Christmas Gifts For The People On Your Nerdy List
Forgive me for not sounding enthusiastic, but I’m not really a holiday kinda guy. My memories of this season are dominated by dangerous excursions to the icy roof of my childhood home to install lights that were “absolutely necessary” for my father to win the neighbourhood decoration contest, trips to the mall that were less like shopping and more akin to finding oneself in the middle of a mosh pit at a Slayer concert, and listening for twelve horrific days to the worst music ever created: Christmas music. (Side note: the song “White Christmas” was supposedly written by a black man at the height of segregation. Give it another listen with that in mind…)
Needless to say, there’s very little that is holy about these days for me.
And why should there be? I mean, take a good look around, folks: the time of year that we hold to be “full of cheer” and “a time for family” has become six weeks of Black Fridays and Boxing Week sales that never really seem to happen on Friday or during Boxing Week. For that matter, wasn’t it once just Boxing Day? What happened to “it’s the thought that counts”, or “the best gifts come in small packages”, or “if you want the new Grand Theft Auto, you can buy it your damn self”?
The last one was my dad’s favourite.
Honestly, I think if there is a God out there watching us run around in our little maze, he’s not too impressed with the garbage we toss around in his name. What creator would enforce gift-giving in the middle of the worst economic crisis of the past century? Why would multi-coloured lights and dudes in fur-trimmed red hats be the central themes of his son’s birthday? I’m not saying Jesus was anything but a historical figure – leave the theology to the priests, I say – but at least the premise of Christmas is positive. I just don’t understand how such good intentions can get twisted so completely into the mockery we have shoved down our throats for two months every year.
I say, give the holiday season the finger. If you have to get a gift, keep it cheap, make it interesting, and give them something that they not only want, but that they’ll happily share with others. To me, that’s what the holidays are about: sharing with those you love, not buying your family’s adoration for another year.
And what better gift to share than an amazing story coupled with beautiful art at less than ten bucks a shot (maybe thirty if you really like them and make it a TPB)?
On that note, here are my top three gifts for the comic-lover in your family. You know what? I’ll even keep it in the spirit of the season … kinda.
- Saga: Only 17 issues in and getting better every month, this is the magnum opus of Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, The Runaways) and Fiona Staples (North 40, Mystery Society).The list of awards this work has won is longer than Santa’s, and I can tell you that it deserves every single one. It’s enough sci-fi, magic, hilarity and excessive violence to make any comic fan happy, and beneath it all is the story of an extremely dysfunctional family trying to stay together when the universe just wants to tear them apart.The great philosopher Krishnamurta once said: “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” That goes doubly for Christmastime, and in a season themed around family, Saga can make your own familial dysfunctions seem paltry in comparison.
- Last Mortal: So the story goes that this Jesus fella was born right around this time, lived for a few decades, then died and came back to life. There’s definitely no shortage of people who have died for their beliefs, but the thing that keeps this guy at the top of the list is the whole resurrection deal.Now imagine if you had that same power of resurrection, but all you wanted was to die.That’s the story of John Mahoney and Filip Sablik’s Last Mortal.Alec King is a full-time loser with a night job as a bumbling thief. True to form, Alec botches a job, losing his best friend in the process. In his misery, he puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger.And then he wakes up.
The story is cynical, gritty and very raw. This is definitely a comic for the Gen-X’er you just can’t seem to please. If there’s a person on your list that loves Boondock Saints but hates the world (the two tend to go hand-in-hand), then this is the gift you’re looking for.
- Ten Grand: WARNING! If you don’t like it dark, do not buy this!This work is the brain child of J. Michael Straczynski, and I have to say that this is my favourite comic right now. I’m huge into ritual magic and Judeo-Christian lore, so Ten Grand is like candy to me.The quick version: Man works for mafia. Man meets woman. Man wants to marry woman, decides to quit killing people for money. Man does one final job. Final job spawns demons that kill his future wife. Man goes on holy quest to kill demons so he can see his wife again in heaven.Think Dante’s Divine Comedy with a taste of Constantine and a dash of the Darkness. In short, one hell of a ride. I know this one doesn’t really fit into the Christmas theme, but there were angels and demons in the Bible, so … whatever. Just read it.I hope this helps you please your nerdlinger companions this holiday. And if you don’t celebrate anything this time of year, don’t worry – neither did the Christians. This whole thing was a ruse to get pagans who were celebrating the winter solstice to come to church. The true spirit of the season is getting together with the people you love, sharing with each other regardless of the price tag. So give them something affordable that they can happily re-gift all year long: a twenty-page masterpiece of art, story, and imagination.
Or just go tobogganing.
Peace and love,
P.S. If I could ask for anything for Christmas this year, it would be for all you Extremis readers to send me suggestions for reading material. I’m neck-deep in Image awesomeness right now, but I read way too quick for my own good and I’ll probably be caught up by the new year. Hook a brother up, and I promise I’ll give you props in my reviews.
- Referral Contest – Win up to $200 in Nerdies Gift Certificates (nerdies.me)
- 8 Terrible Christmas Gifts to Ruin a Geek’s Holiday (toplessrobot.com)
- A Christmas Gift for the Avid Gardener: Bulb Garden Kits (proflowers.com)
- Christmas sucks. (aspiringscrawler.wordpress.com)
- An Awesome Guide To Getting The Best Christmas Gift Ever (prata4life.wordpress.com)
- merry crazy magical christmas (erniebufflo.wordpress.com)
Posted on December 22, 2013, in Image Comics and tagged Boondock Saints, Boxing Week, Brian K. Vaughan, Christmas, Divine Comedy, Fiona Staples, J. Michael Straczynski, John Mahoney. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.