Holiday Recommendations 2011: Comics

Have a comic book fan in the family? The comics gurus here at Lytherus have put together a fantastic list of new comic books (and a book about comics!), along with a few oldies but goodies, that will make a great addition to any library.

 

DC Comics: The New 52

Released Dec. 13, 2011

Author/Illustrator: Various

In the mood for some last minute shopping? (Don’t have a choice because you procrastinated?) DC Comics: The New 52 is a 1,216 page compilation includes every #1 issue that will not be released until December 13.  This book is a perfect way for new comic fans as well as those who have been out of the game for a while to easily get an idea for the  flavor of each of the new series. The catch is that the list price for this item is $150.00 but don’t worry both Amazon and Barnes and Noble are selling this book for $89.99 (still ouch, but much more reasonable). Pre-ordering is an option for those who don’t want to cut it close.

 

Absolute Sandman Vol. 5

Released Nov. 8, 2011

Author/ Illustrator: Neil Gaiman and Various

Absolute Sandman Vol. 5 is a little different from the first 4 (though we’d highly recommend those too) – The first four volumes collect the series in chronological order. Vol 5 brings together a good amount of side material that doesn’t fit easily into the regular chronology. It is broken into three sections. The first section “Endless Nights” is a gather of stories about The Endless who are “a family of magical and mythical beings who exist and interact in the real world”. Secondly is “Sandman: Midnight Theatre” showcasing Golden Age superhero Wesley Dodds (The Sandman) as he goes on a mission to un cover fascists in London. Lastly is “Sandman: The Dream Hunters,” which is the tale of a monk who falls in love with a kitsune and is subsequently endangered by dream eaters who want to kill him. The kitsune and the monk must learn how to save one another.

This is another expensive buy at about $73.64 on Amazon, but anything coming out of the Sandman line or, really, from Neil Gaiman is a pretty safe bet.

 

The Walking Dead: Compendium One

Released May 2009

Author: Robert Kirkman

Illustrator: Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, Tony Moore

We’re cheating here. This is a repeat suggestion from last year – but here’s the thing, The Walking Dead on AMC just keeps getting more and more popular! How can we NOT keep pushing the comic series, which is even better. The Walking Dead Compendium is great because it assembles the first 8 volumes worth of collections (which you also have the option of buying individually) into a giant, 1088 page book. This is the equivalent of the first 48 issues. The nice thing about an older book like this is that you can get a crazy amount of comics for a decent price –you can find this on Amazon between $30.00 – $35.00.

TV show aside, this is a great series and a New York Times Best Seller. Follow Rick Grimes from the moment he wakes up in the hospital to find himself in a post-apocalyptic world filled with the un-dead to about the point where the survivors find Hershel’s farm.

 

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command

Released Nov. 22, 2011

Author/Illustrator: Haden Blackman, Rick Leonardi, Dan Green, Wes Dzioba

Taking place shortly after Anakin Skywalker transformed into the Sith Lord, about 19 years before Episode IV, this great graphic novel showcases the between period of psychological transition from one to the other. Vader is haunted by the memory of Padme and the life the two of them could have built together. He feels ultimately responsible for her death. Though these feelings plague him, he has no time for such a sentimental way of being; he has been given a mission by the Emperor to find the missing ship of Grand Moff Tarkin’s son, Admiral Garoche Tarkin which is somewhere in the Ghost Nebula of the Atoan System. Turmoil quickly ensues upon their arrival as they realize that civil unrest awaits them in this overlooked corner of the Republic. See the full Lytherus review here, where you will also find a preview of the book.This new 120 page hardcover collection goes for about $17.00 on Amazon.

 

A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel

        Released 2008

Author: Sean Michael Wilson (Adapter) Charles Dickens (Author)

Illustrator (Mike Collins)

Love the tale, don’t like the length of the original book? Sometimes things are just more interesting with pictures. This beautifully constructed graphic novel is a well-written representation of the classic Dickens story that we all know so well. The cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits on Christmas eve as they attempt to show him the love of mankind existing all around him and ultimately save his soul.  This 134 page book also includes interesting support material with educational information detailing the life and work of Charles Dickens and a description of life in Victorian England. (So in other words this is a great way to entertainingly trick kids into learning something.) Because this graphic novel is older and of an educational nature, you will be able to find it online for about $10.00.

 

Marvel Firsts: The 1960s

Released October 26, 2011

Authors: Stan Lee, Gary Friedrich, Jack Kirby Roy Thomas, Gardner Fox

Illustrator: Gene Colan

This is the first of a set of two books and the only one to be released before the Christmas deadline. “Compiled in one titanic tome: the famous first issues of dozens of your favorite super heroes and super-hero teams…” including the Hulk, Dr. Strange, Nick Fury, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, Daredevil, the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Defenders.  You will get about 488 pages of “firsts”, equaling 26 issues, for about $20.00. The up side to this is that you get to physically hold, in one organized compilation, the first issues of so many fan-favorite characters. The down side is that if you are a Marvel digital comics subscriber then you can read these anyway because most of their old stuff is included in your yearly digital rate. Still – if you can’t have the originals, this is the next best (physical copy) thing. Expect the second book, featuring the firsts of the 1970s to be released in March of 2012.

