Ryan Thomason

WPR STAFF 2014 Holiday Gift Guide – READ EDITION

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Mmm. Books. Comics, Graphic Novels, or your good old fashioned novel. We love reading and well, it’s good for everyone. So, here are the staff picks of things you should be putting on your holiday gift guide to read!


Conan Volume 17 Shadows Over Kush

conan shadows over kush

This collects issues #1 – #6 of the new Conan the Avenger run that is written by Fred Van Lante. If you want to see some writing that took scraps of a unfinished Robert E Howard story and created one of my favorite Conan stories of all time, I suggest you pick this one up. It is simply everything you’d expect from a Conan book and more. Read our full review of the first issue

Saga Deluxe Edition Volume 1 HC

saga issue one

There are only two comics that I review here without fail. Conan being one, the other is this, Saga. To put it simply, this is how a galaxy spanning sci fi epic with tons of crazy aliens can feel like a modern day story. The characters and everything just feel so real that if you were to swap out the aliens for an all human cast this would still be an engaging drama. Read our full review


The Young Elites

The Young Elites

Marie Lu’s latest book is absolutely incredible. One of my favorites for the year. Read our full review

The Black Hour

The Black Hour

A debut novel that doesn’t feel like a debut novel, Lori Rader-Day’s The Black Hour has me a little obsessed. Read our full review


All You Need is Kill (manga): 2-in-1 Edition

all you need is kill

Did you see Edge of Tomorrow yet? No? Then please watch it before reading this book and lament how different the manga/novel is compared to that film…seriously, because nothing will ruin a good book like making a movie of it. Equal parts Heinlein and Groundhog Day brings you the story of a soldier who is forced to repeat the same day of battle against the alien “mimics” until he and his companion can find a way to ensure victory. Also, the artwork by Takeshi Obata (Deathnote, Bakuman, etc) is reason number one to pick this tome up, it’s amazing.

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances


Inspiration and reasoning behind why certain people doing horrible things to their bodies like picking up the hobby of running is addressed in this giant book that is equal parts funny, informative, and inspiring. If you’ve ever wanted to run any length of distance or wanted to get off your fat ass and start running, pick this book up…or if you know a runner, get it for them and see the look on their face when they say “how true!” to most of the content therein.


Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal

ms marvel no normal

The new Ms Marvel got its first trade paperback and this is one of the best series’ marvel is publishing right now. Kamala Khan is relateable and this is a great comic for younger readers. The art by Adrian Alphona is stunning and G Willow Wilson has found the perfect balance between humor and drama. Kamala is a fangirl, a teenager, a Muslim, and a super hero. If you haven’t been reading this series there has never been a better time to pick up the first trade paperback.

Alias Omnibus (New Printing)


I know that price seems insane but allow me to convince you otherwise. A year ago Marvel fans across the world completely lost their minds when Marvel announced Netflix series starring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. However, most non-fans have heard of Daredevil from that terrible movie a few years back. Alias introduces you to Jessica Jones, a once thriving super hero who has since retired and now works a private investigator. This explicit comic has been out of print for years but Marvel has released a hardcover copy of the entire series. Jessica’s story also helps learn more about Luke Cage as well. If you want to know what to expect from those Netflix series in a few years Alias is worth the price and a look.


Locke & Key Slipcase Set

locke and key

Wow! This slipcase set of the Eisner award-winning Locke & Key will make anyone who already owns the trades question if they could justify buying them again in this slipcase! The story is about a family who moves into a new house, the Key House, after the patriarch is killed by one of his students. The many keys hidden throughout the house aloe for strange and fantastical occurrences that culminates in a showdown between good and evil. Locke & Key is written by Joe Hill (NOS4A2, Horns) with art by Gabriel Rodriquez and is a MUST for any fan of the supernatural, horror, and comics. It is no exaggeration to say this series belongs on your shelf.

