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Books for Christmas … Really

With the holidays fast approaching what do you get for the comic, anime, manga, gaming fan on your wish list that they may not be expecting … a book. Below is a quick list of some book buys non-fans may not know about or really think about getting but are sure to be enjoyed when opened under the tree this holiday season. Remember there are tons of great comic collections out there, like the Dark Horse Hard Cover Star Wars 30th Anniversary books, but what I’m looking at below are those lesser know, off the wall books not falling into the graphic novel section. Agree, disagree, that’s what we’re here for so chime in.

Warcraft The Sunwell Trilogy Ultimate Edition – Tokyopop
What is It? All three volumes of Tokyopop’s Warcraft manga collected and enlarged with a slew of extras. With art by Jae-Hwan Kim (King of Hell) and story by Richard A. Knaak (Dragonlance, Diablo) this is one nice collection. The story is in manga format and tells the tale of the Sunwell taking place in the World of Warcraft setting with familiar locations and characters making appearances.
What’s So Special? Besides getting the hard cover and enlargement treatment readers are treated to an afterwards by Chris Metzen, VP Creative Development at Blizzard, a full color new intro to the manga, 8 pages of WoW history, Bios for Knaak and Kim along with unseen sketchers, nice little poster and for WoW trading card fans a special, limited edition card.
Who Will Like It? Video Gamers who like Warcraft or Fantasy games and Manga fans also into fantasy.

Akira Club – Dark Horse
What is It? A collection of rare illustrations from Katsuhiro Otomo’s legendary manga Akira. Covers from Akira’s run in Young Magazine with editor notes, title-page collections not see in the US a brief memorial gallery of toys, posters and other merchandise as well as a series of unpublished works from the cutting room floor. A visual feast for Akira fans as well as any artist or graphic designer. You won’t learn what Akira is from this collection but for fans you will gain a deeper understanding of its creation.
What’s So Special? This just expands on what is by far one of the greatest films, not just anime, to come to our shores from Japan. You are not an Akira fan without this collection, and you may notice I mention graphic designers above. The colors, setting, and explanations of how he setup his work show a layer to Otomo that a designer could really learn from. Anyone whose read the various releases of Akira here in the states needs to check out the title-page collection and unpublished works.
Who Will Like It? Anime and comic fans with a taste for a true classic.

Naruto Manga Shadow Box Limited Collector Set – Viz Media
What is It? A limited edition (5,000 sets) that collects all 27 volumes of the Naruto manga series in a wooden display box all nice and spiffy looking with the Hidden Leaf logo. Also included is a mini-manga showing the first Naruto story every published of a very different Naruto, sneak peak at volume 28, two-sided color poster, stickers and exclusive Naruto trading card. Not everyone has the dinero to catch-up on every volume of Naruto, but when you add up the price, this collection is great.
What’s So Special? Personal opinion, the Naruto manga rocks, it’s got great art, story, it’s got it all. Collecting this entire series into one massive collection with all the extras is a collectors dream. This is what Christmas is all about, and anyone you give this set too will make them happy for years.
Who Will Like It? Hard-core Naruto fans, manga fans looking to get into the series.

Udon’s Art of Capcom – Udon
What is It? A collection of art from Udon featuring Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Mega Man, Devil May Cry and Resident Evil, you know all the big time Capcom game characters. Check out not only the work seen in the comics but also promotional art, sketchers and what went into the creation of the art.
What’s So Special? Usually comics based on video games are … well they ain’t so good, but Udon is nowhere near that camp. For some series, like Street Fighter, it seems the best days are behind us from a gaming standpoint but the icons live on because of Udon and they outstanding work for each Capcom title listed. These are not just games, but rather rich worlds with a story to tell, a story that Udon brings to life.
Who Will Like It? Old-school gaming fans, fighting game and comic fans.

Art Books: The Art of Naruto: Uzumaki & The Art of Fullmetal Alchemist 2 – Viz Media

What is It? They are collections of art, promo art, unpublished and unedited art from two great anime series. Printed in a large format in full color with some author notes these art books look great in any collection and on any shelf.
What’s So Special? It takes more than a great story to make a great manga, it takes good art and in the case of Naruto and Fullmetal Alchemist the art is outstanding. Check out the evolution of the characters and settings you love, how they went from concept to final product. Get inside the authors heads as Masashi Kishimoto and Hiromu Arakawa reveal some of their thoughts and in turn can help out future artist. Plus it’s just damn pretty to look at.
Who Will Like It? Fans of Naruto and Fullmetal as well as young male manga fans.

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