Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gifts for Geeks, Part the Second: Comics

Today, for your consideration, I'd like to present to you the single most fearsome gift-reciever on any sane human being's holiday shopping list:

The Comic Book Fan.

(Momentary pause to soak in the hushed silence of an awestruck crowd)

You think it's hard buying a gift for your significant other, or maybe for your Great Aunt Petunia who can't really see or hear so well?

Ha! Such gift buying pales (pales, I says!) in comparison to the thought of purchasing a present for the hardcore comics fan--the man-child living in his mothers' basement, providing enough snark to kill a shark, spewing endless vitriol towards the writers and artists that create the things he loves most in life.

OK, that's a bit harsh. And, obviously not entirely true. But, c'mon we comics fans are historically impossible to buy gifts for.

I mean, think about it for a minute. Many comics fans complain about the books they buy...on a monthly basis...featuring characters they grew up with...and have a great affinity for. They curse the names of creators that they...follow on a monthly basis and have (or had) a great affinity for.

Face it, Exfanding Fanatics--comics fans hate the thing they love most. And other (much saner) people have to go out (in a recession!) and buy gifts for us? I feel for those people. I really do. But, there's hope. And, as we strive to do here, we just want to make life easier for you, our readers.

Because we love you. And respect you. (OK, and every time that little hit counter whatsit goes up, I lose another ridiculous bet to Nathaniel)

But mostly becasue we love you.

So, let's begin, shall we? First up we have some gift buying tips for the diehard Wednesday Warrior-type comics fans (the one with the matress propped up on long boxes filled with comics). If you have one of these fans on your holiday list, here are some things for you to consider:

--First and foremost, find out which comics shop he (or she!) haunts on a weekly basis, and get a gift certificate. Now, I know alotta people view gift certificates as impersonal, but trust me, a comics fan who spends Monday and Tuesday dividing the weekly budget up to figure out how to obtain food, pay rent, and buy the latest issue of Secret Invasion on Wednesday will greatly appreciate such a gesture.

And, if the fan is a regular customer, it's very likely that he or she already owns whatever trade paperback or whatever you might see in the store and buy on a whim. For the hardest of the hardcore fanboys, gift certificates are always a safe way to go.

--Next we have the somewhat tricky, but much more personal option of going to the comics shop and asking the proprietor what your gift reciever likes to read. Typically, if a fan is at the same store every week, the owner will know what he or she is into, and may even be able to tell you what item in the store that person's been eyeing for the past couple of weeks.

--Next up is an option that completely takes the surprise out of gift-giving, but may go a long way in making someone happy on Christmas Eve/Morning (or whenever). You can always just flat-out ask the person what he or she wants, where you can get it, and how much it costs. Heck, if it's some obscure little title that can only be found online, then ask the person to show you exactly where it is to be sure you get the right thing.

--And, finally, every comics-crazed fan needs storage supplies, even if he or she has plenty of them at home. You can buy bags and boards and long or short boxes from the local comics shop (for fairly low prices) and give them to the fanboy or fangirl.

Here's what you do--just ask the comics shop retailer for "bags and boards for modern age comics" and for some boxes. He'll then ask you if you want long or short boxes. If the collector has tons of space, get a long box. If the collector stacks comics in a closet, buy a short box. Either way, the fan will need them eventually, and it'll save him or her a few bucks down the road!

Next time, I'll exfand upon some options for the (much less rabid) casual comics fan.

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