For the librarian:
Marvel Essentials, DC Omnibii, Image Compendiums. . . .
This is probably one of the first obvious choices, but they're obvious for a reason! There's an insane amount of value in phone-book-sized, black-and-white collections. Marvel's Essential editions will give any beginning comic-book-er the essence of their character for their dollar. Essential volumes offer a foundation for readers to explore the rich history of guys like Spider-Man, Captain America or the Fantastic Four.
For the techie:
With the advent of cheap, color e-readers, it's a very exciting time for digital comics. Comic books are all about the images, and these tablets show the pictures and colors as they were meant to be shown! Even so, these e-readers are luxury items. You have to really love your loved one to spend $200+ on these things! The devices can do a whole lot of things, but, this being a comic book blog, we'll only examine their comic book capabilities.
Of these luxury items, the iPad's gonna be the most luxurious. The 10-incher is the best way to go for comic books, because it presents the page in the closest size to print. The two drawbacks are 1) price, and 2) weight (it's gonna get tiring holding a 10-incher for reading!). If you're looking to consume media more than create, consider the 7-inchers Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. They're more than capable of keeping you up with your web browsing, and they offer a seamless reading system. While the Kindle Fire comes comiXology-capable, the Nook Tablet will require some hoops to jump through and a device to "root," or modify. The Nook Tablet is $50 more than the Kindle Fire's $199
For the movie fan:
If comic book movies have captured your attention or a loved one's, I don't recommend the one-off trades like Batman: Hush. Batman trades are especially popular due to the film, and just last week I saw a dude purchasing all these paperbacks for his son like Long Halloween and Paul Dini's Arkham City. Their total was upwards of $90!
There are two reasons I don't recommend it:
- I figure if you're reading this blog, you've already gotten that far.
- and here's my main reason: You can have a bunch of trades, but that won't keep you reading comics. Watchmen will get that foot in the door for comics, but what next? It could just be a small footnote in someone's reading history, and they won't give comics another nod. Plenty of my friends have read V for Vendetta, but when I recommend the Daredevil serial to them, they shy away. Trades might make you like comics, but it won't get you to love comics. You don't really know comic books until you come in on a Wednesday to a brick-and-mortar store, and gaze at the walls full of these new stories. You don't really know comic books until you feel the floppy pages in your hand, and carry it around with you on the train, or at the dentist's. If the movies have gotten you to love the characters, support them by supporting their comics: the format is the backbone of the characters we love.
So if you or your loved one appreciate Batman's Nolan films, consider purchasing Batman #1, from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. They push Batman and Gotham City forward, and create a delicious serial experience.
If you or your loved one are hyped up about Whedon's Avengers, consider giving them a copy of Jonathan Hickman's Ultimate Comics The Ultimates, which is the basis for the films and features Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury!
What I'm saying is, the stories don't end with the movies, and they never will. Just think of everything you can read out there. I've been reading for 8 years of my life, and I will never read a majority of them. And that's awesome.