You know what makes the perfect holiday gift? The gift of reading. Instead of the usual Grinch adventure, why not comic books? Even Santa Claus needs help from superheroes every now and then. Here are some affordable stocking stuffers that won’t break the bank, including a story of Santa Claus and the Infinity Gauntlet.
If you’re not watching Die Hard at least once every winter, you are doing the season wrong. For an extra dose of John McClane, the universe has gifted us with a few of his adventures in the comic book form. Much like Batman: Year One, the namesake Die Hard: Year One published by Boom! Studios follows a young John McClane during his rookie year in the NYPD. Carrying on the tradition (or more accurately showing the beginnings) of “wrong guy, wrong place, wrong time,” McClane finds himself in the middle of two villainous extortion plots that push the rookie into the hardened cop we all know. On the bright side, one of them leads to McClane meeting future wife, Holly (in the comics, Holly’s last name is given as Petrillo instead of Gennero).
In the wild, the first issue of Die Hard: Year One can be found in the dollar bin. If feeling particularly generous, perhaps even gift the entire series, which only spans eight issues.
In a more traditional comic book, hero holiday fare is Spectacular Spider-Man #112, which boasts a cover that is sure to elicit a double-take. Its Christmas time in NYC and everyone is in the holiday spirits, even the Black Cat who gives away some stolen merchandise to those who need it. One mall Santa Claus, however, takes advantage of a naïve customer who not just tells him about the toys he wants, but also about the expensive stuff he already has in his house. When the Santa goes to rob them later at night, Spider-Man swings into action to stop him; but it isn’t Spider-Man who ends up saving the day, it’s the real Santa Claus.
The last CGC 9.8 graded copy of Spectacular Spider-Man #112 sold for $15.50 in mid-2018; possibly someone getting an early jump on Christmas? If that 9.8 sales price isn’t low enough, raw copies of the book can regularly be found even cheaper at the $1-3 level.
It is the year of Avengers: Endgame and the Infinity Gauntlet is in the air. So why not mix everything up with an Infinity Gauntlet wielding Santa Claus? In one of the best bangs for your buck, the Marvel Holiday Spectacular is a magazine containing a very expansive collection of new and old (reprinted) holiday-themed stories. Each one, a clever play on classic stories with titles such as Werewolf by Eve, Ghost of X-Mas Past, Catastrophe on 34th St., etc. In one of the stories, Santa Claus’s reindeers turn out to be Skrulls. Desperate to make his deliveries, Santa borrows the infinity gems from the Illuminati. Unfortunately, Santa has a negative reaction to the Infinity Gauntlet and turns on the superheroes.
Sales for Marvel Holiday Spectacular is very low in volume, and the sales prices themselves hang around roughly $10. With its 10+ stories, it is actually quite the value on the cost per story scale.
Just like the Marvel Holiday Spectacular mentioned above, DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1, also contains a collection of holiday-themed stories, but with the DC heroes. Not to be confused with DC Universe Holiday Special #1 (2009), which is similar in concept but doesn’t have the awesome final story this book has. Before that however are stories such as Hal Jordan is tempted with memories of his childhood Christmases, Supergirl helps reunite a family (in her own unique way), and the Shadowpact provides security duty for Santa Claus.
The previously mentioned final story starts when Clark is touched by a letter that questions the existence of Santa Claus. Santa Claus flies across the sky and manages to visit every house in the world in one night; sounds like Superman could fill in. Superman dresses up as Santa Claus and is about to visit the skeptical kid’s house when Batman intervenes. Batman manages to talk Superman out of his Santa ruse. When Superman later returns to deliver some gifts anyways, he finds Batman already there; himself dressed up as Santa Claus. Rivals, even during the holidays.
Like the other books in this holiday bunch, DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1 can be found at the $3-5 level; fun reading material for the price of a box of candy canes.
“I was thinking Blue Devil could ride shotgun in the sled with his big blasting stick. And maybe we could hide magic monkey in the back, among the toy sacks.” – Santa Claus
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