Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Welcome to Part 2 of my Holiday Gift Guide! Today we're going to look at a crap-ton of geeky Books, Board Games, Video Games and Apparel!
As usual make sure to double-check pricing before hitting the purchase button. Some prices may have shifted (either cheaper or more expensive) since I gathered them! They were all accurate as of yesterday, but this time of year is always crazy with deals/items selling out.
Welcome to the book section! Before we get started I have a little itty bitty contest for you guys!
Titan Books has graciously offered up some of their kickass books to give away. I have three sets of three books that include Batman: Facts and Stats From The Classic TV Show, The Little Prince: The Art of the Movie and Arrow – Oliver Queens Dossier. So, if you win you get all three titles!
If you want a shot at winning one of these sets all you have to is email me at this address with the subject line PRINCE ARROW BATS. In the body of the email I need you to include your full name and shipping address (should you win) and tell me which book in this set you're most excited about cracking open and why. The contest is only open to residents of the US, Canada and the UK, sorry rest of the world!
I'll pick one of these emails between right this very second and 11:59pm CST Saturday the 26th. Good luck everybody! Oh... and this may not be the only contest in this section, so keep your eyes peeled!
Cheap ($24.99 and under)
A good bunch of you are confused why I'd start the big Books Section of this year's Holiday Gift Guide with a kid's book called Charlie the Choo-Choo. Some of you know why this is so utterly badass. This is a real life recreation of the creepy kid's book that foreshadows an evil, sentient riddle-loving train in Stephen King's Dark Tower novels. And they actually made a real book out of it! I clicked pre-order before my brain knew what my fingers were doing. $11.01.
Not everybody can visit the big exhibit at LACMA, but everybody can get this book, which is the next best thing to seeing Guillermo del Toro's collection with their own eyes. It shows off his pop culture collection, personal artwork, props, etc. This is an easy buy, in my opinion. So much geeky cool stuff to pour through and make plans to steal when Guillermo drops his guard... I mean... what? $19.49.
This is a great-sounding biography of one of the unsung early horror voices, a woman named Shirley Jackson who is most known for the short story The Lottery that all out high school teachers made us read and also stuff like The Haunting of Hill House. She's not as well known as Poe, but just as influential. Fascinating woman and I haven't even read this book yet! $20.83.
Carrie Fisher's Star Wars memoirs... this is the book responsible for all the headlines recently revealing that she and Harrison Ford had a little fling. Carrie's never been one to censor herself (or resist taking a jab anybody, especially herself) and this book is no different. All of this is based on a diary she kept at the time of making the very first Star Wars movie and she uses that as a springboard to look back at that time. A fascinating and fresh insight into one of the most well-documented films of all time. $15.47.
Catalyst is the lead-up book to Rogue One, delving into the backstory between Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn's character) and Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen's character). This one just came out. My copy's still in transit, but I hear good things about this one and excited to see how it enriches the movie. $17.25.
PRE-ORDER, December 20th! I wonder if today's young fans give a shit about novelizations. Back in the pre-internet days these were the only ways to get a deeper understanding of movies we were fans of. I'd guess today's kids would rather obsess over Wiki entries, but they still pump novelizations out so somebody's buying them, I guess! Alexander Freed gets the honor of adapting the upcoming Rogue One into book form. $20.94.
PRE-ORDER, December 16th! Pablo Hidalgo is kind of like the Merovingian of the Star Wars Universe. This dude knows just about everything canon and non-canon alike. Naturally he's in charge of most of these background detail type books. It's always a pleasure reading these things and getting a deeper understanding of this ever-growing galaxy. $21.19.
A guide to all the locations of the Star Wars Universe (that we know of right now!) with deep background and histories of each location. $22.27.
PRE-ORDER, December 20th! You have the locations book, but this is a map book that maps out all the planets in the Star Wars Galaxy with details on its inhabitants. This one will be fully up to date when it publishes, complete with Rogue One planets and characters! $20.58.
I love these Topps books. They reprint the trading cards from back in the day (front and back), but in a larger format so you can really get a good look at each one. Each book also comes with its own pack of trading cards! This one's for their celebrated Return of the Jedi series from 1983! $18.37.
There will not be one stone unturned in the great Star Wars Universe. That's not a bad thing, in my opinion. I love that the movies and cartoon series can stand on their own, but there's a huge amount of other rich storytelling out there if you want it. Case in point Ahsoka by EK Johnston, which tells us what happened after Anakin's padawan left the Jedi Order at the end of The Clone Wars. We know she re-appears as part of the burgeoning Rebellion in Star Wars Rebels, but what happened in that chunk of time? This book will tell ya'! $11.01.
This is Leia's story between Jedi and The Force Awakens, which also serves as the origin story for the Resistance and the First Order. $18.71.
I'm not a big fan of Chuck Wendig's writing, but he's got a lot of fertile storytelling ground with the Aftermath series, a trilogy that acts as the primary connective tissues between the Original Trilogy and this new one. Life Debt is book 2 of this trilogy and focuses on Han Solo helping Chewie liberate Kashyyyk after the events of Return of the Jedi. $17.59.
PRE-ORDER, February 21st! Figured I'd throw in a pre-order link for the final book in this Aftermath Trilogy because I'm a completionist! $23.22.
PRE-ORDER, April 11th! I don't like putting way in advance book pre-orders in the Guide, but for Star Wars I'll make an exception, especially for Grand Admiral Thrawn, one of the most popular characters to have never actually made it into real deal canon. Until recently. He's now a character on Rebels, but he's not exactly the same as he was in the early books. His daddy, Timothy Zahn, will have a now canonical book about the character coming soon, so we'll really know who this new version of the character is and how he fits into the Galaxy. $20.46.
PRE-ORDER, December 13th! I'm loving the new run of Star Wars comics at Marvel. I haven't had a chance to dip into the Poe books, but can vouch for the Star Wars, Vader, Kanan and Lando books. This TPB is about Leia sending Poe across the Galaxy to investigating sites with significant Force history (someone's looking for her brother, it seems) and the crazy adventures he falls into along the way. $15.12.
PRE-ORDER, January 3rd! This one has Han entering a race while undercover for the Rebellion. Of course he gets maybe a little more preoccupied on winning that race than completing his mission... He is a scoundrel afterall... $16.99.
The Marvel Star Wars books are great. Really fun stuff. The latest TPB to be released is V.3. One of the best things about this series are the flashbacks to Obi-Wan's stories on Tattoine as Luke is growing up. Really makes you want to see those long-rumored Obi-Wan films come to pass. $12.04.
Kanan Jarrus was a young Padawan when Order 66 was given. He was able to escape, his master not so much. We know him as Ezra's mentor on Rebels, but the Marvel comics flesh out his backstory. The first volume is terrific and the newest, v.2, goes back even further to his days as a child apprentice during the height of the Clone Wars. $11.40 for V.2 and $12.67 for V.1.
I haven't read this new book yet, but it's picking an interesting time period to explore. This is Obi-Wan and Anakin between Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, which Anakin is still a child, not quite the pouty dickhead teenager he is in Episode 2. $14.37.
PRE-ORDER, December 6th! The latest Darth Vader Marvel TPB hits in a couple weeks, which is the perfect excuse for you to read this title from the beginning. It's really damn good. There's a moment in the first TPB where Vader learns the name of the young man who evaded him and blew up his precious Death Star and he realizes his son lives... the way the moment's drawn is chock full of emotion, conflict, anger... It's quite great. So, yeah, you know the time period this is set during now and the whole series has been aces so far. $15.07 for V.4 and $9.99 for V.1, $12.23 for V.2 and $11.25 for V.3.
This one-shot story has Vader finding himself caught off guard, the Rebel fleet sending his ship crashing into a nearby planet. I have a feeling he'll make it outta there and still be able to make it the events of Empire... $12.23 .
One of the biggest surprises in the Marvel Star Wars run is the Lando series. The first story is about Lando and his crew stealing a ship... that just so happens to belong to Palpatine and contains some real messed up Sith artifacts that infect his team, so it basically turns into Prince of Darkness in space. But with Lando and Lobot. How frickin' cool is that? I want THAT spin-off movie! $10.19.
Squirrel Girl went from Marvel obscurity to fan favorite almost overnight! An evil clone of Squirrel Girl goes nuts (har-har-har) on the Marvel Universe and we get a whole TPB tell us this insane story! $17.64.
Alan Moore's latest. From Amazon's description: “Employing, a kaleidoscope of literary forms and styles that ranges from brutal social realism to extravagant children’s fantasy, from the modern stage drama to the extremes of science fiction, Jerusalem’s dizzyingly rich cast of characters includes the living, the dead, the celestial, and the infernal in an intricately woven tapestry that presents a vision of an absolute and timeless human reality in all of its exquisite, comical, and heartbreaking splendor.” Yep, that sounds like Alan Moore... $20.23.
Think of this as kind of a starter for Dr. Strange. It's an illustrated guide through the man, his adversaries, the mystic arts and all his cool magic stuff! $22.03.
