Tag Archives: Holiday Gift Guide

The RROY REPORT Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Before we begin this year’s holiday gift guide, I need to clarify a few things.

For those who weren’t around in the old days, I started the holiday gift guide to give people, well, a guide for buying gifts for the holiday. It coincided with the RROY REPORT Holiday Gift Drive, in which I encouraged my readers to send gifts to, well, me.

It worked about as well as you’d expect. A few people did send me stuff for a few years, but that didn’t last long. But one loyal reader — we’ll call her My Favorite Fan — has continued to send me presents every year. The problem is occasionally she’ll send something off the list that I already have. So to avoid that problem from now on, and the hassles of gift exchange that come with it, if I already have the item in question, I will note it in RED ALL CAPS.

You’re welcome.

Collectables

imagesOnce something becomes a fixture of pop culture, usually through a TV or movie, there is no end to the amount of crap you can find in the likeness of that favorite character. Funko Pop is currently king of such tripe but there’s also Mopeez, Dorbz and many others. For the most part they’re ugly and not something I’d want sitting on my shelf.

The one exception is the Itty Bitty collection from Hallmark. They’re small, simple and adorable. They come in Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and DC varieties.If my Batman shrine wasn’t full I would probably grab some of the Batman characters, but my focus is now on The Avengers: Thor, Hulk, Captain America, IRON MAN, BLACK WIDOW and HAWKEYE.

Toys

hawkpotatoMr. Potato Head is one of toyland’s most enduring items. To survive this long, the spud has had to adapt and now you can find Mr. Potato Head represented as just about any character in pop culture. Still, I was surprised to discover that there is actually a Hawkeye version. Sure, I’ve seen Spider-Man Potato Head in stores, and even a Thor version, but never a Hawkeye. And now that I know he’s out there, I want him. In case you’re wondering, yes, they make a Black Widow version as well.

Clothes

listingimageUgly Christmas sweaters are all the rage this time of year. There are plenty of ugly Christmas sweaters with superhero designs (and some neat Star Wars ones) but this one is my favorite. It’s available in XXL – the only size that matters – on down to small.

Sister2 doesn’t think the bat is well defined but I say that’s because it’s old school Batman. Or the seamstress just isn’t that good at bats. I don’t think it’s an ugly sweater at all, actually. There are a lot of holiday sweatshirts out there with Marvel and DC designs if you want something more comfortable and easier to care for than a sweater.

Books

51hnyloescl-_ac_us160_Former Journal friend Susan Sagarra published her second book earlier this year. Bus Stop Angels marks the return of former reporter Meghan Murphy in another mystery, this one about missing children. Available on Amazon, along with Susan’s first book, Cracks in the Cobblestone, in case you weren’t paying attention when I was promoting it last year.

shoppingAdult coloring books have swept the nation and naturally the major comic book companies are getting in on it. Marvel and DC offer a variety of different coloring books now that are basically made up of artwork from comics and posters.

They are more expensive than the traditional coloring books you’ll find for kids, but the art is much sharper.

I normally take this segment to recommend some graphic novels that came out this year but I can’t think of any worth your time. Oh, that “Dr. Strange” trade I talked about a few weeks ago — The Way of the Weird —  was pretty good.

Music

vt-2007-cd_001__40826_zoomCollege buddy Chris Brashear has a new CD out as a member of the Piedmont Melody Makers. Wonderful World Outside is a collection of bluegrass and olde tyme tunes that I am confident is mighty fine.

Elsewhere in pop music, 2016 was not a great year. The only new CD I can remember buying was GOOD TIMES! by The Monkees. If you don’t have a copy already — and why not?, I told you about this months ago — it would make a great stocking stuffer.

Movies

batman-v-superman-ultimate-edition-blu-ray-coverI already have a copy of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR and if you don’t, well,that’s why God invented Christmas. Also recommended are the horribly raunchy yet hilarious Deadpool; the not-as-bad-as-everyone-says-it-is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which you should have in your collection for historical purposes if not for quality (and if you’re springing for it, you might as well get the Ultimate Edition with 30 more minutes of film. Probably none of it has Wonder Woman, but we can hope); and the extended cut of Suicide Squad, which probably has more Joker because there was a lot of Joker that showed up in the trailers that never was seen in the movie. Sadly you will have to wait until next Christmas for Dr. Strange — or just take the family to see it Christmas Day, if you’re the strange type of person who goes to movies on Christmas.

Finally

Somebody somewhere decided to take old vinyl records and turn them into clocks. The end results are pretty cool and I want one for the RROY Cave. They come in a wide, wide variety of styles — pretty much anything out there in pop culture, from the Beatles to Star Trek,  has been made into a vinyl clock. Here are a couple of my favorites:

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Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!

The RROY REPORT Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Ah yes, time now for our favorite tradition here at RROY REPORT HQ, a tradition that dates back to the dawn of holidays. You may not be aware, but it was my ancestor, Rhameses Roy, who suggested gold, frankincense and myrrh in the very first RROY REPORT Holiday Gift Guide.

