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Last Minute Christmas Gifts for Geeks

Written by Erik Galston on Monday, December 21 2009 and posted in Features
Christmas is JUST around the corner, and the outhouse is here to help you get gifts for the geeks in your life.

Jude Terror's Judeo-Christian Holiday Gift Guide for Posers and Jerkoffs

Hey everyone, hope you're having a good time this holiday season, and by holiday season, I mean Christmas, motherfuckers, or at the very least Chchchchchauanauauckckcauauhauauh. I refuse to recognize any other made up fucking holidays, you godless heathens. Christians + Jews BFF!

In any case, I thought I might give you readers a few suggestions for gifts to give your friends, family members, co-workers, or lame acquaintances who have uncomfortably initiated a gift exchange tradition with you despite it not really being necessary for your current level of intimacy. Of course, when giving a gift, you don't want to give someone some fucking bullshit, even if bullshit is what you think they'd like.

For instance, maybe you are trying to find a gift for a self-proclaimed music lover, and said music lover is a complete fucking poser and would prefer something like the latest transexual romp from Lady GaGa or some equally bad pretentious art rock like the Decembrists. It is your duty as a friend to ignore this person's idiotic desires and get him or her something that is actually good.

Now, this year we've seen very few good albums come out, because the music scene today is a wasteland of hipster garbage and cheesy tripe. However, one album did come out very recently that remembers how to rock like it's 1975, and that album is
xmas_listthemcrookedvulturescover_b.jpgthe self titled debut of Them Crooked Vultures. Of course, you can find my review of this album in my Can Jude Terror Save Rock N' Roll column, but to sum it up for you, this band features the musical talents of Josh Homme (Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age - Awesome), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters - Lame, but better than nothing) and John Paul Jones (Led Fucking Zeppelin). The album is an amalgamation of pretty much every awesome rock influence ever. You hear Cream, the Doors, David Bowie, Zeppelin, The Beatles, and just about every other musical influence that reminds you of how great things used to be and how much they blow today.

In any case, this album rocks in a time when nothing rocks, so do someone you care about a favor and force it on them. They'll thank you once they've renounced their poser ways.

Alas, music lovers won't be the only misguided fools you'll be shopping for this season, so you might need something to give to a younger audience, or perhaps even to a friend with children. Well, I've got the perfect family gift in mind: The New Super Mario Bros. game for the Nintendo Wii. Yes, the Wii is an abomination of a system, both defying the natural purpose of video games by requiring more than sedentary couch-bound button pressing, and also by catering to an ignorant, non-gaming market, but it does have a very valuable purpose, and that is for playing old school Nintendo games.

Pretty much every awesome old Nintendo game is available on the Wii's virtual console, and that was a big selling point for my fiance and I when we picked up a Wii, supposedly for my daughter (we live in sin) to play Dora the Explorer on. However, while playing Super Mario Bros. 3 on an HDTV does fulfill one's craving for 8 bit nostalgia, even I have to admit that it doesn't quite hold up in today's world.

newsupermariobroswiiboxart.jpg Well, Nintendo has solved that problem by releasing New Super Mario Bros., a Super Mario Bros. game done in the 2D, side-scrolling style of the classics, but with updated graphics and mechanics for the modern age. It is fucking awesome. Relive the glory of your youth, stomping goombas and koopas with an ethnically offensive plumber, pass on the joy of old school platform gaming to a new generation, or enjoy this game with the whole family as it allows for four player simultaneous multiplayer. If you are buying a gift for a video gamer this year, don't get them some generic war game bullshit like Call of Duty. Give the gift of Mario.

Finally, there is the chance, albeit very slight, that you actually know another human being who is into comic books. In this rare instance, you probably want to celebrate your geekshame by trading comic-related gifts with this loser, and luckily for you, Jude Terror shares your geekshame as well, and can recommend the perfect gift. Say it with me: X-Men Forever.

That's right, this is the comic series that takes legendary creator Chris Claremont, who had
395px-x-men_forever_1_cover.jpg a 16 year run on Uncanny X-Men that defined not only the series but comics as a whole, and puts him right back where he left off twenty years ago, telling the stories he would have told had he continued with the book. This isn't revolutionary stuff, sure, and it's not ZOMG SERIOUS BUSINESS groundbreaking comic snob indy bullshit, but it is a legendary creator doing what he does best, providing old school comic book fun for the non-jaded fanboy who can still enjoy things without dissecting them for the purpose of engaging in pathetic manrants on internet message boards. The first trade of this series is available in stores now.