If you're not familiar with Paul Dini's Jingle Belle, she's Santa's rebellious teenage daughter. This big ol' omnibus gathers all her best misadventures into one 340 page tome! She's a great character... you'd expect nothing less from the mind that gave us Harley Quinn. $22.90.
This is a Batman story unlike any other as it takes place in our real world. Paul Dini wrote this autobiographical story about how the Caped Crusader helped him cope with a brutal assault that almost killed him and this emotionally naked graphic novel is the result. $15.29.
MAD Magazine does Goodnight Moon, but with Batman in the lead. $10.99.
I have this book sitting in my living room waiting for me to crack it open, but my allergy to most things Max Landis has kept me dragging my feet to getting to it. That said, the idea behind it is pretty good. It's 7 stories about how Superman was shaped into... well, Superman and it has some awesome illustrative talent involved, like Jock, Jae Lee and Francis Manapul. $16.50.
Rick and Morty is too big to be held in a plain old animated series! Oni Press has been pumping out Rick and Morty comic books for a while now and they're on their 3rd TPB! So grab your portal gun and hesitant teenage sidekick and get reading! $17.15 for V.3, $11.42 for V.1 and $13.28 for V.2.
The task was to do a series of short illustrated stories that didn't adapt Lovecraft, but rather embodied the tone and spirit of his work and the result was this sweet TPB collection called Children of Lovecraft. $12.81.
Marvel isn't content to just mine their existing properties and everything Star Wars, they're also expanding the mythology behind The Haunted Mansion... which you should know means I'm a very happy geek. This TPB collects the first 5 issues for us foolish mortals! $18.01.
Speaking of expanding the Haunted Mansion mythology, Disney has a book series brewing that is determined to give detailed backstories to all 999 happy haunts that live in the Haunted Mansion. I don't know how far they're going to make it, but I for one hope to see volume 999 before I die (naturally I'll be the 1000th ghost to inhabit the mansion when that happens). Volume 1 is out and you can pick it up for $9.14.
One of the best things about the Haunted Mansion ride is the catchy song Grim Grinning Ghosts. This hardcover book is an illustrated journey through the attraction with the lyrics written out along the way... and yes, it comes with a CD of the song. $12.24.
Jason Surrell's Haunted Mansion book is the definitive story behind the attraction. You get the nuts and bolts of the evolution of the ride, from concept to final version, as well as a look at the different versions of the rides at the foreign parks. A must own for anybody who claims to be a fan of the greatest ride to ever grace a theme park! $16.18.
Hocus Pocus is gathering a bit of a following. I'm shocked as I was there when it hit and it wasn't like one of those things that all the kids loved and adults ignored (like Monster Squad) and were surprised later that it was a cult hit. Nobody I knew really liked this movie when I was 12, but it seems like time has been kind to it. I kinda get it because hearing the music now hits a nostalgia button I didn't know I had. This book digs deep into the making of the movie. $9.99.
Legendary Disney animators Woolie Reitherman and Retta Scott came up with this story about a patriotic airplane before America got involved in WW2. Their writing and illustrations had been sitting undiscovered since 1941 and now, all these years later, B-1st gets its own book! Pretty cool story, definitely of deep interest to any vintage Disney animation fan even though it's not a Disney property. $24.95.
The Pixar Art of Books are always a joy. This one is no exception. Filled with beautiful concept images and final product looks. $12.47.
This hardcover explores the art of Disney's dragons over the years, from Maleficent to Figment to Elliot, with original concept sketches and other artist interpretations. Neat! $19.49.
This here book chronicles Pete's adventures with his dragon, Elliot between the car crash that starts the remake and being discovered by those pesky adult human people. Stupid pesky adult human people always ruin everything! $11.43.
I love that Disney did this... This is a real deal recreation of the children's book Pete keeps from his former life as a normal little boy. Of course it foreshadows the movie to come and also gives Elliot the perfect name. I think I may get this for my goddaughter and never tell her it's related to a movie so when she watches the film when she's older she'll be like “I have that book!” $16.99.
Walt Disney was in the Alice in Wonderland business way before his company made the animated feature. He started his career with silent shorts based on the character. This book takes a look at all the Disney Alice stories, from the early silents to the current live action features and everything in-between. $20.54.
CV Wood was not only Disneyland's first official employee, he was instrumental in the creation of the theme park that changed the world. It sounds like a happy story, but Wood was a bit of a conman and his relationship with Walt and Roy Disney did not end well. This should be high up on the wish list of any Disney Parks fan. $21.75.
Keeping the Disney Parks theme rolling, Happy Place talks with Disney Park super fans (including someone who has visited Disneyland for one thousand consecutive days) about what it is about the theme parks that sticks with them. Kind of a man on the street thing, but in this instance it's a man on Main Street USA. $12.65.
Just to be fair, I won't ignore the Universal parks. This is the story of how Jay Stein spearheaded the construction of Universal Orlando and all the corporate fighting that went on between Universal and Disney as he helped develop the park. $19.95.
For years I've included Taschen's incredible giant coffee table book The Stanley Kubrick Archives. It's cinephile crack, if crack were crazy expensive. These pushers have decided to make a cheaper version to get the neighborhood kids hooked. It's not as fancily put together as its big brother, but still over 800 pages of Kubrick amazingness. Photos, art, scans, first person stories on all his films... This is a crazy deal at $12.62 for the new, smaller version, $58.46 for the original giant version.
Taken from transcripts of panels at the Austin Film Festival, On Story has the best minds in screenwriting giving their best advice and telling crazy, funny, sometimes sad stories about their profession. Nobody is more candid than a screenwriter, so this is some good nitty-gritty of Hollywood stuff. $19.95.
The only people more candid than screenwriters are agents. If you meet some who don't give a shit you'll get the most insane stories out of them. This book tells the story of the creation and rise of CAA, one of the most powerful agencies in Hollywood. As you can imagine it's going to be a turbulent ride to the top.$21.51.
Frank Confliff from MST3K wrote a book about his experiences on the show and the 25 films he helped riff on! $12.95.
Here's an interesting book on Hollywood's desire to launch competing projects, whether it's Dante's Peak and Volcano or Armageddon and Deep Impact. The author Mitch Lovell examines all the high profile competing movies and tells you who he thinks won each head to head match up. $14.95.
If there's one book on this list that can cross partisan lines, it's The Tao of Bill Murray. You can gift this book to either David Duke or David Hasselhoff (fun fact: they both have enthusiastic German fanbases) and they'd love it equally. Bill Murray is the great uniter. I'm starting to wonder if we should prop him up for a presidential run in 2020... $16.77.
An art book that takes inspiration from the films of Wes Anderson! Gonna be lotsa Bill Murray in this one, too! $21.17.
So, I like it when a bunch of talented artists gather together and geek about some common love. This time it's over Labyrinth, celebrating the film's 30th anniversary. Yes, that means we're all old as fuck, but this lovely book can help you forget about your slow march towards death! $17.99.
The look Labyrinth is a collaborative effort, but the Frouds' unique take on fantasy is definitely at the forefront of that film. Here they have a fairy tale book that just exudes their particular, oft-imitated, style. $19.59.
This hardcover box set pairs two Hogwarts textbooks together: The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Quidditch Through the Ages. Both have been released before, but not bundled together in this pretty set! $11.99.
We may not be getting any more Harry Potter novels from JK Rowling, but that doesn't mean we're not getting any Wizarding World writing from her. We're just getting them in a different format. I'm very curious to read her screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and see what details were there in writing that might or might not have translated to the film itself. $14.99.
Since this is the defacto sequel to The Deathly Hallows I of course read it the second it came out. And it's great. Really makes me wish I could have seen the play when I was in London earlier this year (it was in previews then). The genius of Rowling (and her partners in crime Jack Thorne and John Tiffany) is how they subvert expectation. This is a story about the unlikely friendship between Draco Malfoy's son Scorpius and Harry Potter's son, Albus. Their roles are reversed here. Scorpius is the kind-hearted, open one and Albus is brooding and resentful of the long shadow of his father. It's a worthy sequel and one that would have made all the fans happy if it was in fact Book 8 of the Harry Potter world, which is saying a hell of a lot. $17.98.
A book about Twin Peaks by the co-creator of Twin Peaks?!? Sign me up! $17.99.
Stephen King held a contest where he welcomed short story submissions and he picked his favorite ones, gathered them together in one collection and Cemetery Dance has published them, with introductions by the famous author. It's really cool of the man to give a bunch of young upstarts a leg up like that and I'd support it just to reward that selflessness. $20.93.
Speaking of Stephen King, I'm putting one of his older books on the list this year. It's not any kind of special edition or anything, just a regular old paperback... but it's time that you either read or re-read IT. We have a big budget theatrical adaptation coming next year, so you can go in knowing the real Losers Club of Derry and seeing what they messed up or got right. But more than anything, this is just powerful writing by King, second only to The Stand in terms of longform character work. I'm working on a piece about my recent re-visiting of this book and have fallen in love with this story all over again. So, read it, dummies! I know it's long, but don't worry. It's NEVER boring. $12.27.
