By Michael Sangiacomo
Comic fans would be the first to admit that we are a picky bunch, especially at Christmas.
Spouses and family members think we will be easy to buy gifts for, but that is not the case.
The reason is simple, it takes a comic fan to know what another comic fan wants.
Should they go on Amazon and buy some super-overpriced hardcover Superman book because they are pretty sure that hubby likes Superman? Or was it Spider-Man? Pretty sure it’s one of those guys.
But wait, should they get the old ones or new ones? And what’s this weird looking one by Frank Miller. And there is even a book called New Super-Man, about a Chinese Superman. Could that be it?
My advice? Leave it to the pros. Talk to the folks at the shop where your significant other buys comics; they know exactly what he wants and what he already has. They probably sold it to him.
I can’t count the number of comic-type gifts I have been given from well-meaning family members that not only do I not want or need, but am embarrassed to have. A t-shirt with Harley Quinn on it? What am I, a 12-year-old girl?
If they had gone to Comics Are Go in Sheffield, Comic Heaven in Willoughby, Carol and Johns in Cleveland or one of the other comic shops in the area I haunt, they would have been steered clear of certain titles. These are shops where comic geeks go every week, and the professionals there know what we like.
And, at the very least, they can sell you a gift card so the comic geek can buy something he wants.
If you insist on buying comics or comic-related stuff yourself, at least ask the comic lover what he (or she) would want. Sure, that kills the surprise, but it also eliminates the disappointment of buying a Harley Quinn or Lobo statue for someone like me, who HATES Harley Quinn and Lobo. And if you did give one to me, I would feel obligated to display the ugly thing on my desk. Then I would have to stare at it and build up a resentment against you, and we don’t want that now, do we?
Of course, if someone really knew me, they would know they could never go wrong with Krypto the Superdog, which my wife somehow figured out.
And, for the uninitiated, we are way beyond single issue comics; there are trade paperbacks, which collect about six months of issues of a title and repackage it affordably. Then there are Original Graphic Novels, and even omnibuses, which can be more than 1,500 pages!
Then there are hundreds of books featuring non-superhero characters that are big sellers these days: Manga, comics based on video games, wrestling and on and on.
And statues, or dust collectors, as I call them. They can run anywhere from tiny Funko Pops to handsome, life-size representations of everyone from Darth Vader to Iron Man.
So unless you can name at least 10 Avengers or members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, leave the selection up to the experts.
Not sure where your local comic shop is? Easy, Google comic shop locator and look for the one nearest you.
Tell them Mike sent you.
Michael Sangiacomo, who can never tell a certain relative how much he loathes her comic-related gifts, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.