Boing Boing Gift Guide 2009: comics/art books! (part 6/6)

Mark and I have rounded up some of our favorite items from our 2009 Boing Boing reviews for the second-annual Boing Boing gift guide. We'll do one a day for the next six days, covering media (music/games/DVDs), gadgets and stuff, kids' books, novels, nonfiction, and comics/graphic novels/art books. Today, it's comics and art books!

The Wolverton Bible (Basil Wolverton): Wolverton wasn't just a funnybooks illustrator: he was also a member of a millenarian evangelical church called the Worldwide Church of God, a sect that believed in obeying Old Testament lifestyle laws and the literal truth of Revelations. So it was natural that Wolverton ended up with a regular, paid gig illustrating a series of Bible stories for kids and adults published in the Church's magazines like Plain Truth and in booklets with titles like Prophecy and The Book of Revelations, overseen by Church leader Herbert Armstrong, who had converted Wolverton to his faith. Full review | Purchase

Norman Saunders was a prominent illustrator for Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, Modern Mechanics, pulp detective, western, war, and science fiction magazines, men's adventure magazines, and bubblegum cards and stickers, including Wacky Packages and Mars Attacks. Anyone interested in 20th century magazine illustration pretty much has to have this book in his or her library. I devoured the 368 technicolor pages filled with examples of his work from the 1920s to the 1980s. Full review | Purchase

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook (Eleanor Davis): The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook is Eleanor Davis's kids' comic glorifying science, invention, and the joys of personal exploration. Julian Calendar is a bright 11-year-old who has moved to a new school where he is determined to fit in by masking his voracious intellect, but instead he finds himself (gladly) fallen in with two other science kids -- Greta Hughes, a "bad kid" with a reputation and Ben Garza, a "dumb jock" who shines on the basketball court but chokes on tests. Both kids are, in fact, natural scientists (as is Julian), but they aren't the right kind of smart to get ahead in school. Full review | Purchase

The Laugh Out Loud Cats Sell Out These 150 one-panel gags, featuring a pair of wise-foolish felines, are terrific, both in their warm, scorn-free humor, and in their evidence of masterful craftsmanship. Full review | Purchase

The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack (Nicholas Gurewitch): I've you've never read The Perry Bible Fellowship webcomic, now's the time to start. Dark Horse recently published a giant omnibus of material from Nicholas Gurewitch's PBF, The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack, and it's a concentrated dose of the kind of dark, twisted humor that makes you bark with laughter and look away at the same time. Full review | Purchase

Mark Ryden: The Tree Show "Ryden paints his characters with a masterful, porcelain glow reminiscent of Ingres and renders his trees with a care that evokes Audubon's botanical illustration. Several of his paintings are presented in elaborately carved frames that project their narratives beyond the canvas." Full review | Purchase

The Best of Dinosaur Comics: 2003-2005 A.D. (Ryan North): Dinosaur Comics is an unlikely gem of a webcomic -- the same six panels every week featuring three dinosaurs and a house, a car and a woman in danger of being smushed. What changes from strip to strip is the dialog, and man, there's a lot of it. Full review | Purchase

Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-creator Joe Shuster showcases rare and recently discovered erotic artwork by the most seminal artist in comics, Joe Shuster. Created in the early 1950s when Shuster was down on his luck after suing his publisher, DC Comics, over the copyright for Superman, he illustrated these images for an obscure series of magazines called Nights of Horror, published under the counter until they were banned by the U.S. Senate. Juvenile deliquency, Dr. Fredric Wertham, and the Brooklyn Thrill Killers gang all figure into this sensational story. Full review | Purchase

The Beats: A Graphic History (Harvey Pekar, Paul Buhle, Ed Piskor): The Beats: A Graphic History is everything a radical history should be: critical, admiring, quirky and apologetic. The Beats is largely written by Harvey Pekar and illustrated by Ed Piskor, with a concluding section of more critical, less biographical pieces written and illustrated by a variety of critics and artists, including Nancy J Peters, Tulu Kupferberg, Summer McClinton, Anne Timmons and others. Full review | Purchase

Frank Frazetta: Rough Work I own quite a few books about the art of Frank Frazetta, but Rough Work just might be my favorite. It's such a treat to see pages from his sketchbooks, as well as roughs of his most famous illustrations. For some reason, I usually like an artist's sketches for paintings more than the paintings themselves. They are looser, and in Frazetta's case, brimming with vitality. Full review | Purchase

Tales Designed to Thrizzle: Volume 1 (Michael Kupperman): The first four issues of Michael Kupperman's awesome comedy comics zine Tales Designed to Thrizzle have been collected into a single hardcover volume that is a superdense wad of funny, surreal, bent humor, including The Buzz Aldrin Mysteries (the radio operator has been murdered, any one of the seven people on the moon could have done it!); two cowboys kicking the hell out of each other for 10 panels while shouting "I'd say comics are serious literature" and "I say they ain't"; the World Famous Apairy Hat (Girls Love it, Bears Want to Stick Their Paws In It!); a thirties nostalgia comic about an unemployed former courtroom ghost who is shrunk down and has nothing but amoebas to eat for two years; and a video game called Big City Marathon ("Keep your finger on the forward arrow key for 26 hours to win"). This is weird, funny, Subgenius-esque toilet reading that will keep you very regular.

