Holiday Gift Bag: Showcases and Essentials

We have time for one more look into our Holiday Gift Bag, full of some of my recommendations for comics fans and people who want to be comic fans. Today, we’re going with an old favorite around here: Marvel’s Essentials and DC’s Showcase Presents.

I’ve recommended these every year, because they’re some of the very best, easiest gifts you can get for someone who loves comics. What are they? These are very thick collections of old comics — usually over 500 pages long, black and white printing, on inexpensive paper. They’re sometimes called “phone books,” ’cause they’re about as thick as a big city phone directory. They sell ‘em for cheap, too — between $15-20 each. Some people complain that the paper’s too cheap, or they want comics in color — but then they couldn’t afford to make these so affordable, and that’s a trade-off you should feel pretty comfortable making.

These collections can be divided between early works, like the first appearances of the Flash, Thor, the Justice League, or Spider-Man, and rarities that haven’t previously been collected because they’re not in high demand, like “Howard the Duck,” “Batgirl,” “Killraven,” or “The Metal Men.” There’s a huge variety of comics offered this way — superhero comics, war comics, Westerns, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and more. You get major characters and minor characters, and some of the greatest artists and writers in comics history.

The economy is still weaker’n spit, and lots of folks are on the lookout for gifts that won’t cost ’em an arm and a leg. These are perfect for that — they’re amazingly affordable, and they’re stuffed full of enough comics to keep any comics fan happily reading for weeks. And you don’t even have to get these on special order — most comics shops and large bookstores are going to have a ton of these on hand, so you can stop in, shell out a little cash, and walk off with an easy last-minute stocking stuffer. 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.

And hey, looking for some of my older recommendations? Just click on the button down at the bottom of this post that says “Holiday Gift Bag” — it’ll take you to all of my previous posts on this subject.

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