Tagged: Holiday

Ed Catto’s 2020 Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1

It’s been a rough year for most of us, but in Geek Culture there have been plenty of bright spots. In the spirit of trumpeting some of the good stuff, here’s my Annual Holiday Gift Guide:


Written by Mark Voger • TwoMorrows • 192 pp. • Hardcover, Full Color  • ISBN-13: 978-1-60549-097-7 • $43.95

Every yuletide season I trot out my copy of The Battle For Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum. For my money, that’s the best book out there to analyze and explain the many traditions that have shaped the way we celebrate  Christmas.  It’s clear to me that it’s time to make room on my coffee table this December for another impressive book.  TwoMorrows newest, Holly Jolly is kind of the pop-culture counterpart to the Nissenbaum’s authoritative tome. I really enjoy Mark Voger’s writing.  For example,  I grooved on his Groovy: When Flower Power Bloomed in Pop Culture (also published by TwoMorrows) not too long ago.

“I can’t think of a single topic that has generated more art and culture,” says author Mark Voger of why he decided to do a Christmas book. “From music to movies, TV, cartoons, food and decor, everybody seems to have a favorite Christmas ‘something’ — a delicacy or a song or an animated special. I tried to cram everything in Holly Jolly.”

Available everywhere books are sold, and from the publisher.


By Giorgio Salati & Christian Cornia • Papercutz • 88 pp. • Paperback  • ISBN-10 : 1545804265 • $9.99

I tend to like just about everything imported from Italy, and this book, the first in the Brina the Cat series, is no exception.  This graphic novel is for everyone who’s ever had the slightest twinge of conflict in letting their cat out of the house. (Full disclosure: I’ve recently joined those ranks).  Lots of fun and you can’t go wrong with gifting this book to an 8 to 12 year old, but the audience is for all ages (and all cat lovers).

Available at books stores. comic shops and directly from the publisher, Papercutz.


by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis • Papercutz • 72 pp. • Paperback  • ISBN-10 : 1545802033 • $8.99

You really have to fasten your figurative seatbelt before jumping into The Only Living Girl adventures. These books are a delightful showcase for two talented creators, writer David Gallaher and artist Steve Ellis. They won DC’s ZUDA contest years ago with High Moon, but like fine wine, they get better with age.

This new series, The Only Living Girl, picks up right after their brilliant The Only Living Boy stories.  Please note: reading all the prior books isn’t a must, and this fantastic book is the perfect jumping-on point for all age readers. In fact, there’s a page that gets everyone up to speed. And then… it’s off to the races!

Available at books stores, comic shops and directly from the publisher, Papercutz.


by Frank Cammuso • Viking, an imprint of Random House • 176 pp. • Hardcover  • ISBN-10: 0425291960 • $17.99

Frank Cammuso is an amazing creator: he teaches at Syracuse University, he makes comics as part of the AHOY team, and he creates fantastic all ages graphic novels. I just love his Edison Beaker, Creature Seeker series for its wild and crazy, breakneck action. Cammuso is the real deal with story and art – he has both a clever sense of humor and a wonderful line.

I also love these books for the smiles that inevitably grow bigger with every page you turn!

Available at books stores, comic shops and online here.


by Cullen Bunn and assorted artists  • AfterShock Comics • 496 pp. • Hardcover  • ISBN-10: 1949028569 • $79.99

Prolific writer Cullen Bunn has created so many stories for Aftershock Comics. Now fan favorites like Knights Temporal, Brothers Dracul and Dark Ark are collected in this impressive hardcover.  This also includes many short stories previously seen only in the Aftershock Anthologies.

Available at bookstores, comic shops, and at ComicsCity.


by Mariah McCourt, Soo Lee, Pippa Bowland and Jill Thompson • AHOY Comics • 120 pp. • Paperback • ISBN-10: 1952090008 • $16.99

Believe it or not, my mom (she’s in her late 70s) was flipping through some of my comics recently. (I had left some on her coffee table during a recent visit.) When she saw an ad for AHOY’s Ash & Thorn comic, she paused and really examined it. I think she was intrigued to see two protagonists who looked like her in a comic ad.

And yes, that’s the conceit of this series. To save the world this time, instead of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or young King Arthur, a retired art teacher is recruited.  It’s wry fun served up in what is becoming that AHOY signature style. And that’s not all that’s served up; the heroine’s baking recipes are also included in this trade paperback collecting all five issues of the series.

Available at comic shops and fine bookstores and Midtown Comics’ online site.


by J. David Spurlock • Vanguard Publishing • 120 pp. • paperback • ISBN-10: 1934331813 • $39.95

Despite the calamitous nature of 2020, my wife and I were able to visit the Frank Frazetta Museum this summer. It was a wonderful trip, and I am still in awe of all of the amazing paintings we saw there.  Reading this oversized coffee table book is like a V.I.P. guided tour in that museum.  Spurlock provides just enough background and reference so that anyone can appreciate Frazetta’s talent and creativity. In fact, I wrote about this book earlier this year, and you can read that here.