Well, that's it assholes, Jude Terror has saved your asses once again by telling you what you can do to be a better giftgiver this holiday season. Please enjoy the misguided suggestions of my fellow writers, but remember, you can't go wrong by listening to Jude Terror. Royal Nonesuch, on the other hand...

Punchy's Holiday Gift Guide

I suppose a good place to start a Gift Guide would be a Comics-related Item I've actually bought as a gift for someone this Christmas, which is Dread & Superficiality: Woody Allen as Comic Strip by Stuart Hample. You may or may not know this, but back in the 1970s, Woody Allen was the star of his own syndicated Newspaper comic strip, featuring snippets
38682751.jpg of the Director's own stand-up and other material, and this year Abrams Comicart have released this fine new Hardcover collection has been released, featuring the best of the strip's 8 year run. I've got this for my brother, who is not only a comics fan, but also a big fan of Woody, and from what I've seen, it's very funny indeed, featuring Allen's glorious wit, if you like his 'early funny movies' or are reading those big-ass Peanuts collections, this could go with it nicely.

Other good gifts for the Comics fan in your life include The Complete Essex County By Jeff Lemire. This Volume collects all 3 Essex County Novellas, and tells the complete story of a small Canadian Community and how families entwine. Haunting and beautiful, this is one of the best comics of the decade. Lemire also has The Nobody from Vertigo available.

Darwyn Cooke's Parker: The Hunter from IDW is of course fantastic, as anything Cooke puts his pen to. A retelling of the Richard Stark's original novel, it's a classy 60s Noir, with amazing artwork. The crime comic is in a resurgence lately, so Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' Criminal and Incognito come highly recommended, there are 4 Criminal trades (or the kick-ass Omnibus, collecting 3 of 'em) and 1 trade of Incognito. Jason Aaron and RM Guera's Scalped is also an amazing crime book, 5 trades are available.

40934643.jpgFor the superhero fan amongst you, there's a plethora of awesome new collections. You can help them bridge the gap between Capes and other genres with Bendis and Oeming's Powers (3 HCs should be out by Christmas, and there's loads of trades) or Rucka, Brubaker and Lark's Gotham Central (2 HCs). Both juxtapose the world of superheroes with the Police Procedural, yet both are very different, and equally amazing. More traditionally, there's Robert Kirkman's Invincible, which is simply one of the best superhero comics going, and the Starman Omniboo, which are up to Volume 3, and count to one of DC Comics' greatest achievements. I also heartily recommend Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's Wolverine: Old Man Logan hardcover. There were complaints about the series' timeliness, but none about the story, which was an accomplished blend of Unforgiven and Wolverine, and was probably the most fun you could have in comics in 2009, and how good will McNiven's art look in over-sized form? Too good!

And as we all know, both DC and Marvel have big events going on at the moment, Dark Reign and Blackest Night, you could catch your loved ones up with Norman Osborn and the Rainbow Corps in a variety of collections. Nothing says Christmas like dead superheroes slaughtering all around them, and a world in the control of a madman!

If you don't want to push comics themselves too hard, there's always movie adaptations and other ephemera, the Watchmen movie ultimate cut is out now on dvd and blu-ray in the US (but not the UK, fuckers), and adds in all the deleted stuff, and even the Pirate story. A must-have for fans of the biggest comic book movie of 2009. I suppose there's X-Men Origins: Wolverine as well.

Merry Christmas mofos!




Royal Nonesuch

The recent spate of newspaper strip collections have served as an effective time capsule, bringing readers to a bygone era marked by relevance. Few strips were more relevant in the 1980's than Bearkley Breathed's Bloom County. Frequently topical andbloomcounty1-350.jpg sarcastic, Bloom County was amongst the best of the format, and IDW's Library of American Comics imprint gives the strip the attention it deserves. Bound by IDW's famously high production values, Bloom County: The Complete Library Collection Volume 1 1980-1982 collects the first three years of the strip, under Breathed's supervision. In addition to the annotated strips (a lot of these references may be lost on younger readers), the collection presents many never-before-reprinted rarities and personal touches from the creator himself.

drag-me-to-hell-br.jpgA rejected bank loan extension may seem like an unlikely inciting incident for a horror film, but when Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell was released earlier this year, it was hailed as something of a return to form for the director. After three Spider-Man films, Raimi returned to his horror/comedy roots with a budget and production values much higher than his famed Evil Dead trilogy, but with all the sensibilities that made those films so charming and so much damn fun. The scares are legitimate, and the laughs are absolutely riotous. This is Raimi doing what he does best, and the results are a blast.

Few writers had the chance to view the rock 'n' roll scene from inside quite the way Robert Palmer did (and no, he's not the same Robert Palmer who sang "Simply Irresistible," so please don't make that joke). A one-time musician and producer himself, Palmer seemed well versed in the global implications of blues and rock music,
43931827.jpg and often brought his vast knowledge to his critical essays. That knowledge and experience led to him being chosen as the first rock critic at The New York Times, a seat he occupied for most of the 1980's (this after spending most of the 1970's chronicling blues and rock for Rolling Stone magazine). Always eminently readable, Blues and Chaos: The Music Writing of Robert Palmer is a representative, if not completely comprehensive collection of his best and seminal work. Anyone with an appreciation of the deeper roots of rock 'n' roll would truly marvel at this book.

Though JG Ballard tends to get listed as a science-fiction writer, that classification is somewhat problematic since it doesn't tell the whole story, but also brings to mind visions of aliens and space battles. The worlds Ballard, who passed away in the spring of 2009, wrote of were always rather close to our own. He always packed as much into a story as he could, thus making genre classifications look pretty arbitrary. Ballard's work was at once mysterious, political, historical, harrowing, depressing, psychosexual, and always interesting while infused with the hallmarks of postmodernism. With apparent influences ranging from Jonathan Swift to Gabriel Garcia Marquez (and certainly far beyond), he was one of the most singular authors of his time. A somewhat intimidating, though nearly exhaustive primer to his work is The Complete Works of JG Ballard, a 1,200 page (!!!) anthology that brings 98 short stories under one cover.

51wz7kporrl._sl500_.jpgEvery once in a while, a comic book comes out that defies your expectations in the most hilarious way. There's plenty of that in the five issues that comprise John Layman's Chew vol. 1: Taster's Choice.Chew is a truly warped look at the future of humanity and its relation to food-borne illness. It's a bizarre premise, but one that Layman works to the bones and succeeds greatly with. The book has a great mystery and is packed with plot and character, and anyone you give this book to as a gift will be genuinely surprised.

Mr. Black’s Gift Guide for Your Inner (or Outer) Geek

It’s the holiday season once again, which means it’s time to dig yourself out of that pile of Cheetos bags and empty Red Bulls, put on your Green Lantern shirt, and venture out into the bright light of the real world to buy gifts for your loved ones, err, internet friends. Here are a few suggestions which will please your equally geeky friends, and even the ones who pretend otherwise.

Comic Related:
Peter and Max: A Fables Novel ($22.99 retail) peterandmax_b.jpg

It’s hard to call yourself a comic fan if you’re not reading Bill Willingham’s excellent Fables ongoing, so this should appeal to almost any geek. This novel focuses on the trials and tribulations of one Peter Piper and his rivalry with his brother Max, and while the transition from comic-writing to novel-writing is a bit clumsy, Willingham still turned out a very entertaining book. No prior knowledge of Fables is needed to enjoy this novel, so this might even appeal to a non-comic fan who appreciates modern fantasy. One warning: the story does give away some plot points from the Fables series, so those who are in the midst of reading the trade paperbacks of the comic may want to hold off on this book until you finish with volume 8 of the trade paperbacks.

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers hardcover ($24.99 retail)

518o6nxgigl._ss500_.jpgFor the younger comic fan, or someone who appreciates a truly FUN comic book, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers is the way to go. This hardcover, which collects the four issue miniseries of the same name, follows Lockjaw, companion of the Inhumans, as he collects the Infinity Gems to keep them from falling into the wrong hands. Along the way he meets several other Marvel “pets,” including Frog Thor (or “Throg”), Redwing (the Falcon’s, umm, falcon), Lockheed the dragon, Zabu the sabertooth tiger, and Ms. Lion (just a dog), who aid him in recovering the gems. The series will not offend the delicate sensibilities of younger readers, but references enough of Marvel’s rich history to please longtime readers. A great gift for any Marvel fan.

