Comics fans tend to have strong feelings about the types of comics they like, and sometimes it can be hard to buy for them because it seems like they have everything. Never fear! Here’s the first part of our Digital Comics Gift Guide, featuring an array of gifts for comics fans who have everything, as well as those who are just getting started.
Gift Cards and Gift Comics
iTunes, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble gift cards will buy comics for iOS apps and iBooks, Kindle, and Nook, respectively, but comiXology is now offering gift cards as well. In addition, if you know a particular comic is on someone’s wish list, you can get it as a gift on comiXology or Viz Manga website: Just click on the gift-box icon next to the comic and they will take you through the steps from there.
For Superhero Fans
If you know someone who like to binge on comics, reading full runs of a story arc or a character at a time, a subscription to Marvel Unlimited will allow them to read thousands of comics without having to purchase and download each one. The library includes over 10,000 Marvel comics, starting from the very first issue and going up to as recently as six months ago, so it’s a great gift for newbies who want to catch up on 70 years of continuity as well as nostalgia freaks who want to read all the comics they had as a kid (and their mother threw away). This service was a bit clunky until they came out with an iOS app this year, which makes for a much more pleasant reading experience than flipping through the comics in a web browser and allows the user to download up to six issues at a time. Marvel makes gift-giving easy with a gift subscription option; the basic price is $69 for 12 months, and the Marvel Unlimited Plus package, which includes a shortbox, a variant print comic, and a figure, is $99.
Here’s something similar for kids (and kids at heart): The Archie Unlimited service offers over 4,000 Archie comics, with a selection that is growing every week. Right now it’s only available as part of their iOS app, but they plan to expand to other platforms soon.
For Manga Fans
Manga readers are in a class by themselves. Crunchyroll has just launched a new manga service that allows readers unlimited access to streaming manga—right now there are only 12 titles, but the selection includes Attack on Titan and Fairy Tail, as well as Ken Akamatsu’s new series UQ Holder, and more series are on the way. The manga-only premium service is $4.95 a month, and Crunchyroll offers various other bundles, including anime, drama, and discounts on merchandise. They have both iOS and Android apps.
The weekly digital magazine Shonen Jump brings the latest chapters of some of the world’s most popular manga, including Naruto and One Piece, to the small screen; new chapters are published in Shonen Jump the same week they come out in Japan. A year’s subscription (48 issues) is $25.99.
Sparkler Monthly is a digital magazine of manga-style stories from the U.S. and Canada, aimed at teenage girls and young women (shoujo manga, for those in the know). The lineup includes Jen Lee Quick’s Off*Beat, which was originally published by Tokyopop. Gift subscriptions start at $5 for one month.
A former book editor and newspaper reporter, Brigid Alverson started MangaBlog to keep track of her daughters¹ reading habits and now covers comics and graphic novels for Comic Book Resources , School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Robot 6, and MTV Geek. She also edits the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. Brigid was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards. Send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org