The holidays are here, and there’s no better time to shower your loved ones with nerdy gifts. Reading materials are objectively the best thing to get anyone over four as presents, and holiday comics are a chance to help your friends get outside their comfort zones and try something new, while at the same time adding a dash of collectability to their lives. We’ve picked out a nice mix of old and new, seasonal and evergreen, comics for you to choose from.
Black Panther by Christopher Priest
Christopher Priest has been on fire lately, writing back to back to back gems at DC—Deathstroke, followed by Black Adam, followed by (currently running) Superman Lost is one of the greatest three-series stretches in the last 30 years of comics. But while Priest’s career stretches back to the ‘70s, it was the Marvel Knights Black Panther series that launched him into legendary status.
Everything great about Priest’s writing is here: the deft manipulation of time, the desert-dry humor, the complex, thoughtful geopolitical framing. This run is his most beloved work for a reason, and this oversized omnibus printing captures the first half of it. I believe this collection includes the issue where T’Challa, Magneto, Namor, and Doom all yell at each other at the United Nations, cementing this book as one of my all-time favorites, and I bet it works for you, too.
The ‘90s are remembered as a time of absurd excess in comics—flashy, bulky contortionist artwork backed up with very little substance. And while that was true for a lot of books, DC’s big early ‘90s event comics—the Death of Superman and the back-breaking of Batman—had a lot more going for them than anyone gave them credit for. These books were really good.
Knightfall introduces Bane as a major Batman antagonist, takes Bruce Wayne out of the cape and cowl, and then brings him back after several issues of the writers showing why he’s meant to be Batman and has no replacement. This run has some phenomenal Kelley Jones covers, all-time classic work from classic Bat-artists like Jim Aparo and Graham Nolan, and a super tight story. Read the whole thing; you won’t regret it.
Best of 2000 A.D. Vol. 4
Everyone knows Judge Dredd. But everyone should know two things: 2000 A.D. is much, much more than just Dredd, and almost every big-name British comics creator has done something for this magazine, Dredd related or not. This compilation has work from a ton of them—Alan Davis, Alan Grant, Jamie Delano, Peter Milligan, the late Steve Dillon—along with some new work from fresh faces. If you have someone in your life who has caught the British comics bug, this is a way to nurture that interest.
Coda by Simon Spurrier and Matias Bergara
Coda is the story of a bard trying to save the soul of his ex-wife. It sounds simple, but it’s a staggeringly beautiful comic—Bergara’s art is unbelievable, and Spurrier’s story is very much not what you’d expect when you set out on this journey. It’s sad and heartfelt, emotionally devastating stuff that you absolutely must experience, especially with a sequel being released now.
The art is so good in Coda that it demands to be read in the largest format possible, so grab the Deluxe Edition of the hardcover if you can. Your nerd loved ones will thank you.
Transformers #1 by Daniel Warren Johnson
Nothing about this book is expensive or earth-shatteringly collectible, it just rocks. Daniel Warren Johnson is an artist who fills his work with a frantic, joyful energy, and when he was announced as the writer/artist on this new Transformers relaunch, expectations were pretty high. If you want to know if they were exceeded, Optimus Prime suplexes Megatron in issue 1. I promise you know someone who will love this, and I equally promise that you’ll look like a genius if you get them a variant cover for $5.
A Graded Copy of Ultimate Fallout #4
With the Hollywood strikes over, the superhero movie news is flying fast as the studios race to make up for lost time. Expect an announcement about the final Spider-Verse movie any day now. And when that announcement hits, and again when the movie comes out, you should expect Ultimate Fallout #4 to jump in value. The first appearance of Miles Morales is one of the most valuable modern comics, so if you have a collector in your life, a Spider-geek, or a preteen raised on Miles cartoons who’s old enough to understand why she can’t read the book you just bought her, this is a big, splashy win of a gift.
Klaus by Grant Morrison and Dan Mora
You probably know someone who counts Santa Claus as a superhero, and I’m telling you now that this series will blow their minds. Grant Morrison, one of the greatest living comics writers, and Dan Mora, arguably the best superhero artist working in comics right now, team up to tell Santa’s origin story: he’s a Siberian shaman mage bringing yuletide joy to a snowy town where happiness is forbidden. This premise is utterly ridiculous, and it only gets better from there. Thing is, this book loves Christmas, and in a very strange way, it’s one of the nicest holiday stories you can share with someone. Also Santa’s super hot.