 

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby: The Wonder Years

Released Nov. 30, 2011

Author: Mark Alexander

Who couldn’t love a book about comic books! (On second thought, don’t answer that…) We do! Stan Lee & Jack Kirby: The Wonder years was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fantastic Four #1. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are renowned for their creativity which kicked off a decade of comics that we are still feeling the effects of today. “Calling on his years of research, plus new interviews conducted just for this book [with Stan Lee, Flo Steinberg, Mark Evanier, Joe Sinnott, and others], regular Jack Kirby Collector magazine contributor Mark Alexander traces both Lee and Kirby’s history at Marvel comics, and the remarkable series of events and career choices that led them to converge in 1961 to conceive the Fantastic Four.” (book synopsis) Learn about the first decade  of the FF, details concerning Lee and Kirby’s working relationship as well as their fateful parting of ways in 1970. The book also includes of some of the classic Kirby artwork.

This book won’t break your bank at $20.00. This particular recommendation is for the die hards in the audience who don’t just want to read the comics, they want to read about the comics.

 

Flashpoint

Released Nov 1st, 2011

Author: Geoff Johns

Illustrator: Andy Kubert

The event that turns the entire DC Universe upside down and leads directly into the New 52, Flashpoint, is THE comic event of the year. With great writing from Geoff Johns and stunning art from Andy Kubert, the hardcover graphic novel collecting all five issues is the perfect gift for your favorite comic book fan.

Barry Allen(better known as The Flash) wakes up one day to find that the entire world has been changed. His mother, who has been dead for years, is alive and well, and his fellow superheroes, including Batman, have undergone changes too. On top of that, Aquaman and Wonder Woman prepare to wage war against each other. The Flash, with the help of Batman, Cyborg, and the other superheroes, must find a way to stop the war and set things right before it is too late.

Not only is this a fun read with superb storytelling, it also basically starts the entire DC Universe all over again. A comic with such an impact on its universe and its characters should not be missed by anyone who claims to like comic books. Find the Lytherus review here!

 

Batman: Noel

Released November 8th, 2011

Author/Illustrator: Lee Bermejo

One of this year’s best graphic novels, Batman Noel puts a fun, original spin on the classic A Christmas Carol story by Charles Dickens. Written and drawn by the talented Lee Bermejo, this original graphic novel will get you in the holiday spirit while satisfying your desire for a good Batman story at the same time.

In this story, Batman is put in the role of Scrooge, unfriendly, detached from other people, and cruel at times. Superman and Catwoman function as two of the spirits who come to Scrooge and attempt to make him change, while the Joker kind of functions as the third spirit.

Well-written, original, and deeply satisfying, Batman Noel stands apart from the countless other graphic novels being released this month and just might make a Batman fan out of anyone who reads it. Click here for the Lytherus review!

 

War of the Green Lanterns

Released Nov. 22nd, 2o11

Author/Illustrator: Various

Another winner from DC Comics, War of the Green Lanterns stands as one of the best Green Lantern stories to date, and features some of the best work we’ve seen from writer Geoff Johns.

A new foe threatens the universe, and Hal Jordan, along with his fellow Green Lanterns, must stop him before it’s too late. But sacrifices must be made, and the consequences of Hal Jordan’s choices are shocking.

Those who lost hope in the Green Lantern series after seeing the movie can rejoice. Not only does this story arc offer plenty of thrills and breathtaking action,  it also changes Green Lantern comics forever. Those wanting to know more after the shocking cliffhanger will have to read The New 52 Green Lantern series. This  graphic novel  is definitely worth your money.

 

 Ultimate Comics: Death of Spiderman

Released Nov. 2nd, 2011

Author: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrator: Mark Bagley

In this collection from thepopular Ultimate Spiderman series, one of Marvel’s most beloved superheroes meets his end. It is an event that has been heavily marketed and highly anticipated, but now that it has hit store shelves, does it live up to the hype? The answer is yes, it more than lives up to the hype.

In this stunning collection, we witness Peter Parker fight off a group of his greatest enemies, collectively known as the Sinister Six, with the help of his friends Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake.  He prepares to fight his most powerful foe and the leader of the Sinister Six, the Green Goblin. This amazing graphic novel showcases the last stand of Spiderman, and it truly is a spectacular book. It all boils down to Spidey taking on one of his oldest foes in one final, glorious fight.

Anyone who wants to see one of the most historic showdowns in comic book history will love this incredible collection.

 

Posted on by Lauren Zurchin