Friday, December 11, 2009

Gifts for Geeks: Santa's Little Helper

Homer Santa
Homer Santa gets stuckWelcome to Round Three of the 2009 edition of Gifts for Geeks! Nathaniel's post yesterday was way more helpful and thoughtful than my first post on the subject, and he gave great consideration for those uninitiated with geek culture.

Because I tend not to be helpful, thoughtful, or considerate, my plan today is to follow up my last post with another laundry list of things to buy, with very little explanation as to why you should buy them.

Today, I think I'll mix in some non-comics stuff with a few comics gift ideas that I forgot to mention last time out. And, as always, please do drop a line in the comments with anything you'd like to add.

--First up is a book that I really wanted to mention on Tuesday--I even wrote it down on a little piece of paper next to my computer so I wouldn't forget. Yes. Well. So, here it is today, from one of the comics industry's best (smaller, though kinda big if you think about it) publishers--IDW: The First Decade.

This book is massive, and it's got some very cool features including an autographed tip-in page signed by IDW mainstays such as Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith, and Joe Hill. The book is slip-cased, and even though I have yet to actually find one of these and see it in person, I've heard some amazing things about the product.

IDW: The First Ten YearsIt's an in-depth record of the formation, creation, and sustained success of IDW, and the book is packed with interviews, art, and a huge cover gallery. I'm not doing it justice, so I'm gonna be lazy here and direct you all to the product description from its Amazon page.

If you don't feel like clicking on that link, here's the Cliffs Notes version. There are two books inside the slipcase. Volume One is an oral history of the company written by its co-founders, and including interviews with all of IDW's most prominent talent--Peter David, Clive Barker, John Byrne, and on and on.

There are also all-new comics in Volume One including a new Fallen Angel short by Peter David, and a new Locke & Key by Joe Hill. Then, in Volume Two, there's a huge cover gallery featuring every cover IDW has ever published!

There's more about the book on IDW's site and there's a preview of Chapter One at Newsarama, so take a look and see if this is the perfect gift for someone you know. Or, you know, for yourself!

--Next up is a decidedly non-comics item. But it's still awesome, nonetheless. And it's only kinda useless. From Flip Video comes the Flip Video Digital Camcorder. You've seen the stupid commercials, and you know some part of your geek nature twinged inside, yearning for this mostly-useless toy.

It's basically a tiny video camera that records up to two hours of digital film that can be uploaded directly to your computer via a built-in USB port. Oh, and it's virtually idiot-proof. There's this big red button in the middle of the device (which fits in your hand and is the size of a digital voice recorder) that you push. And then it records. Done and done.

Flip digital cameraYou can play back video (with sound!) on the device itself, and as I mentioned, you can download all of its content right onto your computer. I've seen these little guys at Best Buy and they range in price, with the higher end model retailing around $250. There are a bunch of different models and price points, though (the main difference is size of the device), so be sure to check out their site for all the options available.

What can you use it for, you ask?

Well, I have no idea, really. I was thinking that it would be way more practical if it had a built-in still camera. That way, you could almost justify the purchase. Then, I was thinking about the semester I did in Italy, and how I always wished I had some films of the trip.

The Flip would be the perfect device for a vacation--it's light and it fits in your pocket. If you bring your laptop with you, you can shoot two hours at a time, dump the footage on the computer, then head back out and start filming again.

On an even more practical note, if you have kids that play sports, then this thing is great. Taking game films (either for yourself or even to show to college coaches) is always a bit of a bear, but with this ultra-small device, I'd imagine that task would become much simpler.

Add in the many great (and easy) video editing tools that come standard on many computers, and making a short film becomes...well...pretty simple, really.

I keep thinking about Kevin Smith, and how Clerks might have looked through the lens of a Flip...

--Moving on, here's something for the Neil Gaiman fan in your life. Head on over to for the official online bookstore of the bestselling author. There you'll find pretty much anything a Gaiman-ophile will want/need, including autographed books (for cover price!), comics, CDs, and ultra rare editions of many of Gaiman's novels.

The Graveyard Book--And finally, we have the ever-popular option of buying a fan tickets to a convention in the upcoming year. Obviously, this isn't a gift that's limited to the comics fan, as there are as many different conventions as there are fandoms out there.

A caveat, though. Even if you (theoretically, since they're already sold out...) manage to get your little mitts on tickets to Comic Con in San Diego, remember to factor in travel and hotel costs for the recipient.

Tickets in and of themselves are great, but if the person then needs to figure out hotel arrangements and travel and time off from work on short, yeah. He or she might not appreciate the gift as much as you maybe thought he or she would.

So, always think about location of the con, time of year, and really, whether or not the person would want to go to a show. Some people just don't like cons, and you'll need to take that into consideration, for sure.

The Goon holiday coverAlso, a nice touch with ticket-giving can be if you purchase two tickets--one for the recipient and one for yourself--and then you offer to drive/pay for transportation. Then it's really a thoughtful, no pressure gift for the person receiving the tickets.

Something to think about, that's all I'm saying.

And, well, actually...that's all I'll be saying for now. I need to head out early this morning, and take care of a few odds and ends. I hope some of these ideas weren't completely useless. Oh, and Happy Friday, everyone!


Scott said...

More than The Graveyard Book, Odd and the Frost Giants and Blueberry Girl may be excellent choices for Gaiman fans (the former may even work for kids). I believe Subterranean Press has/had some amazing limited editions of some of his books, too.

AJG said...

Good call, Scott.

"Odd" would definitely be a great gift for a younger reader.

And, yep, SP did some great versions of Gaiman's work, though I think there were always issues with late shipping.

Anyone else know anything about that?