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Fanbase Press’ Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Graphics Novels & Books

Amidst the chaos of decorating the house, booking flights, or preparing a holiday feast, deciding on gifts for friends and family is likely to be the last thing on your mind this holiday season. Fanbase Press is here to help with recommendations for the must-read graphic novels and books from the year as suggested by our staff and contributors. Give your friends and family gifts they can enjoy curled up by the fireplace, catching up or rereading their favorite comic series or a good book. Or, perhaps, introduce them to a new title outside of their regular pull lists and give yourself someone to geek out with over your favorite series.

The Ghost Fleet TP 39b

The Ghost Fleet: The Whole Goddamned Thing Trade Paperback
Recommended by: Travis Lakata
Published by Image Comics

The Ghost Fleet from Image Comics is wickedly fun and entertainingly gruesome. This trade paperback (TP) successfully introduces chaos, leaving its main character struggling to understand an ambush, which decimated his crew while transporting a secret cargo. If you have ever wondered if betrayal and a dark supernatural realm could ever be fascinating to explore, then wonder no more. Originally an eight-issue series, this comic book TP delivers a fascinating story that keeps the reader guessing, and I devoured it in one sitting.

One of the most difficult things to land in a comic book story is the ability to keep the reader guessing, asking questions about “What’s happening?” or “What will happen next?” The Ghost Fleet: The Whole Goddamned Thing does as it says, the whole gosh darned thing. I had a blast reading this story – fascinating plot, interesting characters, and twists that left me debating good versus evil and that appearances are definitely deceiving. Totally worth your time if you’re interested in a wild ride that pushes the definition of friendship and revenge to the limit.

Price: $13.38 Paperback / $12.71 Digital

Paper Girls Book 1 HC 4d0

Paper Girls, Book One Hardcover
Recommended by: Travis Lakata
Published by Image Comics

Stealing a line from Felicia Day, Paper Girls has a “trio mio” with Brian K. Vaughan (Saga), Cliff Chiang (Wonder Woman), and Matt Wilson (The Wicked + The Divine) creating this magnificent fantasy. Literally, this story focuses on teenage girls who deliver papers, BUT the plot goes far beyond anything you’d expect to see based on the title alone.

The wonderfully pink hardcover shows our four main characters on bikes, with bags strapped over their shoulders and an old-school walkie talkie that will instantly transport you to the 1980s. Imagine watching Back to the Future mixed with the 1997 sci-fi flick, The Fifth Element, and that might perfectly describe the weird occurrences and odd characters you’ll find in this amazing collection.

Price: $19.06 Hardcover / $18.11 Digital

East of West Vol 8 a0c

East of West, Volume 8
Recommended by: Travis Lakata
Published by Image Comics

East of West (Image Comics) has been my favorite ongoing series since discovering it a year or two ago. The world building is fantastic. Characters in this story can be duplicitous, and encounters lean toward assassination attempts of key figures, while some cities hope to remain in control over a riotous population. The mix of so many worlds gives the sensation of an ultimate collision course that will determine the fate of all within these pages.

East of West, created by writer Jonathan Hickman (Captain Marvel) and artist Nick Dragotta (Howtoons), blends story and art in a way that each seems a perfect match. This particular volume highlights one of the Four Horsemen, Death, as he connects with his son on a journey to find the boy’s mother. This isn’t your typical father-son relationship, since death always seems to be in the foreground and their views of the world are quite different.

Price: $11.55 Paperback / $10.97 Digital

Saga Book One HC 4aa

Saga, Book One Hardcover
Recommended by: Travis Lakata
Published by Image Comics

So, a friend let me borrow Saga Book One (Image Comics) this summer and to simply state, “it is phenomenal,” might seem like an understatement. Not only does this epic tale have complex characters to follow, this story travels along with two parents – both from different sides of the track, so to speak. These two sides are at war with each other. The parents, Alana and Marko, have a child and they must do everything to keep her safe.

Saga is the outstanding creation of writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man) and artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society). They stuff loads of creativity into the worlds where our main characters, and their enemies, travel to. It’s the kind of story you wonder what it will look like on the big screen, because it feels like the story bursts from the pages with such unique imagery.

Price: $33.99 Hardcover / $31.19 Digital

wayfarers book series 577

Wayfarers Book Series (Novel)
Recommended by Claire Thorne

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your favorite sci-fi loving book worm, look no further than Becky Chambers “Wayfarer” book series. Perhaps the best description of this series can be found on Becky Chambers website: “In this vast society stretching throughout the Milky Way, you’ll find alien worlds, aging spaceships, shimmering orbiters, marketplace moons, mind-altering viruses, sentient software, pirates, pacifists, refugees — and average citizens just trying to get through another day. The Wayfarers books chronicle the interwoven lives of the everyday people (human and otherwise) living within this extraordinary future.”

While the books in the series can be read as stand alone stories, I do recommend working your way consecutively through the titles…beginning with “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet”, then “A Closed and Common Orbit”, and finally “Record of a Spaceborn Few”. These books will make wonderful gifts either individually or as a complete set.

Becky Chambers Goodreads Author Page

$10 – 12 per title – Wayfarers Book Series on Amazon

hellboyomni1 914

Hellboy Omnibuses #1-4 and Short Story Collections
Recommended by Phillip Kelly
Published by Dark Horse Comics

Over the last six months, I have consumed the four new Hellboy Omnibuses and two Short Story collections. They follow the journey of Mike Mignola’s signature creation, Hellboy, for the first time in chronological order. The stories range from the deeply personal, dealing with Hellboy’s inner turmoils as he fights against his hellish nature, wanting only to be human…and left alone, to the epic, as Hellboy fights against some of the greatest mythical monsters known to literature, ultimately becoming one himself.

With the new film coming out based on the third Omnibus this collection would be the perfect gift for anyone who loves the best in comic books, who embraces fully developed world building, and who is intrigued by mythical stories and fairytales. Mike Mignola, along with some of the best creators in the business, have created something both timeless and personal, something that weaves through different genres and locations around the world, that not only excites the adventurer in me, but left me with a profound sense of emotional satisfaction. It is one of those stories that when you finish, feels complete. And no doubt these volumes will complete any personal collection. These collections are released through Dark Horse Comics.

Price: $24.99 per collection

MotorCrush 709

Motor Crush Volume 1
Recommended by Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President
Published by Image Comics

Originating from the same creative team behind the critically-acclaimed Batgirl of Burnside run from DC Comics, Motor Crush follows Domino Swift, a headstrong, tough-as-nails, and almost supernaturally skilled member of the worldwide motorcycle racing league who is fighting to find her place (and uncover her mysterious past) in a action-packed, futuristic world full of massive monolithic corporations, deadly cycling gangs, and contraband material known simply as “Crush.” “Crush” boosts engine-power, but causes addiction in the racing machines, often with disastrous results. Everything moves at top speed in Domino’s world, and the plot only continues to rev up when her ex-girlfriend and former mechanic enters the scene just as Domino is coming to terms with her strange connection to the volatile substance known as “Crush.” Creators Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr deliver a pulse-pounding tale that manages to be both thrilling and fun and will surely satisfy the tastes of the comic book and sci-fi fans on your gift list this year!

Cost: $6.66
Click here to purchase.




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