Columns > Published on December 13th, 2013

10 Great Geek Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Know some geeks? Sure you do! Here’s what to get them this year for the holidays. I even managed to include a few books!


MST3K 25th Anniversary Collector's Tin! Oh man. This show. I remember discovering it when I was about 19, during my second year of college. My first thought was “Is this real?” quickly followed by “I have found my people!” If you know anyone who’s a fan, this limited edition collector’s tin is filled with a handful of the show’s best never-been-released episodes  — featuring both original creator Joel Hodgsen as well as Mike Nelson. It is a must have. The set includes The Day The Earth Froze — widely considered one of MST3K's best episodes ever. Also included are a handful of special features including a three-part documentary. I know this is on my list.

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One of the best board games I’ve ever played — especially when it's with a clever, creative (and funny) group of people — is The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Game. The gist is that players look at New Yorker Cartoons without captions and come up with their own. Players score points by having the best caption as voted by whoever’s turn it is, as well as accurately guessing which caption was written by which player. This game is not new (I bought mine years ago), and as a result it’s actually become hard to come by, but it's worth the search (and in some cases, the elevated price tag). Amazon still has some available, so run don't walk to your nearest linkage. If you’re a board game junkie, or know anyone who is, I urge you to snap one of these up as it’s a unique game and one that everyone I’ve ever showed it to has enjoyed the hell out of. Well, except that one guy, but there's always one of him, right?

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I confess to a weakness for awesome flash drives. Last year I had the excellent Batman flash drive from Mimobot on my list. This year, the "to die for superhero flash drive" is easily these articulated Iron Man gloves. So incredibly cool. This is certainly on the high side, price wise, for an 8gb flash drive, but let’s face it, you buy this and you’re not paying for the size of the drive, you’re paying for the awesome factor. I’ll say it again ARTICULATING IRON MAN GLOVES. So cool.

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Two of the best comics of all time, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples Saga, and Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye, also happen to be recent enough that it’s easy to bring any reader up to speed. Both books had their Volume 2 trades newly out in 2013, which is what I'm linking to here, but it’s easy enough to pick up the Volume 1 trades as well, and together that will bring readers from inception to almost current. If you want an epic, hilarious, space opera that’s decidedly adult with stunning visuals, then Marko and Alana’s adventures in Saga are perfect for you. If you’d prefer to read about what the slightly (and sometimes brutally) down on his luck Hawkeye from the Avengers does in his downtime, and want to laugh your head off while marveling at truly phenomenal storytelling, then Hawkeye is the book for you. Personally, I'd recommend investing in them both. You won't regret a minute you spend reading them, or a penny you spend acquiring them.

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Newly out this year is an omnibus collecting Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s bold and sometimes insane take on the X-Men: the New X-Men. A hardcover clocking in at 1120 pages, this is the X-Men at their most interesting and admittedly off the wall. Collecting New X-Men #114 to #154, a 2001 New X-Men Annual, as well as some fun extras, this is a gorgeous addition to any bookshelf. And the reading isn’t half bad, either. Omnibus's can be tricky in that they're sometime too large and cumbersome to be easily read, but it's hard to resist having this collection all in one place and easy to pull off the shelf.

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Why is this Batman keychain so cute?!? While I’m partial to Batman, as always, there’s a whole adorable line of these, including the rest of the Justice League — Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and even the never included Martian Manhunter! Additionally, while collectibles like these often give superheroines the shaft, the line also includes an old school Catwoman, a Hawkgirl, and a Harley Quinn (as well as an adorable Joker). I confess after finding these I added them to my own wish list — and had to resist adding the entire line. So hard to choose!

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One of the best webcomics I’ve ever read (up there with Kate Beaton’s Hark, A Vagrant!, but tapping a very different but equally hilarious vein) is Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half. Just this fall an awesome edition collecting her strips: Hyperbole And A Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened was released. You can check out Brosh’s comics here if you want to see if they pass a litmus test, but I promise you that after losing an hour of your day to cackling madly at your computer screen, you’ll be buying the collected edition anyway. In fact, you’ll probably be buying one for whoever is on your list and one for yourself. This book is on my list and if my family and friends fail me, it will be my first post-Christmas purchase.

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Goodnight iPad, a parody of the infamous nighttime reading story Goodnight Moon, must come from the mind of an exceedingly clever genius. Charming and perfectly in the spirit of the original, but updated for our obsessive device driven society, Goodnight iPad is pretty much adorable. The link below is to buy via Amazon – where you can get Goodnight iPad in print – which pleases me greatly despite seeming somewhat counterintuitive. You can also buy Goodnight iPad at the Amazon link for Kindle, which is just...weird. Should you want the more appropriate Goodnight iPad on an actual iPad, here’s your link.

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Rutu Modan’s latest book, The Property, was released earlier this year, and like everything else she’s done, it’s wonderful. Beautifully illustrated, subtle but poignant, and emotionally resonant without ever feeling cloying, it’s easily one of the best graphic novels of 2013. It also happens to be a gorgeous hardcover edition that will be at home on any well-stocked bookshelf. Sure to show up on many “Best of 2013” comics lists, you really can’t go wrong with The Property. If you’re feeling extra generous, consider picking up Modan’s excellent Exit Wounds while you’re at it.

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These “Batarang Throwing Knives” are so cool. I hope my friends and family are reading so that these end up in my stocking this year. Yes, they serve absolutely no functional or reasonable purpose (although the "someday we’ll probably be in a zombie apocalypse pessimist in me" forsees a world in which I throw them expertly at zombie heads) but the geek in me cries out for them all the same. They are pure hardcore fun. According to reviews they do not actually have the logo/words on them as pictured (a bonus as far as I’m concerned). Word to the wise, these are imported from somewhere (China?) and shipping speed seems unclear. One reviewer mentions that they take a long time to ship/arrive, while another says they arrived in a matter of days, so be careful when ordering to check ship dates.

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Hope these ideas struck a chord for some geeks you know, or perhaps helped you flesh out your own wish list. If I missed anything utterly brilliant that you found this season, be sure to share it in the comments.

About the author

Kelly Thompson is the author of two crowdfunded self-published novels. The Girl Who Would be King (2012), was funded at over $26,000, was an Amazon Best Seller, and has been optioned by fancy Hollywood types. Her second novel, Storykiller (2014), was funded at nearly $58,000 and remains in the Top 10 most funded Kickstarter novels of all time. She also wrote and co-created the graphic novel Heart In A Box (2015) for Dark Horse Comics.

Kelly lives in Portland Oregon and writes the comics A-Force, Hawkeye, Jem & The Holograms, Misfits, and Power Rangers: Pink. She's also the writer and co-creator of Mega Princess, a creator-owned middle grade comic book series. Prior to writing comics Kelly created the column She Has No Head! for Comics Should Be Good.

She's currently managed by Susan Solomon-Shapiro of Circle of Confusion.

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