Holiday Gift Bag: Showcases and Essentials

It’s time to start thinking about Christmas shopping, and that means it’s time for me to start recommending some stuff you can get for the comics fan on your gift list. We’re gonna start off with something I recommended last year — Marvel’s Essentials and DC’s Showcase Presents.

These are, without a doubt, the best bargains in comics, hands down. You get about 500 pages of comics, all for about $17. They’re often called “phonebooks,” ’cause that’s about how thick they are. They’re black-and-white, and the paper quality isn’t top-notch, but these are comics that are designed to be read, not just collected and stored away in mylar.

Even better, these collections can be divided between early works, like the first appearances of the Flash, the Punisher, Green Lantern, or the Fantastic Four, and rarities that haven’t previously been collected due to low demand, like “Tales of the Zombie,” “Enemy Ace,” “The Astonishing Ant-Man,” or “Aquaman.” The variety of comics offered in these is really astounding — you get superhero comics, war comics, Western comics, horror comics, sci-fi, fantasy, you name it. You get major characters and minor characters, and some of the greatest artists and writers in the biz. They don’t have many romance comics yet, but whenever some flunkie at Marvel remembers how many romance comics Stan Lee and Jack Kirby worked on back in the ’50s, we’ll probably get some collections of those, too.

Let’s face it, the economy is in the dumper, and folks are looking for good ways to trim down their holiday spending. These collections are perfect for that — they’re extremely affordable, and each one has more than enough reading to keep comics fans happily reading for weeks. The comics fan on your list gets some classic stories they’d never get to read otherwise, and you get a nice little break for your pocketbook, too.

Marvel’s Essentials and DC’s Showcase Presents. Go pick some up.

No Comments

  1. Sado Said,

    December 2, 2008 @ 6:51 am

    They really needed these when I was growing up. I never really got into comics until much later, because I had no idea what the heck was going on.

    On the plus side, it meant I got to enjoy the independent comics more than the mainstream, but it’s kinda hard to enjoy a good parody of a comic without knowing what they’re talking about. 😉

  2. swampy Said,

    December 2, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

    I love these collections! The actual issues by themselves would be expensive as all out so to be able to pay only $17 for 500 pages of good reading—-priceless.