Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with Part 2 of my 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. You got Books, Games and Music in this section and boy howdy is there a lot of great geek stuff out this year! Lots of required reading for Star Wars fans, comic nerds, cinephiles and fiction lovers alike! Keep your eyes peeled for more contests, too.
Cheap ($24.99 and under)
What if Herbert West was actually Kanye West? That's the idea behind this reimagining of the classic Re-Animator tale. Kanye uses his music to re-animate dead things... including Biggie and Tupac. I'm not kidding. This is real. Holy shit, is it real. $8.99.
Bill Murray is the man and now the man has a book devoted to his awesomeness. Filled with essays, trivia and second hand stories about Bill Murray being Bill Murray. There might be someone on this Earth that wouldn't care about receiving this as a gift, but I can't imagine who that sad person would be. $12.62.
Jaws is pretty well covered (believe you me), but Jaws 2 is often overlooked. For good reason, by the way. It's not a great movie, but it is a fascinating one. It's pretty much what Jaws would have been without Spielberg... It feels the same, has many of the same actors, but it's still missing something. That said, the making of the movie is a huge blind spot in my Jaws knowledge, so you better believe I'm on this book. I'd be very interested to hear about the goings on behind the scenes when Spielberg passed on doing the sequel and what the vibe was on set. $22.46.
This is the first book to chronicle the origins of the crazy Jaws ride at Universal Studios Orlando. Filled with stories of the installation, opening and up keep on the ride. Unlike the still operational LA version, the Orlando attraction was its own intricate ride, not part of the tram tour. Great idea for a book, but of course I'd think so... $22.99.
Jonathan Melville's Seeking Perfection takes a look at the behind the scenes of Tremors at its sequels. The focus is that first movie (as it should be) and features new interviews with many key creatives about the building of this unlikely awesome goddamn franchise. Pardon my French. $18.90.
Caseen Gaines went all out for this book breaking down key behind the scenes anecdotes about the making of one of the best film franchises ever made. He interviewed most, if not all, key Back to the Future cast and crew and gets the definitive word on everything you'd want to know, including the nitty gritty play by play of how Eric Stoltz was cast and fired. This book is a necessity for Back to the Future fans or for anybody else out there like me who is just naturally interested in the behind the scenes of big movies. $11.18.
You will always get a BTS book on a high profile hit, but it's not every day you get one about an unmitigated disaster. Co-star Greg Sestero wrote a brutally honest examination of how the movie came together and what it was like when filming the world's favorite awful movie, including his developing friendship with director, writer, star and all around crazy person Tommy Wiseau. $11.47.
One of my favorites from last year makes a re-appearance because it's just that damn cool. Kim Gottlieb-Walker's book is chock full of her still photography from the sets of Halloween, Halloween II, Escape From New York, The Fog and Christine. It's inexpensive and has commentary from John Carpenter himself as well as some of the cast and crew of the films. The Halloween stuff alone is worth the price of the book. Gottlieb-Walker has an amazing eye and the best compliment I can give to her is that there are at least 10 images in this book I'd buy large prints of if I could. Although it does weird me out seeing Snake Plissken in full regalia but without his eyepatch. Makes you realize just how young Kurt Russell was when he played that character. Highly, highly, highly recommend this one. $23.09.
Believe it or not, famous people celebrate holidays, too! Outrageous, I know, but true. I actually adore digging up holiday-specific photos from old Hollywood, so this book is right up my alley. You get stars like Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Wyman and many more in studio-forced publicity photos and candids alike, celebrating everything from Halloween to St. Patrick's Day. $23.92.
Fury Road was mind-blowing. Now see how it all came together with this incredibly impressive Art Of book put out by Titan, which gives insight into the evolution of the look and design of the film. Amazing book, a must-own for any Mad Max fan. $23.81.
Contest Contest Contest! Titan's letting me give away a few of these Fury Road books, which is neat because they're so damn great. In order to win all you gotta do is send me an email to this email address with this subject line “WITNESS ME!!!” and your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email. I'll pick a random winner at some point between this very minute and 11:59pm CST Saturday November 28th. The contest is only open to residents in the US, UK and Canada, sorry rest of the world! Good luck!
Titan also put out this in-depth look at the art and making of Hannibal, one of the most surprising successes in modern TV history. I mean, who would have thought a redo of the early years of Hannibal Lecter would be anything but shit-shit-shitty, let alone a high water mark for network television? $15.21.
Contest sneak attack! I got another few of these to give away, so Hannibal fans get your email trigger fingers ready! In order to win all you gotta do is send me an email to this email address with this subject line “Gimme That Sweet Meat” and your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email. I'll pick a random winner at some point between this very minute and 11:59pm CST Saturday November 28th. The contest is only open to residents in the US, UK and Canada, sorry rest of the world! Good luck!
Penny Dreadful was another surprise quality genre show. It's a pretty great time for genre TV, which is only going to get better with the return of X-Files and Twin Peaks! This Making and Art Of book is packed with art, stills and deep background info that any Penny Dreadful faithful will want on their shelf. $17.14.
My pal Scott Weinberg has written a ridiculous amount of words on genre film and somehow he got it in his head to gather over 800 of them into one handy, alphabetized, compilation. It's like the horror nerd version of one of Maltin's Film Guides! $6.99.
This book focuses on interviews with directors who came of age through the era of VHS rental stores. Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell, Kevin Smith, John Sayles, Darren Aronofsky and many more wax nostalgic on how those stores fanned their creative flames and introduced them to cinema they might not otherwise have discovered. $18.06.
The above link is for the Kindle version of this book. Sadly the print version is going for a silly money (but if you have to have it, you can shell out $40.00). It's a cool angle, though. Buster Keaton got all the credit for his amazing silent film work, but he didn't do it alone. This book looks into his core team of cameramen, props team, technical directors and electricians... who they were and what part they played in cinema history. $14.74.
This massive tome (over 800 paged) meticulously wades through the fact and fiction of Orson Welles' early years, covering his childhood and his early forrays into theater and the making of Citizen Kane. Heavy duty, but crucial reading for any real movie fan. $23.25.
Frank Marshall is trying to launch a restoration to complete this famously unfinished final film from Orson Welles. The Other Side of Midnight has been one of those titles talked about in film fan circles for years and finally we have this book to shed some light on what went down behind the scenes. It should hold us over until Frank can get Midnight ready to release in some form, anyway. $18.38.
Mickey Rooney was a huge star and a larger than life personality, despite his tiny stature, whose life reached the highest highs and the lowest lows before he passed last year. William J. Birnes and Richard A. Lertzman cover it all in this deatiled biography of one of the Golden Age of Hollywood's longest burning stars. $18.12.
I love that Dick Van Dyke is not only still kicking around out there, but he's doing it with a smile on his face and pep in his step. This book is all about his later years and how he's kept young at heart. Keep on keepin' on, Dick! We love ya'! $15.48.
This is also a Kindle only edition. You can still buy the original 1996 book for $8.47, but the above-linked Kindle version is the new updated version. Steven Soliar lived and worked with Groucho at the end of his life and as such has amazingly intimate anecdotes about the comedy legend. Rob Zombie, of all people, is going to direct a film based on the material in this book, so if you want to get a jump on that you can read it now and look all smart and stuff when the film comes out! $9.95.
A lot has been written about John Wayne, but very little of it has been written by Duke himself. The book is composed entirely of letters written by Wayne to all sorts of friends, colleagues and important politcal figures, giving an unguarded insight into the man behind the icon. $15.43.
If you haven't already clicked through and bought Burt Reynolds' autobiography by the time you read this sentence then you gotta up your game, dude. This one's a no-brainer. Reynolds rose to prominence against the backdrop of one of Hollywood's most interesting times and has the star-studded stories to back it up. $17.32.
So you want a Making Of book about The Princess Bride. Can't say I blame you. That movie's awesome and I'm sure there's some great behind the scenes stories to be told. How about if the Dread Pirate Roberts himself wrote it? That's exactly what this is. Cary Elwes tells of the making of the movie from his own personal experiences and also interviews Rob Reiner, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin. Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest and William Goldman. $16.36.
Drew Barrymore decides to look back at her turbulent early years with this autobiography. By all accounts, Barrymore is one of the sweetest, most genuine people in the business and the reviews of this book say its filled with her trademark optimism and humor, despite the Satanic price point: $16.66.
Felicia Day was one of the earliest internet stars and has come to be the epitome of awesome geek girl. A lot of ladies have come and gone over the years trying for that same niche, but Day still stands head and shoulders above the rest. This memoir not only gives us a glimpse at her true self it also documents a really fascinating time in online's evolution. $16.53.
Rousey just got knocked down a bit in her last fight, but there's no denying she's still one of the top fighters in the world, male or female. Knowing her, I imagine this reality check will be the best thing that could have happened to her and that she'll come back at 110%. This book is a bit of legend building mixed with her impossible to ignore charm. $17.32.
Amazing Fantastic Incredible is described as a “graphic memoir,” or a memoir done in a graphic novel style, which is just about perfect for its subject. Without Stan Lee the superhero world would be missing about forty tons of heart and that's a fact. Very cool idea for a book, don't you think, True Believers? $19.86.
The creator of Dungeons and Dragons gets this biography treatment, starting with his humble beginnings and tracking his creation of D&D to the ensuing fallout with its parent company. Gygax is beloved by nerds, gamers, geeks and dweebies the world over, so this book should be a safe gifting bet if you have one of those in your life... if you don't, it's probably you. $16.30.
Judd Apatow had a similar coming of age to me. At the age of 14 I interviewed George Carlin for my high school newspaper and Apatow was 16 when he started a radio show for his high school and interviewed people like Jerry Seinfeld and Garry Shandling. I'm not saying I'm better than Judd because I beat him by 2 years, but way to drag your ass, lazy-pants! Sick In The Head has Apatow returning to his interviewing roots with chats from comedy legends like Mel Brooks, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis CK, Chris Rock, Harold Ramis and Jon Stewart in which they discuss the ins and outs of stand-up life, the art of the joke and many other comedy-related topics. You can't have that many funny people in one collection and also have a boring book. That's unpossible. Yes, I said unpossible and I meant it. $16.55.
Earlier this year Aziz Ansari released a book on dating. No shit. And it's not just him doing “Girls be like... and guys be like...” style jokes. No, sir. He has real deal, thorough research as the foundation for his uniquely funny approach to the topic. $17.37.
Nick Offerman is one funny motherfucker and he decided to focus his intelligently dry wit in a constructive way with a book called Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America's Gutsiest Troublemakers in which he lists and examines the lives of 21 Americans who have inspired him, from Ben Franklin to Willie Nelson. $16.97.
Nick Frost is one of the nicest dudes I've ever had the pleasure of watching work. Here he decided to put down some words on his early life before he fell into the acting thing. You don't get behind the scenes looks at his work in film and television, but you do get a deeper understanding of who he is as a person and where he came from. It's not all dour, though. It's still Nick Frost we're talking about here, so this is funny as shit. $22.64.
Now this is super cool. Terry Gilliam decides to tell his story for the first time in this book, a self-described “Pre-posthumous Memoir” that covers his entire life, including his time with the Pythons and his work bucking the system making his uniquely weird movies. The book includes chats with his frequent collaborators as well as his own personal doodles and sketches. $22.00.
