Comic Book Curious

How to Holiday Shop for the Comic Book Geek in your Life

December 1, 2021

I grew up loving Spider-Man and Star Wars, so the moment pretty much anyone I’ve ever met has needed to buy me a present they find whatever little trinket or t-shirt they can with Yoda or Venom on it. Leaving me with more Spidey related apparel than the average person by a long shot, and uncountable amounts of little plastic Star Wars thingamajigs, Pez Dispensers, tooth brushes, Funko Pops, Bed Bath & Beyond style wall decor, nightlights, blankets, pajamas.

When folks are out Holiday shopping they can be out at pretty much any store and end up seeing something with a Marvel or Star Wars character on it, and so they buy it and wrap it up and give it to me. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I don’t want every single little doodad just because it features a fictional character I like. As a matter of fact, I want very little of the promotional junk that is created with Marvel and Star Wars characters on them, but for some reason that’s the only thing I ever end up getting as a present.

A picture of a Star Wars trinket and a Marvel shirt

Even worse than getting too much of a character I do like (this sidebar might be a little personal): about 5 years ago my ex-wife and I were celebrating Christmas with our 3 year old daughter. The Holiday was definitely about the kid and it’s most important that she enjoyed herself. But, I opened my presents and my wife got me one of those Batman mystery bag plastic toys and a Flash t-shirt (among other stuff). The thing is I don’t like Batman or the Flash, so it kind of just hurt my feelings that my wife knew so little about me that she just kind-of-knew I like comic books and bought whatever comic related “junk” she could find.

So, with that in mind I want to write an article that might help folks buy presents for the comic book geek in their life.

Where do we start though?
How about…

Just freakin’ ask…

I think sometimes the easiest thing to do is simply ask someone what they want for Christmas, straight forward as heck. Ask the comic book geek in your life what comic book, action figure, or other collectible they have been pining after and go get it for them! Don’t worry about it being a surprise or whatever; you’re better off getting something they will be truly excited owning rather than a bunch of “surprises” that they end up losing in the back of their closet. No one has ever asked me this question, but I promise you I can list a handful of comics in every price range that I would love to own.

If someone got me Giant Size X-Men #1 ($4000) I would clearly be their best friend for life, but I would also be happy to tell someone that I really want the Leinil Francis Yu variant of All New Wolverine 14. Sure I make my own money and could afford to buy the Yu variant (definitely can’t afford Giant Size X-Men though) but bills and stuff prevent me from spending all my money on comic books and so it would be real nice if someone wanted to grab me a $50 comic for Christmas.

Two comics on the top of Frank's list of gifts he'd love to receive

Credit: Marvel

However, conversely, you can just pay attention throughout the year for your comic loving friend or family member to mention their holy grails. Which would mean you would have to…

Listen real well…

Most comic book geeks want to rant and rave a little about their collections and if given the chance are certain to mention a grail or two they have been seeking out. Your job as a good friend or family member is to be involved in the conversation and take note of items of interest that may be mentioned. Open up the Notes app on your phone and write down what they mentioned, and when the Holiday gets closer you’ll hopefully have a list of options you can pick from. That way you can keep the whole “surprise thing” going because you didn’t straight up ask what they wanted.

The other thing this shows is that you are actually listening to them and learning about their interests. Sure you may not be in to Sci-Fi or Super Heroes - I’m  not in to a lot of stuff I talk about with folks - but if you really want to find a good gift for someone it is super important you know what they like by listening to them when they are talking about their passions. Taking just a little time here and there during the year to listen for ideas will save a ton of time later in the year when you are scouring to try and find something worth buying.

However another option would be to…

Ask someone who might know…

This one might sound silly, but if the comic book lover in your life has a small Local Comic Shop that they visit regularly, walk in to the store and ask the owner if they can help you find something. I promise you both the owner and manager of Android’s Amazing Comics could walk my girlfriend over to the exact item I would want to own in that store. They know what I buy every single week and just based on that info they know my likes and dislikes almost as well as I do. So if it really comes down to it, go to the person who sells your comic book geek all their comics and ask them what might be a good Holiday gift.

The other benefit to this is that you are making connections in to the comic book world yourself. If you plan on buying presents for this person for years to come it might be smart to get to know a reliable source in the area. It’s great to get things shipped through Amazon and eBay or to go to a big box store, but as y’all know I am the biggest advocate in the world of Local Comic Shops. And so, if you are going to buy a present for a comic book geek in your life, try your best to spend some of those dollars at a comic shop and not just at big box stores with small plastic trinkets and t-shirts.

An invite to shop locally for the holidays.

And if none of that works, here is a list of amazing websites with insanely cool items on them that you really cannot go wrong with:

Hit me up on Twitter with Holiday shopping stories at @ComicFam

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