HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE, PART TWO
Stressed about finding the perfect gift for that special Muggle, Trekkie, Twi-Hard, Jedi or Bat-fan in your life? Relax and read on: You’ve come to the perfect place at the perfect time, because this is the 2009 Hero Complex Holiday Gift Guide — just think of us as a sort of retail Yoda guiding you through the complicated swamps of holiday shopping. “Buy or buy not. There is no browse…”
“Star Wars” Garden Jawa: Do you know someone that has a gopher problem and a fixation of the George Lucas universe? Well, of course you do — who doesn’t? Just last month, the Garden Jawa ($35) went on sale exclusively at Star Wars Shop. Not even a cranky Bantha could resist this little guy, who is close to a foot tall and comes ready for the garden — he’s got tools tucked into his bandoleer and a garden hose clutched in one gloved hand while the other flashes a thumbs-up symbol that seems to say, “Howdy-ho neighbor, may the Force be with you!” For a new product, he’s sure covered a lot of famous ground already; he also seems built for the long haul since he is molded out of all-weather resin.
Tim Burton’s Oyster Boy light-up Journal: There’s a towering pile of super-cool items from the gifted oddballs up at Dark Horse Deluxe in Oregon, and I had a tough time deciding which to include in the gift guide. In the end I went with one of the Tim Burton partner creations, the Oyster Boy light-up journal ($15), which is such a melancholy and unexpected gift that it will bring a brief flicker of a smile to the face of that pale friend of yours who loves rainy days, black clothes, the Cure and every Burton movie featuring a cemetery or castle scene. This 128-page hardcover journal just hit shelves in May but the character first appeared in Burton’s 1997 book “The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories” (yes, being old-school and relatively esoteric makes it even better). The cover shows Oyster Boy wearing his human mask and trick-or-treating beneath a starry sky — and the stars light-up with sparkling lights embedded in the cover. You should check out the other Burton merch from Dark Horse, too.
“Star Trek” DVD: What’s the best movie of the year? Well, we could debate that all day but I can tell you that, without a doubt, my favorite movie of the year was “Star Trek,’ which brought the long-under-performing film franchise to maximum warp, perhaps for the first time ever. The DVD and Blu-ray releases live up to the film, too, and dollar-for-dollar, they may be the season’s best gift for sci-fi fans. The extras on the two-disc version are strong, too; J.J. Abrams is one of the best in Hollywood when it comes to an erudite but accessible director’s commentary that is neither self-aggrandizing nor snore-inducing. The gag reel is actually funny. The nine deleted scenes on the Blu-ray, meanwhile, are actually pretty intriguing and show that the film could have gone into some substantially different sections of the story. The birth of Spock, trimmed from the start of the film, is worth wacthing for sure, as are the grim sequences with Klingons — although they do kind of remind me of Spartans from some interstellar version of “300.” And, oh yes, I love that critic’s blurb on the box. It’s available as a single DVD ($29.99), a two-disc DVD ($39.99) and a three-disc Blu-ray set ($39.99). Available just about everywhere.
Scene It? “Twilight” for the Nintendo Wii:
OK, here’s the one gift on this list that I wouldn’t want for myself but, hey, a gift guide is about giving, not getting, right? “The Twilight Saga” is in a full-force in American pop culture right now and if you have a Twi-Hard on your holiday shopping list, this might be the perfect fit. Scene It? is, for the uninitiated, a very successful brand of trivia games that incorporate video clips in the game play, but this is the very first edition in the Scene it? series to be available for the Wii game platform. The Konami release just hit stores on Nov. 24 and costs $50, although there are better prices to be found out there. It is rated T for teen due to mild blood, mild violence, some suggestive themes and a drug reference, but there’s nothing here that’s not in the first film.
Marvel ArtWorks: The classic artwork of Jack Kirby seemed too powerful, too kinetic and too, well, cosmic, to fit on the pages of Marvel Comics in the glory days of the 1960s and now, thanks to the folks at Every Picture Tells a Story, some of the late artist’s iconic images are getting the massive, archival display they deserve. Every Picture Tells a Story is a gallery in Santa Monica and they have secured a license with Marvel to turn key covers into museum-quality pieces of art. The first 10 limited-edition prints were released this year and they look amazing. New releases each year will present signature covers from different eras of Marvel’s history; this first batch of canvas prints included the Hulk by Dale Keown, Iron Man by Joe Quesada and the Silver Surfer by Gabriele Dell’Otto. The cream of the crop, though, are two cover by Kirby: “Captain America’ No. 100 and “Fantastic Four” No. 49. Only 70 of each were made (which is fitting — this is the 70th anniversary of Marvel) and they are going fast — they were also signed by Stan Lee, adding another layer of collectibility. The Kirby glycee prints are $850 each, prices for the other covers vary, but you can find them at at the gallery’s website.
CHECK BACK THIS WEEK FOR PART THREE OF THE GIFT GUIDE
— Geoff Boucher