Full review | Purchase

The Walking Dead Omnibus Volume 2I'm ready to feed my nightmares once again. It's a massive hardbound, slipcased anthology of the terrific Image comic book series by Robert Kirkman about a small band of humans struggling to live in a world filled with undead flesh eaters. Full review | Purchase

T-Minus: The Race to the Moon: Jim Ottaviani's new science history graphic novel, T-Minus: The Race to the Moon, is a fast-paced, informative recounting of the events beginning with the launch of Sputnik, the first human-made satellite on Oct 4, 1957, to the first human landing on the moon on July 20, 1969. Full review | Purchase

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb "As Crumb writes in his introduction, 'the stories of these people, the Hebrews, were something more than just stories. They were the foundation, the source, in writing of religious and political power, handed down by God himself.' Crumb's Book of Genesis, the culmination of 5 years of painstaking work, is a tapestry of masterly detail and storytelling which celebrates the astonishing diversity of the one of our greatest artistic geniuses." Full review | Purchase

Get Your War On: The Definitive Account of the War on Terror, 2001-2008 (David Rees): Rees's minimalist, clip-art graphics combined with his profane (top marks for inspired and expressive use of the word 'fuck' -- next time an English teacher tells you cursing isn't an effective way of expressing yourself, produce this book and win the day) torrent of raging, pitiless, vicious, relentless attacks on the stupidity of the War on Terror made GET YOUR WAR ON the single consistently credible voice during the Bush Years. Full review | Purchase

Robert Crumb's Sex Obsessions "This signed, slipcased, limited edition of 1,000 copies is a work of art in itself, with every part of the book--case, front and back covers, spine, introduction and pre-introduction pages--created for this project by Robert Crumb. Each book also comes with a print on mould-made age-resistant hahnemuehle paper pulled from an original watercolor by Robert Crumb." Full review | Purchase

The Life And Times Of Martha Washington In The Twenty-First Century (Frank Miller): I have Frank Miller's Give Me Liberty graphic novels to thank for getting me interested in graphic novels as a literary form. I read the first Give Me Liberty collection when I was seventeen, after having it thrust insistently into my hands by my roommate Erik Stewart. Erik judged -- correctly -- that I'd find in Miller's groundbreaking tale the same satisfaction I got from reading the best sf novels. He was so right. Full review | Purchase

Ancient Book of Sex and Science This collection of mid-century styled paintings and other works of art by four obscenely talented Pixar animation designers -- Nate Wragg, Scott Morse, Lou Romano, and Don Shank -- hearkens back to the days of the Golden science books (Like Biology, Mathematics, and Chemistry Experiments), and the How and Why Wonder Books, but the theme this time is sex and robots, sex and aliens, and sex and math Full review | Purchase

Parker: The Hunter Imagine Mad Men, with its cool stylishness, but with characters even more depraved and rapacious, and you'll have an idea for what's in store when you read The Hunter. Full review | Purchase

Other installments:

Part One: Kids
Part Two: Media
Part Three: Gadgets
Part Four: Nonfiction
Part Five: Fiction
Part Six: Comix, Art Books, etc


  1. These are some fantastic choices. The R. Crumb ‘Sex Obsessions’ is one of the best collector books to come along in ages. It’s pricey, but really beautifully done. It’s something you need to see in person and hold to really understand how great it is.

    I also love ‘Get Your War On’. Looking at those comics a few years on shows us how insane the world has gone in the last 10 years. They’re scary, but still entertaining and keep you thinking.

  2. Crumb’s Genesis is my most astounding reading experience this year. The drawings add life, realism and, the good and (predominantly) the petty, bad and outright malicious. I hope he goes on and does the rest. I want to know how this story ends and I won’t settle for any substandard, non-Crumb versions of that book.

  3. Thanks Boingboing. Thanks to this post, I discovered dinosaur comics. And thanks to dinosaur comics, I learned all about traumatic insemination in bed bugs.

  4. XKCD has a book out, too. =P

    Also, if you haven’t heard of Gareth Hinds, you ought to look him up. To date, he has done graphic novel renditions of Beowulf, Merchant of Venice, King Lear, and the Odyssey, among other classics. Really a fascinating guy.

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