The Beat’s Holiday Gift Guide: For the Indie and Small Press Comics Admirer

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The holiday gifting time is here and the Beat crew stands ready with some suggestions for the comics lover, comics curious or even comics oblivious – there’s something for everyone out there. Let’s take a look at some suggestions for that person in your life who likes alternative and indie comics!

A subscription to Uncivilized books 2019 collection: Uncivilized comics publish some very interesting and often time challenging work. Their upcoming publication features some new work by Mardou and Gabrielle Bell, two incredible artists. The 2019 line-up includes a variety of artists and it’s sure to be a unique gift.

A subscription to The Nib: For those interested in political comics, a subscription to The Nib is a good choice. Though some of their comics don’t always land perfectly, they do publish a variety of cartoonists and explore a lot of different subjects. There’s something for everyone here. Their online subscription comes with a quarterly magazine in digital or printed format depending on your tier of support.

BERLIN by Jason Lutes: The final volume of Jason Lutes decades long series Berlin. This 580 page volume is an outstanding piece of literary comics. Lutes has accomplished an impressive feat, mixing historical details and character study to perfection. Berlin is a look at the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of fascism and extremism begins to change German society. Of interest in the book itself is the central role the city plays in all of this, being depicted as a beacon for intellectualism and ideal until its decline and destruction in one of the most well-executed story arc of the decade. A must-read

One of the great comics or graphic novels published by Believed Behavior or Pow Pow Press: These two publishers have been making some exceptional graphic novels and comics over the past few years. For instance, Believed Behavior has published some interesting, challenging and novel work from a variety of cartoonists such as Margot Ferrick, Kevin Budnik and Tommi Parrish. These are usually fantastic work that are well worth your time. Pow Pow Press has also published some very interesting work over the last few years. Sophie Bédard’s young adult series Almost Summer has finally been all published in English. The two books from Zviane (Going Under For as long as it Rains) are absolutely beautiful. It’s hard to find something to dislike in those two publishers.

Support an artist on Patreon or Drip: This one is a bit trickier to execute since you have to know who your loved one would like to support, but is essentially a “gift that keeps on giving”. Many artists have Patreon (or Patreon-like page like Drip) that they maintain, providing subscribers with progress posts, update on their work, giveaways, web comics or downloadable content during the year for a very reasonable monthly fee. Find out who they’d like to see supported, commit to an amount for the year and register them to get the updates. It’s nice to be able to provide ongoing support to an artist and your loved one will get ongoing updates throughout the year.

Commission from an artist: If you know your loved one likes an artist, do reach out to these artists to see if they take personal commission and what their prices are (prices can vary depending on who you contact). Artists typically have prices for those and dates during which they can accommodate such work depending on their current workload. Just make sure you don’t become too pushy if they say no (and it may happen as the holidays are a busy season and everyone has work to do before visiting their family or completing work before the end of the year), try to see if they have a waiting list. Sometimes, they may be able to put you on an order or waiting list for the holidays. People do a range of wonderful work and it makes for a beautiful gift.

One of IDW’s Artist Edition book: For the past several years, IDW has been publishing a line of artists focus comics. They are an oversize, black & white, raw look at an artist’s page from some of their most famous and admired work. These books are absolutely gorgeous and are absolutely worth the price of entry. There’s some beautiful books, including some by Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko or Walter Simonson.

The Akira 35th Anniversary Box Set: Six hardcover volumes of Katsuhiro Otomo’s masterpiece in a beautifully designed box set. It was on the list last year and I didn’t get it. It’s really pricey, but a man can dream.

Happy Holidays!