The Image Comics Holiday Gift Guide

December 16, 2015

The Image Comics Holiday Gift Guide

BIG HARD SEX CRIMINALS, by MATT FRACTION & CHIP ZDARSKY

Girl meets boy. Boy meets girl. Girl and boy bond over Nabokov, end up in bed, and come to a realization: when they orgasm, time stops. They knew it happened to them separately, of course, but what are the odds that they'd meet someone else with the same ability? So they get together and they do what any normal, law-abiding person with an active sex drive would do: they rob a bank (to save a library). Charming, funny, authentic, and honest, SEX CRIMINALS strips away our fears about sex and replaces them with earnest comedy. What's not to like?

BITCH PLANET, by KELLY SUE DeCONNICK & VALENTINE DE LANDRO

BITCH PLANET? Think of it like "Margaret Atwood meets Inglourious Basterds." Women who have been deemed non-compliant are shipped off-world to serve time. What's non-compliant mean? Well. Are you anything but exactly what society demands you be, with no exceptions? Then you will be found non-compliant and sent off to Bitch Planet. It's that easy. Of course, when you put some of the least compliant women ever in the same area? R-E-B-E-L-L-I-O-N, yeah?

CHRONONAUTS, by MARK MILLAR & SEAN GORDON MURPHY

Listen: what would you do with a time machine? No, I know—you'd take out blah blah blah and save the world, fix world hunger, but wouldn't you want to see the hanging gardens of Babylon, too? Maybe see what it feels like to race a horse behind the wheel of a 600-horsepower supercar? Get into a little insider trading and...well. The opportunities for shenanigans are quite literally infinite, so when Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly, the first two human beings to take a step through the time stream to another era, are thrown off their mission, there's only one thing to do: take advantage as best they can before their cards get pulled.

DESCENDER, by JEFF LEMIRE & DUSTIN NGUYEN

TIM-21 wakes up one day to find that the world has changed. Before he fell asleep, he enjoyed life with his best friend, his best friend's mom, and his dog. When he woke up, the universe was different. Androids like Tim were outlawed, following a disaster that resulted in massive loss of life, and the data inside Tim's head may prove vital to galactic security...or maybe just earn a bounty hunter a few bucks. What begins as a story about an android boy and his robot dog explodes into a true space opera, with imaginative locales, fantastic action, and a strong emotional core.

EAST OF WEST: THE APOCALYPSE: YEAR ONE, by JONATHAN HICKMAN & NICK DRAGOTTA

Death of the Four Horsemen, having been betrayed by his longtime compatriots, rides into town with one goal in his mind: vengeance. Vengeance on those who betrayed him. Vengeance on those who took everything he loved from him. Vengeance on any who would cross his path or attempt to delay his wrath. Set in a different future than our own, where the Old West abides and the technology is incredibly lethal, EAST OF WEST is where realpolitik meets myth, and the gristle is forcibly separated from the bone. Dig in.

HINGES, BOOK ONE: A CLOCKWORK CITY, by MEREDITH McCLAREN

Orio, a young girl, is new to the city of Cobble, a clockwork city, and she's not the only one. Her familiar, Bauble, has plans of his own, so Orio must depend on the kindness of others to get by. Great for young readers and adults alike, McClaren's impressively rendered pages give this fantasy tale a perfect atmosphere, one that's both expansive and fascinating in practice and implication.

HOWTOONS: TOOLS OF MASS CONSTRUCTION, by SAUL GRIFFITH, NICK DRAGOTTA, JOOST BONSEN, & INGRID DRAGOTTA
HOWTOONS: [RE] IGNITION, by FRED VAN LENTE & TOM FOWLER

What's a Howtoon? A Howtoon teaches you and your family how to perform practical experiments in the STEM tradition: science, technology, engineering, and math. Rather than a dusty old textbook, HOWTOONS: TOOLS OF MASS CONSTRUCTION shows you how to create cool devices with the kind of stuff you'd find laying around your house, or easily accessible from your local hardware store. HOWTOONS: [RE] IGNITION builds upon that Howtoons foundation by depicting an all-new DIY adventure. Celine and Tuck wake up one day to find their parents long gone and the world overrun by other kids. Their only chance to find their way back home is to use their knowledge of science experiments to save the world, one idea at a time.

INVISIBLE REPUBLIC, by CORINNA BECHKO & GABRIEL HARDMAN

Avalon has fallen, and Croger Babb, journalist, is on the case of exactly how it came to be in the first place. While investigating the fall of the prior regime, he discovers that there are vicious lies hidden behind the official version of the story. Lies about who led the regime to power, how they got there, and just what kind of dirt they needed to do in order to take hold of power with all their might. A couple problems: nobody likes Croger Babb, and there are people who would kill at will in order to keep the secret forever.

LAZARUS: THE FIRST COLLECTION, by GREG RUCKA & MICHAEL LARK

Collecting the first two story arcs of Lark & Rucka's deep look at a possible future, LAZARUS: THE FIRST COLLECTION blends political intrigue, romance, and explosive violence with nary a seam in sight. LAZARUS is set in a world akin to ours where the 1% have become the 0.000001%. Wealth, and worldwide control, is concentrated in the hands of just a few Families. Each Family has a Lazarus. The Family Carlyle, rulers of the west coast, have Forever. In the first issue, she's shot and killed. Afterward, she stands up again...