Stephen King has stumbled upon a new favorite character, an old retired detective named Bill Hodges, who he introduced in Mr. Mercedes. I had no idea he'd be a recurring character until I picked up Finders Keepers, but I'm glad he popped up. I'm quite fond of the old codger. You don't need to have read Mr. Mercedes (although you should, it's pretty good) to get this one. It's a simple story of a young boy who finds an old hidden crate filled with money and something else worth more than the cash stuffed inside. You know with someone like King at the helm this blessing is really a curse in disguise and the owner of that crate soon comes looking for it and the boy and his family are in incredible danger. Bill Hodges is the only one who can help him. Very quick read, this. King's still got a fantastic grasp of character and knows how to tighten the screws at all the right points to keep you flipping those pages. $17.00.
Originally released as a soft cover by nostalgic pulp outfit Hard Case Crime, Joyland sees new life in this special Hardcover Illustrated Edition that reprints King's original story (a great one featuring a ghost in a small town boardwalk amusement park's haunted house attraction) with over 20 illustrations from artists like the great Robert McGinnis, Mark Summers and Pat Kinsella. It's one of King's better recent works and now done up all fancy-like! $14.72.
You know I'm a big Stephen King nut, but I haven't picked this one up yet. It just came out, so I have an excuse, but I also don't know how much of this I've already read and own in other collections. Bazaar of Bad Dreams collects many of his short stories, some old and some new. The old ones he's tinkered with a little bit and added a written commentary explaining how each one came to be. That's very cool, but I'm still not clear on the ratio of old to new. I'll eventually pick it up and if you have not read all all his short work then you have no excuse. King's one of my favorite long-form writers, but his short work always delivers. $18.00.
Clive Barker brings back Pinhead in this new novel. The Scarlet Gospel pits Hell's top man against supernatural investigator Detective Harry D'Amour. Yes, please. $16.54.
Now this is a cool one that I fear might be slipping by a lot of good geeks this holiday season. Charles Beaumont was one of the major reasons why Twilight Zone rocked. His script work was second to none and many of his scripts were actually adapted from his own short stories. This book collects many of his shorts, including 7 he adapted for Twilight Zone, and includes an intro written by the late, great Ray Bradbury and an afterword written by William Shatner. All sorts of genres are included, much like the show he's famous for writing, from sci-fi to noir to western to horror. A very, very cool release indeed. $13.08.
Wait, the dude that wrote John Dies At The End has a new book out and none of you assholes bothered to tell me?!? I don't know much about it other than it's not a sequel to his first two books and that it is apparently a biting satire of social media fame and follows a trailer trash girl and her stinky cat. Honestly, Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits already sounds better than 95% of things I've read this year. $17.17.
Neil Gaiman has a short story collection out that, much like King's Bazaar of Bad Dreams, collects previously published shorts into a new volume, but it also includes a brand new American Gods written specifically for this collection called “Black Dog.” At this price point it's a great introduction to Gaiman's unique and oft-copied voice. $9.34.
Here's another collection of Gaiman's work that's perfect as an introduction for the younger readers in your family. Here you get the British Versions of three of his novels in one box set. Included are The Graveyard Book, Coraline and Fortunately, The Milk. $11.55.
Armada is Ernie Cline's Ready Player One follow-up and I'm a bad geek because I haven't gotten around to it yet. ::Hits Head Like Chris Farley:: What little I know about it sounds up my alley... sounds like a new gen take on The Last Starfighter and I'm all for that. I will get to this one very soon. $15.60.
Looks like Steven Spielberg is really making this one his next film, which is all kinds of crazy to me. If you haven't already read Ready Player One, now's the time. Read what Spielberg will be bring to life in the way only he can. Shooting supposedly begins next year! Prepare your geek hearts! They're about to explode! $8.37.
Don't get too excited. This is not a new Game of Thrones book from Martin... well, I guess it is technically, but it's a prequel and a prequel comprised of previously released novellas that showcase a time-period 100 years before the events of Game of Thrones, when a Targaryen still sat on the Iron Throne. Sorry, I know you really want the next Song of Ice and Fire novel, but this will be a good way to scratch that itch before winter comes for reals. $18.00.
Naomi Novik's Temeraire series is wonderful (if you don't remember, it's the one that introduces dragons in our very real history, adding an aerial combat to the Napoleonic Wars) and now she's got a new original novel out called Uprooted. It's more of a traditional fairy tale, this time about a village protected by a Wizard called “Dragon” who protects the village people from the dangers of the wood, but demands a girl to serve him every 10 years. The lead girl is the one he has his eye on. Sounds groovy to me. $15.43.
The very first Harry Potter book gets a full color illustrated redo and it looks really damn pretty. We're getting just far enough away from the movies and the end of the book series that some of us (okay, me, I admit it) are feeling the itch to go back and revisit the books. Here's the perfect excuse to start anew. Accio Fancy Illustrated Harry Potter book thing! $24.74.
Guillermo del Toro always has 500 irons in the fire and one of them irons is this book he co-authored with Daniel Kraus about an ordinary young man who has to gather a group to fight some evil trolls. $13.90.
PRE-ORDER, December 15th. Guillermo del Toro jots down thoughts and sketches designs as they hit his brain and now you can get a fancy reproduction of some of his best crazy sketches! $16.42.
Oh, man. I love me my Haunted Mansion! This book tells the story of the creation of my favorite theme park attraction ever, dispells and/or confirms some of the bigger myths surrounding the creation and execution of Disney's iconic haunted house. It not only covers the original Disneyland attraction, but also the different versions at the different Disney parks all over the world. $15.76.
This little oddity features over 100 pages of original artwork done by Tim Burton. None of it's related (directly) to his movies, but you can totally see his very specific design style from piece to piece. Lots of Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice pops up in this lovely hardcover art book. $22.23.
This novel and comic book duo gives background to Brad Bird's Tomorrowland. I don't think the movie's perfect, but it's a damn sight better than most people give it credit for. If you're in this small club of “it's not bad!” supporters like me then you might be interested in this prequel, even if it is aimed for young adult eyeballs. $13.23.
Walt Disney was obsessed with technology and pushed the envelope at every opportunity. This book lays out just how ahead of the curve he was, what he helped pioneer and how he used his films as tests for various advances. Great for any Disneyana nerd. $19.95.
Disney didn't just jump from animated shorts to features. It was new territory, not just for him, but for the industry, so he brought in experts from all walks of life (choreographers, designers, artists, humorists, to name a few) to give lectures to his staff. These lectures shaped Snow White and forever changed animation. This book details who spoke, what they talked about and how they molded Disney's team. Very interesting stuff for animation fiends. $23.84.
If you want to go back even further, how about In The Service of the Red Cross, which tells the story of young, underage Walt Disney who signed up to be a Doughboy for the Red Cross during World War 1 (thanks to a forged document his age wasn't an issue). While stationed in France he had his first drink, got into trouble and drew his first cartoon. It's a bit of Disney history not often discussed. $19.95.
Salvador Dali and Walt Disney were unlikely friends. They worked together in the mid-'40s to bring a cartoon short to life. Destino was halted (and resurrected over fifty years later by Roy Disney), but their friendship remained intact. This tome tells the story of that friendship, the birth and death of their collaboration and also features tons of art made for the project. $24.79.
Disney animation concept art is like nothing else. Whimsical, often times more storybook than cinematic, it's always striking to see. They Drew As They Pleased is the first of a series Disney is putting out and focuses mostly on the early years of concept art for the company. Direct from Disney's Animation Research Library, you get lots of short work (even for some shorts that were never made) and some stuff from Snow White, Pinocchio, Alice In Wonderland and Peter Pan. Very cool. $22.00.
You might not know the name Pinto Colvig, but you'd recognize his voice. He was the first person to give voice to Goofy and also brought Grumpy to life. He wrote a book in 1940 about his experiences (including being committed to an insane asylum!) but put it in a trunk and it never saw the light of day. Until now. Hell of a story, isn't it? $19.95.
This one's just one of those post card books, but they put really neat art on those post cards, so I figured what the hell? Maybe some long distance Disney loving family can use 'em to keep in touch and the world will be a slightly happier place. $14.54.
This book gives us a peek into Pixar's writer's room and lets us in on gags from all their movies that never made it into the film plus some behind the scenes info on how the films we love came to be. $16.81.
Lovely: Ladies of Animation was a very successful Kickstarter that resulted in this book, focusing on six female artists working in animation today. Lorelay Bové, Lisa Keene, Claire Keane, Mingjue Helen Chen, Brittney Lee and Victoria Ying are all represented. Many are artists who have worked on Disney Animated features (Lion King, Princess and the Frog, Frozen and more) and Claire Keane is Family Circus' Glen Keane's daughter. Needless to say, these amazing women are incredible artists and this book highlights their favorite work. $17.09.
Inside Out is top form Pixar and this book shows you the incredible art that came from its development. Love these Pixar Art books! $23.84.
PRE-ORDER, December 1st. Pixar has a new short called Sanjay's Super Team and it's so pretty they decided to give it its own Art Of Book. $22.46.
Some of the best of Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schultz was painstackingly reshot from the original artwork, but don't mistake this a simple collection of Peanuts Comic Strips. While allowed access to the Schultz archives, Chip Kidd also got his hands on a bunch of never-before-published development materials and art from Schultz. Very cool collection. $22.00.
Famous pulp cover and movie poster artist Robert E. McGinnis had a massive impact on a whole generation of folks obsessed with storytelling. From James Bond posters to detective covers the man's work inspired a whole generation of dreamers. I've seen some of his work up close and they're even more impressive in person. Sadly the price tags on them are even more impressive. Dang old non-rich bank account. $19.61.
Scott C. is famous for his instantly recognizable caricatures. He's made an industry out of his inventive, funny and oddly cute recreations of pop culture icons and now you can get his next wave in Great Showdowns: The Revenge in which he recreates the best conflicts in pop culture history, whether it's Freddy and Tina or John Travolta and a light-up dance floor. $10.27.
In order to win all you gotta do is send me an email to this email address with this subject line “I Better C Some Scott Or There'll Be Hell To Pay” and your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email. I'll pick a random winner at some point between this very minute and 11:59pm CST Saturday November 28th. The contest is only open to residents in the US, UK and Canada, sorry rest of the world! Good luck!
Trick R Treat 2 is in the works so Michael Dougherty spearheaded a comic book anthology series that supposedly connects the first film to the second through new tales of horror. Yay, more Sam! $10.82.
Michael Dougherty has been a busy bee this year and isn't content on keeping his comic book anthology movie tie-ins set around Halloween. He's got a Christmas horror movie coming out next month called Krampus and if you really want to get your holiday horror jones on you can get this graphic novel anthology and be moved by the spirit of season! $9.03.
Neil Gaiman returns to tell Sandman's origin story with a little help from JH Williams III. $14.99.
To celebrate 75 years of Green Lantern the powers that be put together this 400 page collection of the Lantern's best storylines, involving many who wore the ring including Hal Jordan, Alan Scott, John Stewart and Guy Gardner. $24.48.
The Flash also has a significant birthday this year and much like his Green pal he gets a massive tome collecting his best stories from his 1940 debut through to today. $24.47.
I'm including Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' The Fade Out sight unseen because it's really high on my personal list of shit I want to read. It's a noir that's set against the backdrop of Hollywood's winding down golden age and involves a troubled film, a murdered actress and tons of noir-soaked imagery. Yep, that's right up my alley. Volume 1 (pictured above) is $6.28 and Volume 2 is $9.53.
Mark Miller re-imagines Justice League hero archetypes and sets it in 1950s America. This trade collects the first six issues of the comic series. $7.70.