I dig Joe Hill's work (Horns in particular is great) and his new novel hit this year. It's called The Fireman and it's about a world dealing with a rash of spontaneous combustions, spread like a disease, as it slowly takes down large city after large city. Neat premise, no? $13.28.
I either didn't know or had forgotten that Joe Hill was attached to a reboot of Tales From the Darkside. That never came to pass, but his scripts still exist, so he gathered them together and had them illustrated in this kind of novel/comic hybrid that's not really either, published by IDW. $13.55.
Illustrator Colleen Doran adapted Neil Gaiman's coming of age short story, Troll Bridge, and this beautiful book is the result.$13.48.
I don't know much about this book other than the author was very persistent in getting me to check out the description. It's a murdery mystery set in the '80s with a ton of geeky references. The reviews are all solid and it sounds like it'd be a good fit, so I'm throwing it in here sight unseen! If you take the plunge, let me know how it is! $12.95.
If you want a big book filled with rare, awesome behind the scenes pictures from the making of one of the best films of all time (and I don't know why you would, really) then this Aliens: The Set Photography book is for you. Seriously, this is an awesome read. Newt does running commentary! (PS sorry, the BTS column has been on hiatus... you can blame this stupid thing you're reading right now). This nifty book will run you $24.28.
Or you can win a copy right now! SURPRISE CONTEST!
Titan has offered up a couple copies of this book for one of you lucky readers! If you want a shot at winning this all you have to is email me at this address with the subject line YER DOGMEAT, PAL. In the body of the email I need you to include your full name and shipping address (should you win) as well as your favorite line from Aliens. I'll pick one of these emails between right this very second and 11:59pm CST Saturday the 26th. The contest is only open to folks in the US, Canada and the UK. Sorry, them's the rules! Good luck everybody!
Christmas isn't over until Neil deGrasse Tyson says it's over, damn it! So you better put this book under the tree this year or there'll be hell to pay! $21.87.
The story behind the space race... the new one, being spearheaded by huge, powerful corporations and visionary billionaires instead of the government. We're on the cusp of real deal privatized space travel and this is the story of that journey so far. $17.94.
The Air and Space Museum is by far the coolest of all the Washington DC museums. Let's just face it, spaceships are just frickin' cool, real or imagined. This book takes a look at how real life spaceships influenced movie and TV ships and the surprising amount of times fake spaceships from sci-fi stories and movies influenced real life ships! $22.40.
Think of this book as Star Trek for Dummies and you're close to what it is. Older fans might enjoy seeing a bunch of Trek knowledge laid out so well and new fans will have a crystal clear idea of the vast history of this franchise. So, win-win! $17.14.
Fifty years worth of interviews with every single Starship Captain and pretty much everybody who ever stepped foot on the bridge of a Starship! $14.67 for V.2, $13.28 for V.1, which focuses on the movies.
When you go unauthorized you run the risk of getting... questionable information. But the rewards are that your interviews are unfiltered, so you're closer to getting an accurate picture of what actually happened. With all the egos and clashing personalities involved in the early years of the show and beginning of the movies having an unauthorized oral history of Star Trek's first 25 years sounds like the most delightful, page-turning reading of the season, doesn't it? Just the Shatner stories alone...$19.49.
The second volume of that series focuses on the second half of Star Trek's life, from Next Gen on to the JJ Abrams movies. Good stuff there, too, I imagine. I heard a couple of doozies from “friend of a friend of a friend” sources and I wasn't even digging! Should be good reading here, too. $20.87.
It'd be funny if the answer to the book's title was either “Fight It” or “Fuck It.” One of those two answers will be pretty accurate, I think. $4.35.
Shatner wrote a book about his half century long relationship with Leonard Nimoy. The two men seemed destined to partner up and weirdly matched each other, not dissimilarly from their fictional characters, except that by all accounts Nimoy was incredibly warm and generous instead of cold and scientific. It's nice of Shatner to tell stories of his time with Leonard. $15.46.
Carol Burnett could probably write about 45 great books about her time in the industry. This one just focuses on her memories from The Carol Burnett show, which means this is a must-buy for any comedy fan out there. There's gold in them thar hills! $17.47.
If Anna Kendrick invites you into her headspace the aoriesnswer is always yes. This book has a lot of her self-described “crazy” thoughts, childhood stories and nutty Hollywood encounters. $16.06.
Amy Schumer's book sounds a lot like Kendrick's... not really a memoir, but a series of essays describing her headspace, telling embarrassing stories and making us laugh with her brutal honesty. $16.80.
When one of the sharpest, funniest writers of all time pens a memoir you automatically pick it up. That's just the unwritten rule of fandom. Neil Simon's two previous memoirs (Rewrites and The Play Goes On) are bundled together so you have one single career spanning epic that runs just under 700 pages in length. Holy moly! $21.24.
Did you know that Bryan Cranston's dad skipped out on him when he was a kid? I didn't! You'll learn all about the upbringing and career of one of best working actors in this autobiography. $16.07.
Norm Macdonald is one of those guys who I always delight in seeing when he shows up on a talk show or in a bit part in a movie. I pegged this memoir as being something airy and light, but everything I've read says it's quite literarily beautiful, heavy on wit, emotion and, yes, laughs, too. This one went from a curiosity to a must get for me. $16.80.
Believe it or not, that Joel McHale is a funny dude. I've seen him on my TV before and he was funny there, too! The cool thing about McHale is that he's a goofball on and off-screen, but he's also a very sweet person, too. I mean, I'm only speaking from my brief encounter with him on the set of Community, but I will always remember how grateful he was that I came out on my own dime since the show had no budget to travel in nerdy journalists. So, yeah, go support his book where he talks about the pros and cons of celebrity with his trademark tongue in cheek. $19.80.
Will Forte is another humble funny sumbitch. I guess there are some good comedians out there who aren't tortured souls deep down to their core! Forte's book is a relationship advice book told with cartoons because of course it is. $11.67.
PRE-ORDER, November 29th! Lauren Graham may be famous for Gilmore Girls, but she'll always be Mrs. Claus's Sister to me. This series of “personal essays” (just call it a memoir already) from Ms. Graham give you a deeper understanding of who she is as a person and she also throws in some behind the scenes goodies from the new season of Gilmore Girls. $16.66.
Nick Offerman has a passion for many things in this life. Bacon, his awesome wife and making things out of wood. This last thing is what he's talking about here, going deep into his love of woodworking and maybe teaching you a few tricks along the way. $24.72.
Sure, I miss Jon Stewart, but I like this Trevor Noah guy. He's got a good head on his shoulders and crazy interesting life's story, which is what you'll get a firmer grasp of with this book. I mean, you think you had it rough growing up? Jis mother literally had to hide him from the government. Fascinating life this guy has led so far. $16.80.
An Oral History of The Daily Show? Don't mind if I do! (PS read this next part as the President in Superman II: “Jon, where are you?!? We need you!”) $18.00.
Since we're currently talking about badasses from Jersey, I had to include the big autobiography of The Boss. $19.50.
For a few years Mara Wilson was everywhere. Hollywood does that. They find a kid actor that is good and has chemistry and they put them in everything. It's been that way since the days of Freddie Bartholomew. Some handle it well, some not so much. Mara Wilson seems to be in the latter camp, maybe because she opted out of the limelight pretty quickly. She's one of my favorite social media presences and I'm definitely going to give her book about life as a child actor a read. $9.52.
Alan Cumming is just plain old delightful. Instead of just writing another memoir book, he peppers his crazy life stories with his photographs to give them an extra visual punch most people don't have in their writing. $20.29.
This is not a new book. It's not even a new release, but it's one I wanted to include anyway. We lost Gene Wilder this year and while I'll always love him for his on-screen work, I feel like I never really understood him until I read this book. It's a naked, vulnerable piece of writing that lays out his insecurities and faults without flinching. He was an incredible man and this is a hell of a read. $15.04.
I don't know if there's been a funnier one-two punch than Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Both movies are miracles, Young Frankenstein in particular because it's a movie that can never age. It imitated the original look and feel of the Universal Monster movies so well that it will never feel like a '70s movie! This behind the scenes book likes amazing! Ooper dooper! $19.49.
Iron Giant has an Art of Book. Why would they do that? The movie's so freaking ugly. ::ducksflyingbeerbottle:: Just kidding! Thems is jokes! Bad jokes, but jokes. The design of Brad Bird's animated classic is second to none and I'm sure this Art of Book is filled with a bunch of really gorgeous production art, concept sketches and all that kinda stuff. $21.7.
Grant Gustin is winning hearts and minds with his portrayal of Barry Allen in The Flash TV series from episode one. This ultra fun show gets a fancy Making Of book from the good folks at Titan! You can get yourself a copy for $21.42.
