It can be hard shopping for a comic book fan. You never know what issues they already have packed away in their long boxes or what graphic novel collections they’ve already ordered. And series get rebooted so often that there are a dozen Issue #1s, making searching for the right one confusing as heck.
But you can still get that special nerd in your life a good book. (Or get one for yourself. You deserve it.) Here are five books about comics that should appeal to both casual and serious fans.
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My sister got me the previous edition of this book for Christmas a few years back, and I LOVE it. I spent most of the afternoon on Christmas and the day after reading it from cover to cover–which is no small accomplishment, because this book is huge. If anyone interrupts your reading, it’s so heavy that you could probably use it to knock them out.
It has entries for the people, places, and events in the Marvel Universe–both significant and obscure. It’s a ton of fun to browse through and learn more about your favorite characters and the weird heroes and villains you’ve never heard of. The entries all have art straight from the comics, so it’s fun to look at, too. You’ll have a hard time finding a cooler book to set on your coffee table.
DC: Women of Action
This book made a big splash on social media when it was first announced, and I want it. I want it so bad.
I’d be lying if I said the main attraction wasn’t the pretty, pretty art. The book has some impressive talent behind it and showcases the work of a lot of female artists. According to the description, “This book focuses in on the fierce, strong, and independent heroes, along with the real-life women integral to their development.” And that’s definitely a mission statement I can get behind.
DC Comics Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior
Speaking of fierce, strong heroines…
I got an older version of this, The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia, on sale at Barnes and Noble a while back. That one came out before the movie and is missing a lot of current info, though, so you might want to go with this more recent one.
Despite being one of DC’s Trinity along with Superman and Batman, Wonder Woman doesn’t get as much focus, in my opinion. Her extensive background and mythology aren’t as well known as say, Batman’s rogue’s gallery or Superman’s supporting cast. She has a lot of cool villains, allies, and storylines that you may not be aware of, and this book is the perfect way to learn about them.
The League of Regrettable Superheroes
Have you ever read some Golden Age comics? They were bonkers, you guys. Next time you’re bored, check out the Digital Comic Museum, where you can read old public domain comics for free. Some of the characters you’ll find there appear in the pages of The League of Regrettable Superheroes.
These days, superheroes are the epitome of cool. Batman? Captain Marvel? Iron Man? So cool. It’s easy to forget that superheroes can be pretty silly, too. This book introduces you to some lesser known superheroes who didn’t quite capture the public’s hearts and minds like say, Wonder Woman or Captain America.
(Though it also includes Fantomah and Captain Science, and no one will ever convince me they’re not awesome.)
If you want to laugh and learn something at the same time, this is a good book to check out.
The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History
This is another book on my wish-list this year. If you like superheroines and comic book history, you might want to put it on yours, too. The book is organized by decade, from the 1930s to the 2010s, and it spotlights hundreds of female comic book characters. There’s everyone from famous icons like Batgirl to lesser known but groundbreaking characters like Torchy Brown. It looks amazing, and I hope I end up unwrapping it on Christmas.
What are your recommendations? Anything you’re buying for someone or want yourself this year? Let me know in the comments!