Batman. Spider-Man. Superman. Captain America. Doctor Strange. Et cetera. They’re all heroes, and they all have plenty of merchandise which is going to fill gift guides from one corner of the internet to the other. So we thought we’d bring you the other heroes, stories, collectibles, and more for those of you looking to diversify your gift-giving this year.
You don’t have to be a fan of Marvel’s latest Netflix TV series to love the soundtrack to Luke Cage. Seriously. We suppose it helps, but composers Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s score—an incredible amalgam of hip hop, R&B, orchestral music, and more—is an unbelievable listen whether you know who Power Man is or not. This exclusive release contains two LPs, beautiful cover art by Matthew Woodson, and ships in late November. (Mondo, $35)
Reading Monstress is like visiting the world of an epic Japanese role-playing video game that doesn’t actually exist. The series tells the story of Maika, a young girl from an occult race of creatures who have been enslaved and harvested like livestock in the aftermath of a large-scale magic war that rocked an alternate-reality Asian continent.
Sana Takeda’s artwork makes Monstress one of the most beautiful comics being published today flood your eyes with sumptuous Art Deco detailing and melodramatic storytelling. (Image Comics, $6)
The acclaimed, award-winning author has written novels, poetry, short stories, TV scripts, and non-fiction—so maybe you aren’t shocked to discover her latest work has ventured into the realm of graphic novels, but that doesn’t make it any less great.
Aimed at readers ages 8-12 years old (but anyone older can enjoy it, too), Angel Catbird is all about a scientist’s adventures after an experiment gone awry makes him part-cat, part-bird. The second volume in the series, another collaboration with artists Johnnie Christmas and Tamra Bonvillain, is due in February. (Dark Horse, $12.08)
Even a year after The Force Awakens released, we still can’t get over the movie’s most climactic duel: not Rey vs. Kylo Ren, but Finn against that one extremely gung-ho Stormtrooper who yelled “TRAITOR!!!!” at him. Recreate the moment that spawned a thousand memes in stunning detail with this set of 12-inch tall figures from Hot Toys—Finn comes with a lightsaber, blaster, and thermal detonators, while the riot trooper comes with his stun baton, a shield, and the rifle he casually tosses aside to engage in a melee fight with a lightsaber wielder. Dummy. (Hot Toys, $360)
Death’s End is the final book in Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, which makes it the capper to both The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest while also exploring the life of a new protagonist. In Death’s End, the story is about rocket scientist Cheng Xin who comes from our time, but who wakes up in the future described in the previous two books. Her presence could easily disrupt the fragile peace everyone is working towards.
And if you have someone who loves fiction but doesn’t have any of this trilogy, why not pick up the whole thing for them? I know that I love nothing more than being promised that I’m not going to have to wait to read a whole series. (Tor, $16)
On the most recent Game of Thrones season, Sansa Stark overcame absolute horrors, emerging as the kind of strong leader we never suspected she could be. One way she asserted her newfound strength was by creating a new Stark sigil, a symbol of her determination to reclaim Winterfell alongside Jon Snow. Its direwolf motif decorates this sturdy green tote, which has a zippered top and is perfect for carrying a few George R.R. Martin paperbacks—and maybe a few snack-sized lemon cakes, too. (HBO, $26.99)
The Expanse is a show with an epic scale and very human dramas. The cast is large and diverse, and it’s a show that really understands how to integrate space and space travel into a story.
It’s also a show weaving space opera, political intrigue, and film noir into one big conspiracy thriller. It’s beautiful, it’s complicated, and it’s worth everyone’s time. (Universal, $18-21)
Did you somehow miss season one of Supergirl? Well, then your life was infinitely less fun than ours was. This is a show that reveled in having a female lead, a female mentor, and a pair of sisters as the central familiar bond, making it stand out next to its kin The Flash and Arrow. Plus, literally everything out of Cat Grant’s (Calista Flockhart) mouth is a beautiful gem. And now she’s not around anymore for the show’s second season, making this set even more precious.
The DVDs/Blu-rays include documentaries on Martian Manhunter and Krypton, a gag reel, and deleted scenes. (WB, $33-37)
Kentaro Miura’s dark fantasy manga comes to life in these three epic anime movies, collected here for a shockingly reasonable price.
In the trilogy, mercenary Guts is forced to fight for the kingdom of Doldrey, is branded an outlaw, fights a demon horde, and then things sort of get worse from there. Warning: There is no part of Berserk that is suitable for kids. (Viz, $26)
Yes, okay, it’s hard to imagine that there are people out there that don’t own Mad Max: Fury Road already. But December 6 is the day that the long-awaited black and white version is available on Blu-Ray.
This colorless version is the one that director George Miller says is the best version of the film, making this an essential for fans. (WB, $25)
If owning Fury Road the movie isn’t enough of a gift—and why should it be—then we highly recommend you also include this gorgeous 24x36-inch print of Charlize Theron’s Furiosa by Craig Drake.
Somehow, the ‘80s fashion art style suits the Imperator perfectly, and let’s not forget she’s the real hero of the film. Only 225 prints were made, which makes them almost as valuable as water and gasoline. (Hero Complex, $65)
Kamala Khan is one of the biggest heroes to come out of Marvel Comics in years—a hero that’s inspired a whole new era of hip, young, and diverse superhero stories in mainstream comics.
Kamala’s riding high in the current comics, striking out on her own as a member of the Champions after a stint with the Avengers, but if you’ve not been keeping up with her, this extensive omnibus, featuring the character’s first series (before Marvel re-launched its comics line up last year) and other Ms. Marvel-focused vignettes from issues of SHIELD and Amazing Spider-Man, is essential reading material. (Marvel, $52)