbreaks, told by 54 different artists, each responsible for one year of her life. Still one of my favourite comics published in recent(ish) years, I would thoroughly recommend this to all and sundry.
Livestock by Hannah Berry
I loved Berry’s previous comics and I was sorry to have missed picking this up earlier on this year. A socio-political satire of contemporary politics and entertainment, it sounds very interesting indeed.
Graphic Science: Seven Journeys of Discovery by Darryl Cunningham
The stories of seven amazing scientists told in comic book form. Yes please. Cunningham not only addresses the life events that these seven scientists experienced, but also explores the major themes of their work. He may have chosen to include Tesla, but the other six are less well known, and this would be the ideal gift for any scientists of fact fans in your life!
How to Survive in the North by Luke Healy
Healy weaves together a contemporary story of an unlikeable academic with one of Arctic explorers from the 1900s, and the result is an enthralling exploration of life, human nature, and exploration. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened this book, but I was hooked from the very start.
Boundless by Jillian Tamaki
A collection of dark and witty short story comics, this is a masterclass in the potential of the comic form to tell a story. I love Tamaki’s work and this is no exception. Her stories are thought-provoking and ask questions about gender, politics, and identity that will stay with you long after you finish reading.
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