Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Ancillary Characters Christmas Shopping Guide Extravaganza!!!

The Comprehensive Christmas List, a Paul and Seth collaboration event!

With Christmas looming and so many options for comics fans to choose from it can be difficult to buy gifts that truly fit your loved one's interests. What do you get for that cousin who loves sci-fi and dancing cats? What about that wacky uncle who's mildly obsessed with people with antlers growing out of their heads?

That's where we come in. Armed with an abundance of knowledge about what book, toy or accessory fits which personality we've thrown together this Christmas Gift Buyer's Guide just for you. Buying for your deranged aunt who has a weird proclivity for reading books about serial killers has never been so easy!


For the Art Lover: Fables Covers by James Jean

If you're like us then you probably can't tell realist from expressionist. On the other hand you can no doubt tell when something is "purty" and James Jean's work fits that bill. His Fables covers are among our favorites and this book is a great gift for any lover of fine art... or just pretty pictures.

For the Tough Guy: Parker: the Martini Edition

Darwyn Cooke's take on the well-regarded Parker novels just oozes cool. The guys are ragged and ready to fight, and the dames are conniving and beautiful. Basically this is the perfect book for a guy who likes fast cars and fast action. It's a meld of noir and mystery with nostalgia soaked art. Buy it and wrap it in old newspaper or oil soaked rags.


For the lover of High Concept Sci-Fi and Bizarre Comedy: Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E ultimate collection
Warren Ellis' and Stewart Immonen's Nextwave may not have sold like gangbusters but it certainly left an impression on those that read it. With big, goofy action and ridiculously hilarious moments this was one of the best books Marvel published in the last decade. Filled to overflowing with great lines, hilarious catchphrases and guffaw-inducing set pieces and gags you can not go wrong with this book.

For the Cutesy Type: Funco Pop Vinyl Figures/Bobbleheads

These things will make you go "aww" as soon as you lay eyes on them. Just take a gander for yourself...

For the Young Comics Reader: Super Dinosaur vol 1

This trade paperback is written by Robert Kirkman... which seems odd since his previous work includes the adult-driven likes of Walking Dead and Haunt. Still, this is perfect for kids of all ages. Best of all the main characters are a young, genius-level kid and a crime fighting dinosaur. That's as good as it gets right there, folks.

For the James Bond Type: Who is Jake Ellis vol 1

This was probably Image's biggest hit this year. Centering around a man who has a voice in his head that helps him survive against hordes of dark and shadowy types this book is as much a noir-tinged mystery as it is a spy thriller.

For the 1980's Babies: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Collection Vol. 1

Ah, sweet, sweet nostalgia! Those of use coming up in the late 80's and early 90's had the privilege of watching the TMNT cartoon, as well as the original movies. Thanks to the nice people over at IDW, we not only have an awesome new ongoing series with the Heroes in a Half Shell, but now we have this amazing collection of the original series to gape at. Oh, and to read of course. It retails for $50, but over at Amazon you can catch it on a great deal. And it's sitting fat and happy on my Christmas list... Turtle Power!

For the Girlfriend You're Trying to Get In to Comics: Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol. 1

Trust me fellas, if my wife can get into a comic and actually READ it, anyone can... And now she's anxiously awaiting the second volume. I said it when I read this run in issues: this is a perfect starting point for anyone wanting to get in to reading Wonder Woman comics. Easily some of the best stuff I've read in ages by J.M.S., this is a fantastic intro for your girlfriend. Plus, then you can read it! Win, win.

For the Reader Who Thinks He (or She) is Too Cool for Comics: Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft

You know that friend that loves to read but just doesn't take comics seriously? This is the book for them. Written by Joe Hill (the son of Stephen King), this book will wow just about anyone, comic reader or no. The mystery, the humor, and the sometimes horrifying horror is about as captivating as any comic I've ever read. Any reader will instantly fall in love with these characters, and before they know it they'll be four volumes deep into the series, with no chance of turning back.

Regardless of your feelings about the Green Lantern movie, this is one awesome piece of merchandise. Many of you may already have that free plastic GL ring from the Blackest Night issues, but just imagine putting on this custom sized sterling ring and saying the oath... when no one else is around. A bit pricy at 145 smackaroos, this is a definite must-have for the hardcore collector. And when it comes from the Noble Collection, you know it's high quality merchandise.

For the DC Fanboy: Geoff Johns Flash Omnibus vol 1

This book will give endless hours of pleasure to that DC comics-obsessed loved one. This is vintage Johns. If ten years ago can be considered "vintage". With art by the likes of Scott Kollins and Howard Porter and Johns writing like he has something to prove this is one of the best books DC was publishing at the time. Furthermore it helped establish Johns as one of the best superhero writers in comics and defined Wally West as THE Flash for many of us.