Or you can win a copy right now! Titan has offered up a couple copies of this book for one of you lucky readers! If you want a shot at winning this all you have to is email me at this address with the subject line FLASH (Ah-Ah). In the body of the email I need you to include your full name and shipping address (should you win). I'll pick one of these emails between right this very second and 11:59pm CST Saturday the 26th. The contest is only open to folks in the US, Canada and the UK. Sorry, them's the rules! Good luck everybody!
Massive amounts of concept art goes into movies. Even more go into video games. If you wanted to see how a bunch of game developers create the many looks of Hell (and not one of them look like Thanksgiving with your conservative in-laws) then this book is for you! $24.68.
Here's a thorough breakdown of Lara Croft's journey from conception and through all the iterations of the character in the years since. $17.66.
This book teaches you the best techniques for cooking Pokemon. They're all over the place, just check your phone! There's probably at least two Pidgeys and a Rattata near you right now! This thing could end world hung- excuse me? They're not... Oh... Okay, so I'm told this book helps you make already existing food look like Pokemon. You can't eat, Pokemon. That's silly. They're, like, poisonous to humans. D'uh. $11.07.
I am totally going to get this and use it spend some quality time with the nephews over the holidays. I'll get John McClane lighting up his cigarette while pulling the glass out of his foot. The 5 year old can fill in the pool of blood. $10.48.
This movie-themed coloring book is a little more family friendly, but that doesn't mean you still can't have some fun family time coloring in some ultra violence with the kiddos. Never forget Kevin messed those robbers up! $10.48.
Bob's Burgers is a popular thing that you can now put colors into if you want to! $11.93.
PRE-ORDER, December 20th! Now you have the power to give a random crew member whatever color uniform you want, which kind of makes you God. “I don't like that smirk on your face, sir. Red Shirt!” “Nooooo, not the red shirt! I have a wife and kids! I've never seen Paris!” “RED SHIRT!” His little colorless knees buckle and he slumps to the floor, utterly defeated. You smile and take a swig of a Mountain Dew and think “My job here is done.” $14.99.
PRE-ORDER, December 20th! Not as many Red Shirts died on TNG, so I don't think my little playing God scenario quite works as well here, but that won't make me feel any less happy with myself for coming up with it, thank you very much. $11.00.
Ha! A kids spelling book, but using Destiny characters and images. That's just silly. I love it, but it's silly. “I is for Icebreaker, which was an exotic sniper rifle that never ever ran out of ammo, so Bungie quickly phased it out and pissed off a ton of fans.” That would be my contribution. $12.20.
Everybody remembers Little Golden Books, which are most of our first introductions to books. Thin, cardboard covers and big colorful pictures. They've been doing current Disney and Pixar Little Golden Books, but I was super psyched when I saw they did a Ghostbusters one. In fact, I gifted it to my two year old Goddaughter and she flipped out, insisting she carry it everywhere. It was pretty gosh darn adorable. You totally need to get this for any little-little kids in your life. $3.91.
PRE-ORDER, January 17th! An in-depth making of Big Trouble In Little China book filled with hundreds of never before seen behind the scenes photos, you say? Why yes, I would like to see that. Right now. It doesn't ship until fucking January? Son of a bitch must pay... For serious, I'm dying to see this book. I adore a good making of and getting an understanding of how that beautiful, unique, bizarre bit of awesomeness came about sounds really dang good to me. $33.99.
Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth is a great movie. We know this. Now we'll know a bunch thanks to this sweet Making Of book! $35.30.
The cool thing about Laika is they have a design process similar to Pixar, but then they actually make that shit into a reality, so their Art of books have all the pretty concept art and then cool in-process looks at the building of their impressive puppets and sets. Kubo's a great movie, I'm sure this is a great book. $30.71.
It was a good year for kids movies, with Zootopia being an early standout. An exciting element about this book is that the filmmakers layered in so many references and sight gags into their city design that you probably missed a good 20-30 genuinely funny things that you'll finally get to see while looking through this book. $26.31.
Polynesian culture is super interesting anyway and when you throw in a little cute Disney exaggeration I'm sure it's even more fun. Now you can immerse yourself in it with this (oddly expensive) Art of Moana book! $40.00.
Jon Favreau's live-action Jungle Book had a lot going on visually, so of course there's an Art of book for you to devour! Just pretend this book is a man cub and you're a big snake with a sexy voice. $29.61.
PRE-ORDER, December 27th! I have no idea how many artists contributed to this book or what names we're talking about here, but we do know that this is a compilation of a bunch of artists making Big Trouble In Little China art, which means none of my other questions matter. $26.48.
So many cute and interesting creatures to explore in Fantastic Beasts. If this whole book was just about creating the Niffler from the movie then it'd still be worth it. $37.60.
The Making of Fantastic Beasts. This is interesting since there's very little background material on this era in Rowling's Wizarding World, so any little tidbit of info is something to pour over and try to figure out. If you're into that sort of thing... If you're reading this you're probably into that sort of thing, FYI. $27.00.
It wouldn't be an AICN Holiday Gift Guide without a Marvel Art Of book! This year we get the Art of Captain America: Civil War! Hooray! $36.36.
In the interest of fairness, DC's big movie gets to have its Art Of, too! And also whatever problems I have with BvS, you can't deny that a huge amount of artistry went into the design and execution of the movie. The problem was more on a tonal approach to some of the characters and some spotty writing, not the artistry of the flick, which is kind of amazing, actually. Some truly great costume work, for instance. $26.48.
The Batman v Superman Tech Manual focuses on the new Batman gadgets, from his baterangs to the new Batmobile, costume and all the various gadgets he uses in the flick, complete with interviews with the film's weapons master, the Batmobile's mechanic and that Zack Snyder guy himself. $27.19.
The Suicide Squad Making of is also out if you want to know more about the thought that went into the Joker's grill or tattoos... or if you just want a closer look at Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, you pervo. $31.39.
PRE-ORDER, December 16th! It's normally dangerous to pre-buy an Art of book before you see the movie. I mean, what if the movie's ugly? Then you just wasted money on seeing the ugly art behind the ugly movie! But if the movie looks even half as pretty as the scenes we've seen in the trailers then you're still going to be in for one hell of an art book. So, buy with confidence! $34.68.
The book that tells you everything about Star Wars has been updated to include The Force Awakens and the upcoming Star Wars Lands at the Disney Parks. Just in case you felt your previous edition was way too out of date to exist on your shelf with any sort of pride. $41.71.
I know we've had a lot of Marvel Star Wars comics in here already, but this is the original run. It's not the complete series, but it's a big chunk (issues 1-23) of it.$35.47.
Hardcover of the new Star Wars series that gives you Kanan's backstory! Look at the piercing peepers on that kid. Hope nothing ever happens to them eyeballs... $26.08.
That Jock fella makes pretty art. You'll probably know his art from just about anything recently Dredd or all those Mondo posters you wanted, but sold out withing 3 seconds of being available. See some of his crazy good sketches and finished art in this full color super fancy book! $39.76.
Another Mondo favorite artist has an art book out this year. I love the work of Jason Edminton, I think because it most reminds me of the toy packaging art from my childhood. Cartoony, yet somehow realistic. The dude has a great eye and always kills it with his color choices. This one's a beaut. $38.50.
Frazetta was a genius. He was also a little pervy, but maybe that's why he was genius! Nobody drew women like he did. He delighted in their form. And by that I mean curves. Curves by the mile! Just look at his take on Dejah Thoris or Vampirella. This book has a lot of his more risque sketches and cartoons. $28.79.
After Cameron's Aliens Dark Horse published a sequel of sorts in comic book form that focused on Hicks, Newt and Bishop. This was actually considered canon until they made Alien3. Way to go Alien3, you fucked yet another thing up! Hope you're happy with yourself! Anyway, gorgeous art, cool story, now in an anniversary hardback edition! $25.30.
Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser's The Fade Out is a Blacklist era Hollywood noir thriller in comic book form. I know, right? This Hardcover Deluxe edition gathers the entire story in one pretty package! $35.52.
So you've seen the movie and loved it and want to know more about Dr. Strange. Luckily for you, Marvel has put out a nearly 500 page omnibus that collects a whoooooole lot of early Dr. Strange stories, from his appearance in Strange Tales plus another 30+ issues. Check it out and prepare to have your mind blown! $67.50.
The only thing Agent Carter S.2 Declassified doesn't answer is why Marvel is so stupid to cancel the series and phase out Peggy Carter from the films! I mean, I know she was granny age in the modern day, but it's a comic book series, they could have brought Haley Atwell in through some time portal or de-aging serum or something, right? How rude of them to deprive us of more Haley Atwell. $45.59.
Here's a great series. This is Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's run with Batman, including the creation of the Court of Owls. Three volumes totalling 560 pages of Dark Knight goodness! $34.84.
Get ready for next year's standalone Wonder Woman film by brushing up on your Wonder Woman knowledge. This is a good start, a 300 page hardcover collection of some of her best stories from all over her 75 years of adventure. $31.08.
Here's even more of Wonder Woman's greatest comic book hits! $35.53.