Supergod (5 issue miniseries with issues #1-2 out now; $3.99 per issue)

If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, Supergod by Warren Ellis and Garrie Gastonny may be the way to go. The story is set in the last days of an Earth destroyed by superhumans, as Simon Reddin, a British scientist with a shady past, gives “an oral history of how we all died.” Supergod tells the story of “superhumans who are no longer human at all, but something else,”as we see the nations of the world each attempting to build weapons in the image of God. This, of course, goes awry, and we are treated to the apocalypse as only Warren Ellis can deliver. Two issues are currently on the stands, with issue #3 set to his stores on January 27, 2010.

Borderlands (Xbox 360, PS3, and PC; $59.99 retail)

borderlandscover.jpgDeveloper Gearbox managed to take two of the most addictive types of video games, the multiplayer first person shooter and the loot-based role playing game, and combine it into one slick package. Borderlands controls like a typical FPS, but contains several RPG elements (experience points, skill trees, leveled enemies), as well an extremely robust weapons system. The guns are the real draw of the game. Every time you open a chest or steal a weapon from a dead enemy, the game randomly generates the gun based on a variety of stats. In layman’s terms, you’ll never get the same gun twice, and each one presents a unique way to frag the baddies. Pistols that light people on fire, alien energy weapons, and shotguns that shoot rockets are just a few of the guns you’ll find as you play through Borderlands. A must buy for any hardcore gamer.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo Wii; $49.99 retail) newsupermariobroswiiboxart.jpg

If your tastes lean more old school, or if you are a more casual gamer, Nintendo’s latest offering may be for you. Super Mario Bros. Wii takes the tried a true Mario formula and adds a unique twist: multiplayer. Up to four players can navigate each level at once, either cooperatively or in competition with each other. Honestly, there’s not much more to say about this one. If you like Mario games (and who doesn’t) and always wanted to play them with a few friends, this is the game for you.

Scribblenauts (Nintendo DS; $29.99 retail)

scribblenauts_cover.jpgAnd now for something completely different. Scribblenauts is not so much a game as an imagination exercise, with the player solving puzzles using objects summoned by writing their names on the touchscreen. The game’s database contains tens of thousands of objects, and the player is limited almost entirely by his or her imagination. Need to reach that object on top of a platform? Sure, you can summon a ladder, but wouldn’t using Pegasus be more fun? Need to wipe out some zombies to reach your goal? Yeah, you could light them on fire or use a raygun, but why not summon a time machine, go back to the Jurassic period, and bring a dinosaur back to do your dirty work? The game’s controls might not be the greatest, and some objects make puzzles too easy to solve, but the summoning engine is so impressive that it alone warrants a purchase.


E_galston’s choices for a a geek filled Christmas


Green Lantern Rage of the Red Lanterns and Agent Orange(24.99 and 19.99 respectivelly)5157ogpb-dl._ss500_.jpg

These two hardcovers continue the march to the Blackest Night Event. Each hardcover introduces a new “corps” to the Green Lantern Mythos. The Red Lanterns of Rage are introduced in Rage of the Red Lanterns, and in the spirit of Christmas, Agent Orange introduces the Orange Lantern s of Avarice (or Greed in plain English) and what’s better for the Holiday season, then Greed. Plus its written by Geoff Johns who is really at his best in the Green lantern mythos (and that’s coming from a Kyle Fan). Illustrated by the amazing Shane Davis and Phillip Tan, these two hardcovers are not to be missed.

51qs3x6ljjl._ss500_.jpgAstonishing X-Men Omnibus (75.00)

This massive collection of Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s run on the X-Men, is not to be missed for an X-Men fan, or a Whedon fan. Focusing on a core group of mutants, this run sees the return of a long thought dead member of the team. This omnibus collects 24 issues of Astonishing X-Men, as well as the Giant Sized conclusion to the pairs run.


Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster (Super Deluxe Set)thefamemonsterstandard.jpg

This year one couldn’t turn on the radio, or any music channel without hearing about Lady Gaga. This musical powerhouse was everywhere. You may say what the hell does Lady Gaga have to do with being a geek, well there really isn’t anything that has to do with being a geek, but she is VERY talented and if my 60 year old partner can appreciate her anyone can. This two disc set includes Gaga’s smash album the Fame, and her recent release The Fame Monster. The songs on both albums are very catchy and sometimes cheesy bubble gum pop, but there is NOTHING wrong with that.

