The clock is ticking away, and with each precious moment, someone is snapping up the last copy the Dark Knight, World War Z and Watchmen. We braved the stores to find surefire last-minute shopping items.

I traversed the city, poking my head in each store looking for what might be gone and what's probably still in stock for you last-minute shoppers. Now, just because some stocks were dwindling in my town doesn't mean it's lights out for Watchmen across the nation. But just in case we've got a list of back-ups so you don't show up to the holiday festivities empty handed. Sorry — there are only so many times you can use the "I bought you Netflix" line, when you simply showed up with nothing.

Video Games:

Sold Out: Gears Of War 2
Instead: First off, ask the clerk. I ran into three lying liar faces that had more copies stashed in the back room. "What you see is what we got" need not apply to most video games, as they churn out these discs like heroin. But should you run into this predicament, there are more video games out there, trust me.
Instead: Try Fallout 3 or Dead Space. Both should be in ample supply.


Sold Out: Wii or Wii Fit. Yearning to try the workout of the future? Too bad. They are sold out — all of them. You will get laughed at to your face by some 16-year-old on winter break. (I did.)
Instead: Flip Camera. Sure, it's not a Wii, but really what is? And at least they'll be ready when the Cloverfield Monster strikes their town. They're reasonably priced (a little over $100) and can hold a lot more video than most of the cell phones out there.


Sold Out: Hancock, because apparently a lot of people liked this movie.
Instead: There are two other infinitely better bad good movies that had loads upon loads in stock. I suggest Death Race or Doomsday. They're both action packed and terrible in a good way, and NO WILL SMITH.

Sold Out: WALL-E. I actually found a few here and there shoved in the wrong spots, so keep a keen eye out. Plus, the Blu-ray had a few left over.
Instead: So you can't watch the new awesome robot from Disney? Well, what about the old awesome robots, gadgets and space creatures? Teach others about the great scifi kid movies of our past. Flight of the Navigator, Honey I Shrunk The Kids and Black Hole are all on sale at Best Buy for $5.99. If that doesn't work, go with Enchanted, but seriously if your child/friend/sig. other doesn't like one of those first three, you need to sit them down and have a long holiday talk.

Sold Out: Dark Knight. This is hard to replace, I admit, but there are other big releases that should tempt some scifi fans.
Instead: Wanted and the new X Files were in stock but personally if I couldn't have Batman for Christmas a close second would be Bill Murray. There is a Ghostbusters box set with both movies for a mere $15.

Sold Out: Futurama's Bender's Big Score (the best of the Futurama DVD movies)
Instead: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume 4

Books And Comics And Things:

Sold Out: Twilight Book Set
Instead: Teach your Twilight fan about the other work of Stephenie Meyer, The Host. Or go really crazy and pick up the other vampire series, from Charlaine Harris: the Sookie Stackhouse books, which are now HBO's True Blood series. But be careful, these Twilighters are a fickle breed.


Sold Out: Watchmen.
Instead: Y The Last Man in hardcover, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the Joker hardcover. Our intrepid comics reporter Graeme McMillan has put together a fantastic collection of 10 great graphic novel gifts that would also make a fantastic gifts, if the Watchmen you're looking for is no longer about.

Sold Out: Neal Stephenson's Anathem
Instead: Sly Mongoose by Tobias Buckell, or Karen Traviss' Clone Wars. Need more to go on? Jot down a few of these book gems from Annalee's bookish gift guide.

Sold Out: World War Z by Max Brooks
Instead: Easy — Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide.

Quick Gifts:

Box sets, I'm telling you this is the way to go. Don't get a mere chapter of a series, get the entire collection. The ones that caught my eye was a $10 DVD of BOTH Never Ending Story movies, the Resident Evil Trilogy, and possibly the most amazing thing I've ever seen the Alien Predator Pack, an 8 disc set of every single Alien, Predator and the two AVPs for $55.

But should you have more questions, you can always consult the Ultimate Scifi Gift Guide.