One-Shot Comics and Graphic Novels to Give to Friends Who Don't Read Comics

List Rules
Vote up the comics that are most rewarding to a wide audience of readers who don't pick up single issues.

Any true nerd, any certified Batmaniac or Marvel True Believer, will undoubtedly have a holiday wishlist full of comic books, graphic novels, and superhero-related merchandise. Shopping for the geeks on your list can usually be accomplished with a single trip to your local comic shop, where there’s never any shortage of nerdity. While the single-minded obsession of the comic book fan makes us an easy person to buy for, it can also make it difficult to give gifts to others. How can we, as pop culture outsiders, reach out to a more mainstream crowd in order to brighten their holiday seasons with thoughtful presents and stocking stuffers?

The good news is, it’s not really necessary to stray too far from your nerdy roots to find the perfect gift for a special someone. Comic books and graphic novels have never been a more diverse medium, and 2016 just so happened to be yet another banner year for the four-color page. No matter who will be on the receiving end of your charitable endeavors, this list is sure to provide you with easy gift ideas like one-shot comics that will both make their day AND help bring them closer to your own geeky, geeky world. Keep reading to find out the best comics to give as gifts.

  • 1

    Description: Saga has become an instant classic in the comic book world, but it is published so slowly, with so many breaks, that anyone could catch up reasonably quickly. Billed as “Star Wars for adults,” Saga is the sort of thing that simply can’t be described, and has to be experienced personally.

    Perfect For: Any science-fiction fan of any kind, provided they’re old enough, will quickly get wrapped up in the world of Saga. Its deep and layered story has a habit of pulling people in, and the dynamic characterization of literally every character in the comic will make it appealing to just about anyone.

  • Description: Moon Knight is sometimes described as Marvel’s answer to Batman, but that’s selling him short. He’s a character best known for his mental illness and multiple personalities, something that is used to weave a mind-boggling story in this newest volume of adventures.

    Perfect For: Any fan of Marvel’s various Netflix series looking for a new character to follow will absolutely fall in love with Moon Knight. However, the series’ sincere and honest look at mental illness would also make it an interesting read for anyone concerned with or interested in such things.

  • Description: Contrary to the appearance of Batman and the Joker on the cover, this is mostly a work of non-fiction. Paul Dini is a legendary Batman creator, but this book tells the tale of his nearly fatal mugging and the impact it had on his life. He intersperses his own experience with the expectations created by his fictional work.

    Perfect For: Dark Night works on a lot of levels, so it’s a multi-faceted gift. It features true crime, poetic introspection, and hardcore literary analysis. Anyone who likes reading in general will probably find something of value here.

  • Description: Brian K. Vaughan is a legend when it comes to comic books and Paper Girls is the latest brilliant work on his already amazing resume. The series follows a group of, well, Paper Girls, who find themselves caught up in mystery, intrigue, and lots of sweet bicycle chase scenes.

    Perfect For: Brian K. Vaughan just produces good literature, so any fan of reading should enjoy this. Vaughan is particularly known for character development and, in this case especially, strong female protagonists, so do keep that in mind when considering this gift.

  • 5

    Description: Tom King came seemingly out of nowhere to become a worldwide comic writing superstar in 2016 and Vision was his magnum opus. What starts out as a lighthearted look at everyone’s favorite android trying to build himself a robot family soon devolves into a dark and twisted tale of morality, consequence, and the very core fibers of humanity.

    Perfect For: Honestly, even though Vision stars a character featured in a Hollywood blockbuster, it is so good that even the snobbiest of readers can enjoy it. King layers his writing with a ridiculous amount of foreshadowing, memorable imagery, and cruel irony, crafting an instant classic of the medium.

  • Description: Marjorie Liu’s brand new fantasy epic, Monstress, definitely hit the comic scene with a splash in 2016. The series has drawn praise both for its world-building and its breathtaking art, provided by Sana Takeda.

    Perfect For: Monstress features strong themes of female empowerment, making this a great gift for anyone looking for that, and who isn’t these days? The artwork on display in Monstress is so powerful, however, that any fan of visual effects will surely take notice.