iFanboy’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide: New Reader Friendly

Here at the iFanboy Brownstone, Paul has taken to wandering the halls with a giant parchment and quill muttering “Naughty… naughty… ni–no, naughty…” under his breath and Conor is in a perpetual state of egg nog-induced drunkenness. It can only mean one thing. The holidays are here!! And what’s the best part of the holiday? PRESENTS!!! My fourth grade teacher Sister Estelle assured me that giving a present can be more rewarding than receiving one. So why not give the wonderful gift of comics to your loved ones.


For Your Mom Who Loved Skyfall


While your mom will argue that no Bond film can ever be as good as the ones with Sean Connery, you both can agree that Skyfall was by far the best of the more modern Bond movies. Speaking of totally kick-ass British spies, it doesn’t get better than Tara Chace. Every bit the grizzled and coldly efficient agent Daniel Craig’s James Bond is, Chace is the lead character of Greg Rucka’s fantastic Queen & Country comics and novels (she could also eat Roger Moore’s Bond for breakfast). Wrap up Queen & Country, Vol. 1, Definitive Edition published by Oni Press. Exploding pen not included.


For Your Dad Who Loves a Good Heist Movie


From classics like The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery and High Risk to the modern remakes of Ocean’s 11 and The Italian Job, if there’s a heist movie on TCM or AMC you’re dad is glued to the television set for the next two hours. I highly recommend this year’s Parker: The Score by Darwyn Cooke for him. Based on the Richard Stark Parker novels, The Score is a classic “perfect heist gone wrong” story with some of the most beautiful art in comics. You could also grab this for your cousin the graphic designer who loves Mad Men.


For Your Brother Who Loves No Reservations and Has an Enormous Man-Crush on Anthony Bourdain


Your brother is pretty serious about food. Like flies to Minnesota in the middle of February for a good Jucy Lucy kind of serious. His goal is to travel his way through at least one season of No Reservations. He loves Anthony Bourdain and his fierce (and judgmental) passion for food. Luckily Vertigo has the perfect answer already: Bourdain’s foray into graphic novels, Get Jiro!.


For Your Sister Who Still Cannot Stop Talking bout The Avengers and Who Occasionally Pokes Around Your Comic Collection


This is a bit of a radical idea. It’s not something I’d recommend for everyone. But let’s say your sister has been completely and totally gushing over Marvel’s The Avengers since it came out. She hasn’t stopped asking you questions about the characters and their back stories since May. And let’s also say that she’s always poked around the fringes of comics but hasn’t really jumped in yet.

Here’s what I would do. Go out the comic shop, dig up the four issues of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye, wrap them up together, and put them under the tree. Matt Fraction is great with snappy, witty dialog, and his Clint Barton as a “regular” guy trying to get through the day in a world full of super-powered villains and neighborhood thugs is very Whedon-esque. It’s also not weighted down by years of continuity and tie-ins. So throw your sister in the deep end of the comics pool she’s been dipping her toe into and see if she can swim.


For Your Cousin Who’s Really Digging That Walking Dead Show


Even if your brains were eaten by a zombie, I’m pretty sure you could figure this one out. If your cousin is watching and enjoying The Walking Dead on AMC, this is the perfect opportunity to get him hooked on Robert Kirkman’s brutal tale of life after the zombie apocalypse. The Walking Dead Book One is the perfect gateway drug for a burgeoning comics addiction.


For Your Aunt Who is Totally Obsessed with Once Upon a Time


ABC’s series about displaced fairy tale characters has some pretty fierce followers, your aunt being among them. I am not one to blindly recommend Fables to new readers the way a lot of people do, but this is a no brainer. While the residents of Fabletown aren’t magic-induced amnesiacs like the cast of Once Upon a Time, you’re aunt will enjoy a lot of familiar faces as well as action and plot twists. Start her off with Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile and see how she does.


For Your Uncle Who Cannot Wait For More Downton Abbey


Oh, Downton! What manor manner of spell have you cast on us! The highly addictive British period series got its hooks into your uncle and now he’s jonesing for more Lady Mary, Cousin Matthew, and OH MY GOD WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH BATES!!!

