The RROY REPORT Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Wait! Don’t head to the mall yet!

Not without your list.

BOOKS

It’s a big year for DC, not so much for Marvel. In fact, I only came up with one Marvel book out this year worth mentioning: Wolverine: Old Man Logan.

Set in one of those horrible dystopian futures that are so popular, the man once known as Wolverine is now a humble farmer eking out a meager living with his wife and children. He hasn’t popped a claw in many a year.

They live in territory controlled by the HULK clan, a bunch of gamma-irradiated, inbred rednecks. When Logan runs into trouble paying the rent, he has to accompany his old pal Hawkeye on a cross-country trek in the old Spider-Mobile to earn some money. It will all end in blood and tragedy. Good times.

On to the other guys. Absolute All-Star Superman is an oversized hardcover collection of the recent critically acclaimed, award-winning 12-issue series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly. I’m not a big fan of Morrison but I am of Quietly (although his style is an acquired taste, I admit) so the chance of getting 12-issues of Quietly art in an oversized edition is the main draw for me, even if it is a Superman story.  And there aren’t a lot of critically acclaimed, award-winning Superman stories out there, so grab one when you can.

I haven’t looked at a pop-up book since I was — I dunno — six? But from what I’ve read on the internets, DC Super Heroes: The Ultimate Pop-Up Book is supposed to be pretty impressive. And hey, it is “the Ultimate” pop-up book, so it must be true.

Crafted by “critically acclaimed pop-up engineer Matthew Reinhart,” (I’m impressed that one can be critically acclaimed in the field of pop-up books. I’m even more impressed that those who make pop-up books are called engineers.)  the book features 25 pop-ups including a light-up bat signal and Wonder Woman’s twirling lasso of truth. Of course, I’d probably break it after the first time I played with it.

There are two oversized hardcovers out there celebrating DC’s 75th anniversary, but I’m only going to push 75 Years Of DC Comics: The Art Of Modern Mythmaking solely for how audacious it is. At 720 pages and weighing in at 16 pounds with a list price of $200, this isn’t a coffee-table book, it’s a coffee table.

I have no idea what is in this book as I’ve never found a bookstore brave enough to carry a copy (actually, I did see a copy in a comic book store, but it was still wrapped in shrink-wrap so I couldn’t examine it). For the money it better have an actual batarang and some kryptonite inside.

DVDs

I just searched through the top 10 pages of DVDs on Amazon and didn’t see anything worth recommending. The only movie I’ve bought this year was “Iron Man 2,” and you probably already know if you want to own it or not. I see there’s yet another extended edition of “Avatar” out there. I thought the original cut was plenty long enough, thank you. Let’s move on.

STATUES

Looking for something nice to put on the mantle? Tired of those Precious Moments figurines?

Sideshow Collectables has a fine series of dinosaur statues in its “Dinosauria” collection. The best, of course, is the Triceratops vs. Tyrannosaurus. Sadly, there is a waiting list so good luck getting it in time for Christmas.

Sideshow also has a nice Psylocke statue, if you’re a fan of the British/Asian Ninja Telepath X-Man. And who isn’t?

MUSIC

Here’s how out of touch I am with popular music: A few weeks back “Entertainment Weekly” did an article on how all the big names in music wait until the holidays to release their albums. Makes sense — but then I look at the list and it’s all people I’ve never heard of (Lee DeWyze, Nicki Minaj, Akon) or people I’ve heard of but couldn’t name a single song they’ve recorded (Nelly, Pink, Josh Groban).

So…screw popular music.

The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 is the latest in Bob Dylan’s never-ending Bootleg Series.

As you can tell by the dates, this is very early Dylan, accompanied only by guitar, harmonica and piano.

Mostly well-known classics but also 15 never-before-released tunes.

…Featuring Norah Jones is a collection of Norah Jones collaborations with a variety of artists. Albums like this are always a mixed bag, and how much you like it will depend on who the other artists are. I don’t even know who most of the artists on here are.

But hey, it’s Norah and she’s still adorable despite that odd haircut.

xx

I’m not a big fan of 21st Century Bruce Springsteen but that doesn’t matter because The Promise is a collection of out-takes from the awesome, awesome “Darkness on the Edge of Town” sessions of the 1970s. Given that even throwaway Springsteen is better than anything ever recorded by Pink, the leftovers from Springsteen’s finest album have to be special. If you only buy one CD this holiday season, it should be this one — unless you spring for the special box set that also includes 3 DVDs and the “Darkness” CD.

CALENDARS

We can’t play “What’s On Ronnie’s Calendars?” next year if nobody sends me calendars, so here are the highlights of a very crowded field.

I’m pleased to report that the Women of Marvel calendar series continues in 2011. I’m also — pleased? embarrassed? — to report that this one looks even more slutty than last year’s. And that’s saying something. They’ve also made some interesting change-ups in the lineup. Several characters I wouldn’t have expected to see as calendar girls.

For its part, DC is getting in on the action with The Women of DC Unleashed cal-endar. Now, if you’ve ever wondered “What is the difference between DC and Marvel comics?” here, in calendar form, is your answer: The Marvel calendar is sexy, slutty, the kind of calendar you’d be afraid to show your mother. The DC calendar is dull, conservative, the kind of calendar you could hang in your room without fear of mom throwing a fit.

Marvel has a couple of other calendars as well. Your standard Marvel Comics calendar and a Vintage Marvel Comics calendar.
I like the vintage one more than the standard one, but I haven’t seen the vintage one in any of the mall kiosks or Calendar Club stores where one usually finds calendars.

DC and Marvel are also offering competing “pop-up” calendars. I’m not sure how these things work, but they look cool. Do you
hang them on a wall or sit them on a counter? How do you write appointments on a pop-up calendar? They don’t seem very practical.

Now some of you may be saying, “But I don’t want a comic book calendar.” Fine. Here’s a decent Dinosaur calendar.

(There’s also a 3D dinosaur calendar, but I can’t imagine why anyone would want to put on 3D glasses every time they want to check the date.)

FINALLY

For a mere $150,000, Fiberglass Freaks will build you an officially licensed, road-legal 1966-style Batmobile, complete with a red flashing beacon, a ‘Detect-a-scope’ radar screen, a dashboard DVD player, a batphone and, yes, a flamethrower. I dare you to cut me off now.

If you can only afford to buy one present this holiday season — and if you buy this, it’s probably the only thing you’ll be able to afford — it should be this. Remember how for years I begged and begged for someone to get me that “Knight Over Gotham” and you finally did? I think this is my new Holy Grail of Christmas presents. http://buybatparts.com/joomla/index.php

Happy shopping!



 



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