Collecting a bunch of Wallace Wood's sci-fi work for EC comics, Spawn of Mars and Other Stories is a must for any fan of old school awesome pulpy science fiction comics. $22.22.
The '70s saw the introduction of a lot of swamp monsters (from Swamp Thing to Bog Beast to It to Man-Thing) and some good-hearted person somewhere decided to interview the key creative minds behind this sub-genre for one book. $16.79.
Superman did his bit to help during World War II (although he probably shoulda just flown to Berlin and laser-eyed Hitler into a fine dust, but maybe that's a little out of character for him) and this collection covers it all, from his hunt for Nazi spies to selling war bonds. $17.14.
Wonder Woman came onto the scene when WW2 was in full swing and she took part as well. $17.14.
Batman didn't let Wonder Woman and Superman take all the glory. I love these looks back at how comic characters reacted to the historical events they found themselves in. Propaganda, yes, but fascinating in hindsight. $17.98.
Comic fans have been raving about this new run of Batman books. End Game collects a series of 5 issues that has a particularly brutal confrontation between the Dark Knight and Joker. $14.02.
Rocksteady's Arkham games have been fantastic and in a weird way has redefined the character for a new generation. I know my nephew thinks of the Batman from these games more than any of the movies, including the more fresh/recent Christian Bale turn. This Ultimate Visual Guide goes over the design of all their Batman games, breaking down character designs, weapons, locations and vehicles. $20.26.
There's a lot of lore in Bethesda's Skyrim that can be read in the seemingly hundreds of books you can find in-game. They tell you everything from origins of magic spells to the histories of the various lands and races within Tamriel. Not content to leave all that hard, detailed work on some digital bookshelf, the fine folks at Titan have gathered all that material and put it in this leather-bound volume. Neat! $21.03.
The new Tomb Raider game looks great. It unfortunately chose to release on the same day as Fallout 4, which means I haven't played one second of it, but I look forward to spending some quality time with Ms. Croft this holiday season. The gameplay footage I have seen looks gorgeous, so the Art Of Book was an easy addition to this here guide thingy. $23.81.
While this is technically a sort of instruction manual for people wanting to become concept artists for video games, it could also be read by the layman who just appreciates good game concept art. It interviews many of the top artists in the industry and examples of their work. If you have a creative young gamer in your life this would be a good resource for them and if you're just interested in the ins and outs of video game concept design that works, too. $19.84.
This book actually tells you how to build real life buildings with Legos... Not like weird, blocky versions of buildings... but like, real Lego architecture. Something to get those creative Lego fiends in your household (of any age). $15.26.
This book proposes a new set of merit badges for a new world and it's aimed specifically at the geek market. It details new badges that can be awarded for stuff like internet comment thread civility and gaming acumen and even comes with 40 of them on a sticker sheet. $15.47.
A How To Guide for the fangirl (or aspiring fangirl) in your life. Most of this should come easy to those truly gifted geek girls, but sometimes everybody needs a little help. $11.27.
My buddy Dan Casey, a writer for Nerdist, is a legit author now, too! Damn you for being better than me in every single way, Dan Casey! His book is filled to the brim with trivia about The Avengers. Comic book trivia, movie trivia and just about everything you'd want to know about Marvel's team of heavy hitters. Great gift for the burgeoning geek friend who wants to feel ahead of the curve before Infinity War comes out! $10.37.
Yep, a simple Making Of Season 1 of Marvel's Agent Carter. That's about all I have to say about that... except, of course, will you marry me, Hayley Atwell? No? Didn't think so, but thanks for replying anyway. $16.10.
Sadly this is not a book that pits all former James Bonds against each other Spy Vs Spy style, but it's still cool. The author takes a look at all different incarnations of James Bond and breaks down the differences between them, the gadgets they have and all that fun stuff. Not just the movie versions, either, but also the character from the original books as well. $20.77.
This is the most up to date collection of James Bond movie posters, which includes domestic and foreign poster art from every Bond film from Dr. No to Spectre. $20.19.
After finishing his first novel, Casino Royale, Ian Fleming rewarded himself by buying a golden typewriter, which produced the rest of his James Bond novels and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. This book gathers Fleming's notable correspondence, whether it was about his progression of the Bond character with his editors or responding to fans or writing his friends and contemporaries, like Raymond Chandler. Lots of good Bond stuff out this year thanks to Spectre, but this is probably my favorite. $19.25.
I'm a big Beatles nerd (who isn't, really?) and a big reason for that is watching Help and A Hard Day's Night a lot in my younger years. Help in particular was appealing because it super colorful and goofy. The movie's 50 years old and a bunch of photos from the making of the film have been published in the above book. $21.87.
This is pretty much the idiot's guide to Sherlock Holmes, breaking down each one of his cases with lots of graphics and simple language. That's not a bad thing, really, and perfect for the younger detectives in your family. $13.75.
Um, guys. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote a Mycroft Holmes book. Yes, THAT Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. How awesome is this world we live in? Kareem's story begins shortly after Sherlock's smarter brother got out of college and has him investigating the mysterious deaths of children, who are found drained of blood. Yeah, this sound awesome. $15.59.
This book takes a close look at 50 years of props, sets, costumes, creatures and gadgets from the Doctor Who universe! $24.75.
Here are over 100 letters written to and by the Doctor over the last 50 years worth of adventures. I'm not talking BTS stuff, but actual in-character letters, like the Doctor pleading to the Time Lords to end the War Games. That kind of thing. Yes, it's super nerdy, which means it's a fantastic fit for this guide. $22.20.
I've read a little bit about this book and I'm still confused as to just what exactly it is. It sounds like both a breakdown of the science behind Doctor Who and a whole new fictional adventure of the good Doctor. Both are cool with me, so whatever this is I'm sure it's rad. $13.73.
Set your phasers to Nerd Out! A Star Trek pop-up book! From the Borg to the Enterprise to (as you can see above) Tribbles... Amazing! $17.97.
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. Oh my God, you guys. The Force Awakens is almost here! If you're anything like me one of the things you're most excited about is uncovering every little detail about the new world being set up, which makes the Art of The Force Awakens a top, top priority. It doesn't come out until the movie does (for obvious reasons), but if you want to make sure you get it in time for Christmas pre-order now! $23.84.
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. If Episode 7 details are what you're after then Pablo Hidalgo's Visual Dictionary is for you. You'll get up close and personal with all the new goodies, from Kylo Ren's lightsaber to BB-8's... uh... ball? I don't know, but I'm sure there's going to be some great, illuminating stuff in this thing. $14.02.
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. In this book you'll see detailed breakdowns of the new vehicles from The Force Awakens. You'll see new ships pulled apart, get a feel for their full layout, see exactly what kind of weapons systems they have, etc. We're getting into some deep-ass nerd territory here and I couldn't be happier about it. $14.02.
This one is a little less intricate and more for the kiddies than it is for the big geeks, but it's still got a ton of Star Wars goodies in it, including a foldout highlighting new ships from The Force Awakens. $9.16.
I bought Aftermath when it came out because I was so gung ho excited for The Force Awakens. I had some difficulty with the writing (which feels like bad fan fiction at times), but I have to say it was exciting to read something officially canon that connects Jedi to The Force Awakens. There are a few books that cover this time period that have come out, but this was the first. $16.80.
Han and Chewy get their own new adventure as well. Well, a new old adventure. This one takes place between Star Wars and Empire, but with hints dropped throughout that nod to stuff we'll see in the new trilogy, supposedly. Haven't read this one yet, but it's supposedly the pair on a top secret mission for the Rebellion. $7.14.
Luke's solo (yuk-yuk-yuk) adventure story also takes place between Star Wars and Empire and has him facing off against some new villain while stranded on a mysterious planet with only his faithful droids to keep him company. Same as before, hints about Episodes 7-9 are in there somewhere. $8.22.
Moving Target is the new officially official Leia novel, taking place between Empire and Jedi. Same as before, hints at what's to come, apparently. I'm told it's best to read this after Weapon of a Jedi and Smuggler's Run. $7.79.
This Young Adult novel tracks the events of Episodes IV-VI through the eyes of childhood friends and sweethearts who are pulled apart by the war, one joining the Rebel Alliance, the other becoming an Imperial Officer. You don't just get OT stuff from a different perspective, we also get a look post Jedi as well. Faaaancy. $9.89.
I've heard real good things about Star Wars: Tarkin from the author of the popular Darth Plagueis expanded universe book. I don't know if this is considered canon or not, but whatever it is I'm told it's a great read. $6.42.
Lords of the Sith is a great idea. Again, I don't think this counts as “real” anymore, but of all the new EU stuff this one grabs me the most. It has both Palpatine and Vader stranded together on a hostile planet and having to count on each other (and the Dark Side) to survive. Set shortly after Episode III this is what supposedly cemented Vader's loyalty. Cool idea. $17.11.
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. For the younger Star Wars fans, here's a replica journal with notes on salvaging and survival tips as written by Rey. $9.18.
Another one for the younglings. Learn more about the droids of the Star Wars universe and even build your own with some press-outs. You can even make a BB-8 that actually rolls thanks to an included wind-up base! $15.19.
Released earlier this year, Ultimate Star Wars has just about every bit of info you could want from the films and Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons. $23.84.
PRE-ORDER, January 26th. Star Wars Insider was the official Star Wars fan magazine for a long, long time and as such they had a lot of access to Lucasfilm. This is Volume 1 in their Best Of series that recollects the best articles from the magazine that sheds light on your favorite moments from the films. $15.47.
Lego Star Wars: Small Scenes From A Big Galaxy is a photography book which recreates Star Wars movie moments with Lego characters and sets built out of Lego blocks.$13.74.
Dan Casey put out that nifty Avengers trivia book, but he wasn't content with covering only Marvel and set his sights on the big enchilada. Dan's a funny dude, so even if you're one of those Star Wars fans that knows every single piece of trivia ever I'm sure you'd get something out of this read. $12.17.
Ah, sweet! This book reprints all 1977 and 1978 Topps Star Wars cards, front and back, and doesn't forget about the stickers. Too cool! $14.50.
You might remember a book that George Lucas put out that pulled single frames from all the Star Wars movies. It was cool, but super expensive. This here release is a spin-off of Frames, that takes 100 of them and makes them nerdy postcards! Not bad. Not bad at all. $19.09.
Original Trilogy stories retold in a kid's picturebook fashion with some really pretty illustrations from Brian Rood. A great gift for the little, little kiddos in your life. $10.93.
If you ever thought Where's Waldo was missing Wookiees then this book is for you. Find Chewbacca... just watch your arms. He doesn't like to lose, or so I hear. $13.06.
A new entry in the series of cutified Star Wars books, this one focusing on friendships in the galaxy far, far away, be it Palpatine and Vader, Threepio and Artoo or Leia and the Ewoks. $10.71.
This is the new Visual Guide for Seasons 1 and 2 of Star Wars Rebels, which is the cat's meow so buy this book to support it since I don't think anybody's paying much attention to that little Star Wars franchise right now. $13.55.
Covering much the same ground as Aftermath (time-wise, anyway), this comic book series takes a look at what happened immediately after the destruction of the second Death Star... It involves Poe Dameron's mommy and daddy, but that's about all I know. I've ordered this myself since I hear all the Star Wars comics are on point and was just waiting for the trade paperbacks to start coming out. $10.82.
This trade takes issues 1-5 of the new Star Wars relaunch series from Marvel. Another post A New Hope series for ya'. $10.99.
