Valiant Comics is back! Again! Really this time! With their newest announcement, I go over the history of Valiant, from their first signs of trouble (:coughACCLAIMcough:) to the revelation of their Free Comic Book Day cover for 2012, and I give those working for the company a few suggestions.
But going back in time, we’re sticking with Christmas, and another of my “buying for the geek on your list” columns, this one from 2006.
Everything But Imaginary #192: How Do You Buy For Your Geek?
The countdown has begun, friends. We’ve got less than a month left until Christmas, Kwanza, Chanukah, National Boll Weevil Appreciation Day or whatever it is you personally celebrate. No matter what, the time has come to start your shopping in earnest, because pretty soon the time will come to start handing out those gifts.
And as those of us who proudly gather under the Geek Umbrella know, this is the time of year when we both give and receive those great gifts that come with our heritage: comic books, DVDs, statues, toys, pencil boxes with the Punisher’s logo on them… in this day and age, there are more geek goodies available than ever before. So as has become something of a tradition here at Everything But Imaginary Global Headquarters, today we’re going to talk about some of the goodies currently available for the Geek out there. Now for most of you, you don’t need this list. The people in a Geek’s life are often non-Geeks, and when you do have a fellow Geek to shop for, you can pretty easily figure out what to get for them. So this guide isn’t for the regular EBI reader. No, my friends, this is a guide for your family and friends. This is a checklist of the New and the Cool out there in comic stores and retail outlets alike. Today we’re gonna talk about the swag you want for Christmas, so print out this column and conveniently leave it lying around where the clueless loved one may happen to find it. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
As a Geek, perhaps the second-greatest shared obsession (second behind comic books, of course), are DVDs. Right now, there are a lot of ‘em out there. Superman fans have entered a golden age. Just yesterday saw the release of Superman Returns in two editions (a barebones and a two-disc special edition), plus a 14-disc collector’s edition that collects it along with all four of the original Christopher Reeve movies, the director’s cut of the original Superman and the never-before seen Richard Donner cut of Superman II. I haven’t had a chance yet to view the Donner cut (which is also available separately), but several reliable sources (i.e. Mark Blicharz) are reporting that this original version, what the movie would have been had the Salkinds not fired Donner before the movie was completed, is the best superhero movie ever made. And I believe that – even the original cut was close, only the cheesy ending prevented it from reaching that peak.
If you’re not up for the greatest superhero movie ever made, how about the greatest superhero TV show? Justice League Unlimited, having been prematurely ushered from the airwaves by the knuckleheads at Cartoon Network (do I sound bitter?) has now hit the DVD shelves. Spinning off the original solid Justice League cartoon, the new series added dozens of other DC characters to the original seven Leaguers, often giving minor heroes the spotlight and making some of the most exciting moments in superhero history. This show was just plain brilliant, and even if there aren’t any new episodes in the making, I can watch the old ones again and again. And again.
If you’re not in the market for DVDs, how about home décor? Comic geek statues are becoming pretty big these days. DC Direct’s “Women of the DC Universe” line, for example, shows off the likes of Power Girl, Supergirl and Harley Quinn as designed by Adam Hughes. Graphitti Designs has statuary showing off Jeff Smith’s Bone characters, View Askew stars like Jay and Silent Bob, Bernie Hogarth’s designs for Tarzan and the stars of the classic Tales From the Crypt comics.
Speaking of those classic comics, Gemstone has begun a new line of archive collections of those old EC Comics titles, like Weird Science, Shock SuspenStores and Tales From the Crypt. Add this to already venerable archival lines such as the Dark Horse Archives, DC Comics Archives and Marvel Masterworks, and there are thousands of classic, legendary comics available for the Geek in your life.
Ah, but you don’t have anyone on your list interested in the classics of the past, you say. Your friends are looking ahead, to the new technologies. Not a problem, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which is getting rave reviews, is available for virtually every video game platform there is. If you’ve got a friend who managed to fight through the crowds and win one of the estimated twelve Playstation 3 units available in North America (or if you’re stuck in the past and still playing on a PS2), they can now suit up as Spider-Man, Captain America, the Fantastic Four or any of 20 playable characters, then throw down with dozens of different villains. A good gift for the comic geek or the gamer on your list.
Similar to statuary, prop replicas are becoming a big business as well. Quantum Mechanix has begun a line of replica props from the movie Serenity, such as Alliance Money Packs and Captain Mal Reynolds’ pistol. There are tons of props available for such movies as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Batman Begins and Hellboy, and now comic book props are available as well. You can own Green Lantern’s power battery or Captain America’s mask. These last few have always kind of perplexed me, actually – how do you make a replica of something that, technically, never existed? Ah, well…
Dark Horse Comics, always a home for quality collectibles, is putting out a ton of cool stuff too. They’ve got plenty of statues and books, but also unique items like lunchboxes, playing chards, Zippo lighters, Christmas tree ornaments and Syroco-style figurines featuring classic Peanuts characters, Golden Age DC heroes and even Kellogg’s cereal mascots like Snap, Crackle and Pop and Tony the Tiger.
What about the young geeks out there? As a medium, comic books need to make an effort to lure the young, after all. The good news is, there’s stuff out there for them too. The Marvel Adventures and Justice League Unlimited digest paperbacks are solid reads, and it’ll always be fun to stuff a stocking full of Archie digests. If your kid is into Disney, you can give ‘em a gold mine, with stuff like Gemstone’s The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck and The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck Companion. These books aren’t just for the young – they’re some of the best comic books ever made, bar none.
It really is a wonderful time to be a Geek, friends. There’s more stuff out there for us than ever before. So what are some of the things on your wish list this year? What neat goodies are you hoping to find under the tree? Share your wish lists with us here. And here’s hoping you get everything you need, and a few things you want.
Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast and the weekly audio fiction podcast Blake M. Petit’s Evercast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page, and check out his new experiment in serial fiction at Tales of the Curtain.