Beyond the toys, eggnog and family time, a nostalgic part the Yuletide season for me are books about comics. When I was growing up, there were just a few : Batman from the 30s to the 70s, Les Daniels’ Comix, Stan Lee’s Origins of Marvel Comics. But boy, did they make an impression on me. Today there’s a plethora of spectacular books available. Here’s a few of the best ones for your gift list consideration:
by John Morrow and Jon B. Cooke, Twomorrows
I really enjoyed A MARVELOUS LIFE: THE AMAZING STORY OF STAN LEE by Danny Fingeroth. Somehow, Fingeroth seemed to thread the needle to deliver a fascinating book and thoroughly explores the myth versus the man.
But there’s two sides to every story, and that’s the approach that John Morrow took in this brilliant book, STUF’ SAID. This book serves up a detailed step-by-step, quote-by-quote walk through the early days (and beyond) of the Marvel Universe. Morrow analyzes the roles of not only Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but so many of the creators involved with the birth of Marvel.
For longtime fans, there’s a lot of nostalgia and new information. For new fans, it’s a balanced look at the real-life characters behind the fictional characters they love.
by Ben Robinson and Marcus Reilly, Eaglemoss
Books are great, but when you throw in a toy or two they are even better. Eaglemoss’ thorough book, STAR TREK SHIPYARDS is a chronological history (even though it’s all about the future) of the Starfleet starships. This edition includes a specially packaged with a die-cast collectible, the iconic U.S.S. Enterprise.
This book has it all – from the most obscure ships to the recent additions to the mythology from the STAR TREK: DISCOVERY series.
Written by Tom Peyer, Art by Chris Giarrusso and Richard Case. Cover by Richard Williams, AHOY! Comics
As Tom Peyer says, this collected edition is “Twice the colons! Half the Thrills”. HASHTAG: DANGER is a wickedly funny take on adventurer comics, like Fantastic Four or Challengers of the Unknown. Peyer, always acerbic and witty, starts at “11” and turns up the dial from there. At the same time, he is somehow able to let his authentic love of the source material shine though. The humor never seems mean-spirited.
Richard Williams, the celebrated MAD artist, brings an element of pseudo realism liberally mixed with kooky absurdity to the covers.
This trade paperback collects all the irreverent HASHTAG: DANGER stories from issues #1-5 of the AHOY! Comics series, plus the back-features from other AHOY! titles like HIGH HEAVEN and CAPTAIN GINGER.
by Nick Parisi, University of Mississippi Press
Nick Parisi’s Rod Serling biography isn’t only for fans of The Twilight Zone. It’s also for fans of early television, scriptwriting and Planet of the Apes. And somehow, Parisi finds a way to celebrate Serling as a persistent entrepreneur – both winning and losing creative and economic battles. A great read!
Written by Phil Hester Art by Ryan Kelly, Aftershock
Phil Hester’s written a lot of great comics over the years, and Stronghold is another great one. It’s a quirky, creepy take on the Superman legend. This thriller reveals a clandestine organization that monitors the world’s most powerful man. This series blends a conspiracy feel mixed with an us-against-the-world vibe to create a compelling series.
FRESH HELL IN FITS
by Steve Cerio, Psychofon Records
Steve Cerio, a creative innovator and gallery artist who blossomed as part of the old NYC Comix scene, is back with another trippy book. His newest is subtitled “A False History of The Residents”, but the imaginative illustrations appeal to art lovers beyond that band’s fan base. Fresh Hell in Fits is also available as a special signed collector’s edition (only 33 copies) complete with extra goodies.
This book is best found at the Psychofon Records site: https://www.psychofonrecords.com
by Andrew Farago and Gina McIntyre, Insight Editions
This is the type of the book that you start in the morning, and when you look up again it’s getting close to bedtime. This lovingly thorough history of Batman touches all the bases, provides new information and is loaded with goodies. I must admit it’s a thrill to be reading about the Batman mobile from 1950s comics, and then to fold-out a set of blueprints.
$75.00 various levels 400 pp. • hardcover • ISBN-10: 1683834372
Have a fantastic Yuletide season, everyone!