Marvel's got a few Star Wars spin-off books out. This one is a Princess Leia focused one, written by Mark Waid, as everybody's favorite space princess mourns the loss of her home planet and helps fugitive Alderaanians on the run from the Empire. $9.34.
We're getting books showing what the Rebels were up to after A New Hope and now here's one about what Vader was doing. Word on the street this is the best of the new Marvel Star Wars books and the very little I've read of it (just one teeny tiny issue) I believe the hype. $13.89.
PRE-ORDER, January 5th. Volume 2 of Marvel's Darth Vader comes out early January and you can pre-order now, so why wait? What's well begun is half done, as they say, so get on it. Spit-spot! $13.89.
We know that Kanan survived Order 66, but not exactly how or what happened after... until this comic book. $12.50.
PRE-ORDER, January 19th. Hello, what have we here? It's about gosh darn time Lando gets his own series! And it's good, too! $13.59.
After all these new fangled Marvel Star Wars comics it's nice to go old school. They've remastered and reissued the first 6 issues of the 1977 Star Wars comic, covering the events of the fist movie. And that's not all they did! Keep scrollin'! $15.61.
They also grabbed the Star Wars issues that covered the events of Empire Strikes Back! $15.43.
And we can't forget Jedi! $15.43.
Tons of Marvel covers done by great artists like Adi Granov, Joe Quesada, Alex Ross and tons more! $25.59.
Straight from the Lucasfilm archives! They pulled out all their iconic wardrobe from the Original Trilogy and got high res photos of them as well as nifty vintage photography of the actors actually wearing them. Super cool book to get the Star Wars nerd who has everything. And yes, there's a whole chapter on Leia's metal bikini, you pervs. $39.47.
Art Director Alan Tomkins' career spanned everything from Lawrence of Arabia to Saving Private Ryan and a little movie called The Empire Strikes Back. He shares rare art sketches and photos from his entire career, including Empire... Don't be expecting an in-depth behind the scenes look at Empire, though. It's covered, but not the sole focus despite what the cover and book's title are trying to make you think. Still, if you love other movies besides Star Wars you won't be disappointed with this. $33.97.
Space nerds rejoice! Here's a great book that digs up a ton of rare, some never before seen, photos from the first 12 Apollo Space Missions... yes, many of them actually taken in space. Even better is the well-researched, concise info that goes along with each image, putting every gorgeous picture in context. This is actually the second book in a series. The first is below, but you can get this one for $36.66.
The same authors (and space race experts) first put out this book focusing on rare imagery from the Gemini and Mercury Projects. Both of these books will be like crack any space junkies you know, trust me. I mean, I don't know nothin' about no crack, officer. That was just jokes! I swear! $31.72.
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. It's not too often you get a fresh, new look at a classic as well documented as 2001, but that's exactly what you have here with The 2001 File: Harry Lange and the Design of the Landmark Science Fiction Film. Lange's designwork on 2001 is just about the very definition of epic, so this book is pretty major. You'll get concept designs, photographs, sketches and a lot of them have never been seen. This is a huge cinephile book release this season, folks. Scoop it up! $67.50.
Previously released only as part of a super limited (and super expensive) set you can now get this new version of Taschen's Making of 2001 book. Kinda like how the Napoleon book got put out in a not $1000 version a year later. This 6lb 500+ page book looks amazing and will totally make your friends jealous when they see it on your book shelf! I mean, it's big and shaped like the monolith. How cool is that? $40.66.
A few really smart people got access to the Stanley Kubrick Archives and reported back what they found in the form of long-form essays about the director and what they learned about him from the wealth of material found in the archives. It's always good to have a new Kubrick book to pour over. $29.25.
Hundreds of stories were gathered from Hollywood players (both mega famous and not) for this book, all relaying their memories of their very first impressions of Hollywood. $25.99.
Tracey Goessel has made Douglas Fairbanks her life's work and the end result is this incredibly detailed examination of the life, loves and influence of Douglas Fairbanks. The man was a pioneer, not just a movie star. He helped start United Artists with Chaplin, Mary Pickford (with him he had deep love affair) and DW Griffith and used his clout for good. Most of the time. Essential reading for movie geeks. $25.79.
Our departed brother Jeremy Smith (alias Mr. Beaks) has gone legit and written a real deal book, which is a study of George Clooney's work that he did for the super fancy and prestigious Cahiers du cinema. Congrats, Jeremy! $31.21.
Madeline Kahn was a legend and every so often I see something that should would probably have been cast in if she was still with us and feel a little sad. Thankfully we now have a fantastic biography that lets us get to know her a little bit and appreciate Kahn on a whole new level. $25.37.
William Wellman's name is known amongst classic movie fans (or regular TCM watchers), but not nearly as well known as he should be. The man directed Wings, which won the very first Academy Award. He made Public Enemy, for gosh darn sake! The man led a fascinating life (child hockey player, WW1 fighter pilot, wing-walking stunt man for air shows and... oh yeah, one of the best directors we've ever had) and now you can read all about it thanks to his son, who has gathered up a ton of his father's materials, which includes an unfinished memoir, notes, letters and diaries. This is as close to “in his own words” as you're going to get. $28.52.
I'm not a wrestling guy now, but growing up in the glory days of WWF in the '80s everybody was into it. I was, of course, a Hulkamaniac, but I always got a kick out of the Ultimate Warrior. I think it was the crazy facepaint. This biography was made closely with the family, so that means a lot of great details about his life and candid photos. No word on if the book includes a Warrior Splash tutorial... $28.94.
Back to the Future geeks NEED this book. Trust me on this. It's not only comprehensive, but it's got a ton of great art, behind the scenes stills, detailed information and great little bonus items, like a lenticular reproduction of Marty's family photo where his brother and sister disappear when you tilt it. So, so, so cool. $29.65.
It's a great year for books on big '80s genre movies. Ghostbusters also gets an “Ultimate Visual History” book chock full of info, pics and fun facts about not just the first movie, but also Part 2 as well! $34.70.
There's been a Ghostbusters comic book series published by IDW and this book collects 20 issues of it. Mass Hysteria indeed! $32.72.
Spectre gets its own big Making Of book! $25.28.
I love these Taschen Archives books. They've updated their James Bond Archives with a whole new chapter on Spectre, so if you don't have this one already then it's the perfect time to add this massive, all-encompassing tome to your shelf. You might need to get a re-enforced shelf, though. It's biiiiiiiig. $40.66.
PRE-ORDER, January 19th. Titan's putting out a cool-looking book that has comic strips made directly from Ian Fleming's books covering the Spectre stories (Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, You Only Live Twice and The Spy Who Loved Me). $26.46.
This is a very cool book. It goes film by film through the franchise and publishes amazing design work covering sets, costumes, gadgets, vehicles and everything else you could possibly imagine. Probably some martini recipes, too. I'm guessing on that last one, but you get my point. $34.55.
Yes, you get in-depth looks at all of Bond's cars (including his Aston Martins, of course), but that's not it. You also get thorough examinations of all his transport, including, but not limited to, airplanes, jetpacks and jet skis. $28.16.
John Glen directed three James Bonds (3.5 if you want to give him credit for screen-testing Pierce Brosnan in the '80s) including George Lazenby, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. In this autobiography, Glen takes you behind the scenes of all his Bond movies with special candid stories and rare behind the scenes pictures. $26.30.
Another great, epic tome from Taschen. SNL celebrates 40 years on the small screen this year and this 500 page book is about as in-depth on the behind the scenes from year to year as you can get, complete with some epic awesome pictures I've never seen before and kinda want prints of. Candid Belushi/Aykroyd shots? MUST HAVE ON MY WALL! $31.57.
Leatherbound! Super fancy! The Harry Potter films were remarkable for many reasons and this book focuses on the challenges of bringing the different locations to life, be it via real found places or extravagent sets. I was lucky enough to have gotten to visit Hogwarts when they were filming Order of the Phoenix and saw firsthand how incredible these places were. What was interesting was that they knew they were building sets that would be re-used for many films, so they built them to last, using concrete and structures that could last for a decade instead of the usual few weeks that most sets are designed for. This book looks at everything from the Great Hall to Diagon Alley, giving unprecedented look at the small details of the sets used for the films. $26.65.
This one breaks down every character featured in all the Potter films with info on how they came on board and built their characters. Tons of photos, studio stills and BTS alike, fill out this book that'll make the Muggle child in your life smile ear to ear. Even if that child is you. As an aside, if you are a child reading this guide I'm sorry I curse so much. Don't say those words around your parents. Deal? $25.26.
I love all these Weta Publishing Behind the Scenes books. You might love or hate Jackson's Hobbit movies, but the attention to detail is incredible and these books always highlight the amount of work the crew did. This one breaks down all the battle scenes from all the Hobbit films, whether it was a fiery dragon attack or the Battle of the Five Armies. I took part in the latter and if the book is true to the actual facts it'll for sure show that I was the crucial element that helped win that war for the good guys... which in turn kept Sauron from being too powerful during the events in Lord of the Rings, which pretty much means I singlehandedly saved Middle Earth. Not bragging, just telling the facts. $25.26.
Tolkien sketched a lot while writing. Some of his art appeared in books, but the vast majority did not. Here, for the first time, hundreds of his drawings, sketches and maps are collected. $25.74.
All of Marvel's Art Of Books are worth owning. This one gives a detailed look at the building of the world around Age of Ultron. $34.94.
Concept art, design work and much more show how Ant-Man achieved its cinematic look. I know most people want a detailed, warts and all, look at how this movie was put together considering how public its pre-production issues were, but time's the only thing that'll allow that to happen. Give it a decade or so and we'll see... $36.91.
Haven't seen The Good Dinosaur yet, but the footage I've seen at various Cons has blown me away. They're going for a photoreal world to ground the cartoon leads and the detail is incredible. This Art Of Book is sure to be packed to the gills with beautiful imagery. $25.28.
This book covers everything He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, from his discovery of fabulous powers in 1983 to his weirdly not kid-friendly movie to his re-introduction to a new generation. Toys, animated shows and film are all covered. $26.30.
I visited the set of this movie when I was vacationing in New Zealand earlier this year (report coming in a couple weeks!) and can say that the art produced for Michael Dougherty's Christmas horror flick is second to none. Creepy, brilliant work from the designers at Weta. Can't wait for this movie... or this book, for that matter. $33.95.
I'm quite fond of Crimson Peak, but I'm definitely part of the choir Guillermo was targeting. Atmopsheric, unabashedly emotional and wonderful blend of fantasy and reality in all respects, not just the supernatural. This Making Of focuses on the design and art used to create the impressive sets and costumes. $29.45.
Great gift for genre lovers! Here is a book that reprints horror imagery going back to the 1900s. Horrific fairy tale art, dust jacket covers, movie posters, comic books, pulp novels and paintings are all included. $26.40.
PRE-ORDER, December 22nd. I'm in love with the world of Bethesda's Fallout series. I might prefer the Capital Wastelands of 3, but Fallout 4's Boston-set location is epic as well. So much detail in every aspect of this world. I expect this Art Of Book to have me grinning from ear to ear the whole read. $28.06.
The new Assassin's Creed is set in Victorian London and I'm really looking forward to diving into this world. I hear the game's really good and it looks amazing from what I've seen. This Art Of Assassin's Creed Syndicate gives us a detailed look at how the visuals of the game came together. $25.00.
Halo had a triumphant return this year and 343 Industries has a big ol' Art Of book to show off their world building, new armors and guns. $28.24.
