Wow. There’s a lot of cool stuff out there this year. Makes me want to bring back the RROY REPORT Holiday Gift Drive (wherein I encourage my readers to send me stuff) but then it wasn’t that successful back then so why would that change now?
So much stuff. Let’s get right to it.
I’ve previously mentioned http://www.welovefine.com/ and their fine selection of Hawkeye shirts. Here are two new ones that would be welcome under anyone’s Christmas tree.
The Hawkeye polo shirt! Classier than a T-shirt, but not too classy.
The Pizza Dog T-shirt — Clint Barton as seen through the eyes of Lucky, his semi-faithful companion (semi-faithful because he left Clint to have adventures with Kate Bishop on the West Coast). T-shirt is also available in Kate Bishop version.
I came across this cool shirt while looking for something else. It’s Hawkeye’s exes — Natasha (Black Widow), Bobbi (Mockingbird) and Jessica (Spider-Woman). The site has some other nifty T’s, including one made up of quotes from Hawkeye’s comic. They’re available at http://www.redbubble.com/ (search for Hawkeye)
But the highlight in Hawkeye apparel this holiday season is the Hawkeye Hoodie. I came across this while searching for an Avengers baseball cap on the Hot Topic website. It’s totally awesome — and practical. And it doesn’t look nerdishly stupid like the ones for Deadpool or Captain America. The average person wouldn’t even realize it was comic-related. Plus, you can take the sleeves off and wear it year-round!
I went to five different Hot Topics in St. Louis looking for it but never found it. And when I got back online it was sold out on the HT website. Sigh. I feared all was lost but then I googled “Hawkeye Hoodie” and found it at http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hawkeye-Avengers-Costume-Marvel-Comics-Licensed-Zip-Up-Hoodie-S-XXL-/131033891581?pt=US_Mens_Sweats_Hoodies&var=&hash=item1e823a82fd
Those of you who keep up with nerd cinema known that the next Avengers movie will be subtitled “Age of Ultron.” In what surely was coincidence, Age of Ultron was also the name of one of this year’s big story lines at Marvel.
It’s all been collected in one large hardcover just in time for the holidays. If you’re hoping the book will give you any insights into “Avengers 2” — it won’t. Comic book Ultron (he’s an evil robot if you didn’t know) was created by Dr. Henry Pym, aka Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Yellowjacket/Goliath/etc. In this story Ultron takes over the world so Wolverine and the Invisible Woman go back in time to kill Pym to stop him from creating Ultron. Since Pym hasn’t appeared in any Marvel movies yet and Logan and Sue aren’t available to Marvel Studios, pretty good odds it won’t be the same story.
Avengers: Endless Wartime is an original graphic novel (which is comic book speak for a really long comic book story that wasn’t serialized first). Written by Warren Ellis with art by Mike McKone, it’s about the Avengers caught up in a time of war that never ends. I’m guessing. I haven’t read it. Warren Ellis can be pretty hit-or-miss with me but I like McKone’s art and it has Hawkeye and Thor in it so it can’t be all bad.
Of course the big news in literature this year is the long-awaited release of the first year of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning comic “Hawkeye” in an oversized, hardcover format. Hawkeye, by writer Matt Fraction and artists David Aja, Javier Pulido and Francesco Francavilla, features the first 11 issues of the best comic being published today.
It’s all here — the car-chase issue, the Christmas issue, the Valentine’s Day issue, the Hurricane Sandy issue, the Pizza Dog issue — and more. Now, for those of you who took my earlier advice and picked up the paperback version Hawkeye Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon and don’t want to spring for the hardcover, there is a second volume that continues the story.
Hawkeye: Little Hits, Vol. 2 features issues 6-11 (Life as a Weapon collects issues 1-5). Or you can download all the issues off Comixology or the Marvel app if you prefer to read your comics on a computer screen. Confusing, isn’t it? This is why you should just by the comic when it comes out. But you really need the hardcover to class up your bookcase. It will fit right in next to that copy of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.”
You can’t play “What’s on Ronnie’s Calendars” without a calendar, although I’m starting to feel that segment is pretty played out. The 2014 Women of Marvel calendar is an improvement over last year’s, so it makes the cut. There’s also an Avengers Assemble calendar based on the new cartoon that’s not bad. Thor: The Dark World has its own calendar but I’m sorry to report to the ladies in the audience that there is no shirtless Chris Hemsworth photo gracing any of the months. That will cost them at least one sale I can think of.
Speaking of “Thor: The Dark World,” I’m afraid you won’t be able to put it under your Christmas tree this year. That’s the down side of not opening your movie in the summer. So if you’re looking for movies to give, you’ll have to settle for Iron Man 3, Man of Steel and The Wolverine. If you can only choose one, I’d go with “Iron Man 3.”
There’s also an “ultimate collector’s set” of The Dark Knight Trilogy for those of you with blu-ray players (I am not one of those people. Maybe I should add blu-ray player to the guide). DC also has an animated version of Frank Miller’s classic The Dark Knight Returns available as a single edition (it was originally released in two parts).
I looked through an online list of albums released in 2013 and realized I haven’t listened to any of them. This may be the first year that none of my must-buy artists have put out a record. Of course, my must-buy list of artists keeps getting smaller and smaller as time goes by.
I’ve spent most of the year reconnecting with old musicians that I listened to in my youth — The Association, The Guess Who, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I just recently started listening to Jethro Tull. If I have to make a call in this section, I’d say pick up a copy of The Association’s Greatest Hits. I listened to this record a lot as a wee lad and never heard it again for probably 30+ years until someone brought in a copy at work. Some of it’s pretty cheesy but for the most part it holds up.
If you’re looking for something to put on the tree, there are a variety of decent comic book-related ornaments available just about everywhere. They range from the high-end Hallmark Keepsake types to cheaper items at Target, Wal-Mart and etc. If you’re really looking for a cheap stocking stuffer, Toys R Us has several options — including an Avengers set with a Hawkeye ornament. Perfect for your HULK tree.
Lest you think I give my approval to anything comic book-related, I was disturbed to discover Hallmark sells an ornament based on the Heath Ledger “Joker” from “The Dark Knight Returns.” Please, I beseech you, do not put a homicidal maniac on your Christmas tree. And it doesn’t make it better, Hallmark, that you included recordings of Joker lines from the movie. That makes it even creepier.
And finally (because I’ve got to wrap this up at some point), in the home decor section of Target and probably other fine retailers, are a selection of awesome Marvel 3D Deco Lights.
They come in HULK fist, Captain America’s shield, Thor’s hammer, Iron Man’s helmet and Spider-Man’s Head. While I fully understand the coolness of having HULK’s fist, Cap’s shield or Mjolnir smashing into your RROY Cave wall, I’m not sure why you’d want Spidey’s head or Iron Man’s head stuck in it.
And there you have it. Happy shopping and Happy Holidays.