For the Marvel Zombie: Thor by Walt Simonson Omnibus

The great thing about this book is that it can also be used as a door stop, or to batter invading Frost Giant hordes with. At a vicious 1192 pages this is one of the biggest, baddest books the Marvel fan in your life will ever lay eyes on. I've praised this series on the site before so I won't spend too much time heaping more on it other than to say that Walt Simonson's Thor run is a visual feast. Having so many issues of one of the greatest runs of all time in one volume is a God-send... no pun intended.

For the Book Collector: Absolute Identity Crisis

Owning Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales, line-changing story in such a large, gorgeously packaged format will no doubt please any book lover. Morales did the work of his career here, and Meltzer helped redefine the DCU for years. Though some readers balked at the darkness prevalent in the mini there's no denying it had a huge impact on the medium as a whole. Having a copy available in this particular format will only further cement it's place in history.

For People Who Live In a Cave: Batman & Robin Vol. 1: Batman Reborn

Ok, maybe that isn't fair... But if you're even a comic/Batman fan thrice removed, how have you not read this? Grant Morrison's run on B&R is without a doubt some of the best (if not THE best) Batman comics in years. And with art by Morrison's pal Frank Quitely, this is a Must Read. Trust me, for around $10 on Amazon, you'll not find a better buy for the holidays.

For the Person Who Wants to Live their Favorite Story: Locke & Key replica keys

I'm torn between wanting all of these for myself and buying them to give out to the slew of friends I've loaned the books to who instantly fell in love with the series. These are eerily detailed and exact replicas of many of the keys found through out the Joe Hill/Gabriel Rodriguez-created series and at a measly 25 bucks they make a great gift or a perfect stocking stuffer.

For the Batman Begins/Dark Knight Fan: Batman: Year One

DC's animation line has seen an impressive slate of releases with titles like Batman: Under the Red Hood, DC: The New Frontier, and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies standing out. From all accounts so far, Year One is a faithful recreation of the Frank Miller/David Mazzuchelli series that reinvented Batman post-Crisis on Infinite Earths and served as an inspiration for Batman Begins. This is perfectly suited for someone who loved Nolan's Batman films but hasn't taken a step toward picking up a comic just yet.

For Family Time: The Muppet Show Vol. 1: Meet the Muppets

It's time to meet the Muppets! If you haven't seen the new Muppet movie in theaters now, go! Watch! If the blast of nostalgia doesn't get you, the quirky humor will. This collection is a great comic for the family, particular for reading to the kids, but still fun enough for any adult. In a time when Jim Henson's greatest creations are making a comeback, what better gift to have under the tree than some Muppet Show magic?

For the Completist: Bone 20th Anniversary Edition

A massive, hardcover, slip-cased volume of Jeff Smith's fantasy classic is just what that person who stocks their shelves with every single new trade and hardcover needs. Despite it's near-hundred dollar price tag, this book is a bargain. This book collects the entire 1344 page Bone adventure in full color with plenty of behind-the-scenes material to back it up. At that size it's also the only book that could beat the Walt Simonson book in a fight...

For the Cowboy (or cowgirl): The Sixth Gun volumes 1&2

Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurt are crafting one of the great indie action/adventure titles with the Sixth Gun. Steeped as it is in folklore and paranormal happenings setting it in the old West is the final bullet in the chamber of this book's appeal. With interesting, fun characters, endlessly exciting action set pieces and an escalating story that guy or girl that adores John Ford Westerns or the Coen brothers recent True Grit remake will fall hard for this. Just be prepared to buy it for yourself after they won't shut up about how great it is.

For ANYONE: Joe the Barbarian

Sure, here at Ancillary Characters we could be classified as Grant Morrison fans. His Batman & Robin was one of our favorite books and one that we endlessly fawned over on the podcast we used to host. However, I don't believe our love of Morrison colored the opinions formed over this book. Beautifully illustrated by Sean Murphy this is one of those great writer/artist combinations that come along so rarely in comics. The story centers on a young kid who slips in a fever dream where he must navigate a treacherous environment in order to restore light to a defeated kingdom while in reality navigating his own home in a hallucinatory daze. It might sound simple but this was one of if not the best mini series released last year.

This has been released in an oversized, deluxe hardcover with some back up material. Best of all, it's a true all-ages story. Though featuring a young protagonist, there's as much here for your 50 year old uncle as for your 13 year old nephew. This is the can't-miss book of the Holiday season...

So there you have it folks! If that list isn't comprehensive or diverse enough for any comic fan, aspiring reader, or unsure shopper, then we don't know what is. Salutations from Paul and Seth, and good luck!


  1. Lots of good stuff here. I've been meaning to take a look at Locke and Key. Lovecraft is a passing interest of mine.

  2. U gotta do it Allen. It's great stuff.