Naughty Dog's Uncharted series is the reason to have a Playstation, as far as I'm concerned. The new game hits next year, but right now you can celebrate the previous 3 films in this Art Of Book. $27.19.
PRE-ORDER, January 5th. Art of Magic the Gathering. Check your mana and see if you have enough saved up to order this book. That's how this game works, right? I don't know shit about it, but I think that's right. $26.49.
Pinocchio has long been my favorite Disney animated film, so naturally this 75th Anniverary in-depth making of book is high on my own personal Christmas wish list. You hear that whisper in your ear? I think it's Jiminy Cricket saying buy this shit out of this thing! His exact words. $34.97.
Disney's Nine Old Men were legendary animators who forever changed the perception of their craft and pioneered techniques that would wow audiences for generations. This book gives them the spotlight as people, but also dives into the Animation Research Library and shows you examples of their art in a way you haven't seen before. You'll get a feeling for each individual artist's style and technique. A fantastic, fantastic book. $37.12.
There's something both deeply disturbing and hilariously awesome about the propaganda work Disney did during WW2. Der Feehrer's Face is one of the most F'd up toons to ever be produced (Donald Duck has a nightmare that he's a Nazi soldier working for extreme caricatures of the Third Reich's top brass) and that's the one that everybody knows! Disney was patriotic to a fault (his work with the HUAC and Joe McCarthy is ANOTHER conversation) and this book details the sacrifices the studio made, both publicly and privately, as America entered the war. Part history book, part accounting of the work produced during the war years, this one is not the most obvious gift for a Disney fan, but one that should fascinate them. $26.89.
Marc Davis is kind of a hallowed name amongst Disney freaks. The man rose through the ranks at Disney animation going back to the beginning with Snow White. He caught Walt's eye and was constantly promoted until Uncle Walt got the bug up his butt to open up a theme park called Disneyland. He then transferred Davis over to the Imagineering department and his unique style is still felt in the park today. Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and The Jungle Cruise are some of the park's oldest attractions and Davis' eye for iconic imagery is a huge reason for their continued popularity. This book celebrates the man, his influence and his art. Much of the art in the book has never before seen print. $28.89.
So, this one takes a look at the history of the Cinderella story, which pre-dates even Grimm's telling and Charles Perrault's Fables. In fact, a version of this story was first recorded in first century BCE. The book looks at the full history and, as the cover suggests, focuses quite prominently on Disney's version, which is pretty much the standard at this point. $27.37.
They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but you can judge this book by its cover. I'll allow it, just this one time. It's exactly what it says it is: a collection of movie poster art from Disney films, going back to Steamboat Willie! $26.31.
Al Hirschfeld's caricatures are iconic and have been collected in this book celebrating the man and his work. $25.00.
True story: I used to collect Far Sides when I was a kid. I'd clip out one every Sunday from my grandparent's newspaper and scrapbooked it. That was a lot of work, considering now you can get every single one Gary Larson ever did in his 14 years of publishing them in one giant three volume slipcase set. And for only $60.00.
In the past few years, the loonies at Mad Magazine have put out art books celebrating their most famous artists like Jack Davis, Will Elder and Wally Wood. If you held out, congrats! Now you can get all three Mad art books in one fancy slipcased set for only $29.47.
Documenting the monster madness that swept the nation between 1957 and 1972, this book looks at everything from kooky appearances in magazines, comics, books, trading cards, model kits, TV shows, music and more. Very, very cool. $35.96.
Thanks to the Tales From the Crypt show hooking me in my childhood I've gone back and eaten up the original EC horror comics. Love 'em to death and now Volume 4 of the Vault of Horrors collection is out. See the books that freaked out parents of the 1950s and warped the fragile little minds of their children! $35.61.
These compendiums are great. I'm a more one and done guy. The tiny trade paperbacks that collect 5 issues are fine, but I'm much into powering through a story and these compendiums, clocking in at 1000+ pages each, are perfect for that. I'm way behind on the comic... in fact this compendium, covering Walking Dead issues 97-144, is just about perfect for what I need to get caught up with, so guess who just ordered one for hisownself? Me, that's who! Volume 3 is pictured above, but you can get all of them if you've never read an issue... The comic is different from the show, so if you're a fan you owe it to yourself to give a read. You'll be surprised at how much the show has veered away from the books. Volume 1 is $35.99, Volume 2 is $33.89 and Volume 3 is $34.30.
Since my initial research, where I found this really sweet book called Sex and Horror – The Art of Emanuele Taglietti, it seems to have become harder to get your hands on. You can still get it from secondary sellers, but it's a little pricier than when I first stumbled upon it. I'm a sucker for genre pulp art, so I couldn't find it in my heart to remove it from the guide. Click through and check out how crazy some of these images are! Some are not safe for work, FYI. $40.49.
Fancy hardcover collection of the early Goon comics! Goon rules. Pick this up or I'll STAB YOU IN THE EYE! $28.06.
Jack Kirby gets his due in this oversized book that has creatives coming out of the woodwork to praise the King's work and discuss his influence on comics and the industry at large. $34.27.
This nearly 400 page hardcover book is gonna make old school comic fans' heads explode. Jack Kirby and Joe Simon made comic history and their influence is felt even now as their iconic style and characters are becoming the next big thing in Hollywood. This book gets up close to their original art, showing their work in a way that only very rich (or very lucky) original art collectors have been able to do, with high resolution scans of some of their original covers and interior work. $43.35.
Clocking in at well over 800 pages, this second volume of the Avengers Omnibus series covers the first appearances of characters like Ultron and The Vision. Gorgeous cover, too, no? $70.26.
800+ pages of early Batman stories in one big-ass book! Collected are DETECTIVE COMICS #27-56, BATMAN #1-7, NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR COMICS #2, WORLD'S BEST COMICS #1 and WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #2-3, which includes the introductions of Comissioner Gordon, The Joker, Robin, Hugo Strange, Catwoman and more! What a bargain at only $43.47.
George Perez's Wonder Woman work from the 1980s is my only real knowledge of the character (outside of the TV show, of course). I wasn't an avid reader as a kid as my loyalties were always with Marvel, but what little I did read was from Perez's run. This Omnibus collects issues 1-24 from his reboot in the '80s, With the world about to get a full blast of Wonder Woman via the new Snyderverse it'd be a good idea to read up on everybody's favorite Amazonian Warrior Princess. $46.87.
Taschen's epic book takes a hard look at DC from 1970-1984, when the company started turning away from the goofy and into more darker, grounded stories. Well, as grounded as you can get when one of the highlights of the era is a boxing match between Superman and Muhammad Ali, but you get my meaning. This isn't a gathering of complete stories, but more a dissection of the popular issues, characters and storylines of the era with gorgeous full page cover scans and original art comparisons. Lovely book that any DC fanboy or girl would squeal in delight to if they found it under the tree this year. $38.40.
Much like the Flash and Wonder Woman and Green Lantern 75th Anniversary books featured earlier in this guide, Shazam is also celebrating a birthday and gets a nifty book that collects his best stories from the last 75 years! $28.35.
Did you know that Flash Gordon illustrator Alex Raymond teamed up with Dashiell Hammett in the 1930s to do a daily comic strip called Secret Agent X-9? How incredible is that?!? Reprinted here is every strip from their collaboration from January 22nd, 1934 to October 31st, 1936 in a gorgeous hardcover presentation. $33.77.
PRE-ORDER, March 28th. This is called Eight Arms To Hold You: 50 Years of Help! And The Beatles. Not just rare set photos, this also pools together a ton of reference material from the making of their film. I know it's an early pre-order, but as a big Beatles nerd I couldn't help but include it. Deal with it! $29.96.
Anybody who has seen A Hard Day's Night should know that Ringo Starr fancied himself a photographer. The legendary drummer has put out a book with a ton of pics he took over the years, including his time with The Beatles, that have never seen the light of day until now. Not only that, but he personally walks you through these candid moments with accompanying text. How nice of him! $30.00.
This is the official document from The Who about the highs and lows since their debut 50 years ago. As such there's a massive amount of rare material from the band included in this 300+ page tome. Perfect gift for any classic rock fan of any g-g-g-generation. $28.06.
An official Sinatra book with a wealth of material from his family's personal archives... what a way to celebrate ol' blue eyes' 100 birthday! Book includes pics, both rare and famous, and some never before published interviews done with Frank over his career. $36.00.
One of the more popular entries in this category in last year's guide, I'm re-including this really awesome Criterion Designs book. It's exactly what you think it is, a giant coffee table book that contains 30 years worth of art from Criterion's film releases. Their crazy inventive cover designs have made them stand out for decades. Not only do you get every single Criterion cover going back to their first laserdisc release in 1984, you also get a look at supplemental art, design sketches and commentary. Probably the best gift in this guide for the film school snob in your life! $66.15.
I love Criterion, but this is a little more my speed. I'm more of an entertaining movie than arty-farty movie guy, so a book that collects over 200 of the sleaziest, craziest, most exploitationy VHS cover art of the '80s and '90s has my attention, to say the least. $27.95.
Director Nicolas Winding Refn has a huge collection of the most random weird 42nd Street Grindhouse era movie posters and has spent a long time currating this particular book which is the best of the best of them. From porno movies to Christsploitation films, this book features the unique art from movies which I bet almost anything the majority of which you've never even heard of. I don't care how big a movie freak you are, this is the obscurest of the obscure. $68.54.
Pop culture artist Craig Drake has made a huge splash in the last few years. He's done big work for Mondo and The Hero Complex Gallery, the latter of which has put out this great book collecting his most iconic pieces. As a bonus if you're one of the first 500 orders you could get a randomly inserted original sketch from Drake himself! How neat is that? $42.00.
Hero Complex has offered up a few copies of this sweet Craig Drake book and all you have to do to enter to win is email me at this email address with the subject line “The Holiday Gift Guide Is My Favorite Thing In The Entire World (Sorry, Kids)!”. Make sure to include your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email should you be one of the lucky winners. I will pick them at random sometime between the posting of this article and 11:59pm CST Saturday, November 28th. The contest is open to the entire world! Good luck!
Much like the Star Wars Costume book I put earlier in the guide, this Star Trek book pulls original costumes from the Trek vault, gets brand new, crystal clear photos of them and also brings in original concept designs and expert explanations of the building of some of the most iconic uniforms in science fiction history. $38.94.
Almost 900 pages of the original Marvel Star Wars Comic Books, collecting issues 1-44 and the first Annual. What better way to get in the Force Awakens spirit than by reliving these early Marvel stories, only a fraction of which cover the events seen in the movie. Some crazy shit in these issues! $84.27.
Here's another Taschen book! Prepare your wallet, this one involves Marvel! Surely to be one of the most in-depth accountings of Marvel's history to date, this massive mamajamma is over 700 pages, starts with Marvel's first published comic in 1939 and doesn't stop until it gets to modern day. Original art is presented, in-depth profiles of the biggest and best who have worked at the company over the years and just about anything the hardcoriest of hardcore Marvel true believers could want. $115.99.
They're not kidding calling this King Size! This book is huge! Look what it reprints: Red Raven Comics 1; Marvel Mystery Comics 13; Captain America Comics 1, 7; Yellow Claw 4; Rawhide Kid (1955) 17; Amazing Adventures (1961) 1; Strange Tales (1951) 89, 94, 114; Teen-Age Romance 84; Fantastic Four (1961) 1, 48-51, 57-60, Annual 5; Incredible Hulk (1962) 3; Two-Gun Kid 60; Love Romances 103; Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 8; Sgt . Fury 6, 13; Avengers (1963) 4; Tales of Suspense 59; X-Men (1963) 9; Thor 134-136, 154-157; Not Brand Echh 1; Amazing Adventures (1970) 1-2; Marvel Treasury Special: Captain America's Bicentennial Battles; Captain America (1968) 200; Eternals (1976) 7; Devil Dinosaur 1; What If? (1977) 11. Holy moly, that's a lotta Kirby! $162.75.