No doubt you’re scratching your head at my choice, but hear me out. No matter how posh and polished it may look, Downton Abbey is melodrama at it’s very, very best. It’s a brilliant serialized drama full of interpersonal tension, a foul play death that won’t stay buried, and lots of, what I like to call, kissyfaces. You know what else has all that? Rick Remender’s amazing Uncanny X-Force. I’d recommend the Dark Angel Saga arc for the very best of all those elements. Start with Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga, Book 1 and Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga, Book 2.


For Your Best Friend Who Loves Lost, Sherlock, and a Good Mystery


When you kids, she made you play Nancy Drew, in high school it was The X-Files, and you still haven’t really forgiven her for making you watch the entirety of Lost. She start shrieking like a teenager with Bieber Fever when you mention Benedict Cumberbatch or Sherlock. Mind the Gap, Volume 1: Intimate Strangers is full of twists and shocking reveals that will have her clamoring for more. It’s slick and modern, but there’s the perfect amount of supernatural twists to keep things more interesting than the regular mystery/crime drama.


  1. Also, for your relative who is alive and who likes things: Saga.

  2. Good suggestions. Parker and Queen & Country are excellent recommendations.

  3. You should throw one out there for your gamer roomate who loves DKR and Arkham City (even though it’d be pretty obvious)

  4. Forgiveness for being made to watch all of Lost?? How dare you, ma’am?!?! LOCKE/LINUS 2016!!!

    Great List. I always recommend the Daytripper trade to people who just can’t get past equating comics with capes.

    • Also, there’s only one comic for LOST fans. Morning Glories seems to share the same universe and scratches that same itch. If you loved LOST and haven’t checked it out, run don’t walk.

  5. HAHA!

    Ali, I’m a big fan of both Downton and Uncanny X-Force, but you must’ve pulled a muscle with that stretch. A+ for effort though.

    On a related note, what IS going to happen with Bates?

  6. My wife was asking for something to read last night, so I dug out the first Unwritten trade for her. Not sure what she thinks of it yet, but it seems like a good choice for a fairly wide audience.

  7. I recently bought a few Christmas gifts for my friends who doesn’t actively read comics.
    Batman Vol. 1 The Court of Owls – for my friend who likes Batman.
    Saga Vol. 1 – for my friend who loved Sandman and wants something “different”.
    Crossed Vol. 3 & 4 – for my two friends who loves over the top violence, nudity, and sex.

  8. Last Christmas, on top of my other gifts to them, I decided to give each of my parents as well as my sister and her husband a graphic novel / TPB, ones custom picked for their individual reading sensibilities. None of these people had ever read a comic before – but they certainly loved all kinds of movies and TV shows, many based on comic book properties. This is what I went with…

    FATHER (the spy-fi nut): *Who Is Jake Ellis?*
    MOTHER (animal-lover): *Pride of Baghdad*
    SISTER (crime drama addict): *Echoes*
    BRO-IN-LAW (loves everything): *Y: The Last Man, vol. 1*

    When they unwrapped their comics, each seemed surprised to have been given one, but enthusiastic to check them out. As of today, more than 11 months later? The only one who even cracked open his/her comic is my dad – and though he was grateful for the thought, he thought *Who Is Jake Ellis?* was just okay, not great. It didn’t spark any desire on his part to read anymore comics.

    It was disappointing… but at least I tried, right? I hope you guys have better luck with your gift-giving.

  9. Get Jiro is just a great book. I think anybody who can handle a little gore would love it.

  10. A gift should be about the givee, not the giver. Comic fans giving comic books to adult non-readers is a bad idea. Every year ifanboy promotes this obnoxious, self-centered idea and every year I scratch my head in bewilderment. Then I go to the stores and buy gifts thinking, “what would that person I love want for a gift?”, not “how can i teach the people I love to see the light and love comics?” Bionic Dave’s experience sounds about right to me , and also shows the flawed thinking…”at least I tried…” Tried what? To “convert” people? Show Mom you love her by thinking of her, not yourself.

  11. The only idea that makes any sense would be Walking Dead for the tv show fan.