The PC Gamer Christmas Gift Guide
How far we've come from the funny pages. No longer are comic books synonymous with infantile power fantasies about men in luminously-coloured spandex punching space-goblins in their exposed electro-brains - although, that said, we still rather like reading those too. Now comics cover everything from war reportage to bewilderingly experimental meditations on the relationship between human lives and architectural space. Biff! Sock! Pow!
Written by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), Invincible is alternatingly funny, sincere, dark, and playful. Kirkman shows incredible awareness of superhero comic conventions as he masterfully celebrates the genre without either drifting into satire or referential indulgence. This is an original, self-aware story, and at the heart of it is a son’s relationship with his dad. Beyond it: intergalactic war, love, loyalty, and a delightful exploration of what it’d be like to be a crime-fighting, flying, caped hero high schooler.
Comixology: trades - $5.99-11.99
Amazon US: Invincible Compendium - $41 / Amazon UK: Invincible Compendium - £38
Populated by monsters, private eyes, and (duh) femme fatales, Fatale is a terrifically original mash-up of crime noir and horror (noirror?). Like Locke & Key, it masterfully deploys on supernatural twists and violence while maintaining your interest in the natural, relatable drama between its characters.
Amazon US: Fatale, Book 1 - $8.51 / Amazon UK: Fatale, Book 1 - £7.69
Going on its sixth trade paperback, L&K is a lightly Lovecraftian, contemporary horror series that follows a family displaced after tragedy. As the Lockes retreat to their ancestral home in Massachusetts, they begin to find magic keys scattered inside the mansion—powerful artifacts that are their only defense from ancient harms. Writer Joe Hill shares his dad’s (Stephen King) talent for grounding horror in human relationships, and uses the series’ to take its characters to imaginative and surprising places.
Comixology trades - $5.99-9.99
Amazon US: Vol. 1 - $13.59 / Amazon UK: Vol. 1 - £13.29
Just released digitally, this anniversary edition collects 194 pages worth of adventures of the Freelance Police, our favorite anthropomorphic crime-fighting duo, who most recently appeared in game form in Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse.
Comixology: $15.99 / Forbidden Planet UK: £10.34
Of DC Comics’ “New 52” reboots, Batman is perhaps the most universally well-regarded. Helmed by American Vampire writer Scott Snyder, the new Batman manages to be original even as it retreads and reworks the themes and story of nerdkind’s favorite dark hero.
Comixology: issues - $1.99-2.99
Amazon US: Volume 1: The Court of Owls - $15.98 / Forbidden Planet UK: Volume 1: The Court of Owls - £13.10
Chris Ware's latest stretches the comic form to breaking point - then snaps it in half, folds its segments into elaborate origami and then reassembles it as an disorientingly ambitious exploration of narrative, architecture and the drama of everyday life. At times overwhelming and unwieldy, Building Stories comes as a box containing all manner of fragments - posters, booklets, pamphlets - which condense into the story of a single red-brick Chicago flat and the movingly mundane lives of those within.
Amazon US: $28.35 / Amazon UK: £13.50