Yep, this is every SHIELD ever published. I mean, it's not every single issue that has SHIELD in it... that would be, like, a mansion sized omnibus. Don't be ridiculous now. Still, this one is almost 1000 pages of Nick Fury being a badass! $82.87.
There's still a lot of untapped weirdness from Marvel's vaults. We know they have vampires in their universe (Blade and Dracula himself have been around for decades), but it's not very well known outside of comic nerd circles that they also had a superhero werewolf. It's true! And his name is Jack Russell, I'm not shitting you. If you want to know more, this Omnibus is for you. At nearly 1200 pages, you'll be a goddmaned Werewolf By Night expert by the time you're done with it. $102.85.
What you have here is a high quality book made up of 794 images taken directly from film frames of Chaplin's earliest shorts, arranged in order to document the evolution of Chaplin's iconic Tramp character. Very high end book for you fancy high end movie geeks out there. $151.63.
Seems fitting to end the Book section of the 2015 Holiday Gift Guide with another great, giant Taschen Archives book. This one painstakingly tells the story of Charlie Chaplin with help from unrestricted access to the Chaplin archives, meaning this book is jam-packed with never-before-seen images, never-before-published interviews, memos, thoughts, notes and various other writings from Chaplin himself. Massive, epic and thorough. A must own for any Chaplin or early Hollywood fan. $133.72.
Let's see if I can resist the temptation to make the entire game section nothing but Fallout 4...
Cheap ($24.99 and under)
Yeah, it's kinda cheap and plastic-y by traditional Special Edition Monopoly standards, but it's the first time you can really play something as new Force Awakens characters! $19.99.
They say this edition of Battleship has new Star Wars ships, but all the pieces I've seen look like regular SW ships, but still... Star Wars Battleship is the perfect thing to play with the kiddos as you get close to December 18th... $15.00.
Star Wars Risk! What's interesting about this special edition is that the board is in the shape of a TIE fighter (more like a TIE Interceptor... oh, I just popped a blood vessel in my eye for straining my geek brain too much...). Not exactly sure how that would play, but the game is well-reviewed and cheap (for Risk). $23.77.
Now this is what you think about when you think Risk. Giant map, tons of pieces... Game of Thrones fits Risk about as perfectly as possible. The show is cut-throat, but so is playing the game. You better make sure you're really, really, really good friends with whomever you're playing with. Let's just say this game has the habit of making enemies out of friends. I've seen people nearly get into fist-fights over this thing. And that's regular old Risk! Imagine if you throw Westeros into the mix? $57.96.
I'll put Risk Legacy in every Gift Guide until I'm sure everyone's played it. I've described this as board games evolving into the video game era. It's long form. You play over a dozen games and each game has the potential to completely alter the game board and the rules themselves depending on what actions are taken. It's the best board game out there and unlike any other of its type that I've played. $49.92.
So, apparently the creative minds behind Risk Legacy have moved over to Pandemic, a game I've never played, but you bet your butt I will. Same thing applies... Your actions during multiple gameplays change the direction of the board game so no two groups will end up playing the same game. I adore this evolution in board games and I hope it catches fire. $48.99.
So, this is still Sorry, but now it's in the shape of the Millennium Falcon and it has BB-8 on the box! I'm not sorry I included this Sorry because it has The Force Awakens on it. Not sorry for Sorry, so don't ask me to be sorry. Okay, I'm done. $29.95.
Oh my sweet Lord in Heaven, is this real life? I think I'm in the Matrix because that's the only reason I should have a Jaws Yahtzee game. I'm no hero, I'll totally Joey Pants it if that means I can keep getting cool shit like Jaws Yahtzee! $26.12.
Okay, this is even cooler than Jaws Yahtzee. Don't tell Bruce I said that or I'll lose my Jaws cred. Just between you and me, this Cthulhu Yahtzee is rad as shit. It'll drive you mad, but what a way to go, right? $29.99.
There is no end to geeky awesome Yahtzee sets this year! Jeez! Only danger with playing the Back to the Future version of Yahtzee is that you'll eventually have to play with Libyan terrorists. I don't know how, but they always seem to find me when I'm playing with this set. $27.98.
Yes, Back to the Future Monopoly is awesome. The set looks great, the board is sweet, the packaging is cool... Only problem is that you're almost guaranteeing a fist fight breaking out over who gets to play as the DeLorean... $39.99.
They say a Lannister always pays his debts. I guess this is a way to guarantee that 'cause nobody plays the Game of Thrones (Monopoly) and gets out unscathed. $39.99.
Cthulhu Monopoly? The geeks have truly won, haven't we? How great does this look? Fuck, how many different Monopoly boards do I need? Apparently at least one more... $39.99.
Make that two more. Damn you, Monopoly people! I mean, I know I play enough Fallout as it is that I don't need yet another Fallout-related time suck, but this is just cool! This set is actually sold out at a lot of places, which makes me sad because I'd totally buy it off Amazon if it was easy because then I don't have to leave my house and I like that. Bethesda's store is sold out, but Gamestop still has 'em for original price. $39.99.
I know I haven't shut up about Fallout since about a month ago and I apologize for that, but it's just so damn good! I hope you realize the proof of how much I love you guys is shown by this Guide existing at all. It was hard pulling myself away from the Wasteland, let me tell you. Both next-gen consoles have it, Xbox lets you have the bonus of getting a downloadable Fallout 3 along with the purchase of Fallout 4. That's double the time away from friends and family! $59.29 on Xbox One and $59.88 on PS4.
For my PC gamer brothers, here's the Fallout Anthology. To be clear, this does NOT come with Fallout 4, but every other Fallout game that came before it and you get it in a fancy mini-nuke of your very own! $44.99 on PC.
I've only gotten a chance to play about an hour and a half of Battlefront (I make so many sacrifices for you guys! I'm a damn living Saint!) and it seems to be a game that is best enjoyed with your friends. I can't imagine having much fun joining in to get your ass kicked by 13 year olds all by your lonesome is much fun, but it's a blast running around in Star Wars environments, hearing the music and familiar sound effects while you're blowing away Stormtrooper with your buddies. Looking forward to spending more time lost in this over the holidays. The game comes in two editions, the deluxe only really gets you early access to Han's blaster, which is a monster in the game, so it might be worth the extra $10. $59.88 regular edition on Xbox One, $69.99 deluxe edition on Xbox One and $59.88 regular edition on PS4, $69.88 deluxe edition on PS4.
The last Tomb Raider game was a great reboot/franchise reinvigoration. Can't wait to dive into this one when I get some free time. I gotta see how much they beat the shit out of Lara Croft this time around! They were brutal last game! $59.49 on Xbox One and $59.99 on PS4.
The new time period you get to play around in is Victorian era London and that has me jonesing pretty hard to give this one a shot. Assassin' Creed Syndicate was victim of Fallout/Holiday Guide destroying all my free time, but soon, precious. Soon... $52.00 on Xbox One and $54.05 on PS4.
I've lost friends to the new Metal Gear. Now I know how they felt when Fallout came out and I stopped replying to party invites. It's rough, I know. But it also means I have yet another game to look forward to whenever I decide I've had enough of the Commonwealth. Sorry real life, too many cool games out! $44.98 on Xbox One and $59.96 on PS4.
I played a lot of Destiny. A lot. I was kind of burnt out on it, actually, and then Taken King came out and suddenly there was a big burst of personality and some really fun new story missions (as well as an awesome new raid) and I was sucked back in again. Sadly, Destiny has been backburnered in this game-heavy holiday season, but if you're on the fence about trying it out, this is the way to go. You get the base game with all its expansions and the new Taken King one. I'm an Xbox guy, but Playstation has an edge with this title, getting exclusive content and all that fun stuff, but it's fun to play on either console, so you pick what you want! $48.97 on Xbox One and $47.45 on PS4.
Fallout's not the only Bethesda game series I adore. I put a ridiculous amount of time into Skyrim and I even did what I swore I would never do... I played an MMO. Granted, it was Elder Scrolls Online via console, but it's the first real (high level) MMO to cross over to consoles and I had friends playing, so don't judge me! I hear its first year on PC was rough, but by the time I played it many of the kinks were worked out. I prefer the lone experience (like Skyrim or Fallout) if I'm going to be honest, but god help me if they ever do this kind of giant MMO world thing with the Fallout universe. If they do that I'll only be able to dictate a few random movie nerd thoughts into Siri while I'm mostly paying attention to the game in front of me. So, Bethesda... please don't do that. I like having a life. $39.99 on Xbox One and $39.99 on PS4.
I've seen a lot of snobs put down Fallout by holding Witcher 3 up as the better open world game. I like Witcher a lot and agree that graphically it's more impressive, but I prefer the world of dark humor sci-fi more than swords and magic. It's personal preference, but unlike a lot of the dicks who try to put down Fallout, I will say that Witcher is a great game and super addicting. There's a card game in it called Gwent that once you get the feeling for you could just play that for hours and have more fun doing that than playing most other video games out there. $37.89 on Xbox One and $41.10 on PS4.
Disney Infinite makes me feel really old. I get the collector mentality, buying little figures that actually unlock the ability to play them in game and all that, but other than that I felt lost when my nephews were running me through it after I bought them a Rocket and Groot. So, it's not for me, but the kids love it and now they'll love it even more since Star Wars is finally coming to Disney Infinite. This is the starter set, which comes with Clone Wars Anakin and Ahsoka and a new Play Set Piece. $49.99 on Xbox One and $48.50 on PS4.
It seems so long ago when these games were all about killing Nazis during WW2, but that's what hooked me into this series. Now the only Nazis you see are of the zombie variety. I've kind of detached a little over the last few installments, to be honest, but I still play every single one. At this point it almost feels like slipping on an old, but comfy winter coat. $54.94 on Xbox One and $53.99 on PS4.
Halo is what got me back into gaming, so I'll always have a soft spot for the look and feel of these games. Halo 5 wasn't my favorite gaming experience this year, but I can't deny that jumping into good ol' matchmaking put a smile on my face. $57.50 only on Xbox One.
Now this was a super fun game. The Arkham games feel like they've all been building to this one. The Batmobile dynamics gave this a whole new level of fun... even though I wanted to throw my controller during the TV during some of those late stage Riddler race challenges. They've found a great balance of puzzle solving, punch-em-ups and open world wandering fun with this thing. $37.19 on Xbox One and $37.98 on PS4.
Earlier this year they released an up-rezzed twofer to next-gen consoles. The Handsome Collection bundled Borderlands 2 and The Borderlands Pre-Sequel and it was a lot of fun revisiting both titles. Absurd humor, fun random weapon drops, ridiculous bad guys... Nothing quite like these games. $38.87 on Xbox One and $36.47 on PS4.
I'm hearing the Mad Max game is actually pretty fun. It started off with some rocky word of mouth, but now that the price has dropped a little bit on it people are saying it's worth picking up. Another one for the Holiday playthrough stack! $44.00 on Xbox One and $44.90 on PS4.