My Highest Recommendation

Available at bookstores, comic shops, the Frazetta Museum and directly from Vanguard, the publisher.


by John Walsh • Titan Books • 120 pp. • Hardcover • ISBN: 978-1789095067 • $42.51

Way back in college, I had a great pal with a fantastic vinyl collection. Squeeze was one of his favorite bands and became one of my favorites too.  When he learned that I liked comics, he pulled out this Flash Gordon soundtrack. He worshipped this album.   And in those pre-DVD/streaming days, we kind of thought that listening to that album would be the closest I got to seeing the movie again.

Fast forward (a VHS term) to the 40th anniversary of the film, and UK publisher Titan delivers a wonderful new Flash Gordon book.

Film historian John Walsh discovered and presents many untold stories of this Flash Gordon film, including visions of the proposed sequels, that are bound to raise eyebrows  – on both Earth and Mongo. And the author managed to engage in deep conversations with almost all of the original cast or surviving family members.

Flash Gordon isn’t only about Alex Raymond, you know.

This book just burst onto the scene at UK and US bookstores. Flash Gordon: The Official Story of the Film is also available directly from Titan Books.

ZLONK! ZOK! ZOWIE! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66 Season One

Edited by Jim Beard • Crazy 8 Press • 206 pp. • Paperback • ISBN-13: 979-8621575373 • $12.99

Batman stuff and gifting have been going together like Christmas cookies and milk for as long as I can remember.  Writer Jim Beard has gathered together a “rogue’s gallery” of writers and artists (and I was proud to be included) to celebrate the first season of the old Batman ’66 show. This collection of clever essays and illustrations have been so well received, in fact, that there’s a sequel in the works.

Available at comic shops, fine bookstores and online.

Have a wonderful Yuletide, gang!


Follow me to The Book Cave

Book Cave hosts Bruce Rosenberger and Ric Croxton start off the show chatting about all things digital for reading. Later, co-host Art Sippo was able to hide from the villagers for a few minutes and chatted with Ric as Bruce had to leave to help with the holiday party at his home. The villagers must have found him at the end and was on the run from them with their torches and pitchforks.

You can listen to The Book Cave Episode 211: Year End Special here.

Monday Mix-Up: “The Walking Dead Christmas Special!”

Yes, it’s time for Rick, Lori, Carl, Merle, Daryl, Glenn, Maggie, Hershel, Michonne, and even that mean ol’ Governor to learn the true meaning of the holiday season in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland! So come along and join us now in what is sure to become an annual tradition that ranks with shooting your eye out with a Red Ryder BB Gun… it’s The Walking Dead Christmas Special!


Perhaps this was the real reason Glen Mazzara left as showrunner for next season?

And don’t forget to check back here in seven weeks for the Dexter/Homeland Valentine’s Day Spectacular!


Pro Se Productions releases today the third part of its serialized Holiday actioner, THE ADVENTURES OF NICHOLAS SAINT!  Also released today is the cover image for the serialization as well as for the novella when collected for print! The painting depicting Nicholas Saint facing grasping attackers head on was created by New Pulp artist David L. Russell and will be featured on all future installments of the Saint novella!   The link to Part 3 is http://pulpmachine.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-adventures-of-nicholas-saint-day.html! Happy Two Fisted Holidays from Pro Se Productions!

The Point Radio: ARROW’s Aim Is Still True

As ARROW  hits the halfway mark of the TV season, fans and critics alike say it keeps getting better. We go backstage with the creators and cast to find out how they got this far, and what lies ahead for new characters including one played by fan favorite John Barrowman. Plus How about Captain Kirk, Ron Burgundy or Spock doing your voice mail message? It can happen if you hurry.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: Howie Mandel’s Got Holiday Game

It’s a Christmas tradition at a lot of holiday parties. You might call it “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant” but now it’s getting super-sized and coming to NBC for five consecutive nights. Howie Mandel joins us to talk about what TAKE IT ALL will mean to the landscape of primetime television, plus Neil Gaiman hits radio and WALKING DEAD fans can keep the fear going with a new iOS game.

Take us ANYWHERE! The Point Radio App is now in the iTunes App store – and it’s FREE! Just search under “pop culture The Point”. The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun for FREE. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE on any computer or on any other  mobile device with the Tune In Radio app – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

What we’re thankful for, and how you can help ComicMix (and thank you for asking)

At this time of Thanksgiving, we’re thankful to each and every one of you who keeps coming back to the site because you like the people, or the comics, or the occasional snark.  We all know how tough it is out there, not acknowledging that fact doesn’t make it any less tight in the wallet. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history. But we’re glad that you’re here, reading and occasionally commenting.

We’d also like to ask you, if you’re doing any shopping at Amazon this holiday season, do it through us and help us keep the lights on. If you want to support ComicMix every time you shop at Amazon, bookmark this link and use it whenever you do your online shopping.

