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Fanbase Press’ 2020 Holiday Gift Guide: Comics and Graphic Novels

In this unprecedented year, deciding on gifts for friends and family is likely to be the last thing on your mind this holiday season. Fanbase Press is here to help with recommendations for the must-read comics and graphic novels from the year as suggested by our staff and contributors. Give your friends and family gifts they can enjoy curled up by the fireplace or introduce them to a new title outside of their regular pull list.

Something Is Killing the Children
Recommended by Travis Lakata

Something Is Killing the Children is absolutely breathtaking in the most terrifying way possible. The landscape is crafted in such a wonderful way, both visually by artists Werther Dell’Edera and Miquel Muerto, and by writer James Tynion IV. The balancing act of fear and determination is captured with incredible facial expressions and those scary things that go bump in the night.

Tynion IV does not slowly dip your toes into the water. He submerges you into the water, even when he’s uncertain of whether or not you can swim, and it’s absolutely horrifying and so good! Whether or not you’re a parent, it’s pretty shocking to even think of such awful things happening to children, let alone see them with our own eyes. Something Is Killing the Children is proof that horror in comic book form is the best way to let your imagination run wild. Seriously, I took the trash out right after reading this (during the day), and I got startled by the sound of something scurrying near a bush – and there wasn’t anything there.

Cost: $13.41 (paperback) / $12.74 (digital)

Shadow of the Batgirl
Recommended by Travis Lakata

Shadow of the Batgirl is an amazing story of finding one’s self in light of being told you’re only one thing your entire life. In this case, Cassandra Cain has been trained to be world-class assassin material – until one day, she has a reason to question that life and then everything she knows starts to unravel. Writer Sarah Kuhn does a wonderful job of exploring the vulnerabilities of life, and how fragile a young, ruthless assassin teenager can be when things in her path don’t seem quite so clear as she'd like them to be.

Artist Nicole Goux draws Gotham City with a world of different colors, while subdued hues during flashback scenes help amplify the trauma when she awakens from her daydream or nightmare. Kuhn does a magnificent job exploring one’s soul and the difficulties associated with making choices. It’s one of the best “Bat” stories ever, and the artwork by Goux will hopefully see more stories in Gotham City from this Dynamic Duo.

Cost: $15.24 (paperback) / $12.99 (digital)

Extra Fabulous Comics
Recommend by Phillip Kelly

The artist and creator of this comic strip that I follow on Instagram is Zach. His comics are deranged, often times irreverent, almost always completely absurd, and I often find myself cackling uproariously. His artistic style ranges from something a child might scratch together to the cleanest anime style art you may ever see, but it’s always recognizably Zach’s. If you enjoy this type of humor, he has a Patreon page where at the higher levels you can even receive stuff in the mail!

Cost:  $1, $10, or $15 per month
Click here to purchase.

Poorly Drawn Lines: Comics for a Strange World
Recommend by Phillip Kelly

It may feel like not much happens in the panels of Reza Farazmand’s comic strip, Poorly Drawn Lines, and yet it is the most honest look at the little moments that pass between people, and in this case animals, as well, which means that a lot actually happens. With a perfectly dry tone, which is incredibly difficult to capture in comic strip form, his characters wax absurdities, personal insecurities, terrible anxieties, and illusions of grandeur, all through the subtlest nuances and most inane strife. If Seinfeld had a comic strip, this might be it. It is a comic strip where almost nothing is always hilariously turned into the only thing, and now with his newest collection, you can have his artwork on your coffee table for all who pass by to see.  

Cost:  $20.00
Click here to purchase.

Camilla d’Errico’s Pop Manga Cute and Creepy Coloring Book
Recommend by Phillip Kelly

Camilla d’Errico can be found at every comic con in SoCal. She creates the most beautifully surreal pop art that I’ve seen. She has a collection of this work from Dark Horse Comics and creates really splendid fan art. Her most recent release is a coloring book of her work. All of her work on her Etsy page is worth looking at, from your favorite superheroes as fuzzy, colorful bees to clothing garments with her manga pop characters, but if you want to become a part of her incredible work, this coloring book is the perfect way to do it! It already has a perfect 5-star rating with over 5,000 reviews and over 20,000 sales.

Cost:  $15.99
Click here to purchase.

Hex 11
Recommend by Phillip Kelly

This indie comic from Lynly Forrest, Lisa K. Weber, and Kelly Sue Mirano is a sci-fi, fantasy adventure in a world where cyberpunk, witchcraft, and demons come together. The artwork of Weber is simply fantastic, and Milano’s writing is smart and clever. They’ve imbued a wide variety of characters from roguish anti-heroes to badass female villains to their central hero, Elanor, who is setting off on the hero’s journey and discovering all the powers she never knew she had! It’s fun, exciting, inventive, and leaves you with a wonderful cliffhanger at the end of each issue. They are currently selling the first two volumes together, which is very much worth picking up! You can even get the printed editions signed for $40!

Cost:  $35/$40
Click here to purchase.

Hunter Black Comics
Recommend by Phillip Kelly

This fantasy, action adventure dives head first into the samurai genre, taking some cool inspiration from Samurai Jack, but also really just embracing some of the best elements from the entirety of the genre, with heavy amounts of mysticism and magic thrown in. Hunter Black, the anti-hero of the book, is being kept alive by a sword that eats souls; basically, he’s being forced to kill to stay alive, but he’s also on a mission for revenge, and he’s got a long way to go. Not only can you follow the ongoing story online (as three pages are published every week), but the first three volumes are collected in a beautiful soft cover edition. William Orr’s artwork is really stellar; the grey scales used are gorgeous. Plus, Justin Peniston’s plotting and writing are incredibly enjoyable, always putting Hunter in the most precarious of situations you can imagine to barely scrape out before falling into the next one. The perfect ongoing serial.

Cost:  $30
Click here to purchase.  

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 December 2020 15:48

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