Comics… they’re not just comics anymore! One of my favorite things in the comic book industry is the non-comic book items. The tie-ins. The ancillary products. The licensed properties. The moich-en-dice. Where the real money from the comics is made. I love to give my comic book reading friends comics stuff that isn’t comics.
For the Kid Who Likes Batman (Because They’re Damn Sure Not Going to Read the Comics), Part 2
The last console game I can remember playing was LEGO Batman. I got that for Christmas 2008 and my sister and I proceeded to spend the the next two nights playing the game the entire way through to the end. That was a hell of a lot of fun. If you’re like me and you have fond memories of the first game or if you are looking to introduce a kid to the wonders of the DC Universe then look no further than LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, which not only features the return of the Batfamily, but a good portion of their friends and allies in the DCU like Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Hawkman, Black Canary, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Shazam, Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, Zatanna, and more! The LEGO games are fantastic fun. Just writing this up makes me wish I had put it on my Christmas list.
For the Self-Aware Comic Book Reader
Threadless is always a great place for off-beat and artistic t-shirts, and I’m a big fan of their comic book shirts. “Comic Book Collectors Have Many Issues” made me laugh. Because it’s true! We do!
For the High-Minded DC Comics Fan
Earlier this year the DC Collectibles Archival Print line was launched and it set many art-ling tongues a-waggin’. These 37 prints range in style from simple to busy, classic to modern, obvious to subtle. What I’m saying is that there’s something for everyone, assuming everyone likes artsy superhero prints. I have not seen the polling data on that.
For That Special Crafty Someone Who Enjoys Working with Needles
Lately, I have come to appreciate the fine art of cross-stitching and it’s all because of this little shop on Etsy. Right now there’s a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off cross-stitch thing happening in my apartment… and I have to admit, it looks fun. Maybe “fun” isn’t the right word. I do hear, “Today was really stressful, I need to cross-stitch” a lot. What do I know. The results are cool, anyway. At this shop you can buy either completed pieces or patterns to make your own, like the X-Men pattern seen above. Other comic book patterns currently available: Batman & Friends, Batman’s Enemies, Joker & Harley in Love, Justice League of America, Justice League International, Green Lanterns of Sector 2814, Watchman, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man & villians, The Sinister Six, Hellboy & The B.P.R.D., and a Superhero Alphabet Sampler. I’m told that because of the 8-bit style of the characters, these are great for beginners and the shop owner will even send you a PDF with thorough instructions and tips.
For the Socially-Minded Toy Collector
Like toys? Like the Justice League? Like helping people less fortunate than yourselves? Well, you’re in luck, kemosabe! This snazzy limited edition DC Collectibles We Can Be Heroes: Justice League 7-Pack Box Setwill check all those boxes. We Can Be Heroes is the charitable nonprofit organization that DC Entertainment started to help fight hunger in Africa and 10% of every purchase of these Justice League action figure sets goes directly to helping save lives through partner organizations Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps.
For the Person Who Spends More Time in the Kitchen Than Anywhere Else
I like to dabble in the kitchen. I also like to not spill delicious hot foods and sauces on my clothes and/or skin. My solution? A badass Batman apron that allows me to store such items as mixing spoons in the utility belt, and it came from this Etsy store. But Batman’s not the only superhero apron available; they’ve got Captain America (above), Spider-Man, and Robin. Aprons are available in full and half styles, and I am told that they could also make kind of cool fashion pieces.
For the Friend Who Speaks Mostly in Movie Quotes
Olly Moss is the hip artist du jour. Every time he has an art show here in Los Angeles it seems like everyone I know is there to check out his pop culture inspired art and spend their hard earned scratch on his ever more expensive pieces. I’ve even got two pieces in my apartment. The new art book Silhouettes From Popular Culture chronicles his extremely popular art show of the same name. The exhibit featured such comic book luminaries as The Joker (Heath Ledger), Batman (Adam West), Superman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Ant-Man, The Hulk, and The Fantastic Four just to name a few. I don’t know for sure that they’re all included in this book, but it’s a good bet at least some of them are. We know for sure that it’s got Maverick and Goose. (Poor Goose.)
For Those Who Believe That With Great Luxury Comes Great Responsibility
All year I’ve seen these robes on display at comic book conventions. On at least two occasions–San Diego and New York–I’ve almost come home with one. Usually the Captain Kirk because… c’mon. If you’re going to have a kind of silly yet super comfy looking robe it might as well be a gold Captain James Tiberius Kirk robe. But if Star Trek isn’t your thing there are plenty of superhero styles available at Stylin’ Online.
For That Friend Who Won’t Stop Talking Like Bane
Two of the three most popular superhero films of all time can be found in this The Dark Knight Trilogy box set, which means that it’s probably going to be found inside quite a few colorfully wrapped boxes this year. You also get a snazzy book and the awesome looking documentary The Batmobile that is an extra on The Dark Knight Rises. You also get all the time in the world to practice your Bane imitation that will sure to be a hit at parties.
For the Charitable Lover of History’s Greatest Heroes
Okay, technically speaking the t-shirts found at Ordinary People Change the World do not feature any comic book characters. But the organization was founded by sometime comic book writer Brad Meltzer (he wanted to create clothes for his daughters featuring true inspirational heroes) and he got Chris Eliopoulos to create the art. 10% of the profits on each shirt sale go to one of three charities voted on by the people who buy the shirts, which are available in both children and adult sizes.