As Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' "For The Man Who Has Everything" makes clear, there's little harder than buying gifts for loved ones -- even defeating yellow aliens with psychotropic plants was easier for Wonder Woman than getting Superman something he didn't already own. The holiday season reminds us of this problem every single year, but perhaps the problem is that we're aiming too low in terms of budget and ambition. If you're willing to spend a little more, it turns out that there's a wide world of gift options available for the comic book fan in your life. Here are ten of the most generous.
Admittedly, not all comic art will be outrageously expensive, and that's a good thing -- dealers such as <a href="http://www.romitaman.com/">Mike Burkey</a>, <a href="http://www.albertmoy.com/">Albert Moy</a> or <a href="http://www.beguiling.com/artstore1a.asp">the Beguiling</a>, to name just a few, offer original work from fan-favorite artists for an affordable amount. For the more ambitious -- or maybe we should just say "wealthy" -- shoppers out there, there are always auctions of more rare work, like <a href="http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryPiece.asp?Piece=1077730&GSub=151851">this Jack Kirby page from <em>Fantastic Four</em> #40; recent auction prices have topped six figures for particularly popular pages.
Sure, there are mass-produced sonic screwdrivers for the casual <em>Doctor Who</em> fan to play with, but everyone knows that the true <em>Who</em> fans would prefer a <a href="https://store.qmxonline.com/River-Songs-Sonic-Screwdriver--Artisan-Master-Series_p_198.html">limited edition recreation of River Song's screwdriver</a>, as built by hand by <em>Who</em> prop master Nick Robatto in Cardiff, Wales, where the show is filmed. Only 15 of these replicas will be produced, while might explain the hefty $3,499.95 price tag.
It takes a lifetime of training to be Batman -- but only $2,072 to look like him, thanks to <a href="http://www.udreplicas.com/products/batman-begins----pre-suit-replica-nomex-design.html">this collection of replica props</a> from Christopher Nolan's reign as Batman director. To be fair, that's not an exact price, because this replica costume lacks the two most distinctive features of Batman's look: the cape and cowl (The $2,072 total also include two sets of boots -- you could just choose between the <em>Batman Begins</em> or <em>Dark Knight Rises</em> boots and save yourself $219). Clearly, Bruce Wayne has ensured that wannabes can't <em>totally</em> bite his style so easily.
Instead of settling for replicas of movie costumes, why not go for the real thing -- or, at least, a <a href="http://www.propstore.com/product/spider-man/spider-man-prototype-wrestling-costume-shirt/">prototype for the real thing</a>? This first attempt at the wrestling costume worn by Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi's first <em>Spider-Man</em> movie from 2002 may not come in a variety of sizes -- it is, officially, "a blue Land’s End brand ladies turtleneck (size L, 14-16) [featuring] a large amount of red tape attached to the chest/stomach and continues in a stripe pattern down the shoulders and arms," according to the description, but as a one-of-a-kind piece of superhero movie history, it might surprise you that it costs less than the replica Batman costume, at "just" $1,495.
For those who would rather worship at the altar of evil -- or, at least, morally corrupt science at the behest of the Nazis -- there's this impressive piece of memorabilia from 2011's <em>Captain America: The First Avenger</em>: <a href="http://www.propstore.com/product/captain-america-the-first-avenger/full-hydra-soldier-display-and-rifle/">The complete costume of a Hydra soldier</a>, including a Tesseract-powered backpack and rifle -- both of which are, in actuality, made out of rubber. This all-in-one gift package comes complete with a specially-constructed mannequin to display the faceless drone look, just in case you want to practice your own Captain America-esque fighting moves in the privacy of your own home. But then, you'd expect no less for $12,495.
Perhaps your gift recipient would prefer fighting evil than admiring evil's fashion choices, however. That's not a problem -- they could do so with <a href="http://www.entertainmentearth.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PTBACNAR#.UqY1FI2E5OB">these full-scale replicas of Nightwing's weapons</a>, tying into the <em>Batman: Arkham City</em> video game. Not only do you get LED-lit Escrima sticks for your $1,049.99, but you also get throwing darts and other Dick Grayson-centric ephemera (A ticket to watch the Flying Graysons at the circus, anyone?). Just the thing you need to become your very own urban vigilante.
Look! There in your living room! Is it a very stationary bird? Is it an unmoving plane? No, it's <a href="http://www.wbshop.com/product/man+of+steel+superman+life+size+statue+smsnstat01.do">a life-size statue of Superman from this summer's <em>Man of Steel</em></a>, described as "the ultimate collectible for serious Superman fans" by Warner Bros. While the statue may not look entirely like actor Henry Cavill, "serious" fans can at least reassure themselves with the knowledge that the costume was created using the same 3D computer modeling data as used by the movie's costumers. Whether that's worth the $3,996.95 asking price, however, remains open to question.
Of course, let's just assume for a second that your friend already <em>owns</em> a life-size Superman statue. How can anyone compete with that? The answer is obvious -- by giving him a villain to face off against. And what better villain that <a href="http://www.sideshowtoy.com/collectibles/terminator-t-800-endoskeleton-sideshow-collectibles-400060/">a life-size Terminator exoskeleton</a>? Imagine the fun to be had with this elaborately expensive recreation of <a href="http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Superman_vs_The_Terminator_Vol_1">the little-remembered <em>Superman Vs. The Terminator: Death to the Future</em> mini-series</a>! It'd be just like playing with action figures except so much heavier and so pricey -- the Terminator alone is $5,999.99 -- that it'd probably be safer all around to just sit in front of them and use your imagination while making "pchoo pchoo" noises.
Who, really, wouldn't want to have an Iron Man armor somewhere in their house? Preferably in their basement workshop, surrounded by lots of <em>other</em> Iron Man armors, of course, but this $8,499.99 recreation of the armor from this summer's <em>Iron Man 3</em> may deserve a slightly more visible location to earn its keep. Over 7 feet tall, this life-size replica also had LED light-up eyes, arc reaction, palms and display base -- for when you want to pretend that you're Tony Stark and your beloved creation is being controlled by your subconscious and is out to destroy you while you sleep. Haven't we all had those moments?
It genuinely sounds too good to be true, and for $200,000, it probably should. This is a street-legal <a href="http://www.hammacher.com/Product/12197">recreation of the Batmobile from the 1960s Adam West TV show</a> that not only looks exactly like the original, but also features a rear-facing propane tank so that, yes, you can have an afterburner effect just like the not-so-dark knight himself did in the series. Admittedly, it lacks the oft-mentioned atomic batteries and turbines, so you'll have to rely on more traditional means for power and speed, but still, eyes on the prize here: This is a near-identical replica of the Batmobile that you could actually drive around yourself. Start writing your letters to Father Christmas right now, just in case.