Indie Christmas/Hanukkah Gifts Other Than Building Stories

Let me be clear: you SHOULD buy Building Stories. You SHOULD give Building Stories as a gift (even if it is a gift for yourself). But I think that is pretty clear by now. Building Stories is probably on the top of most people’s Holiday Wish List. But, do you really want to be that person who ONLY gives Building Stories? What if you know that someone else is already giving it as a gift? What to do???

Well, STR is here to help with our list of gifts to give OTHER than Chris Ware’s Building Stories.

1. Give the gift of a convention. There are a wide number of conventions all across the United States catering to a wide range of tastes. Whether the person on your list is into comics, celebrities, movies, or hand-made zines, there is a convention for them! Some of the biggest conventions sell out months in advance, but also offer the best discounts to people who register early. Might we suggest:

Emerald City Comic-Con. This convention has the best opportunity for real conversations and interactions with creators. While there are long lines for the biggest talents (read: Robert Kirkman), most creators have plenty of time to chat, sign, and even sketch! Best of all, small-press/self-published creators are seated right next to Big Name Talent, creating an egalitarian atmosphere unrivaled at any other convention. ECCC also offers a wide range of celebrities (Patrick Stewart, Billy Dee Williams, Gillian Anderson) as well as voice talent (Jennifer Hale, Kevin Michael Richardson, Rikki Simons), and Panels covering a wide-range of topics. you can see a complete list (so far) of attendees here You can buy tickets here.

Geek Girl Con. Don’t let the title fool you, this convention has something for everyone! From comic creators to NASA scientists, Geek Girl Con is a fantastic convention to celebrate everything one could possibly geek out about! While the vendor space may not be terribly large, each year there is more than enough interesting programming to occupy all of your time. It is a great convention for the entire family with activities for kids from 3 to 103!
Buy your passes here.

Stumptown Comics Fest. I can’t leave the local home-made/self-published convention out! While this convention has suffered a bit in the past couple of years from growing pains, it still remains one of the best places to discover self-published and hand-made comics. This convention puts the indie in independent by bringing in big name talent in the independent comic world. Previous guests include Jeff Smith, Paul Pope, and James Sturm. This year is no different with Bill Willingham, Becky Cloonan, and Stan Sakai all in attendance!

2. Give the gift of something hand made! My parents always put far more weight on gifts that were hand made than ones that were bought in a store. While that may be true when it came to getting pieces of Mom’s hand-made candy, it didn’t work out so well when I asked for a Millennium Falcon. But then again, neither of them were professional artists! Here are a couple of comic artists who have unique gifts for sale:

Erika Moen: Erika has a shopify store with plenty of books, zines, and posters. But what I would like to point out is her “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” poster. Hand silk-screened, limited to 19 total, Erika will draw a portrait of the intended recipient in the middle of the piece. All but $5 of the price goes to Planned Parenthood. (note: this will not ship until after Christmas, so you might want to make a nice gift card for the person to open).

Julia Wertz: Julia Wertz has an Etsy shop chock full of necklaces, earrings, original art, and signed editions of her books. I am particularly fond of the pendants with old maps of New York boroughs, although I can never get enough of her self-portraits! (Note: all orders must be placed by December 16th for arrival in time for Christmas).

Periscope Studios: Periscope Studios is the largest art studio on the West Coast and one of the largest in the United States. It is home to the likes of Jeff Parker, Steve Lieber, Natalie Nourigat, and Colleen Coover, and they have an Etsy store as well! Look through it for signed books, and ridiculously inexpensive original art!

3. Give the gift of a good book. We already agreed that Building Stories is the obvious choice. So, what other books could you give out this year?

Brandon Graham’s King City : Brandon Graham is working on entirely different plane of existence than the rest of the world. His hyper-stylized illustrations and deeply layers storytelling make this collection a must read! give it to people on your list who enjoy science fiction, skate culture, and cats that act like Swiss Army knives.

