From Sunday Press's lovingly preserved, full-size reprint of Frank King's classic strips from the 1920s to Sam Ita's ingeniously designed Moby-Dick Pop-up Book, today's comics come in all kinds of formats. These days it's even become fashionable to say we're in the midst of a new golden age of comics. It's hard to imagine a recent period with more creativity and invention—let alone such impressive production standards. So we've put together a list of wonderfully conceived comics and comics-related titles that should bring a holiday smile to the fanboys, fangirls or otaku who stop by your store.
PulpHope: The Art of Paul Pope by Paul Pope (AdHouse, $29.95)
Comics, illustrations and critical opinion by the Eisner Award—winning comics artist.
Sundays with Walt and Skeezix by Frank King (Sunday Press Books, $95)
A broadsheet-sized (21”×16”) hardcover reprint of the classic strip's early years.
Plasticland by Frank Kozik (Dark Horse, $29.95)
Edgy toy design by the seminal rock poster designer.
Moby-Dick: A Pop Up Book by Sam Ita (Sterling, $24.95)
Melville's classic, transformed into a 3-D graphic novel.
Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White by Taiyo Matsumoto (Viz, $29.95)
A poignant, experimentalist manga about two unusual street urchins.
Heroes, Vol. 1 by various artists (DC Comics, $29.99)
A hardcover collection of weekly Web comics created in conjunction with the hit TV show.
Amano: The Collected Art of Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi and Yoshitaka Amano (Dark Horse, $29.95)
Slipcased collection of Amano's art based on the Kikuchi series, plus a new short story.
Remembrance of Things Past: Swann in Love by M. Proust; adapted by Stephane Heuet (NBM, $16.95)
A hardcover adaptation for the classier comics reader.
Beowulf by Gareth Hinds (Candlewick Press, $21.99)
The sturdy legend gets a dynamic, woodcut-inspired retelling in this Xeric Award winner.
The Marvel Vault by Roy Thomas and Peter Sanderson (Running Press, $49.95)
A unique history of Marvel Comics using reproductions of historical mementos and collectibles.
Spider-man: The Icon by Steve Saffel (Titan Books, $49.95)
Spidey's history and popularity is traced through toys, comics and pop culture spinoffs.
The Art of Bone by Jeff Smith (Dark Horse, $39.95)
Sketches and annotated reference materials capture the humor and dark fantasy of Smith's epic.
Ascend: Special Edition by Keith Arem (PCB/IDW, $75)
A much-revised, oversized, slipcased hardcover of the writer/director's 2005 fantasy epic.
Moomin Book Two: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip by Tove Jansson (D&Q, $19.95)
A charming, gently humorous Finnish classic about a family of hippo-like trolls.
Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Vol. Three by Jack Kirby (DC Comics, $49.99)
Psychedelic sci-fi and brain-blasting imagery in “King” Kirby's tales of Jimmy Olsen and Darkseid.
The Artist Within by Greg Preston (Dark Horse, $39.95)
Photos capture comics legends, from Jack Kirby to Craig Thompson, in their native habitats.
Battle Royale Ultimate Edition by Koushun Takami and Masayuki Taguchi (Tokyopop, $24.99)
This deluxe edition of a riveting and brutal tale of survival puts the X in Xmas. Not for kids!