[...] Much gentler, if we’re talking sci-fi, is Tom Gauld’s lovely Mooncop (Drawn & Quarterly), the plangent story of a policeman who lives and works on the moon. The twist here is that, the moon having long been populated (there is even a coffee shop), people are now leaving it and returning to Earth, for which reason this slim book would make a neat companion, present-wise, for Hubert. The cook in your life, meanwhile, might enjoy Hot Dog Taste Test (Drawn & Quarterly), Lisa Hanawalt’s ribald graphic skewering of foodie culture, which is funny, weird and definitely not one for the clean-eating brigade. The day she spends shadowing Manhattan’s most famous molecular gastronomist, Wylie Dufresne, is priceless.
Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay by Ben Katchor, a recipient of Guggenheim and MacArthur grants and a cartoonist for the New Yorker, was first published in 1991 in an unassuming paperback. Twenty-five years on, and now widely considered a classic, Drawn & Quarterly has reissued it in a beautiful hardback edition (£14.99). It chronicles, in black and white, the wanderings of Julius Knipl, a tramping old-school “real estate photographer”, through the merchandise district of New York – a landscape since changed beyond all recognition by gentrification and the rise of the chain store. A world of lost diners, derelict canneries and cheap souvenirs, read this one only if you can bear the melancholy that will undoubtedly sweep over you.