Let’s see what’s hot for 2014.

Video Games

I haven’t owned a video-game system since the Sega Genesis (ask your grandparents) and I don’t really want the Disney Infinity system. But I really do like the little action figures that you use to play the game with. A set of Avengers figures would look really nice on someone’s fireplace mantle. Or more likely in the basement office.

disney infinity avengers figures

Home Video

This year’s must-have movie releases would be “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past”  (I suppose if you’re a completist you’d also want “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”). Cap and X-Men are currently available, “Guardians” goes on sale Dec. 9.

But of course the big-ticket item in home video this year is the long-awaited, finally-released “Batman” television series from the 1960s. It’s taken almost a half-decade to get all the legal rights entanglements (long story, look it up elsewhere) cleared up.

Print

It’s also taken that long for nerd culture to finally come around to accepting that comedy Batman was actually pretty cool. Nerds long hated the Adam West version for making Batman look silly when we all know that a guy who dresses like a bat to fight crime is something that should be taken very, very seriously. Fortunately, Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan cleared that up so now we can enjoy the campy fun of “Batman ’66,” as it’s now called.

And seriously, there’s never been a better rogues gallery on film than Frank Gorshin, Burgess Meredith, Julie Newmar and Cesar Romero. I coulda done without Louie the Lilac.

There were three seasons which you could buy individually but why would you do that when you can get the whole thing in one deluxe package with cool extras? Different stores have different packages, so shop around.

Music

2014 turned out to be a pretty good year for music by artists I like. If you didn’t grab U2’s “Songs of Innocence” when they were offering it for free online then have someone give it to you. Either way you’re not paying for it. I’d pretty much given up on U2 in recent years, especially after the lackluster “No Line On The Horizon,” but “Songs of Innocence” is a real return to form. It’s their best album since “Pop,” and that was back in 1997. Highlights include “Song for Someone” and “Every Breaking Wave” but there’s really not a clunker on this disc.

 John_Hiatt_-_Terms_of_My_SurrenderReport favorite John Hiatt released “Terms of My Surrender” back in July and I only found out about it recently. Hiatt needs a better publicist. Anyway, while not one of his strongest albums it’s still Hiatt, so it’s pretty good. More bluesy than the typical Hiatt release. Worth owning for “Baby’s Gonna Kick” if nothing else.

“Brill Bruisers” is the latest by The New Pornographers. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet but it’s the NP, so I’m confident it will be good. Bruce Springsteen’s “High Hopes” came out in January and would probably be appreciated by any fan of The Boss — assuming they don’t already have it. It’s an eclectic mix of covers and remakes and out-takes. I’m not that crazy about it but it has its moments.

Customize It

hawkeye_down_arrow_large_mugDon’t you hate it when you get up in the morning and you want your coffee and you reach into the cabinet and there’s your Spider-Man mug and your HULK mug and your Billy Joel mug and your Who mug but what you really want to drink your coffee out of is a Hawkeye mug — but there are no Hawkeye mugs.

And don’t you hate it when your friend is getting married and you’d like to get them a nice set of Hawkeye glassware, but there is none? And heaven forbid if you’d like a Hawkeye cap or messenger bag or luggage tag or iPod case or lamp.

Until now.

Go to marvel.com and click ‘shop’ then click ‘personalize.’ From there you can pick from any of a number of characters — including Hawkeye — and then you can pick from a number of images and stick them on a number of items ranging from T-shirts to dart boards to playing cards to pillows. It’s pretty awesome.

avengers-festive-sweaterOr you can head over to cafepress.com and pick up the Hawkeye mug pictured up top, as well as numerous other items like a Hawkeye wallet or shower curtain (Don’t send me a Hawkeye shower curtain. It would never make it into our bathroom). And don’t forget welovefine.com which has a nifty selection of Clint Barton and Avengers merchandise, including the Hawkeye polo shirt and this neat Avengers holiday sweater which would be really awesome if it were actually available as a sweater and not as a t-shirt or hoodie.

Finally 

I just discovered this in my research. The Hawkeye Christmas Tie (also available in other Avengers). The perfect apparel for your holiday Christmas party. They also offer Avengers Christmas mugs and t-shirts. All available from the good people at cafepress.com

hawkeye_xmas_neck_tie

The RROY REPORT Holiday Gift Guide 2013

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.

Apparel

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.

hawkeye-face-polo

The Hawkeye polo shirt! Classier than a T-shirt, but not too classy.

barton-is-my-businessThe 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.

fig,eggplant,mens,ffffff.u2I 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)

10007801_hiBut 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

Books

JUN130675Those 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-coverAvengers: 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.

JUN130677It’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.”

Calendars

Women-of-Marvel-2014-16-Month-Wall-CalendarYou 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.

Movies

iron-man-3-dvd-cover-45Speaking 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).

Music

51JWAX2HZZLI 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.

Misc.  

mGo_hpDm72T8jHmQEZurQsAIf 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.

marvel-avengers-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.