Deadly Class Volume 1: Reagan Youth TP

deadly class

Deadly Class was a favorite comic of our Comics Editor this year. The trade collects issues #1-6. A tale of Marcus, orphan and street kid, who is taken in by a school for young assassins and finds his way among his new life and classmates. Set in 1987 during the Reagan administration, this book will make those of us who are a “certain age” grin with cultural references. This is not a book to take lightly. These young assassins mean business even if it is just to get a passing grade. The striking art and colors by Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge complement the engaging story, this is a no-brainer for the comic fan in your life.

Grandville Noel


If you, or someone you know, are a fan of detectives, anthropomorphic animals, or alternate history tales, then Grandville should be at the top of your gift list. Noel is the fourth title in Talbot’s Grandville series. On his holiday break from the police force, Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock, the baddest badger around, takes on the case of a missing girl tangled up in the actions of a mysterious religious group, or cult depending on your perspective. Talbot is known for rich panels that full of references and symbolism. If you are umping in at the fourth installment, you will find that a few of the background points and character arcs are carrying over into Noël, but not so much that you won’t be able to enjoy this latest case.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

ocean at the end

Neil Gaiman’s first adult fantasy novel since 2005. If you haven’t read this already, you are missing out on some spectacular contemporary fantasy. Perfect for someone that enjoys slipping into another world through he pages of a book.

Fortunately, the Milk


I love this story, my children love this story, my dog might even love this story, or she thinks the book is food I’m not sure. I have read this to my kids a few times now, I still find it hilarious, and they still don’t get all the jokes. It was number 4 in our list of books you don’t need to be a child to appreciate. Read our full review


Rookie Yearbook Three


Rookiemag changed my life.

Founded in 2011 by teenage media mogul/overachieving queen of making me feel like I’ve wasted my entire life Tavi Gevinson, Rookiemag started out as an online magazine written by and for teenage girls. Best known by many people for their hilarious but earnest monthly video series “Ask a Grown Man”, Rookie is also a place for young girls to learn about fashion as a form of self expression, create art and photography that matters to them, explore left-of-center music and film, and write articles helping inform and help peers through hard-hitting issues. For every article about John Waters inspired craft projects and why Molly Ringwald will forever be the reigning teen queen, there are just as many powerful think pieces that have stuck with me for a long time, the two most memorable being Losing My Religion, a woman’s experiences with leaving the LDS church that really helped me after I made the same decisions, and Will Be Boys, in which a transgendered man calls out misogyny he experienced after experiencing two sides of the gender spectrum.

Every year Rookie releases a yearbook filled with their best articles, interviews, DIY projects, and artwork from the past year. The book is gorgeously done from cover to cover, and is the perfect gift for any teenager (or teenager at heart, because let’s face it, we all kind of are) in your life. Also, free stickers!


Civil War

marvel civil war

​Civil War told the story of Iron Man and Captain America taking separate sides on a Bill that forces heroes to unmask and revel their secret identities. Written by the great Mark Millar, Civil War forced all heroes to take a stand were the inevitable conflict ended with one of Marvel comics most shocking moments. This is one of Marvel’s bigger and more controversial comic events in recent memory, one that is gonna be shaking up the MCU real soon. If you want to know what the recently announced Captain America: Civil War movie is all about, and why Iron Man is also starring in it, then I suggest picking up this classic graphic novel. I have to warn you though, the end will shock you.

Infinity Gauntlet

marvel infinity gauntlet

​Speaking of Marvel’s recently announced movies, the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War is one that you may or not know much about. It centers around the Mad Titan Thanos and his Infinity Gauntlet, and is based on the classic Marvel comic story, The Infinity Gauntlet. It’s a little bit of an older comic story, but it’s still a great one. Bringing most of Marvels heroes into one cosmic story, united in one single mission, stopping Thanos from destroying the world. If you have no idea who or what Thanos and the Infinity Stones are, or even if you do, this is a graphic novel that needs to be part of any collection.

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