NO MERCY, by ALEX DE CAMPI & CARLA SPEED McNEIL

Fresh out of high school and on their way to college, a disparate group of teens board a bus bound for the hinterlands of Mexico, intent on building houses and doing some good before they embark on their college careers. This being a comic book, things quickly go wrong: the bus goes off a cliff. But that's just the beginning of McNeil & de Campi's wild ride for these kids. Coyotes, family drama, and danger of all types surrounds them out there in the dark, not to mention the general unreasonableness of the cast. How do you stay safe when everything and everyone around you wants you dead?

ODDLY NORMAL, by OTIS FRAMPTON
Volumes One, Two

Have you met Oddly Normal? Ten-year-old girl, pointy ears, green hair? Her dad's from Earth, but her mother's from Fignation, a magical land of whimsy and supernatural creatures? You should—she's great! She made one tiny mistake when she wished her parents out of existence on her birthday, but she's living with her aunt in Fignation now, and getting along well at school. She's made some friends, maybe a few minor enemies, and...you know how school is. But she's having fun and adventures, and that's what counts, right?

RAT QUEENS, DELUXE HARDCOVER, by KURTIS WIEBE, ROC UPCHURCH, STJEPAN SEJIC, & TESS FOWLER

The Rat Queens are a hard-drinking, hard-partying, and even harder-fighting crew of women. Whether they're out to make a buck to afford drinks at the after-party, or mowing through waves upon waves of ogres and beasts in order to save their city from oblivion, the Rat Queens are definitely a crew you want on your side. I mean, the other option is having them at your neck, and let's be honest here: you aren't ready for that.

SATELLITE SAM, THE DELUXE EDITION, by MATT FRACTION & HOWARD CHAYKIN

Way back in the day, at the dawn of the golden age of television, the actor who plays the popular sci-fi serial hero Satellite Sam is found dead in a flophouse. As his son investigates his father's death, certain questions are raised. Questions like, "Who are all these nude women my father hid pictures of?" and "Who killed Pop?" Sex, death, and live TV converge in SATELLITE SAM, as we get a blisteringly authentic look at life, love, and lust in the '50s.

SKULLKICKERS TREASURE TROVE, by JIM ZUB & EDWIN HUANG
Volumes One, Two, Three

How do you like your D&D? It doesn't matter—you'll love SKULLKICKERS anyway. SKULLKICKERS is kind of like what if your friendly neighborhood Dungeon Master was also a cruel English major, with a keen understanding of not just storytelling, but just how many dirty tricks you can pull on their players without going overboard. Or maybe going overboard just a little bit, because what's more fun than trying to hang on while your quest goes wildly off the rails in an incredible variety of ways?

SONS OF THE DEVIL, by BRIAN BUCCELLATO & TONI INFANTE

Travis is just a regular guy. He struggles with his temper, and sometimes he argues with his girlfriend, but he's a good dude at heart. The trouble is, he's a good dude with a secret even he doesn't know: he has familial ties to a murderous cult. What happens when the past you never asked for comes calling? Does "Nature vs Nurture" matter when your nature is evil and your nurture was negligent?

SOUTHERN BASTARDS BOOK ONE, by JASON AARON & JASON LATOUR

Craw County, Alabama, isn't even a nice place to visit, much less live. Earl Tubb grew up there, got out, and only came back when it came time to clean up family business. But ol' Earl is a righteous man, one who can't abide the actions of corrupt men. But Coach Boss, the chief architect of the Runnin' Rebs football team and all the misery in Craw County, isn't a man that fears much at all, least of all a senior citizen with a big stick and a bad attitude.

SOUTHERN CROSS, by BECKY CLOONAN & ANDY BELANGER

Now boarding: Southern Cross, tanker flight 73 to Titan. Alex Braith's sister has died, and Alex must collect her remains and figure out exactly what happened to her. The only way to do that? She's gotta board a tanker headed to Saturn's moon and hope for the best. SOUTHERN CROSS begins on a blue collar note before introducing a possibly lethal combination of psychedelic horror, as Alex's search leads her down darker and darker paths, forcing her into alliances with the venal or worse.

THE WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM, by ROBERT KIRKMAN & CHARLIE ADLARD
Volumes One, Two, Three

Whether you were introduced to THE WALKING DEAD by way of the TV show—it comes back on Valentine's Day 2016, guaranteed to be the most traumatic one you've had since high school!—or picking up the comics back in the day, you know that Kirkman and Adlard's "zombie movie that never ends" can be incredibly effecting, whether it's the shocking death of a beloved character or Carl peeking from behind his hat with a smile. The compendiums collect forty-eight or so issues a shot, the comic book equivalent of a huge DVD boxed set.

WAYWARD, BOOK ONE, by JIM ZUB & STEVEN CUMMINGS

Rori Lane, a high schooler of Japanese and Irish descent, moves to Tokyo to live with her mother. As if changing schools, countries, and dominant languages wasn't bad enough, she finds herself going through some surprising changes. She can see red threads that show her fascinating things or paths to safety. She makes friends with a young lady named Ayane, who turns out to be a cat-girl. Rori is in for a supremely weird high school experience, because she's drawn the attention of yokai, creatures and monsters from Japanese folklore. What's a girl to do? Fight back, obviously.

WYTCHES, by SCOTT SNYDER & JOCK

How do you like your horror? Snyder, Jock, colorist Matt Hollingsworth, and letterer Clem Robins serve it up close and personal. When no one around you is what they claim to be, fearsome creatures lurk in the woods, and your baby girl is growing into a teenager, how do you handle it? Do you retreat into your old, bad habits? Do you stand up and look out for your daughter? Or do you trust the untrustworthy and pray for the best? WYTCHES is about parenthood and fear, horror and sins past, the perfect mix of personal terror and the creeping monsters that exist just out of the corner of your eye.