iFanboy’s 2012 Holiday Gift Guide: The Expensive Stuff

As we’ve expounded over the course of this week, thoughtfulness and individual attention are key in selecting a holiday gift. Of course, such considerations only account for some 3% of a present’s worth. The real value is in, you guessed it, value. Retail value. To demonstrate to a loved one that you truly love them, it’s important to spend a significant — dare we say dangerous — amount of money. By the latter half of this month, you should each be teetering at the precipice of financial ruin, having spent nearly all of your resources on material goods and, we suppose, chestnuts. Holiday gifts from others will swoop in at the 11th hour to cushion your descent. For this system to work, we must each contribute to the cause. Who are a few ways to show the comic fans in your life that you indeed give a figgy pudding about them and commerce in general.


Man-Thing Will Make Their Hearts Sing


Man-Thing Omnibus HC

By Steve Gerber, Chris Claremont, Mike Ploog, Val Mayerik, John Buscema

Marvel Comics – $125

When Man-Thing eats too many of Aunt Petunia’s holiday cookies, he’s sure to break out in poinsettias. How festive! Seriously though, spend a little green on your loved ones with over a thousand pages of Marvel’s leafiest, mossiest transport system. Way better than a Chia-Pet because he feeds on both photosynthesis and your fear.


The Mark of a Prestige Book is the Mark of a Lovingly Reproduced Coffee Stain


Alien: The Illustrated Story  – The Original Art Edition

By Archie Goodwin & Walter Simonson

Titan Books – $75

Love it or loathe it, Prometheus rekindled our fascination with the Xenomorph and 1979’s original Alien. There are a handful of ways to enjoy Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson’s adaptation of the Ridley Scott classic this year. There’s a lovely color reprint in traditional trade paperback, and then there’s the boogie-board sized artist’s edition, featuring huge pages reproduced from Simonson’s original art. It’s a warts-and-all reproduction replete with coffee stains, hand-written notes and revisions, and even a few paste-in sound effects and art changes. Even the exterior of the book looks and feels like a hand-crafted artifact, yellowed with age and slightly tacky with mailing tape. The real draw are the bonus materials, including script pages and Simonson’s color tryout pages, produced before he had access to the film or any production photos. He had to guess what the alien looked like based on the script.

David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil: Born Again Artist’s Edition HC

Written by Frank Miller, Art by David Muzzucchelli

IDW – $125

Another enticing artist edition the size of a modest grave stone. After the disservice Mazzucchelli received on a recent misguided reprint of Batman: Year One, we’re looking at the artist’s original intent, at least at the pre-color stage. It’s a thrilling time to be a Daredevil fan, so why not look back to one of the character’s definitive story lines? For process junkies, this one is a no-brainer. Perhaps my favorite addition is the playful inclusion of tactile Braille inscriptions, as seen on the bottom right of the cover.


Never Starve a Fever Dream


The Invisibles Omnibus HC

Written by Grant Morrison, Art by Steve Yeowell, Jill Thompson, Phil Jiminez, Tommy Lee Edwards, Frank Quitely, etc

DC Comics / Vertigo – $150

If you’ve read Grant Morrison’s fascinating Supergods, a love letter to superhero comics and a memoir of his own experiences therein, you know that The Invisibles was composed under some fairly unusual circumstances, even for Scotland’s most transcendental son. It’s hard to say whether this saga of humanity’s last line of defense against pan-dimensional psionic subjugation is Morrison’s least lucid opus, as after all, there’s a lot of competition, but it’s that delightful kind of madness you embrace gleefully. Most of the people you care about will get some kind of sick in the new year, and this will prepare them for the fever far better than a dream catcher or a crate of clementines.

The Sandman Slipcase Set

Written by Neil Gaiman, Art by Dave McKean, Sam Keith, Kelley Jones, Jill Thompson, etc.

DC Comics / Vertigo – $199

I’m not going to pretend this is anyone’s introduction to Neil Gaiman’s variations on the themes of dream. Simply put, this newly released set is that next step down from the glorious Absolute editions, presenting all of the newly re-colored paperback collections in a lovely box designed by Dave McKean. Perhaps a more comfortable way to enjoy Sandman on the go, but still an imperious conversation piece.

The End is Just a Little Merrier When Brought About by Friends


X-Men: Age of Apocalypse Omnibus

Written by Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid, Fabian Nicieza, Jeph Loeb; Art by Ron Garney, Roger Cruz, Andy Kubert, etc.

Marvel Comics – $125

If you simply must evangelize the mutant manifesto, I urge you to at least spread the truth. In this one, I’m pretty sure they all show their true colors and we get to see what might happen if we don’t nip this mutant problem in the bud right now. The holidays are a perfect time for cautionary tales, like the one about the grasshopper and the ants and that other one about poor Mr. Fezziwig. This is a little like that, but with filthy mutants.