Fans in the UK were introduced to Star Trek in the comics. It's true. These stories were published 6 months before the first show aired over there. What's interesting is that these comic stories are much more like the old pulpy serials and the crew quite constantly violates the prime directive without any mention of it at all. This is a pretty cool Trek oddity, available in 2 volumes. $31.24 for v1, $49.99 for V.2, on pre-order.
Nicholas Meyer writes the forward to this book celebrating Star Trek's 50th birthday by inviting famous artists and fans from around the world to contribute pieces inspired by Star Trek! $31.42.
More Alien fun stuff. The conceit is that this is Weyland-Yutani's dossier on the Xenomorph, but it really covers behind the scenes stuff from all the alien films. I say you add this to your cart, take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. $29.60.
There's a lot of cool books in the guide this year and a few of them I'd call no-brain buys, but this one is probably the tops in cool factor as far as I'm concerned. This hardcover focuses on the incredible art that sold millions of game cartridges back in the day. Not only do they have the final art old farts like me will recognize, it also has rejected concepts. How cool is that!?! $29.41.
You have the option to tickle your Atari nostalgia center and now here's a feather for your NES nostalgia center. I don't know what's inside, but I can tell you the NES cartridge design for the book is inspired. $27.03.
PRE-ORDER, February 21st! For you Zelda nerds, here's an oversized book filled with art and history on the games, lore, story and characters from Zelda from inception. Not available in time for Christmas, but if you're shopping for yourself I won't tell anybody that you went ahead and clicked the 'pre-order with one click' button. $25.46.
Since we're talking about video game art, let's go ahead and feature Respawn's sweet art book for Titanfall 2, a game that's much prettier than you'd expect it to be. Again, that campaign was really well thought out and oddly beautiful. Good job, guys! $25.44.
Bethesda doesn't mess around with their art departments. No matter what they're doing you can bet the level of detail and thought going into the look of their game is going to be exceptional. Dishonored 2 looks to be no exception to that rule. $44.33.
This seems pretty expensive for less than 200 page art book, but if you're obsessed with Battlefield 1 I guess it's worth it. $49.99.
PRE-ORDER, December 27th! If your video game character design preference is “everybody is a linebacker” then you're a shoe-in for being the target audience for the Gears of War series and this art book. Again, rather pricey for a 184 page book in my opinion, but you decide what you want to spend your money on... $49.99.
Here's a making of book for Duncan Jones' Warcraft. A whole lot of attention to detail was spent on practical sets, armor and weapons, so I'm sure this book is loaded with great process shots and BTS images. $30.59.
PRE-ORDER, November 29th! I have seent his book up close and personal and it's pretty funny. The idea is that Finn and Jake found a cookbook with most of the recipes torn out, so they recruit their friends to provide new recipes for side dishes, mains, desserts and drinks. That's how you get stuff like “The Ice King Sundae.” I'm happy to report there is indeed an Everything Burrito recipe in there... $29.99.
This isn't just the visual history of Labyrinth, it's the ULTIMATE visual history. We don't have time for none of that non-ultimate crap. They're not kidding around, though. This thing is jam-packed with BTS shots, concept art and stories from the production of one of my favorite childhood films. One of the benefits of getting old is all the stuff you love gets a ton of sweet merch when they hit anniversaries! $38.25.
Tim Burton's art departments are usually pretty damn good, so it'd be no surprise to me if this book is really sweet. Lots of great imagery to play with in this adaptation, especially when they start playing with Ray Harryhausen visual homages! $26.59.
Speaking of people with awesome art departments, you can't go wrong with anything Guillermo del Toro is involved with. Especially if there are monsters in it. You know there'll be awesome art because Guillermo will want to keep the originals for himself! You know I'm right! $28.46.
This book takes a professorial approach to the subgenres of horror, listing them alphabetically and exploring them all, from A(bduction) to Z(ombie). $35.00.
I'm a little obsessed with unproduced scripts. I love dreaming of the movies that never were and now I have two more scripts to read and project through the lens of my imagination. Here are two projects Ed Wood wrote for Bela Lugosi before Bela's death. Both have great titles and I'm sure would have been fucking awful. They were going to be called The Vampire's Tomb and The Ghoul Goes West. Neat, huh? $29.95.
Angela Cartwright and Bill Mumy teamed up to bring out this book that is described as a pictorial memoir. Sounds to me like they didn't want to do a whole lotta writing, which is fine by me. You guys know I like them BTS pics... and there are supposed to be a ton from the making of Lost in Space in this book, so there you go! $29.95.
We know the Marx Brothers for their work in film, but they spent 25 years on the vaudeville stage before that. This book takes a detailed look at those lean, scrappy years and how they shaped the men into one of the most famous comedy groups of all time. $29.97.
These Disney archives books are always of the highest quality and this one in particular sounds great. The focus is on the 1940s era at Disney animation, when they were breaking boundaries with every outing, which attracted all the best artists in the world to the studio. Gathered here are tons of their work, from doodles and sketches to finished pieces. $31.23.
Oh, man. This shit is so totally up my alley. This collects all the maps from the very first concept map used to sell the concept of Disneyland through all the additions, subtractions, expansions and new parks. I know this might not make much sense to non-Disney Park people, but trust me... if there's a Disney Parks fan in your friend circle they'll lose their shit for this book! $25.47.
If you want something a little more next level, this tome goes into great detail about what goes into creating attractions at theme parks, whether it's Disney, Universal, Six Flags or whatever. Tons of interviews with Imagineers and people involved in all levels at all the big theme parks. Pretty neat! $69.95.
Building Magic is a more focused version of the above book, focusing specifically on what went into building Disney's overseas theme parks and what they look and feel like. Neat for Disney Parks folks that don't have the budget to hit up Tokyo, Shanghai and Paris. $29.95.
Silly Symphonies were a big deal for me as a kid because they ran all the damn time on the Disney Channel back before they spent all their time trying to launch tween stars and actually ran, you know, Disney stuff. This companion book give a ton of info into the making of all the shorts. $27.19.
From the '50s-'80s Disney would make Sunday comics adaptations of their features, both animated (like Cinderella) and live action (like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea). This collection gathers six complete retellings, illustrated by Tarzan's Jesse Marsh! $35.01.
This tome celebrates Minnie and good for them. Mickey gets all the attention, but we all know behind every successful Mickey stands a strong Minnie. The book acts as both an artist tribute to her many different looks over the years and a detailed filmography of her contributions to the Disney world over the years. $40.00.
There's so much Disney material out there, but I like how the company was so damn influential and pushed the envelope in so many different areas that there can be dozens of new books each year shedding some light on something previous unknown. This one focuses on the live-action output from the '50s and '60s, which includes stuff like 20,000 Leagues, Mary Poppins and Treasure Island. And not just features, either. Also covered are shows like Zorro and Davy Crockett. Super cool. $29.58.
PRE-ORDER, December 11th! There's been a lot of Disney in the Guide this year (and still more to come), but let's not forget he wasn't the only animation visionary to be working at that time. Max Fleischer is famous for his Superman cartoons and his trippy Betty Boop stuff, but did you know he invented rotoscope animation? This book promises to give detailed insight into his process and give us rare looks at illustrations of his. $39.95.
The Complete X-Files is now revised to add in the new season. Now it's no longer lying when it calls itself “complete.” $26.55.
Brace yourselves. This book is over 500 pages long and provides insight to each and every episode of He-Man and She-Ra. Every. Single. One. By the power of Greyskull! $26.69.
PRE-ORDER, November 29th! Titan promises this book is the definitive look at the '60s Batman show. We'll see about that Titan. We'll see... No, I trust you. You put out great stuff all the time, I was just joshin'! $34.38.
Stephen King fans, here's something interesting. It's a reprinting of his Hearts In Atlantis novella, which was semi-autobiographical, and contains a new essay from King discussing his entry onto the University of Maine campus during the politically heated '60s. On top of that there's some of his earliest published work; a column from the student newspaper called King's Garbage Truck. Unique, right? You're not gonna find this one on the Wal-Mart book shelf... $29.00.
George RR Martin won't ever actually write a new Game of Thrones book (despite his promises he will do so), but that's okay because they'll just keep putting out new editions of his other ones. This one is a new Illustrated edtion of A Song of Ice and Fire. It's shiny and pretty! I guess a revisit should hold us over until the new season of the HBO show at least... $29.76.
Speaking of fancy editions of previously published books, check out Easton Press' beautiful copy of Ernest Cline's Ready Player One. If you were planning on giving this one a read before Steven Spielberg's movie drops next year you couldn't do it in more style. On top of that every copy comes autographed by Cline! Faaaaannncccyyyy. $99.00.
If Ready Player One isn't geeky enough for you, how about an Easton press fancy leatherbound tome by Neil deGrasse Tyson? Death By Black Hole “guides you through the mysteries of the cosmos.” And it's signed by the man himself! $99.00.