Glee: The Music Vol. 1 and 2

517zpmsjeel._ss500_.jpgGlee is an extremely well done tv show on Fox, that focuses on a high school glee club full of misfits. Which as comic book readers, we all should sympathize with. Each episode features the glee club performing various songs, for practice and competition. These two albums are the studio recordings from the cast, (who are either broadway vets, or total unknowns). The two voices to watch for are Lea Michelle (the lead character Rachel) and Amber Riley ( the powerhouse Mercedes). The songs are at times cheesy, but they also can be very moving. My personal favorites would be: Imagine, True Colors, and the two show stoppers, Don’t Stop Believe and Somebody to Love. This would also be a good companion present with another pick of mine.


Glee Volume 1: Road to Sectionalsu90691ywyeg.jpg

This dvd release is one of the best shows this season. At times cheesy, at times VERY emotional. Everyone can sympathize with the cast of misfits that compose the Glee club, whether it be handicapped Artie, Mercedes, the powerhouse black girl, Kurt the gay guy, or even the popular kids who were put in to spy on the club. Over the course of the 13 episodes you really come to love this band of outcasts. Plus whats not to love about Jane Lynch’s Cheerios Coach Sue Slyvester. Lynch’s part is hands down the best character on tv right now. Yes this box set comes out AFTER X-mas, but its definitely worth the wait.

Video Games:

marvel_ultimate_alliance_2.jpgMarvel Ultimate Alliance 2

I know this video game came out months ago, but the company just released a content download pack for the game. Adding to the roster of super heroes and villains, and adding content, this game is perfect for any Marvel Superhero fan. There is really a character for everyone in this game. Whether you like the big names or the small names. Its definitely a worthy gift for fans of the Marvel Universe. One could also purchase the Hardcover or Trade paperback of Civil War to give with the game, as the game is based on that storyline.

ProzacMan's Guide to Holiday Shopping for a Toy Collector

If you need to shop for a grownup that doesn’t have kids but insist on checking the toy isles every time he/she is in a store, I got some gift ideas for you. When it comes to shopping for a toy collector, it is not as easy as you would think. By them at a toy? Unless he/she has told you the specific toys he is looking for, chances are that any thing you could pick as a good gift he/she will already have bought for him/her self the day they put them on the shelf. Better to get some thing that is toy related to complement their obsession rather than risk giving them a peg warmer. If you have to ask what a peg warmer is, than you may need my advice.


oh_spbook1cover150.jpgFor the toy collector I recommend Shortpacked! Vol. 1 and 2 by Davidoh_spbook2cover150.jpg Willis.
Shortpacked! Is a sitcom like web comic that mainly follows the lives of the people that work at a toy store, but will occasionally do isolated strips about toys and pop culture. The story lines starts off fairly normal but gets progressively crazy. Even though these books will be funny and relatable to most, there are a lot of gags and bits that toy collectors will find especially funny.
The collected strips are available as TPBs at the shortpacked! web sight


G.I.Joe Resolute is the best cartoon based on a toy property since the 1986 Transformers
the Movie. This is not the cartoon from the 80’s. The $hit gets real in this one. Soldiers actually know how to aim to kill and not every one can parachute to safety when their plane gets shot down. It also helps that the animation is top quality.
Available on DVD at most major retailers

Video Game:

I’m actually going to recommend a game that came out a few years ago, has crappy graphics, has a name you will not remember if you don’t write it down, box art that looks noting like the game, an incomprehensible plot, and you will probably find used or on eBay for $30 or less. Despite what I just typed the game is loads of fun and psychotically addictive. The game is Beautiful Katamari for the Xbox
base_media.jpg360. This is a game that is designed for people that like to collect things. The object of the game is to roll a ball around and get as much stuff to stick to it as you can. You start by collecting small things like pennies and paperclips. As your ball gets bigger, you can collect bigger objects like small children, pets, and Ninja Turtles. A true master can roll a ball so big that it picks up every land mass on earth and then fly out into space to roll up the entire galaxy!
You can find Beautiful Katamari most places were they sell used games and eBay. There is also a free playable demo on XBOX Live if you want to check it out for your self.

Gadget: One thing that plagues toy collectors that like to display their toys out of the
oh_swif.jpg package, is dust. Action figures, statues, and models tend of have lots of little crevices, folds, and awkward shaped parts that are hard to clean. I recommend the Swiffer Duster! This baby gets all the tight spots of your toys clean without having to worry about scratching or otherwise ruining the paint applications. Though I would recommend that this be a gift in addition to some thing really cool that they could clean the dust off of. Cleaning products don’t exactly make for aw inspiring gifts in and of them selves.




We hope these suggestions give you some last minute ideas for gifts.


Happy Holidays from the Staff at the Outhouse!!


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