Pop Vinyl Beast bobblehead (£8.99)
If you think of X-Men’s Beast, you most probably imagine a vaguely ape-like superstrong mutant, who happens to have blue fur and the kind of bite you really want to avoid. If you’re only familiar with the movies, you might instead wonder if that guy from Frasier needs a bit of a shave. Either way, it’s fur, fangs and ferocity, with an undercurrent of clever. The threat’s rather less overt in bobblehead form, where Beast is more likely to elicit an “Awwww, bless” than an “Arrgh! Run away!”
The Dandy and The Beano Classic Christmas Covers 1937–1969 (£20)
For decades, many thousands of British children have had a kind of association with Christmas and D.C. Thomson’s much-loved duo of The Beano and The Dandy, the latter of which sadly expired this year in its last-gasp digital form. Although annuals are still produced, this licensed collector’s item volume twangs the nostalgia glands more successfully, reproducing dozens of classic festive covers.
Marvel Monopoly (£30)
Monopoly used to be all about the big cities, but we recently saw a set based on Reading in Berkshire. Seriously. Fortunately, some iterations are more interesting, such as this one that replaces property tiles with famous comic books. Instead of a land-grab, the game becomes a frenzied chase to amass the perfect (Marvel-themed) comic-book collection, using Magneto’s hat and Captain America’s shield as player tokens. We also suspect if you sneakily try to pass Go and collect 200 quid rather than going to jail, The Hulk will punch your face off.
Womanthology: Heroic (£38)
Something comics need a lot more of is women creators – and Womanthology is a hugely impressive showcase for their work to inspire the next generation. It started life as a Kickstarter, aiming to create an anthology that would feature over 140 women, including Fiona Staples, Barbara Kesel and Ming Doyle. The end result is a lavish 300-page volume that also includes tips and advice. If that’s not enough, profits from the book are being donated to various charities, including those that help orphans, educate girls and assist women who need healthcare.