2011 was a great year for Books & Comics in a Bloody-Disgusting way. From a surprisingly tender look at the inner emotional workings of a zombie to the return of Clive Barker to his native stomping grounds – there’s no shortage of variety when it comes to the horrific printed page. And a bonus, most of these puppies are pretty cheap and make excellent stocking stuffers to compliment that $300 dollar Predator figure you know you’re buying for your creepy uncle. On the not so cheap side of the prose spectrum are those coffee table books – but they’re well worth it since you’ll probably look at them almost every day until the next Chopping List rolls around.
List Price: $24.00
This novel is currently being adapted for the big screen by writer/director Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness) and I picked it up out of curiosity related to that project. It doesn’t skimp on gore and zombie apocalypse stuff, but it has a surprising take on the zombie condition and a good amount of heart. In the coming year you’re going to be hearing this compared a lot to Twilight – but it’s not like that at all. I can’t stand Twilight. Warm Bodies is a genuinely well written zombie romance story that doesn’t sell itself short with empty Seth Graeme Smith hackwork.
List Price: $24.99 (each)
Stephen King’s gunslinger Roland Deschain takes on new life in this critically acclaimed series of graphic novels penciled by Luke Ross. At this point I’ve lost count of exactly how many Dark Tower books (comic or prose) but it’s such a compelling combination of character and world that fans are still eating it up almost 30 years after the publication of King’s first foray into his twisted version of the wild west.
List Price: $19.95
If you’ve got a die-hard fan of the ‘Walking Dead” TV Show in your life (and the ratings suggest that you do) then you couldn’t go wrong starting at the beginning and picking this puppy up for him/her. It details both the creation of the comic and the show with interviews, on set photography and interview with Robert Kirkman and Frank Darabont.
List Price: $100.00
And if you’ve got a “Walking Dead” fan in your life that’s also a die-hard comics reader then this is what you may wanna aim for. This most recent volume compiles 24 issues of Robert Kirkman’s grisly and engaging comic inside some rather handsome packaging.
List Price: $24.99
The fourth installment in Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s series of graphic novels hasn’t let their die-hard fans down one bit. Hill’s pedigree is impressive (he’s Stephen King’s son) and he’s followed his famous dad rather successfully into the world of graphic novels. Fans of Hill’s earlier novels (and obviously the earlier installments of “Locke & Key”) will no doubt get a kick out of unwrapping this one.
List Price: $40.00
For my money, John Landis’ American Werewolf In London features the single best movie monster design of the past 30 years. I really don’t feel like people had gotten werewolves right before that film and oddly they don’t seem to have gotten them right after it either. So who better to compile a book of some of Hollywood’s best creatures from the past 100 years? And in what other book can you find John Landis interviewing Sam Raimi and John Carpenter? None. A perfect addition to the horror fan’s coffee table.
List Price: $50.00
I know this book is a a few years old, but it can’t be stressed enough what a great buy this thing is. If John Landis’ book is one of the great horror coffee table books of the year, then Peter Bracke’s “Crystal Lake Memories” is a great horror coffee table book for the ages! This thing features hundreds of interviews, beautiful pictures, concept art and a frank look at the all of the glories and flaws of every F13 movie from the original up through Freddy Vs. Jason. It truly is exhaustive, I’ve had mine for four years and still pull it off the shelf regularly.
List Price: $24.95
If you’re anything like me, The Return Of The Living Dead is one of your favorite zombie movies. I remember pulling away from my parents at the theater when I was a kid and sneaking in to see about 5 seconds of this thing. It just so happened that the onl thing I saw was the zombie munching on some guy’s head saying. “More Brains”! I was fully freaked and ran back out of the theater. Years later I finally saw the film on cable, the first zombie movie I saw in its entirety and I was amazed by the mix of humor and horror. I had never seen anything like it. I never knew it was destined to be the classic it now is though and this companion book has over 300 interviews and covers all of the films in the series. A must have for zombie and horror comedy fans.
List Price: $45.00
At 633 pages the newest edition of Kim Newman’s “Nightmare Movies” offers some of the most thorough analysis of the horror genre that you’re bound to find. If you know a critical thinker who spends a lot of time thinking about the ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘when’ of horror history, you can do a lot worse than picking this up for them. A complete historical and sociological study of the horror genre.
List Price: $14.95
Not a lot of analytical content at all in this one, rather just a fun stocking stuffer for just about anyone who likes zombies or retro kitsch. Even if your mom hates Dawn Of The Dead she probably has fond memories of the atomic era, so why not zombify them?
List Price: $9.99
Clive Barker returns to his most famous creation. Help a fan wash the taste of those sequels (including the horrible Hellraiser: Revelations) out of their mouths by picking this up for them for the holidays. This is only the 3rd time Barker has visited this world and the (here’s hoping) ongoing graphic novel is in canon and continuity with his original film. A must have for anyone who needs their faith in Pinhead restored.
List Price: $12.99
The adventures of Tony Chu continue in Volume 4 of this great little series about the future’s greatest semi-psychic FDA agent. A great stocking stuffer for someone already into the series, though it’s a fun enough book that if you know someone who isn’t already into it buying them the entire (affordable) series might not be such a bad idea.
List Price: $25.95
An examination of how directors like Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper and Brian DePalma infiltrated Hollywood from the inside out and redefined horror into what the genre represented in the 1970’s and onward. Author Jason Zinoman even delves into the production of the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the interesting financing ties that made it possible. Another strong analytical read for the brainier types on your holiday list.
List Price: $39.99 (each)
The 4th and 5th installments of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s epic Preacher saga. Perfect for family members who don’t take the holidays so religiously and for fans of harsh language, characters environments, new west flavor and vampires. The 5th one doesn’t come out until November 29th, so there’s very little danger of your intended recipient already owning it.
List Price: $34.95
If you know anyone who’s a fan of horror classics, especially the old Hammer Films, then this is the treat for them this season. Hammer Films historian Marcus Hearn has compiled and amazingly detailed compendium of ephemera from the studio’s heyday. Featuring production designs, correspondence between the studio and its stars, unused posters, pre-production artwork etc… this book truly is a blast from the past.