This Easton Press fancy edition of all five of Charles Dickens' Christmas stories (A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on The Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man) in perhaps the most festive leather bound book I've ever seen in my life. It's fully illustrated, uses only the fanciest materials and just begs to be read by the fire on Christmas Eve as snow falls gently out the window. $240.00.
So, Hamilton has been a force of nature this year, from doing its usual job of entertaining Broadway audiences to being suddenly politically charged on a national level recently thanks to a visit by Vice President-elect Mike Pence. This book details the origins and rise of the show, co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda himself! $27.00.
Taschen always does it up well. Their Hitchcock and Kubrick books are legendary cinephile must haves and from the looks of things their book on Walt Disney's animated films from 1921-1968 is just as essential. This thing weight 14 pounds. It's not messing around. For over 600 pages it goes in depth on Disney in this time period. One day this will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine. $152.50.
This collector's edition of the earlier-mentioned Art of Atari is a big ol' fancy hardcover. It's also sold out and only available via third party sellers at a huge upcharge. Not sure if having a slipcase is worth the extra money, but you do you, boo. $208.99.
The huge 2 volume Star Trek Encyclopedia has been updated with over 300 pages of new material. This definitive Trek reference guide is now even more definitive! $88.40.
I saved the best for last. Look at this hugely comprehensive tribute to the late, great Ralph McQuarrie! This is the most comprehensive book on his Star Wars work ever assembled, publishing everything he did, from production art to the Lucasfilm Christmas cards, including hundreds of never before seen illustrations. This is the prime book gift in the guide this year. $155.00.
Cheap ($24.99 and under)
You all know Cards Against Humanity. It's been a while since they've done a massive upgrade... they usually do small card pack add-ons here or there. But now they've slammed their big, green dick on the table with a real deal 300 card expansion box, which is the same amount of new material as the first three expansions combined. They're not fucking around this Christmas! $20.00.
I love tabletop games, but don't often get a chance to play them. This one came highly recommended when I asked around about awesome board games to include in the guide. Codenames came out last year and this new version hit this year, which trades words for photos. Not sure how this plays, but it seems like one person on the team knows the identity of a “spy” and tries to point their teammates in their direction. All the reviews are over the moon with this thing, so I'll definitely have to give it a shot. $15.92.
Slimer Yahtzee! I know it's cheesy as hell, but I love all these kitschy Yahtzee rebrands. Remember when they did Jaws? Good times... $24.99.
All the kids are into VR these days. I'm personally looking forward to it really kicking in with console gaming. Bethesda's already promised a Fallout 4 you can play in VR with the next X-Box next year. In the meantime you can do some really cool stuff with VR and your phone. This VR headset is the best I found in terms of price and the ability to fit multiple kinds and sizes of phones. $23.99.
One of the best video games released this year is this marketplace game called Inside. You're a little faceless kid trying to avoid capture in a bleak dystopian world. Side-scrolling puzzle solver that is one of the most tense, emotional and beautiful games to sit down with. If you missed it, give it a shot about 5 minutes to get used to this style of gameplay. I'll bet you get hooked. $19.99 on PS4, $13.39 on Xbox Live Arcade.
Right now there's a sale on wireless controllers. If you're anything like me you might be working off of one with a sticky button or slightly drifting thumbstick and have put off replacing your controller because they're so damned expensive. Now's the time to act! This is the newest generation of the Xbox One controller, by the way, works with all existing Xbox One consoles. Pretty sure Amazon has these prices to match the in-store Black Friday deals at the big chains, so don't drag your feet on this one! $39.00.
PS4's newest gen Dual Shock is also on sale. Grab yours before this thing shoots back up into the sixty dollar range! $39.00.
I'm team Bethesda all the way... but I could never get into the first Dishonored. Stealth gameplay came be really frustrating for me. I have the patience, but not the skill. Everything I've heard about Dishonored 2 is that it's incredible and I'm sure I'll give it a shot once this Guide's behind me and I have a teeny tiny bit of free time to veg out and try out a new game. $59.39 on Xbox One, $58.89 on PS4 and $59.96 on PC.
PRE-ORDER, November 29th. It's been a long wait for Final Fantasy fans, but the new game is almost here. I'm kinda like Conan O'Brien when it comes to this series. I don't really get it, but there are whole lotta you guys out there that do. I can definitely say it looks very pretty! $50.99 on Xbox One and $50.99 on PS4.
The first Titanfall didn't have a campaign and got slagged for it, even though the multiplayer was the most fun I had playing online since the early Halo days. Now the sequel's out and it has an amazing single player campaign, but a slightly crappier multiplayer. These guys are always almost there! But seriously the single player section is great. You bond with a Titan (ie a big fighting robot) and end up having to go on missions with him that... I don't want to spoil, but there's some incredibly fun first person gameplay that reminded a little bit of the puzzle-solving aspect of Portal. The multiplayer is still fun, I just wish they didn't chase Call of Duty as much as they did. Still, this is a pretty solid game that could easily kill a few weekends if you're not careful. $45.00 on Xbox One, $46.50 on PS4 and $49.47 on PC.
I love that current gen is being used to explore WW1. Those early Call of Duty games really made you feel like you were in some very famous and iconic battles from WW2 and now Battlefield is taking it a step further. First person mayhem, huge multiplayer experience... This is a multi-million dollar game with all that money on display at every step of the way. $52.55 on Xbox One, $52.52 on PS4 and $59.70 on PC.
Call of Duty has been treading water a bit. They kinda lost me around the Kevin Spacey one, but there's something admittedly hypnotic about falling back into that first person gameplay, cliches and all. Reviews were middling on this one, which was enough for me to wait for a huge price drop, which it has. You can get it for under $40 on all platforms right now, so if you want to play sooner than later you probably won't get a cheaper option for a while. $39.99 on Xbox One, $39.99 on PS4 and $39.99 on PC.
Gears of War 4 is on sale right now, too. Hurry and you can get it for $34.99 on Xbox One.
I've played a whole lotta Destiny since launch. It's the one game me and my friends keep going back to thanks to the new Raids they periodically release. There will be no more content updates (since Destiny 2 is being readied for next year), but the good news is you can grab the collection bundle right now for a fraction of the cost of starting from the beginning. Plus you get automatic upgrades that get your level up super fast, so you won't be years behind everybody else! It's fun, I swear! Especially if you have friends to play with so you can solve these huge raids. $49.90 on Xbox One and $49.75 on PS4.
As someone who gets frustrated really quick with online multiplayer you'd be surprised that one of my favorite games out is Blizzard's Overwatch, which is ONLY online multiplayer. What can I say? Playing with a group of friends and really clicking makes you feel invincible. Until a fucking bullshit cheapass Tracer ruins your fun. $34.99 on Xbox One, $34.99 on PS4 and $34.99 on PC.
Hack everything! I dug the concept of the first game more than execution, but I must admit a curiosity about this one since it's set in the San Francisco Bay Area, which was my old stomping grounds when I was a kid. Playing in a big open world in a place I grew up sounds like fun! $59.88 on Xbox One, $59.88 on PS4 and $59.99 on PC.
PRE-ORDER, December 6th! This Xbox One Exclusive brings more zombie killing action. The last Dead Rising was a launch title for this system. You can't go wrong with mowing down hordes of zombies while riding a motorcycle with chainsaws strapped to the handlebars. You get that chainsaw bike (or Slicecyle) if you pre-order, so you should probably do that. $59.96 on Xbox One ($47.99 if you're a prime member).
Next to Fallout, the Bioshock games are my favorite video game experience of my adult life. The story is super smart and engaging, the design is outstanding, the gameplay is fun... I just love the world created here and my love of it hasn't abated since I first entered Rapture. I've loved going back through the first game. Still have Bioshock 2 and Infinite to go, but that'll be over a (hopefully) slow Christmas break. If you've never played this weird steampunk/horror/sci-fi/adventure combo you owe it to yourself to give this series a shot, which is easy to do now that they remastered it for current gen and bundled all the games and their DLC together! $51.48 on Xbox One, $51.46 on PS4 and $59.99 on PC.
Speaking of revisiting old friends, they've also remastered Skyrim for current gen consoles. I'll never forget playing this game for the first time. It came out while I was embedded with the Hobbit crew and following them all around New Zealand while they were on location. That was 3 months of travel, including multiple flights back and forth between the US and New Zealand. I came home just before Christmas and was the most exhausted I've ever been in my life. No shit, I was stretched out on my couch for 5 days straight playing this thing and it was amazing. Bethesda's the master at creating detailed worlds you just want to live in and giving you almost endless amounts of stuff to do in 'em. I fear diving back in, especially since I'll be starting from scratch which means I'll get sucked into the addictive leveling system right away. Goodbye productivity, but I look forward to losing myself in this world once more. $52.40 on Xbox One and $51.02 on PS4.
The Assassin's Creed Ezio Collection comes with three of the Assassin's Creed games, plus a voucher towards a movie ticket for the Michael Fassbender movie adaptation! $59.96 on Xbox One, $59.96 on PS4.
One of two new Pokemon games for the 3DS. I know fuckall about these things, but I know my nephews will be psyched! $39.82 (or $31.99 if you're a prime member) on Nintendo 3DS.
