Have you ever been faced with trying to find that perfect holiday gift for a child or teen in your life who likes comic books? Don't worry, we got you covered.
We've assembled a crack team of experts, who also happen to be Comic Book Yeti contributors, to help you out. Below you will find a wide range of options for various age ranges.
Happy Holidays, and reading, from all of us at Comic Book Yeti.
Writer: Eric Grissom
Illustrator: Will Perkins
Recommended by Matt Carr
The classic idiom "don't judge a book by its cover" is fantastically transferred to the comic book page in writer Eric Grissom and artist Will Perkins' coming-of-age story, Goblin. The hero is a yellow-eyed, green, toothy goblin named Rikt who sets out on an adventure to avenge his parents and find his place in the world. Rikt is accompanied on his Odyssey-like journey by a white wolf he names Fish-breath—a loving companion that sprinkles ample joy and comic relief on every page. The only real monster readers will encounter is a white guy with a crown and his vain quest for glory.
Goblin is recommended for readers 10 and up, though it's perfectly suitable for younger readers with parental supervision. Fans of the Adventures of Tintin and The Hobbit will enjoy the creative team's expert world-building and their protagonists' lovable underdog heroics, all while taking in a valuable life lesson.
Writer/Illustrator: Molly Knox Ostertag
Recommended by Matt Carr
Witch Boy from writer and artist Molly Knox Ostertag is set in a magical world where all boys grow up to be shapeshifters and all girls grow up to be witches. It's forbidden for these lines to ever be crossed and those that do are banished. That's a big problem for 13-year-old Aster, because he's fascinated by magic and spells. Every chance he gets, he eavesdrops on witching lessons, secretly copying down spells into his notebook. Unlike other boys his age, he's the only one that hasn't shifted. However, when a dangerous presence starts threatening Aster's friends and family, it's his unique disposition that may just be the key to saving everyone.
Witch Boy is a heartfelt tale of personal discovery recommended for readers 8 and up. With simple imagery and words, Ostertag expertly shows how nonsensical it is to limit or define an individual based on their gender. It's a wonderful lesson to teach kids early on: that you can be whatever you want to be and how you look or the way you were born should never get in your way. Tired of living in a world where only boys get to play with toy trucks and girls get to play with Barbie dolls? This is the book for you.
Fantastic Tales of Nothing
Co-creator: Alejandra Green
Co-creator: Fanny Rodriguez
Recommended by Jimmy Gaspero
Fantastic Tales of Nothing was born from the friendship of Alejandra Green and Fanny Rodriguez. It tells the story of Nathan, a young gambler in a bit of trouble who finds himself magically transported to the Booreal Forest where he meets Haven, a mysterious individual that does not speak Nathan's language. Nathan and Haven must work together as they navigate some of the dangers of Nothing and along the way join up with Sina, a volken (she can transform into an animal) and Bardou, a half-human/half-volken. The four must find common ground as they are swept up in a plot to plunge Nothing into war and Darkness.
This is a 300+ page graphic novel, beautifully illustrated, that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. It's perfect for kids between the ages of 8-12, especially kids that enjoy stories of adventure and magic. I particularly love the use of Esperanto as the Ancient language spoken by Haven as well as the inclusion of Haven as a nonbinary character with they/them pronouns. The use of humor often offsets some of the darker elements of the story, especially the self-referential nature of the Prince's dialogue. Both I and my daughter Charlotte (age 9) loved it.
Writer/Illustrator: Mike Barry
Recommended by Christa Harader "Cabbage"
Mike Barry’s Action Tank is one of the best comics made for kids I’ve ever read. Everything hits, from the design to the edification, the humor to the plot, and it’s crafted with exceptional design, imagination and care. Writing children’s stories is difficult. Comics are another beast when it comes to determining the level of humor, complexity and violence that’s appropriate for a space epic for ages 7-12.
It can be easy to scale back too much – kids are resilient, smart and flexible, and they understand more than we can fathom. Action Tank is a fine balance of these three necessary elements, and Barry goes to town with mysterious sidekicks and a comical-but-threatening villain. It’s a joyful, fascinating and sweet book that takes its time with plotting and adds tons of world-building details for kids to enjoy.
Dungeons & Dragons: Legends Of Baldur’s Gate
Writer: Jim Zub
Illustrator: Max Dunbar
Recommended by Luke W. Henderson
Being cornered by some vicious gargoyles, wild mage Delina fights back, unleashing a spell that inadvertently brings the statue of Baldur’s Gate legendary hero, Minsc the Beloved Ranger, and his hamster, Boo (who Minsc insists is from outer space). The two meet the thieves Krydle and Shandie who help them flee the guard and eventually agree to help Delina find her lost brother. The premise alone makes this an extremely enjoyable read. Every main character is distinct and they play off each other well. Despite having conflicting personalities, they manage to find ways to help each other and bond as friends.
Zub is a master at recreating the fun and, at times, wacky antics that happen during a friendly D&D session while also telling a compelling story. Legends Of Baldur’s Gate is a perfect introduction to comics as it doesn’t ask much beyond having fun and enjoying the interactions between the heroes. Kids who love shows like The Dragon Prince or Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia will feel right at home with this comic.
Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Balder's Gate is currently not in print circulation. eBay has copies available for around $5.
Superman Smashes The Klan
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Recommended by Jodi Odgers
Superman Smashes the Klan opens with the Lee family from Metropolis’ Chinatown into the center of the seemingly multicultural city. However, not all is as it seems, as undercurrents of intolerance and bigotry soon flare up in the form of the Klan of the Fiery Kross surrounding the Lees’ house. Superman must not only root out and overcome the Klan, but face aspects of his own identity that he has tried to leave behind.
This story is as important as it is enjoyable. It is a tale of dealing with intolerance and racism and of finding the strength to be yourself. The art from Gurihiru is colorful, clear, and bright, and perfectly blends with the morality tale that Gene Luen Yang weaves through the breezy three chapters. It is a story that holds both entertainment and educational value for anyone who reads it. If you want your children to read a book to enlighten them about some of the darker realities of the world and how to deal with them, Superman Smashes the Klan is a superb place to start.
Garlic and the Vampire
Writer/Illustrator: Bree Paulsen
Recommended by Byron O'Neal
Garlic lives in a quaint village with a bunch of other vegetable folk when a rumor starts to circulate about a vampire moving into the previously abandoned local castle. Confronted with the reality that they need to respond to the new threat, Garlic is selected to confront the creature for obvious reasons. With everyone counting on her, she must overcome her anxiety and self-doubt to save the village.
Garlic and the Vampire is a delightful all-ages graphic novel focused on community and is a fantastic model for younger readers who struggle with anxiety. Paulsen has created with Garlic an approachable introduction to the fantasy genre here that has just enough of a touch of peril to be scary but not too much so and would be appropriate for ages 8 and up. Don't tell the kids, spoiler, the vampire just ends up wanting to get to know his neighbors and to help with the gardening so this is much milder than options like Goosebumps or similar.
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