All of It. All. Of. It.


20th Century Boys, Vol. 1-22

By Naoki Urasawa

Viz – Something like $285.00

The 22 volumes of manga mastermind Naoki Urasawa’s, well, voluminous thriller 20th Century Boys are finally available in full here in North America. Personally, I haven’t made my way through the full score and change of these little gems (i’m chipping away at the quarter century mark) but I’d liken it to Stand By Me meets Se7en meets Zodiac. I guess what I’m saying is it’s a Stephen King coming of age conspiracy saga as directed by David Fincher. If that’s your bag, and it damn well is, go to town on this one the same as you did on the terrific Pluto. They go for around $12.99 each. That works out to just under $300. That’s love. That’s affection. That’s the whole sugarplum.

Slade is Definitely on the Naughty List


The New Teen Titans Omnibus, Vol. 2

Written by Marv Wolfman, Art by George Perez

DC Comics – $75

Better binding and glueing technology means a better reading experience on this second go with Dick and the gang. This volume collects the iconic “Judas Contract” storyline which so epitomizes this wildly popular run. In it, Slade Wilson earns his place in permanent ink on Santa’s naughty list. This might be a good one for any fans pining for more Young Justice, just so long as they’re open to delving into a previous era. It’s superhero teen soap opera at the height of the sub-genre’s popularity, rivaling even some of the best X-Men stories. Or all of them, since this doesn’t have mutants.

A Hymnal for That Midnight Mass


The Technopriests Supreme Collection HC

Written by Alexandro Jodorowsky, Art by Zoran Janjetrov, Fred Beltran

Humanoids – $114.95

This has been a banner year for science fiction, especially Weird science fiction. Beyond the influx of new works like Saga and The Manhattan Projects, Prophet and Planetoid, I’ve taken it upon myself to get better acquainted with masters of the genre like Jodorowsky and Moebius, finally snagging a copy of The Incal and The Metabarons. More and more of those European masterworks are making their way to these shores, and one of the latest is a hefty collection of Jodorowsky’s trippy galaxy-hopper, The Technopriests. If you know a cat who digs on the loftier, grungier works of Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman, hell, Frank Herbert, this could be their next jam.

If I Could Recommend Just One Collection That Might Not Fall on Your Radar…


Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Box Set

By Hayao Miyazaki
Viz – $60

Princess Mononoke. Howl’s Moving Castle. Spirited Away. Or my personal favorite, Castle in the Sky. They’re just some of the wondrous animated films on offer from Studio Ghibli and fantasist Hiyao Miyazaki. He’s your guy. His first major work was a bug-punk ode to the natural world in the magnificent Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. You can pick up the Blu-ray release of the film along with this box set of the companion manga story for a little over 50 clams. Wild worlds, strange creatures and a terrific female protagonist make this one perfect for a young reader. Yes, these two over-sized tomes are read from right to left, but the influences are as much European as they are Japanese. It’s a beautiful set. Trust me on this one.


  1. Euro/non-US Sci-Fi has been coming to these shores for many years – via Heavy Metal magazine. I heartily recommend folks check out Jodorowsky’s stuff.

    • True. A lot of readers prefer collections like these though. And there’s been a significant surge of Jodorowsky albums/GNs/translations in the US in the past year.

  2. A FANTASTIC list. I either own, or plan on owning, everything on this list…it’s all wonderful stuff.

  3. Glad to see Nausicaa here. And as the Amazon link will show, it is MUCH less expensive than the $60 list price. Very affordable and worth it. For about a week it had disappeared from Amazon and suddenly other sellers had it going for $80!

    Wish I’d picked up one of those Mazzucchelli Artist editions when it was still available at a discount.

    • The Nausicaa box set is gorgeous. Certainly my favorite collection released this year. All it’s missing are placeholder ribbons. I think I got it for around $35 (an insane bargain, given the content and packaging), but I had to include the full SRP to warrant including it on this list since it was my only opportunity to add it to our gift guide.

    • I was going to 1-up you and brag that I got mine for $33, but then remembered Amazon now has to charge sales tax here in PA. So yeah, $35 for me as well.

      Well done on cleverly including it on the expensive list. Glad to see it here.

    • Nausicaa is an amazing boxset. Alongside the Invisibles, the best collection of the year.

  4. aurgail (@aurelgaillard) says:

    Hey Paul,
    I think you think the 1st story of 20th Century Boys ends with 22, and then 21st Century boys starts a volume. But as I understand it, 21st Century Boys is really just 2 books, and the end of the story. 20th/21st Century Boys is just one big story.
    I’m even worse than you, after reading Pluto I’ve bought them all (they’re all out in France) and haven’t even opened one yet. The length is daunting.

  5. Be careful who ou give a Giant Sized Zman-Thing to. That can get you slapped.

  6. Not to be rude but now much money do you guys make‽!?
    I can barely afford any of the stuff on your regular holiday gift guides. Maybe it’s because I’m a student or because I’m from such a large family but when you take into account four siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles (thank god I don’t have any cousins) and friends I can just scrape together enough cash for £5 per person, which is either a book, a DVD or if I’m lucky a trade paperback and that’s after I’ve done group presents for non-immediately family (grandma and grandpa you can share).
    Does anyone actually spend $200 on a present that isn’t jewelery for a partner? And a follow up question; how did you get so loaded?
    Yours sincerely,
    A poor student

    • Finishing school, getting a job, and avoiding debt is the best way to afford stuff like this. And use something like mint.com to keep track of your finances. You might be surprised with how much you actually spend on things like eating out instead of cooking. Moderating vices (like smoking, drinking at bars, etc) is a great way to save money.

      And (far less practically) change your family traditions so you’re not buying presents for your aunts and uncles (my Mom is one of seven kids and my Dad is one of five kids, so add in the spouses and that would easily break my bank account in half. Buying presents for cousins would destroy me).

      I know that’s not realistic, but really, they’re family — they should understand you’re a student in a tough economic climate. Can you cook? Offer to come over and make dinner for them one night. Are you artistic? Make them some original art they can hang in their house. It’s about the feeling behind the gift, not the amount you spend on it.

    • The variants of a given person’s personal financial situation, as well as their priorities or even their credit card debt are myriad.

    • There is also an extent to which this, and every word I’ve ever typed since I discovered its possibilities, is satire.

    • @KenOchalek
      Some great advice there.
      I fully understand how to save money, I have an excel spreadsheet budgeting everything like an OCD mad man.
      I don’t think I’ve ever eaten out in the last year (unless someone else is paying) I pretty much survive exclusively on pasta and noodles and I’ve practically become a veterinarian because of the price of meat.
      My only vice is going to the cinema which I’ve done a lot recently.
      Being a TV production student isn’t cheap espeailly maintaining my own camera and sound kit :'(.
      Last year I started the tradition of group family presents for people who wanted something bigger, like a TV series boxset. My brother, my younger sister and I will group together and they’ll get it as a present from all three of us but even then it’s usually only £15 in total.
      Giving more personal (but cheaper) presents to indirect family is a good shout, I’ve got a lot of decent photos I took at family weddings this year, I might just print some of them out on my dad’s photo-paper.
      Hopefully one day I’ll get a job in TV and be able to afford this stuff, until then I’ll survive off my student loan and the odd bit of freelance editing work I find time to do, usually online car reviews.
      Thanks for taking my slightly grumbling, sarcastic post seriously. First world problems.

      @Josh Flanagan
      That was more the response I was expecting 😛

    • @kzap: You did of course mean vegetarian. Unless…my god! You’re posing as a veterinarian and taking in sick animals to supplement you diet! You sick, sick man!

    • @Master Destructo
      Yes I do. Spell checker is not on my side today 😛

    • @kzap: As a former TV student myself, maybe your family has a bunch of old family movies on VHS tape that you could track down, digitize (or digitise, in your case, haha) and cut together into something nice for the family.

      And since you own your own camera and audio kit (a huge asset as a student!), there’s always the personal video route. If you’re lucky enough to have your grandparents around, maybe you can interview them about how they met and fell in love or have them tell stories from your parents’ (and aunts’ and uncles’) childhoods. Same deal for your siblings (just swap your parents in for your grandparents). It’s not a competition, but those are the kinds of gifts that can totally win Christmas.

    • @KenOchalek
      Stop giving me genuinely smart and good ideas, I was just being silly, complaining on the Internet and you’re being helpful, that’s not how comment sections are supposed to work you’re suppose to start an argument or troll me 😛
      In all seriousness the home video thing is a good idea, we don’t really have any old footage, the first video camera my family got was a Mini-DV camcorder my parents gave me for my 14th birthday (which I’m still totally indebted to them for) but I could definitely do something with more recent footage.
      And now I feel like I’ve totally hijacked this thread, with my off topic rant about being poor. That’s one of big reasons I love this site, the community are so loving in the comments section.

    • Firmly in the 2% but I’m a cheapskate when it comes to gifts for my nieces and nephews. $20 each – they didn’t appreciate more thoughtful gifts when I took the time, so now I no longer do.

  7. I have the Invisibles Omnibus and it’s actually a lot more straightforward and cohesive then say his Doom Patrol run. It’s just full of giant ideas.

  8. I really wish Viz would get “20th Century Boys” going in their 3-in-1 VizBig format if only for the financial benefit of basically getting a volume for free… It’s really the only manga I’d like to have on my shelf to revisit other than Tezuka’s stuff and “Vagabond” by Takehiko Inoue.