The other new Pokemon game! They like doing this two at a time thing, don't they? $39.82 (or $31.99 if you're a Prime member) on Nintendo 3DS.
PRE-ORDER, December 2nd! This is more my speed. I missed Pokemon, but I was prime Mario age when he came on the scene and this is the new 3DS version of Mario Maker, which lets you build levels and stuff. $39.96 (or $31.99 if you're a Prime Member) on the 3DS.
This game got a bad rap and the reviews weren't all that off-base. It suffers hugely from over-promising what it could deliver and, more damaging, not having any real driving force to get you to the center of the galaxy. However, I think we'll look back on this game with kinder eyes. I'd bet that No Man's Sky will be the forefather of the next evolution in video gaming. The unlimited freedom and randomly generated star systems and planets and aliens and atmospheres is what all giant “sandbox” style games will be in a generation. If this game had paired that with a compelling story or gameplay that drove you to keep exploring or some kind of mystery to uncover... if it had done any of that it would have been revolutionary. Instead you get an addictive, hypnotic, and admittedly pretty game that becomes hugely repetitive without any kind of kick in the ass to keep exploring the unlimited kinds of planets you can encounter. Still, that alone is worth losing some of your life to it. $35.42 on PS4.
PRE-ORDER, January 24th! Very curious about the new Resident Evil game since they're saying it's going more back to its horror roots and shying away from the crazy giant action the series has become. Definitely looks creepy! Can't wait to give this one a playthrough! $59.99 on Xbox One, $59.99 on PS4 and $59.99 on PC.
PRE-ORDER, March 31! I'm bummed they bumped the new South Park until March, but I'd rather them take the time to do it right so I'll forgive them. The Stick of Truth was surprisingly great and this one looks just as good. If you pre-order you get a download code for The Stick of Truth and when The Fractured But Whole comes out you'll get a cool pre-order bonus: Towlie as your “in-game assistant.” Yay Towlie! $59.96 on Xbox One, $50.99 on PS4 and $59.99 on PC.
Big Trouble in Little China: The Board Game! Hell. Yes. I call playing Egg Shen! Can I play as Egg Shen? I damn well better be able to! Son of a bitch must pay... only $38.86.
This is a Harry Potter cooperative Deck Building Game, meaning you shuffle a deck of cards that you draw into your hand each turn to help you progress... and you're playing with your teammates, not against them. I don't really understand it either. It looks complicated, but all the reviews are glowing, so I'm sure my on again/off again team of nerdy tabletop friends might give this a shot at some point. $42.49.
But not before we tackle Pandemic Legacy! We're nearing the end of our Risk Legacy run (I'm still competitive for the win, in case you care) and we already have this one waiting for us. The “Legacy” games are designed to take a game you know and at a kind of dynamic fluidity to it, making the board game experience a little more like the video game one. Choices you make change the game, but in the immediate future and distant future. It can alter the board, change the rules and add in new pieces depending on how you and your friends play. I'm told that Pandemic Legacy is absolutely legit and I can't wait to give it a shot. $46.50.
The regular Pandemic is about stopping viral outbreaks... this one throws in HP Lovecraft into the mix. If we dig on the Legacy version I have a feeling we might opt in for this one at some point. $34.49.
This is another board game that wasn't on my radar until I was deep into the guide. I put a call out on Twitter what tabletop games should make the cut and the response was quick and passionate: TIME Stories. The box looks like Minority Report. The only thing I know about the game is there is some kind of mystery you and your team have to solve via time travel. Sounds cool enough already! $37.99.
This year is the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, which means we get cool shit like a Star Trek Trivial Pursuit complete with a shuttlecraft case for the nerdy Trek trivia cards! $25.24.
The neat thing about Star Trek Risk is you're not playing different races, but different Captains! The conceit is that Q brought together five captains: Kirk, Picard, Janeway, Sisko and Archer and pit them against each other. I know everybody's going to fight over Kirk, but I'll happily take Picard... Calling it now! Or I can just pretend I'm Michelle Yeoh, right? That's allowed now, yeah? $41.93.
You're a crewman on the original Enterprise and you have to complete missions without your ship taking too much damage. This game even has a little Enterprise at the center of the board. How fun! $31.99.
I'm Mr. Meeseeks, look at me! This card game can help you find courage inside yourself, face your greatest fears and make you a more complete woman. Just don't ask it help you with your golf handicap... $29.65.
I'm not shocked there's a Rick and Morty Monopoly out. I am shocked that I don't own it yet. $32.30.
I want to get this version of Monopoly just for that gorgeous cover art. Ghostbusters Monopoly comes with some of the cooler tokens I've seen in one of these custom games... I think I'd either go with the Terror Dog or the Ecto 1, but I wouldn't mind being stuck with Mr. Staypuft either... $29.99.
Ghostbusters: The Board Game! The only problem with this is fighting with your friends over who gets to play Venkman... $47.56.
This really cool looking Star Wars tabletop game is one of the best reviewed games I've looked at for the guide. It also looks scarily complicated, but the reviews swear up and down that you pick it up quickly. I just know there are cards and tokens and dice and a big board and it makes me sweat. Play as the Rebel Alliance and recruit the support of planets or play as the Empire and use the Death Star to blow the fuck out of those planets. Your choice. $75.07.
Scythe is set in an alternate steampunky 1920s and sounds like it plays a little like Risk, but instead of just taking territory, you also fight for resources and build giant mechs to tear shit up. Everybody says this game is amazing. Why not listen to everybody, just this one time? $122.95.
So the big collector's edition of the new South Park RPG comes with an RC remote controlled Coon Mobile. That's right, you get a toy that drives around your living room with this super fancy edition. It also comes with a steelbook for the game and the season pass for all DLC. $189.99 (or $151.99 if you're Prime Member) on Xbox One, $189.99 (or $151.99 if you're Prime Member) on PS4 and $189.99 (or $151.99 if you're Prime Member) on PC.
If you want to play them new Pokemon games but don't have a 3DS, don't freak out. There are some options out there, including this one... a limited edition lime green Yoshi colored system that comes with Super Mario World pre-installed! $199.99.
Everybody wants this new Nintendo Classic Edition that's built to remind you of your childhood system and comes 30 of your favorite NES games and a real deal classic controller... so that means it's sold out everywhere and if you want to buy it you have to go to the secondary market, which means higher prices. Amazon's marketplace has it for around $239.99.
For The Super Rich Only ($250.00 & Up)
The Xbox One S is a stepping stone between the current gen system and the new one on the horizon. I'm not sure I'd recommend an upgrade, but if you're looking to get into the system this is a great starter. The plus side is this is the only game console that plays 4K Blu-Rays right now, so that might push you over if you're an early adopter. There are some good deals out there right now, bundling the system with games. I've given you a few options below here... $299.00 for the 1TB Battlefield 1 bundle, $299.00 for 1TB Gears of War 4 bundle.
PS4 has an upgraded console out as well, called the PS4 Pro. It plays games in 4k and can stream in 4k, but can't play 4k Blu-Ray yet. $399.00.
Cheap ($24.99 and under)
If only Wade had this fanny pack he might not have been without ammo for the finale of his movie. Hard to forget your own branded fanny pack in the cab, right? I was a kid in the late '80s, so of course I rocked a fanny pack in my childhood. I'm only slightly ashamed to admit it and wouldn't have one sliver of shame if my fanny pack looked like this. On sale right now at Thinkgeek for $14.99.
Last Exit to Nowhere is a great geeky shirt/cap/apparel outfit out of the UK. They have a lot of great stuff, but the one that jumped out to me was this sweet Encom logo hat. Tron doesn't get nearly enough merch love and this one is awesome because it's sneaky. Only the hardest of the hardcore will notice it, which means you'll get that knowing nod from time to time while out in the public. This is a friend-maker is what I'm saying. End of line. $19-ish USD.
When you get that knowing nod from a lady geek that notices your Tron hat, fall in love and make a baby then it'll be time for this item, an adorable Portal-themed onesie for your future little test subject. Seriously, stuff like this really makes me want to have a kid... $19.95.
That little imaginary kid that was born out of a mutual love of Tron, was nursed while wearing a video game onesie and is now old enough to make an important decision: are they Star Trek or Star Wars kids. These Star Trek kids shirts mark one branch, the next item the second. $12.99 each.
If this made-up child is anything like me, they'll be going down the Star Wars path in life. I didn't turn out too bad, so little Tron Hat Jr. should be a-okay! $12.99 each.
Everybody needs a little fancy swordplay between the forces of good and evil on their little tootsies. Fancy lightsaber duel socks can be yours for $24.95.
When I began compiling this Guide I didn't think I'd be featuring a sports bra, but I saw this thing I knew it was an easy addition. Ladies who want to work out without their Leias flapping everywhere can still show off their geeky pride. And some guys, too, let's be real. $19.99.
If your geeky sports bra tastes are more contemporary and less nostalgic you can always go with the BB8 version. $19.99.
