HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE, PART ONE
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…”
It’s the perfect time to get your geek on, too. The fanboy culture is in full blossom at the box office and in pop culture beyond, and this holiday season there’s a mountain of gifts and gadgets that speak to the Comic-Con constituency. Here are some of the most heroic:
“FRINGE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON” ($60 for DVD, $80 for Blu-ray): “Fringe” may be the best sci-fi show on television right now, which is saying a lot considering the crowd of competitors. The series was impressive from its very start for its production values, casting and cerebral ambitions, but early on it was missing a certain something; I didn’t stop watching and I’m glad I didn’t because by the middle of the first season the show found its groove (in part by finding a defining rhythm that wasn’t beholden to a rigid, single-episode procedural pace). Like “The X-Files” (yes, it’s hard not to compare the two, considering the starting-point premise of FBI investigations into the paranormal), this show has an intricate and still-unfolding mythology. It’s not too late to jump on board, especially with this polished Warner Home Video collection of the entire first season on seven discs with extended scenes, loads of commentary, featurettes on special effects and the science of the show, a “Deciphering the Scene” feature for true “Fringe” students, a gag reel and more. The Blu-ray is worth the extra money, the features are even better and the show’s cinematic approach lives up to the format.You can find it at retailers everywhere or directly from Warner Home Video. Want to read more about the show? Check out the Hero Complex visit to the Vancouver set.
TAUNTAUN SLEEPING BAG:
($100) This may be the best nerd gift of the year. Originally made as
“THE HUNTER” GRAPHIC NOVEL: ($25) Here’s one of the best graphic novels of the year and a killer gift — Darwyn Cooke’s sublime adaptation of the hard-boiled antihero created by Richard Stark (the pen name of the late, great Donald Westlake). The handsome book boasts Cooke’s spare and stylized artwork (think somewhere between the vintage cool of “Mad Men” and the storytelling flair of Milton Caniff’s “Steve Canyon” comic strips), and the 144-page tale from IDW Publishing is a meticulously faithful adaptation of the 1962 novel of the same name that introduced the scowling Parker. Available through most book merchants or directly from IDW. You can read more about this great book in the Hero Complex feature on Cooke and his mission to bring Westlake’s classic character alive in a new way.
“TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY” LIMITED EDITION: We don’t know if “Avatar” will live up to its billing as “a game-changer” for special effects, but director James Cameron already pulled that feat off once with “T2” and its then-startling quicksilver CG effects. I’m a bigger fan of the first movie in the franchise (better story and none of Ed Furlong’s petulance) but this limited-edition packaging ($115) of the sequel is too sweet to ignore with the 14-inch, skinless, glowing-eyeball bust of the T-800 that even makes sound effects. This six-disc (!) definitive packaging comes with every “T2” featurette and extra to date, including the Skynet Blu-ray edition of the film. That’s fine, but did I mention that the metal skull makes noises and its eyes glow? Cool. This package was just released by Lionsgate in May so there’s a good chance that fans you are shopping for may not have seen it before. A great gift, too, for any old college friends who now work in the Schwarzenegger administration who are spending Christmas in Sacramento for the last time. You can find it for sale at a variety of merchants.
HERMIONE’S EARRINGS, STARFLEET CUFF LINKS and “THE DARK KNIGHT” MONEY CLIP : If you’re looking for a sly, understated gift for “Harry Potter” fans (you know, something that doesn’t scream “Muggle!”) consider these graceful earrings of sterling silver and pink crystals ($59) fashioned as an homage to the ones worn by actress Emma Watson on screen. You can find them at the Warner Brothers shop along with a staggering array of wizard merch. In the same low-key vein, for fanboys who don’t want to loudly broadcast their obsessions, there are some nifty Starfleet cuff links ($65) that are crafted from enamel and plated silver and have a bullet back closure; you can find them (as well as a Klingon counterpart product) at Cufflinks.com. We also like the folding, magnetic Batarang money clip ($39) from the Noble Collection that would fit the sleek sensibilities of Bruce Wayne but might be too small for the wad of spending cash he keeps in his utility belt.
— Geoff Boucher
READ the 2008 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE