Holiday Gift Bag: Showcases and Essentials

Time for one final look into our Holiday Gift Bag, with my gift 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 recommended these every year, because they’re definitely some of the 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. DC and Marvel sell ‘em for cheap, too — usually between $15-20 each. Yes, it’s just in black and white, and the paper isn’t particularly fancy — but if they published these in color or on fancy paper, they couldn’t afford to make these so affordable, and that’s a trade-off you should feel pretty happy to make.

These collections can be divided between early works, like the first appearances of the Atom, Iron Man, the Teen Titans, or the Hulk, and rarities that haven’t previously been collected because they’re not in high demand, like Moon Knight, Metamorpho, Dazzler, or Adam Strange. 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.

People are still looking for good gifts that won’t cost ‘em an arm and a leg, and that makes these just what the doctor ordered — they’re amazingly affordable, and they’re stuffed full of enough comics to keep any comics fan reading for weeks. And yeah, Christmas is almost here, but this is something you don’t have to put on special order — most comics shops and large bookstores are going to have a ton of these on hand, so you can stop in, spend a little cash, and walk off with an easy last-minute gift. It’s why I try to save this particular recommendation for late in the season every year — it’s a fast, easy gift that’ll go easy on your checking account while still giving the comics fan on your list some classic stories they’d never get to read otherwise.

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 — that’s five years’ worth of gift recommendations at this point!

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