This is my kind of geeky: a solar system necklace,complete with an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Delightfully dorky! $23.99.
If you want to get Schwifty in comfort than these Rick and Morty lounge pants are for you. Available in S-3XL. $24.99.
This fancy Legend of Zelda watch is currently on sale over at Thinkgeek for 60% off. Protect Hyrule and keep perfect time while doing so! $23.99.
This Teefury shirt is the one I own and always get compliments on, even from big time famous filmmakers. No joke, M. Night Shyamalan went nuts over this shit when I interviewed him last week. It's a conversation starter and a badass design that you can get for the low, low price of $15.00.
While this isn't a full on knitted ugly Christmas sweater it's still an awesome Christmas sweater design on a comfy sweatshirt. I am a fan of this design for reasons I'm sure you won't need me to explain... $22.00.
Deadpool's getting in on the ugly holiday sweater action, too. The only thing missing are some chimichangas and floating Bea Arthur heads... Another Thinkgeek sale item, going for $29.99.
This Superman holiday sweater is the real deal. Knitted, not just a pattern stamped onto a sweatshirt. It's kinda beautiful, no? Available in S-2X. $57.99.
It might be that Spider-Man already has Christmas colors already, but I adore this festive ugly sweater. Lots of great details, like the webbing snowflakes. Available in XS-3XL. $54.99.
Not done yet with these knit sweaters! We've already covered DC, Marvel and now here's a Star Wars Christmas sweater to keep your geek self warm and toasty. There are other SW sweaters over at Merchoid, but this one is the most authentic looking ugly sweater to me. Love the coloring, love the AT-AT design. I'm kinda shocked how much I'm loving these sweaters. What's happened to me? $49.99.
Oh my God... I'm about to order this Fallout knitted sweater. Somebody stop me! Please! Fuck, I knew it was a bad idea to keep my wallet next to me as I was writing this Guide... Okay, I ordered this. God help us all. $44.99.
One scarf to rule them all... The only problem with this scarf is that when you put it on undead kings of men can sense it and start looking for you. Small price to pay to keep your neck warm this winter, though. $26.02.
Holy shit is this nerdy. This is a Mega Man hoodie complete with mega blaster design on the arm and helmet for the hood part. I'm not saying you won't get your ass kicked wearing this in public, but still... it's 50% off right now, with a sale price of $29.99.
This is a 50th Anniversary Star Trek jacket from the good folks at HerUniverse. Sizes available: S-5X! $59.99.
This is an LED skirt that twinkles (battery pack hides in the waist). An eye-catcher for ladies that are trying to nab an astrophysicist's eye. Or just trying to impress Neil deGrasse Tyson. And who doesn't want to impress Neil deGrasse Tyson? $59.99.
Yep, you can get the new iconic Star Wars jacket for yourself now. The only thing is you gotta be careful because a new best bed is likely to borrow it and never give it back... $49.99.
I think I like this Phasma jacket because it reminds me of the windbreakers I'd wear as a kid. I don't know why that would make you want to buy one, but it's what popped immediately into my mind when I saw this. Cool story, bro. I know. On sale right now for $29.99.
First thing's first. The good folks at Fright-Rags have given you, yes you, loyal Holiday Gift Guide readers a unique coupon code that takes 15% off any order between this (Black) Friday and the end of the year. At checkout use quint15 in the coupon code tab and it'll be applied to your order. Pretty cool of them, right? Especially when they're offering up a bunch of rad-awesome designs, like this great great '70s Jaws tee shirt. $27.00.
If you like beer and Donald Pleasence then boy do I have the shirt for you! Another Fright-Rags shirt, so make sure to use the coupon code quint15 to get 15% off your purchase (starting this Friday)! $27.00.
The Fright Rags folks got the monster cereal rights and now my nostalgia meter is off the charts! I especially dig this design which puts Frankenberry, Boo Berry and Count Chocula together. Apparently Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute can go fuck themselves... Make sure to use the coupon code quint15 to get 15% off your purchase (starting this Friday). $27.00.
Eerie, Indiana was my cup of tea back in the day. Truth be told it still is. Fright Rags have the license now which means you can rock World O' Stuff on your chest like the proud early '90s genre kids anthology show lover you are! Make sure to use the coupon code quint15 to get 15% off your purchase (starting this Friday)! $25.00.
I love pins. I love Monster Squad. This pin set being a real thing makes me so damn happy, y'all. Not only do you get 5 Monster Squad pins it comes with a 4x6 lenticular card that switches between regular face Dracula and creepy skull face Dracula. How badass is that? Only 100 sets exist! $35.00.
Stainless steel Star Wars Charm Bracelet! Comes with Vader, Chewy, 3PO and Stormtrooper head charms. $25.99.
This is a “Celestial Fireworks bracelet” that uses a real Hubble telescope image of a cluster of stars and enhances it with 15 blinking LED lights that'll really make your wrist look spacey and awesome! $29.99.
Inspired by Rey's wristwrap from The Force Awakens, this stylish accessory will let your rebel flag fly! $29.99.
Oh my God, what'd they do to Chewbacca's feet?!? Those poaching bastards! At least your feetsies can be warm this winter, I guess... $29.99.
Sasquatch scarf, you guys. Sasquatch scarf. $29.99.
We haven't even seen Rogue One yet, but we already know that Deathtroopers are pretty cool-lookin'. If you want to appropriate their image in a comfy fleece bathrobe then this is the item for you! $49.99.
If you'd rather go light side, then how about a Harry Potter Quidditch robe replica bathrobe? You can be the boy who lived... in comfort! I'm so sorry for that one... $29.99.
Satin Harley Quinn robe. Doesn't come with Harley's mallet. Sorry ladies. It also doesn't come with Margot Robbie. Sorry fellas. $49.99.
If you were sitting down with this Guide hoping to find an adult one-piece pajama option covered in Joker faces then you must feel like you hit the goddamn jackpot just about now. That's what you get with this one and it's even on sale right now, $26.99.
Ha! This Deadpool backpack is actually pretty sweet. You can carry a ton of tacos in this thing. I can tell just by looking at it. $54.90.
Let's face it... we all want Rocket to hang out with us, so why not make him carry your shit while you act as his Groot (pre miniaturization)? $39.99.
Nerdy backpacks are pretty on point this year. Boba Fett is represented this time out. $53.90.
In the style of Rey's satchel comes this backpack that's big enough to carry a few lost lightsabers and sturdy enough to walk up all those goddamn steps. $59.99.
I love this a little too much. I already wear my Fallout love on tee-shirts, sneakers and hoodies. I don't need this... I mean I do, but I don't. Where's my wallet... No! You guys are supposed to stop me from buying all this shit! I thought you were my friends! $54.68.
New Twin Peaks is coming! Prepare yourselves by stocking up on merch, like this tote bag. It's official! $29.95.
Imagine a man in a thousand dollar business suit coming in to close a deal with you and he strolls in swinging this nerdy Darth Vader briefcase at his side. Do you think better of him or worse? Probably worse, but I gotta admit if I was closing a deal on a house or something and my realtor came in with this I'd high five him pretty righteously. $59.99.
PRE-ORDER, ships early December! I know there's a lot of Christmas Sweaters in the Guide this year, but I can't help myself. There's just so many geeky cool options out there right now! I mean, a knitted Twilight Zone sweater? C'mon! $84.99.
PRE-ORDER, ships early December! Couldn't include every other tentpole franchise and leave out Star Trek in the Ugly Christmas Sweater Uprising of 2016! $84.99.
Most people were these kinds of sweaters ironically in the first place. Might as well go double ironic and wear an Ugly Christmas Sweater that celebrates the dark Santa Claus. This Krampus sweater runs you $79.99 and you can even get a matching sweater for your kid, $39.99.
This is a real deal jacket recreation of Harley's sweet threads from Suicide Squad. The bomber style jacket is available in S-2X. $99.99.
You don't need to be a billionaire to be Iron Man! You just need, like, $100, and you can have this Stark Industries messenger bag that has a light up Arc Reactor that you can align to the center of your chest when you're carrying it to class or work or whatever, like the goddamn superhero you really are deep down inside! $99.99.
From a distance this just looks like a fancy schmancy gold watch, but when you look close you see it's loaded with nerdiness. This Nixon C-3PO watch is pretty boss for only being $139.94.
Someone went and made a real deal replica of Quint's cap. For legal reasons they can't say they did it, but they made Quint's cap. How fucking cool is that? And they didn't cheap out, either. This is super high end and sturdy. It better be for the price tag, but boy am I happy this exists. Only 100 were made! Get yours for $81.00.
For The Super Rich Only ($250.00 & Up)
PRE-ORDER, January 2017! You can get your own Pipboy, you guys. And I'm not talking about a bulky plastic phone holder. This is a real deal machine that pairs with your phone via bluetooth, can become a speaker/mic for calls if you want. It has its own screen and onboard software that displays screens from the game... oh, and all the buttons work. The future is now! $349.99.