A Holiday Gift Guide from the Wonderful World of Webcomics
When the holiday season rolls around, I try to buy as many gifts as possible from my favorite webcartoonists. After all, what better way to pay those artists back for another year of free comics than with cold, digitally transmitted cash? Of course, most of the folks on my shopping list aren’t exactly webcomics fans. In fact, when I try to discuss my favorite Internet-based entertainment with family members, I’m frequently drowned out by a Law & Order marathon. That’s why I’ve compiled a holiday gift guide aimed at webcomics fans as well as folks who don’t generally read comics — web or otherwise.Books are always a great gift option — and a fantastic way to convert friends and family to your favorite webcomic. There are a couple of books on this list, but visit your favorite webcomic to see if it has a fresh print volume out this year. Also, drop in on the latest offerings from TopatoCo and this handy webcomic gift guide (from which I’ve lifted a couple of items you’ll see below).
One quick word to holiday shoppers: Many of these items come from TopatoCo, a company that sells merchandise from many of the web’s most popular comics. If you want to receive your items before Christmas Day, the deadline for USPS first class shipping and international priority shipping is this Friday at noon EST. Be sure to check out holiday ordering deadlines for the other sites as well.
Kate Beaton is the current darling of the webcomics world, and with good reason. Her sketchy, expressive art style and sharp-eyed skewering of historical and literary figures add up to energetic comics that are constantly surprising, and delight even people who don’t usually read comics. Her second print collection offers 160 pages of Beatony goodness, including new material never before published.
Perfect for: history buffs, lovers of fat ponies and folks who don’t usually read comics but want to read more.
Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North has assembled a greatest hits of his favorite words — God and cephalopod, science and sinister, heteroflexible and Utahraptor — in one magnetic word set. In addition to those words already set in metal, North has included prefixes, suffixes and punctuation, making this less a magnetic poetry kit than a magnetic philosophic rant kit. Clip art T-Rex sadly not included.
Perfect for: anyone who’s ever wanted to stick the word “Batmanology” to their fridge. (I’m looking at you, Mr. Sims.)
It’s been a long time coming. The dinosaurs have been biding their time, developing their technology and tracking the movements of those genocidal asteroids. Now is the time for their revenge. Based on this comic from Zach Weiner’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal depicts one bold Tyrannosaurus finally getting even.
Perfect for: anyone who rooted for the T-Rex in Jurassic Park.
Librarian-themed webcomic Unshelved offers this handsome messenger bag, which features magnetic latches, an inside key ring, a zippered pouch and two side pockets. The Unshelved folks recommend using it to carry banned books, but you could use it to hold all sorts of things: copies of the Bill of Rights, dirty comics, Guy Fawkes masks, even tiny effigies of political leaders.
Perfect for: librarians, EFF and CBLDF members, and urban occupiers.
I cannot stress this enough: Oglaf is deeply, profoundly Not Safe for Work, children or persons with heart conditions. It also happens to be one of the best fantasy comics running — taking a host of classic tropes and following them to their logically raunchy conclusion. From enchanted cumsprites to dick-sucking monsters to a snow queen who conquers men with her icy nether regions, Oglaf spins a filthy, funny fantasy world. And this new print volume means your giftees can read Oglaf without having it pop up in their browser histories.
Perfect for: people who think Lord of the Rings needed more sex scenes and puritanical relatives you never want to speak to again.
The good people at Raptor Bandit Industries (better known as Dr. McNinja creator Christopher Hastings) have whipped up an ideal solution for person-to-fridge-to-person communication. Simply apply this bad boy to your food cooler and watch your grocery list become infinitely more awesome. Milk is now a Potion of Bone Fortification. Eggs are unripened sulphur grenades. Broccoli becomes a really ineffective shillelagh.
Perfect for: your passive-aggressive dungeon master roommate.
Need to add a little snark to your holiday correspondence? Wondermark‘s David Malki pairs Victorian-era illustrations with snippy bits of text, raising both a monocle and a middle finger toward the crowded shopping malls, endless renditions of “Jingle Bells” and other frustrations that come with the holiday season.
Perfect for: people who are so ambivalent about the holidays that they send their Christmas cards in January.
Based on this HIJInks Ensue comic, this shirt blends the two great tastes of Calvin and Hobbes and Game of Thrones.
Perfect for: that person with an endless rotation of geeky t-shirts, or anyone else who likes it when you point at their chest and laugh.
As seen on the shelves of Questionable Content‘s Coffee of Doom, these mugs are a handy way to convey your mood during those pre-vocal, pre-coffee hours of the morning.
Perfect for: anyone who looks like X_X before their first cup of French press.
Tiny Kitten Teeth artist Becky Dreisdadt turns the familiar Pabst Blue Ribbon logo into a registered trademark of adorableness. Celebrate cats and cheap beer in single shirt.
Perfect for: kitty-loving hipsters.
This cheerful pencil case comes with four “I’m Wasting My Life” pencils and a Bad Decision Dinosaur eraser. It makes learning fun!
Perfect for: unhappy grad students, although they might do better with a Bad Decision Dinosaur shot glass.
Designed by the folks at A Softer World, this poster could be a helpful reminder in those chaotic early days of the zombie apocalypse.
Perfect for: the aspiring zombie hunter who has everything.
Nothing says “one-of-a-kind gift” quite like an original piece of artwork, and many webcartoonists have artwork available this time of year for exceedingly reasonable prices. You can also snag original art from Girls with Slingshots, Erika Moen of DAR and Bucko fame (some items are NSFW), Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell, Sheldon, Gronk‘s Katie Cook, Sorcery 101, Something Positive‘s Randy Milholland and plenty of other webcomic creators. Plus, you can commission pixel art of your human or animal loved ones from Diesel Sweeties creator R Stevens.
Perfect for: fans of these webcomics, including your humble gift guide compiler.
What other webcomic gifts made your holiday list?