It’s that time of year when I shamelessly ask you all to beef up my Amazon referral credits so that I can buy presents for my family. Remember, you don’t need to actually buy anything I link to, just follow a link and shop away. And thanks!
For Comics Snobs Who Won’t Read Superhero Comics
Absolute All Star Superman: Grant Morrison’s and Frank Quitely’s greatest collaboration to date, all in one nicely packaged over-sized hard-cover. The art has more character and depth than just about anything else on the market, and the writing is the sharpest look at just why Superman is a cultural icon you’re likely to ever come across.
For Superhero Fans Who Won’t Go Near Manga
Pluto: Naoki Urasawa’s retelling of an Astro Boy story has a lot of similarities to super-hero comics: big impressive fights, a reimagining of iconic characters, and intense melodrama. At eight volumes long the story is pretty meaty and of a nicely digestible length. That it’s also an emotionally mature and affecting story about robots and morality is a bonus.
For Anyone Who Won’t Read European Comics
Blacksad: Is it high art? No, but I think that’s to its benefit. It’s an unabashedly adult noir detective story that just happens to look remarkably like a Disney film. Will it change the mind of anyone who thinks that all European comics are just Heavy Metal-inspired soft porn. No, but it should broaden the minds of anyone who thinks they’re just Tintin, Asterix and impenetrable art comics.
For Size Queens
The Big Penis Book: A literally massive coffee-table book that is nothing but page after page after page of photos of men who have been…generously gifted. Most of the photos are from the 70s and 80s, and as a pictorical document regarding the history of, well, gay porn it’s actually pretty interesting.
For Those Who Insist That It’s Art, Not Porn
The Art Of George Quaintance: From the golden age of physique magazines, comes an exhaustive look at a pioneer of homoerotic art and cartoons. Pretty thoroughly overshadowed by Tom of Finland, Quaintance’s art is masculine and playful and oddly endearing. Never before will you see so many drawings of naked cowboys standing behind artfully placed cacti.
For The Gamer With Lots Of Free Time
Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition: A nice mix of tactical and action RPG game-play in a game world that wears its “inspired by about a dozen grim fantasy novels” heart on its sleeve. Oh, sure, I could quibble that the only same-sex partners available to you in a game emphasizing player-choice are a bisexual assassin and a religious fanatic, but the overall experience is still deep and satisfying enough to be rewarding.
For Doctor Who Fans
The Brilliant Book of Doctor Who: A nice mix of episode guide and episode-specific “back matter,” there should be something here to please any fan of the show, provided that they’re slightly geeky and are the type of fan who goes “ooh, a map of Leadworth!” *ahem* There’s also interviews with all the major cast-members, behind-the-scenes stuff (including the nixed redesign of the Silurians), and some broad hints as to what happens in the next season. So, yeah, geeky.
For Those Who Bore You To Tears Talking About Those Vampire Movies and TV Shows
Being Human: A smart and funny show about vampires and ghosts and werewolves? One that doesn’t shove the sort of eye-rolling “romances” with “mortal women” down the audience’s throats? You’d almost doubt it was possible, and yet, here it is. With the added bonus of not forgetting that these are monsters and when, you get right down to it, vampires are pretty disgusting and despicable.
(Okay, yeah, it does play the “humans…are the real monsters” card pretty frequently…)
For Mystery Fans
Sherlock: A smart and sophisticated modernization of Sherlock Holmes that really had no right to be as good as it was. And I say that as a person who likes 80% of what Steven Moffat has done and 99% of what Mark Gatiss has done. Be prepared to get screamed at when the person you give this to gets to the end of the final episode, though.
For The Lapsed D&D Player
Castle Ravenloft: I’ll be upfront and tell you right now that I am not a fan of the current edition of Dungeons and Dragons, for a variety of reasons. But, as a modular co-operative board-game, the rules actually work. This is a big box with a lot of pieces inside it and should provide anyone who used to play, or wants to play but never has, with a pretty good mini-taste of what it’s like.
For Little Kids
This completely bad-ass dinosaur chomper thing. Seriously, it is awesome.
Here, for reading/putting up with all of that, you deserve a picture of Ed Fury: