A bit belated, but HARK!, PAYING FOR IT, SCENES FROM AN IMPENDING MARRIAGE make holiday gift guide!

“iFanboy’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide: Must Have Graphic Novels and Collected Editions” / iFanboy / Josh Christie / December 6, 2011

For the friend with a double-major in History and English:

Have a friend that would rather read about the crew of the Nautilus battling a squid than Batman* fighting the Joker? Give them Kate Beaton’s new collection, Hark! A Vagrant (Drawn and Quarterly, 19.95). The book collects the best of Beaton’s web comic, along with previously unpublished content and additional commentary. Beaton draws heavily on historical figures and classic literature, marrying them with filthy language, absurdity and non-sequiturs. Some of the strips may fall a bit flat if you aren’t well-versed in the historical bits, but there’s something here for everyone to love.
* If your friend does need at least a little Batman, the book contains the awesome Sexy Batman strips.

For the friend who doesn’t mind incredibly challenging content:

Want a book that will make someone question their moral code? Give them Paying for It (Drawn and Quarterly, 24.95) by Chester Brown. Brown’s memoir is an unflinching and honest look at the years he spent frequently employing prostitutes in his home city in Canada. Or, at least, the first 200 pages are. Brown, a former Libertarian political candidate, devotes the back half of the book to a polemic on why prostitution should be decriminalized. It’s a tough read, especially if you don’t share Brown’s views, but it’s an important book that takes an unblinking look at both the subject of prostitution and the memoirist himself.

For the friend tying the knot in 2012:

For those of you planning on popping the question, keep in mind that choosing to get married is the easy part. The planning of the wedding? That’s where coupledom really gets tested. In his slim hardcover Scenes from an Impending Marriage (Drawn and Quarterly, 9.95), Adrian Tomine looks at his nuptials in a series of short vignettes. This isn’t as draining as Optic Nerve, or as dark as most of Tomine’s other work. Instead, it’s a book that just oozes charm and sweetness. The topics of the comics don’t sound engaging (registering, designing invitations, choosing a DJ), but they provide a window into the personalities of Sarah and Adrian, and you pick up enough bit about their personalities that they feel like old friends by the time you hit the wedding day. At under $10, a great stocking for the recently engaged or for the married comic fan, who will surely find echoes of their own wedding in the pages.

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