Until Dawn is a PS4 Exclusive survival horror game in part created by genre favorites Larry Fessenden and Graham Reznick. My poor PS4 has seen very little play, but it's exactly for games like this that I bit the bullet and picked one up at launch. I just knew Playstation would find something to pull me over before the next Uncharted comes out... Now that the price is dropping on Until Dawn I have less and less excuse to finally give it a whirl. $49.25 only on PS4.
I've mentioned this in previous guides, but I have no earthly idea what the hell the fandom around the Final Fantasy games is about. Not my thing, but I know a lot of you folks out there love this series and were really happy that FF X/X-2 was remastered and put out on PS4. This one's for you folks! $39.25 on PS4.
Guitar Hero is back and you can now clickety-clack your way through a random selection of songs like a boss. Man, I had fun with this on the last-gen consoles. Don't know if I can bring myself to re-invest in guitars and stuff again, but man, is it tempting! The price point below gets you the base game and one guitar that just needs a hero... Are you that hero? Are you? $64.99 on Xbox One and $64.99 on PS4.
I'm worried I'm missing something here. Why is Rock Band 4 so much more expensive than Guitar Hero? I know they have options where you can use your old instruments, but this whole thing is confusing me and makes me scared of technology! Haaallllppp. $116.99 on Xbox One and $116.99 on PS4.
This is a little bit unfair since you can't just click through and order one of these Xbox One Elite controllers. I mean, you can, but you won't get it immediately. These things are in high demand and the only way to for sure get one in a timely fashion is to buy the full on Xbox One Elite Console set (see below). You can add paddles and reprogram the entire configuration to whatever you want. I have one (I upgraded to an Elite Console, dig?), but haven't really played with it yet. This is one of the most in-demand geek gamer items this holiday season. I don't know if any will get in before Christmas, but you can order through Amazon and get on the wait-list, essentially. $149.99.
For The Super Rich Only ($250.00 and Up)
The new Elite Xbox One comes with a fancy 1TB solid state hybrid drive and one of those crazy in-demand Elite controllers. The next shipment seems to hit Amazon December 1st and you can guarantee you one if you pre-order right now. I got one of these and it's pretty sweet, I gotta say. $499.99.
If you don't care about the cool controller or the solid state hybrid drive, you can opt for this great deal. 1TB of regular hard drive space, a regular controller and a copy of Fallout 4 bundled within. It's an exciting time for Xbox no matter which console you opt for. Their backwards compatibility is about to really be put to the test. Curious to see how all that shapes up, but you could do worse than getting this bundle with the $60 game... especially when that $60 game is Fallout 4, which you should know by now is the bestest thing ever, in my humble opinion. $399.99.
If you're looking at PS4, this Battlefront Bundle is pretty good. You only get 500 gigs internally, but you save some cash. $349.00.
Cheap ($24.99 and under)
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. There are many things I'm excited about when it comes to Episode 7, but nothing trumps my anticipation of a new John Williams Star Wars score. No frills, no booklets, no lenticular cover... Just a new CD packed full of brand new Star Wars music by John Williams. No big deal... HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS IT'S ALMOST HERE! $13.98.
1980 saw the release of a Star Wars Christmas album. Official Star Wars Christmas album, with Anthony Daniels returning as Threepio and Ben Burtt giving voice to R2 and Chewie. This CD remaster includes all songs (including “What Can You Get A Wookiee When He Already Has A Comb” and “R2D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas” which, believe it or not, has lead vocals done by a young upstart named John Bongiovi... who would later change his name to Jon Bon Jovi. I'm not pulling your leg! This is real! (Yes, it's a CD, but a CD made to look like an LP. I know it's confusing, but trust me it'll play in your CD player). $18.98.
Monster Squad! La-La Land has finally brought Bruce Broughton's to CD in an official way. The original cues were transferred from the original quarter inch masters and for the first time ever the two big songs from the movie, Rock Until You Drop and Monster Squad Rap are included. This has long been one of my favorite '80s scores and I'm psyched to finally have it in this quality! $19.98.
Holy Smokes! Another contest! That's right, La-La Land has offered up some copies of their Monster Squad release and guess what? They're autographed by Broughton himself! I don't even have one of those and I'm, like, the biggest Monster Squad fan ever! Contest is open worldwide. All you have to do to win is email me at this email address with the subject line “Mummy Came In My House”. Make sure to include your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email should you be one of the lucky winners. I will pick them at random sometime between the posting of this article and 11:59pm CST Saturday, November 28th. Don't be bogus, enter! What have you got to lose? Good luck!
We lost James Horner this year and the only thing that keeps that from being incredibly depressing to me is listening to the work he left behind. I know Krull is often the butt of a lot of jokes as a movie (I still think it's rad no one can deny how great Horner's score is for it. Like up there with the best of the '80s scores great. La-La Land has re-issued their 2-CD set and I can't recommend it enough. $24.98.
When I look at the cover art for Searching For Bobby Fisher I always nod and go “Yep, that's what every kid actually dressed like when I was that age.” Yep, young folks. Big dirty sneakers and oversized shirts were kind of what we rocked back in the late '80s/early '90s. La-La Land did up another great James Horner score all fancy like. Remastered and limited to 3000 units. $19.98.
The opening titles music to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe hits me in my nostalgia center something awful. La-La Land decided to go all out and gather over 90 minutes of unreleased cues from the cartoon and put them in this nifty limited 2-CD set. $24.98.
Elmer Bernstein's score for Airplane II is fittingly silly. I watched both movies a lot as a kid, so these cue also take me back to a simpler time when spoof movies were actually funny. Another great release from La-La Land! $19.98.
They're already here! And by they, I mean La-La Land, but unlike in the Body Snatchers movies that's a good thing 'cause they're not making pod people replicas of us. Instead they're giving us sweet-sweet ear candy! Here is Carmen Dragon's score to 1956's Invasion of the Body Snatchers. $19.98.
Jerry Goldsmith arm-wrestles with John Williams as my favorite film composer. I go back and forth, but I know for sure they're both all-timers in my book, so I get a little tickle of excitement every time an obscure-ish Goldsmith score gets given new life. In the '70s Anthony Hopkins starred in a killer ventriloquist dummy movie called Magic (yes, it's really creepy) and Goldsmith provided the score. Now you can have that score to listen to whenever you want to spook up your evening. $19.98.
Here's Geoffrey Burgon's score for Dogs of War in a limited edition (1200 copies) release by La-La Land. I was always intrigued by this video cover. I mean, it's Walken with a huge gun, what's not to be intrigued by? $19.95.
Marco Beltrami's not my favorite composer, but even I have to grudgingly admit that he knocked it out of the park with his 3:10 To Yuma score. This was a great flick that isn't really talked about too much and Beltrami's score is beautiful, catchy western goodness. Another great limited release by La-La Land. $19.98.
Two of cinema's greatest composers teamed up to tackle 1954's The Egyptian. Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman to be precise and now La-La Land has teamed up with 20th Century Fox to restore and re-release their fantastic collaboration. Limited to 1500 pieces, you can get your copy for $19.98.
Michael Kamen's score for The Last Boy Scout is a perfect compliment to Shane Black's crazy writing and Tony Scott's even crazier direction. Really fun score and it can be yours from La-La Land for $19.98.
Manners Maketh the Man and La-La Land maketh the good soundtrack releases. Here's their Kingsman release, featuring the work of Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson. $12.99.
Blake Neely has the market cornered on surprisingly good TV superhero shows based on DC characters. Here's his The Flash Season One score, once again put out by La-La Land. $14.99.
Uh, oh! Another contest! I've got a copy of La-La Land's Flash Season 1 to give away and as an added extra bonus it's signed by Neely! Contest is open worldwide. All you have to do to win is email me at this email address with the subject line “Go Flash Go!”. Make sure to include your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email should you be one of the lucky winners. I will pick them at random sometime between the posting of this article and 11:59pm CST Saturday, November 28th. Good luck!
Brian Tyler and Danny Elfman seemed to pass pieces of Age of Ultron back and forth. Some tracks are Tyler's, some are Elfman's. I didn't realize this when I watched the movie. Curious to actually listen to the soundtrack knowing which track is attributed to which composer and seeing if I can spot a difference between the two men's work. Curious. $10.99.
Christophe Beck gave Ant-Man a bombastic, yet sophisticated score. Kinda feels more like a heist score overall than a superhero score, but considering that the film is essentially a heist movie when you break it down that's apt. Fun score, fun movie. $11.29.
Christopher McQuarrie's regular composter, Joe Kraemer, comes in to score his Mission: Impossible flick. The movie rocks, so does this score! $12.99.
Yep, contest time! I have three copies of this soundtrack to give away to you luck so-and-sos, each one signed by composer Joe Kraemer! All you have to do to win is email me at this email address with the subject line “I Choose To Accept This Impossible Mission!”. Make sure to include your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email should you be one of the lucky winners. I will pick them at random sometime between the posting of this article and 11:59pm CST Saturday, November 28th. Good luck!
Haven't seen the movie yet, so I can't tell you if the score's any good or not, but Disney doesn't tend to let us down with their music work, so this is getting a sight-unseen inclusion. Don't make me regret it, Mouse People! $10.16.
Michael Giacchino's Inside Out score is lovely, fun and full of emotion, just like the movie. If you got some kiddos of your own, throw this on and make some core memories together. The good kind, not the bad kind. I'm trying to be sweet here! Don't make this weird. $12.00.
Giacchino put out some really good work this year. My favorite is probably his Tomorrowland score, which is full of wonder and adventure and not having to find ways to pay tribute to anybody else's work but his own. $13.62.
I might have been subtweeting Jurassic World a little bit with my comments on Giacchino's Tomorrowland score, but I don't mean to insult his work here. It's fine, heart-pumping stuff, just feels like he's shackled by the earlier themes more than getting to run free on his own. Still good stuff here. $11.06.
Bridge of Spies is one of the few films Spielberg has made without John Williams backing him up. The other examples are Color Purple (Quincy Jones) and his Twilight Zone: The Movie segment in which Jerry Goldsmith did music duties. Also, if you want to count Poltergeist (and you should) that's another brilliant Goldsmith score. Now there's another one to add to the trivia section of your geek brain. Thomas Newman gave us a very nice, if a little subtle, score for Spielberg's latest. $15.22.
Don't shake or stir this CD. That's a good way to scratch it up and if you do that then you can't listen to Thomas Newman's Bond score and then you'll be sorry. $11.88.
I adore this release. Not only do you get Harry Gregson-Williams' great score, you also get a CD filled with the disco music that so tortured poor Mark Watney while he was stuck on Mars. Donna Summer, ABBA, Gloria Gaynor... Awwww, yeah. $13.98.
This one's for you work out and/or writing people... which doesn't really have much of an overlap, I admit, but both will get something out of this crazy awesome score for Fury Road. It'll get your blood pumping and creative juices flowing, trust me. I know everything about juices. I am expert. $9.17.
Yay for Gremlins 2, a greatly misunderstood sequel. Jerry Goldsmith once again does outstanding work here, totally getting the tonal shift from the darker first movie, which reflects in his goofy, playful score here. What a great movie. The new soundtrack release is limited to 3000 copies, so get the lead out, will ya'? $19.98.
More Jerry Goldsmith to dazzle your earholes, this time in the form of Intrada's limited expanded re-issue of his Secret of Nimh score. CD includes previously unreleased cues and demos. $20.99.