We are NOT asking you to forgo shopping at your local comic store, far from it. Please support your local shops. If you don’t know if you have one near you, go to our Comic Shop Locator. And if you’re running a store that’s not listed, please add your comic store to our database.

Things may be a bit light over the next few days with holidays and tech stuff, so enjoy yourself and watch out for crazy drivers and rogue TSA agents.

“The Dark Knight Rises” Comes to Home Video December 4

The Dark Knight Rises

On the off chance you missed it, the home video version of The Dark Knight Rises will be out December 4, just in time for the holiday season. Check out the sizzle video:


The Dark Knight Rises is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.

Own it on Blu-ray Combo Pack or Digital Download December 4.

REVIEW: “The Apartment”

Every now and then, we here at ComicMix like to look at books and movies beyond our normal pop culture purview to examine people who helped build the foundations of modern storytelling. We were reminded of this when 20th Century Home Entertainment sent us a Blu-ray edition of The Apartment for review. This 1960 release, out now, won five Academy Awards including Best Picture, and is a brilliant assemblage of director, performers, and story.

The movie comes from Billy Wilder who directed, produced and co-wrote the screenplay (with I.A.L. Diamond) and  is a bit of settling old business. Back in the 1940s, he wanted to deal with adultery but the Hays Production Code forbade that so he finally got his chance in this story, partly inspired by Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter.

The story features Consolidated Life Insurance’s C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon), who has been lending his conveniently located apartment to his superiors — Dobsich (Ray Walston), Eichelberger (David White), and Vanderhoff (Willard Waterman) — for clandestine affairs. His generosity has resulted in a variety of undeserved promotions that brought him to the attention of company president J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) who now wants to use the place to bed elevator operator, and object of Baxter’s affection, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine). The film then explores how Lemmon can win the girl without losing his job while regaining his sense of dignity. (more…)

JOHN OSTRANDER: Christmas Treasures, Part 2

Last week, I told you about the first Christmas for my late wife Kim Yale, and myself. Now I’ll tell you about our last.

That night Kim really wanted to go to Christmas Eve service at our church. Redeemer held it at 8 PM to enable those who were very young and very old to attend. We got an evening pass from the hospital so Kim could go and the church made arrangements to accommodate her – they had a bed, a screen, and some members of the church who were trained nurses took over. In fact, once I got Kim there, all was taken out of my hands and I only had to sit there.

We left before the service was over; Kim’s energy had flagged and I needed to get her back to her hospital bed. Joe and Mary were there as well and we planned to open presents and then watch A Charlie Brown Christmas together. I had spent a lot of time and thought and some expense trying to get Kim the best gifts I could but about half way through it, Kim abandoned the present opening. She no longer had the energy or interest; it has been expended on the Christmas service.

She wanted to see the cartoon and Mary and Joe took her into the TV room. I told them to start without me.

Truth is, I was angry. That’s not something they tell you about when you’re a cancer patient’s caretaker. Sometimes you get angry – at the situation, at the cancer, and even with the patient. You wind up giving a lot to them and they may not have a lot to give back. Kim took the energy she had and spent it on that Christmas service and had nothing left for me and I was hurt and I was angry and I was exhausted and I, by God, was not going to watch that damn TV special with her. It was mean and petty of me; not my finest moment.

Mary came back to say that they were waiting for me and I gruffly said I was not coming. They were to start without me. Mary carried back the message.

A little later, Kim herself came in, very tentative, very fragile. She said she couldn’t watch the shows without me. “Aren’t you coming?” I looked at her and she was so sweet and scared and brave. The anger melted away. How could I be mad with her? What was I thinking? This was Kimmie, this was my love, this was our last Christmas together, and she wanted to watch Charlie Brown and Grinch with me just as we always did. What the hell was I thinking? How could I be so petty and spiteful and mean? It was Christmas and it was all the Christmas we would ever have together. I put my arm around Kim and we went to watch our Christmas traditions, her head on my shoulder.

We spent Christmas day together as well, the four of us, and around dinner time Joe and Mary and I went out to see what we could find to eat. All that open in downtown Morristown was an Indian restaurant. I thought of the end of A Christmas Story, where the family winds up at a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Like them, we had a very fine Christmas meal of foods that I never had for the holiday before. All was calm, all was bright that evening. I had friends; I still had Kim. It was the worst and sweetest Christmas at the same time.

After the first of the year, I insisted that the doctor give Kim the prognosis himself or I would tell her. She and I never kept secrets like that from each other before and I wasn’t going to start now. He did, she did decline, and by the first week in March, she was gone.

Physically. She was and is still in my heart.

The traditions we make are important. Not simply the ones that are handed down to us, although those are important as well. It’s the ones we choose for ourselves that are the most important and the most memorable, I think. No Christmas, no Holiday season, is more important than the one we have now because now is all we really have – tomorrow is only a hope, not a promise. Whatever the season means to you, celebrate it. Even when it seems dark, there is still something to celebrate.

Io Saturnalia! Happy Hanukah! A Splendid Kwanza!

Merry Christmas. May your days be merry and bright.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell