When it comes to the holiday gift-giving season, comic book readers are notoriously difficult to shop for. I mean, most of us are down at the shop buying our favorite stuff every single week, so when the time comes for people who like us to get us something we want, well, a lot of times we already have it. That’s why we’re stepping in with a public service, bringing you comics-related items sure to make the season brighter, whether you’re browsing for a gift or just looking for something to drop hints about so that you don’t get stuck with a random assortment of back issues again.

Around the holidays, it's always nice to remember that it's the season of giving, and often, doing the right thing for others is the best gift you can give.

Kirby Museum logo

ITEM: A donation to a comics-friendly charity.


AVAILABILITY: heroinitiative.org, cbldf.org, kirbymuseum.org and many others.

As great as it is to get a big ol' pile of material possessions under your Christmas tree, let's be honest here: Chances are pretty good that you have enough stuff. If you or the person you're buying a gift for own even one expensive imported Japanese action figure, for instance, you're probably doing okay, so if you really want to get a good gift that'll actually make the entire comics industry a little better, I'd suggest giving a little to charity this year, either in your own name or as a gift to someone who loves the medium.

In addition to organizations like the Red Cross that provide humanitarian aid when disaster strikes, there are a lot of organizations out there that are active in making the comics community a better place. Three that always stick out to me are the Hero Initiative, which has helped out so many creators who have fallen on hard times, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which is active in battling against censorship, something that continues to be a huge problem for comics, and the Kirby Museum, which is funding exhibits to raise awareness of the staggering legacy of the greatest comic book creator who ever lived, but those are just the tip of the iceberg. There are a ton of different ways to get active in charity through comics, whether it's donating your old paperbacks and hardcovers to libraries, schools or children's homes (note: make sure to check and see if they actually want them first, and that you're not giving a wide-eyed youngster a copy of Lady Death Blood Sex Special #1) to helping out with literacy through a group like Reach Out And Read so that kids can learn to enjoy comics in the future, to going directly to creators who need help in difficult times, like Stan Sakai and Bill Mantlo. There are a lot of others, too, organizations and individuals, and any donation helps. They're not hard to find -- you can even let us know about your favorites in the comments, if you'd like -- and if enough people slide over the cost of a single paperback, then you can make someone's life a lot better.

Donating in the name of a friend is a great way to make an impact, and it might sound sappy, but it's true: An envelope with a thank you from a charity might not be as impressive under the tree as a big box with a bow on it, but the knowledge that you're doing something good for someone else is one of the best feelings you can have.

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