Joysticks is a weird little sex comedy from the early '80s set in and around arcades. Yes, it's as awesome as the movie you're picturing in your minds right now. Weirdly, the music is being made available via DRM-free digital download. Composed by Ray Knehnetsky and performed by Legion, these little slices of '80s awesome were a great surprise when I was researching the Guide and I hope some of you guys get as much of a kick out of it as I did. $9.00.
One of the most famous cult classics around gets vinyl treatment. Yep, Manos Hands of Fate can be had on LP for you vinyl lovers for only $23.00.
This wasn't out yet when I posted last year's Guide, so I'm making sure all you nerds know you have to buy this. New music by John Carpenter. I repeat: New music by John Carpenter. I've listened to this album all year long (on both vinyl and computer) and it really has me jonesing for Carpenter to score one of his flicks again. Come on, John! We're waiting! $18.69 on vinyl and $8.99 on CD.
You might think it's weird I started the Disney section right under John Carpenter's newest album... but you're forgetting that Fantasia has its own nightmare fuel. Night on Bald Mountain, anyone? These Disney Legacy sets are incredible and Fantasia in particular is packed with stuff. You got the original Stokowski soundtrack, the re-recording by Irwin Kostal, original music for the deleted Clair De Lune sequence and two readings by Sterling Halloway, one The Sorcerer's Apprentice and the other Peter and the Wolf. In-depth, 4 disc release. $20.69.
My favorite Disney animated movie gets the Legacy treatment, too! Released earlier this year, Pinocchio's Legacy set includes a remastered soundtrack and new Lost Chord recordings. I have no idea what a lost chord recording is, but I'm excited there's three of them on this disc! I can't explain it! $13.79.
Cinderella Legacy 2-disc set has tons of bonus material as well. Disney fans have a wealth of options this holiday season! $13.67.
Lady and the Tramp Legacy! 30+ tracks over 2-CDs. The only thing missing is a plate of pasta. Dog pasta. $14.99.
The Artistocats is less Disney, but it was still a big deal for my childhood. Of course, my mom was a self-admitted crazy cat lady (and still is) so that might have played a part of my enjoyment of this film. The Legacy CD set includes 40 tracks, with much never-before-released material. $14.69.
Now it's Pocahontas' turn! Pocahontas hit when I was aging out of automatically loving every Disney animated feature and it's still one of my least favorite of their work, but I know a lot of folks out there love it, so you guys can be happy that you're getting this 2-CD set. $14.69.
Ah, Toy Story. What a remarkable movie and a perfect one to change the industry and announce Pixar as a force to be reckoned with. You got 2 discs and almost 60 tracks of greatness included here. $14.19.
This is probably the most intriguing of the Legacy CDs released this year. At least it is for me 'cause I'm such a Disney Parks nerd. Music and soundtracks to the California Parks as Disneyland celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. From announcements to attraction themes (Yay, Haunted Mansion!) covering Disneyland and California Adventure past and present. Any Disney Parks obsessive will want this. $16.64.
I couldn't tell you exactly why I was compelled to include this, but I stumbled across it while searching out movie-related music and something told me to put it in the Guide. 1980S bands doing Christmas music. Run DMC's Christmas in Hollis, Hall & Oates' Jingle Bell Rock, Wham!'s Last Christmas, Ray Parker Jr.'s Christmas Time Is Here, New Kids On the Block's This One's For The Childreen, The Bangles' Hazy Shade of Winter... I mean, c'mon! $6.59.
Pardon my French, but it's about goddamn time we had a thorough redo of John Williams' Jaws soundtrack. Intrada finally went out and got this done, going back to the original session tapes and remastered this under the supervision of John Williams himself. Included are rare alternate takes on famous cues (including the opening music and one of my all-time favorite single cues in film history “Man Against Beast”), background music never before included and a separate disc that has the original 35 minute soundtrack release if you want to go old school and not listen to new shit. I ordered mine within 60 seconds of finding out this existed. $29.99.
Spielberg didn't return for Jaws 2, but John Williams sure did and he gave us a very good score. There are some certifiably insane people out there who think this score is better than Jaws (I know they exist, I've argued with them on Twitter), but I can't deny it's damn good. Intrada thinks so, too, 'cause they've done the 2-disc SE treatment on it as well. Lots of rare, unreleased cues and the works. $29.99.
This was the year I revisited AI and it absolutely destroyed me. Coincidentally La-La Land also chose this year to release an incredible 3 disc set compiling John Williams' work on one of Spielberg's most misunderstood films. If you're a Spielberg fan and don't have a boner (male or female) after seeing that above picture then methinks you need to revisit AI and get on the right side of history. $34.98.
PRE-ORDER, February 2016. Mondo's doing up Alan Silvestri's incredible Back to the Future score on vinyl. They've got the whole Trilogy, but let's go one at a time. Matt Taylor's cover for BTTF 1 is awesome, isn't it? Two LP set comes pressed on clear 180g vinyl with electric blue splatter pattern. $35.00.
PRE-ORDER, February 2016. Part 2! No hoverboards included, but you do get Alan Silvestri's great score on high quality vinyl. $35.00.
PRE-ORDER, February 2016. And Part 3, which gives Silvestri the chance to play around with western versions of his themes.$35.00.
Yep. Mondo is letting me give away a set of these to one lucky winner. That's right, one of you will get one of each (Back to the Future 1, 2 and 3). All you have to do to win is email me at this email address with the subject line “Great Scott! The Holiday Gift Guide Is Heavy!”. Make sure to include your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email should you be one of the lucky winners. I will pick them at random sometime between the posting of this article and 11:59pm CST Saturday, November 28th. The contest is open to the entire world! Good luck!
Mondo also put out a really cool Army of Darkness Vinyl this year as well. You get Joe LoDuca's score as well as Danny Elfman's March of the Dead Theme in a package sure to make any deadite fan lose their shit (wait until you see the little Ashes). $35.00.
Clint Mansell's Black Swan Score gets a nifty Mondo Vinyl release, with their typical attention to quality and sweet packaging. Sam Wolfe Connelly did a great job with the cover for this one. $35.00.
Here's one of John Williams' not-often-discussed scores, for this cool terrorism thriller called Black Sunday. Williams did this score the same year he did Star Wars. Now Mondo has put it out and made sure people will start talking about this cool flick (and great score) once more! $35.00.
Another great Mondo release. Ennio Morricone's Leone scores might be more famous, but this is one of his best overall western scores. The movie's great, too, but Morricone on high quality vinyl? Get outta here! $35.00.
Okay, this is cool as shit. Chrome vinyl? Basil Poledouris' awesome score? Le sigh... $30.49.
I never in a million years would have guess that Troll would get a fancy vinyl release, but I do love to be surprised. This movie is silly as shit, but I gotta say that Cantos Profanae is still ridiculously catchy to this day. Richard Band's music is actually pretty good and now you can spin it on wax whenever you want. $36.99.
La-La Land is dipping its toe into the record releasing world with this Invasion of the Body Snatchers LP, pressed on 180 gram green vinyl. $26.98.
George Romero's Martin is one of his best non-Dead films and it's got a fancy new LP release! $26.00.
Frank Sinatra celebrates his 100th birthday this year and to celebrate the powers that be have released this crazy-sounding 4-CD set that collects rare radio broadcasts and rehearsals, giving even the most die hard Sinatra fan something they've never heard before. Everybody's grandparents love Sinatra, so here's something you can gift Nana and Pop Pop... not much else in this guide will work for them (unless they're cool as shit), but this one will. Trust me! $44.42.
PRE-ORDER, January 8th, 2016. This box set gathers John Williams' scores for Star Wars Episodes 1-6 in one handy set, complete with a bonus audio disc featuring new interviews with Harrison Ford and John Williams. They've also included the DVD of Star Wars: A Musical Journey. It's a little bit of bullshit they're not packaging The Force Awakens in there, but it's all great music so I can't get too upset. $74.98.
PRE-ORDER, January 8th, 2016. This is the reason to double dip, in my personal opinion. Having all 6 Star Wars soundtracks on vinyl sounds incredible to me. I have original pressings of Star Wars and Empire, but that's it. I have... complicated feelings when it comes to the prequels, but none of that bleeds into Williams' music, which was top notch the entire way through Star Wars. It's also important to note that the track listing for the Jedi LP indicates “Ewok Celebration & Finale” as the final track. Yes, that's the Yub-Nub song. That's worth the price of the records alone! $199.99.
I know there are better turntables out there, but if you're on the fence about jumping into vinyl for the first time or returning to it after decades of easier music options then this is probably the best option for you in terms of price, ease of use and quality of audio. The only other thing you need are a decent pair of computer speakers and you're ready to go. With all the cool LPs hitting now from a myriad of different nerd sources it's a great time to invest in a turntable... plus now you can play all those crazy oddities you find for .99 at thrift stores... I picked up some Burl Ives sings Disney songs to scared-looked kids record at a Goodwill and it gives me so much joy! Oh, and this model also has a USB port so you can digitize whatever music you find on vinyl in one easy step. Cool, eh? $103.98.
Varese Sarabande put out an 8 disc Nightmare on Elm Street collection that's pretty high on my “holy shit, that's awesome” meter this year. That's Nightmares 1-6, Wes Craven's New Nightmare and Freddy Vs. Jason. You get the regular soundtracks plus 3 hours of bonus tracks. Yes, that includes the Video Game Suite from Freddy's Dead. $119.99.
La-La Land decided it was a good idea to release the entire Mission: Impossible TV scores in one big brick of a set containing 6 CDs and multiple booklets with liner notes, essays and photos. $99.98.
Contest time! Win one of these sweet Mission: Impossible Complete TV sets. All you have to do to win is email me at this email address with the subject line “Forget The Movies I Want Them Sweet TV Scores!”. Make sure to include your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email should you be one of the lucky winners. I will pick them at random sometime between the posting of this article and 11:59pm CST Saturday, November 28th. The contest is open to the entire world! Good luck!
12 CDs and about all the retro Lost In Space soundtrack goodness a human being can take. That's 14 hours of music and you also get a nifty 104 page booklet filled with facts and track listings! $149.98.
Tricked ya'! Back to back contests, suckas! La-La Land has graciously offered up one of their massive Lost In Space soundtrack sets for one of you lucky mofos! All you have to do to win is email me at this email address with the subject line “Danger Danger Mr. Quint!”. Make sure to include your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email should you be one of the lucky winners. I will pick them at random sometime between the posting of this article and 11:59pm CST Saturday, November 28th. The contest is open to the entire world! Good luck!
I listed a bunch of the Disney Legacy CDs earlier in this guide, but if you're real into Disney and want to scoop them all up, you might save a few bucks if you get this box set. The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Toy Story, Pocahontas, Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp and the Disneyland Legacy are all included. $203.39.
I found a way to add a Fallout item into the music section! Look at me! Bethesda's released this cool multi-LP set containing the score for Fallout 3. The only way this would be cooler is if it had some of the GNR programmed music and Three Dog quotes, but I'll take the awesome score. This one's high on my own personal Christmas Wish List this year. $85.00.
For The Super Rich Only ($250.00 and Up)
PRE-ORDER, December 18th. This one's for the serious Disneyana collector with deep pockets. 16 LPs containing the soundtracks from all 75 Silly Symphony shorts released between 1929 and 1939. That period of time includes Three Little Pigs, The Skeleton Dance, The Tortoise and The Hare and more. The set is nuts, the price is nuts, the whole damn world is nuts! $399.98.
One more to go, squirts! Look for Part 3 to post soon, covering the wide world of Toys, Collectibles and Geek Housewares!