Get Jiro!: People either love or hate Anthony Bourdaine. But there is one thing everyone agrees on, his debut graphic novel, Get Jiro, is fantastic! Jiro is a sushi chef living in a post apocalyptic world. He tries to make a living selling the best sushi in the city while two gangs of foodies engage in a turf war. Funny, gruesome, and more than a little irreverent, Get Jiro is the perfect gift for anyone who gets annoyed when someone orders a California Roll.

Royden Lepp’s Rust Volume 1
& Rust Volume 2: Secrets of the Cell: For anyone who ever wished that there was more Iron Giant, Royden Lepp’s Rust fills the gap nicely. With beautiful illustrations and nuanced storytelling, Rust is a story that works for kids of all ages. Rust was optioned for a movie before it was even released as a book, and continues to make its way through the Hollywood system. Like Iron Giant, it is sure to be a hit. So, why not let people in on the secret early? Volume 1 has been out for a year now, but volume two is coming out this week! Pick them both up and make someone very happy this holiday season.

4. Give the gift of a good movie. Comics have become a cultural phenomenon. The biggest movies of the year for the past decade have been comic book movies. But there have been a few movies which, while based on comics, may have slipped beneath the radar.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo): This movie is on almost constant repeat at our house. From a soundtrack which rocks harder than most live concerts I’ve been to lately, and an ending which is even better than the one in the books, Scott Pilgrim may be the perfect comic book movie. Really want to make someone’s holliday? Give them the DVD as well as the Scott Pilgrims Precious Little Boxset. If they are like my daughters, that will be the last you see of them for the entire winter break!

Sin City . With rumors picking up about the impending sequel, it is easy to forget just how awesome the first Sin City movie was. Sure there was some wooden acting here and there, but that can be said about most movies ( Star Wars). What truly makes this a standout film is the visuals. Frank Miller’s graphic novels are captured in almost exact detail, making for an unparalleled visual experience. This is the kind of movie which will drive people to the original source material!

American Splendor. This movie made me want to like Harvey Pekar. It didn’t succeed in making me like his work, but it did make me want to like it. Paul Giamatti’s fantastic portrayal of Pekar, coupled with the repeated shattering of the wall between the world of film and the real world made American Splendor not just a good comic book movie, but a good movie in its own right. While it may not be fun for the entire family, it is good viewing for adults.

5. Give the gift of empowerment. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to make comics. I have wanted to be a part of the industry which has given me so much enjoyment. There is nothing as satisfying as holding in your hands a comic you, yourself have created. So why not give a burgeoning creative type tools which can help propel them into the realm of self-publishing?

Comic & Fantasy Artist’s Photo Reference: Colossal Collection of Action Poses (Comic/Fantasy Artist Photo Ref): Drawing is tough enough. But drawing without reference is a pain in the rear! While everyone may not be interested in drawing action and fights, there is plenty in this book for the creation of almost any scene. From strong poses to the application of makeup, the Colossal Book of Action poses is an incredibly useful tool for any artist.

Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers, 12 Black Markers(30001): You can never have too many Sharpies! Now that you have written and drawn the comic, it is time to ink it before heading off to Kinkos (or using the office copier). These make a great, and appreciated, stocking stuffer!

Swingline ClassicCut Pro Guillotine Trimmer, 15-Inch Cut Length, 15 Sheet Capacity (9115). No, this is not the equivalent of getting socks and underwear! A quality paper cutter is essential for someone making mini-comics. While there are cheaper ones on the market, an old-school metal one like the one you were never allowed to use in elementary school is the tool you need when you are putting together mini-comics.

<a href=”″>Stanley Bostitch AntiJam Standard Booklet Stapler, 20 Sheet Capacity (B440SB)</a><img src=”” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />: ┬áThe final step in creating a mini-comic! Save time, energy, and money by investing in a saddle-stitch stapler. We are constantly “borrowing” the one from work when it is time to put together our minis. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Santa will bring us this one for Christmas.

So there you go. Hopefully this has given you some ideas for Christmas and Hanukkah shopping this year. May your holidays be merry and your stockings well-stuffed!

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