Special Edition Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Collected, and collectible, sets of books, albums, and DVD/Blu-rays

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Dec 2, 2016

Ah, physical media. How quaint. And yet, as you’ve converted to all al digital, the very special gift recipient of your life still loves to collect DVD and Blu-ray discs, vinyl albums, and books! With pages!

Well, if that sounds a bit old-school, you’ll be thankful for that giftee when the zombie apocalypse begins, and you’re holed up in their bunker with an electric generator and time to kill – and no access to the cloud.

Of course, zompocalypse notwithstanding, these special edition gift guide items are also pretty darn great for anyone who wants to decorate their Hobbit hole with cool sets that show off their fan devotion, or whenever they simply want to enjoy their fandom without needing an Internet connection! And don't miss our other 2016 gift guides of gateway to fandom items, toys/games/replicas, and nerdy lifestyle recommendations. 


​Penguin Galaxy Science Fiction Classics Hardcover Set
Out of the 50 or so titles Penguin Classics has turned out as handsome clothbound hardcovers over the past few years, a spare few qualify as science fiction or fantasy. (That short list includes Dracula, and Frankenstein.) With this six-volume set, Penguin turns their attention wholly to some of the modern giants of genre fiction: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dune, Neuromancer, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Once and Future King, and The Left Hand of Darkness. Instead of the Victorian wallpaper motifs of the previous Penguin Classics, these volumes evoke the space age with a purely typographical cover design, and all six volumes tuck into a groovy colored lucite display box. There’s even a new series introduction by comics and fantasy legend Neil Gaiman. ($225) —Denny Watkins

 

Varese Sarabande Little Box Of Horrors Soundtrack Collection
Tired of the endless Christmas music chiming in your ears?  Here's a darker alternative to the omnipresent cheery carols with soundtrack recording label Varese Sarabande's Little Box of Horrors, a terrifying treasure of fright flick soundtracks for the macabre music lovers in your life.  Or wrap one up for yourself and toss it under the tree with a "From Santa" tag.  This creepy collection includes many never-before-available scores and out-of-print reissues to flesh out your auditory offerings, all packed in a limited-edition black case and 24-page booklet containing liner notes and fun facts about these supernatural scores.

Set includes the following: Deadly Friend by Charles Bernstein, Dracula 2000 by Marco Beltrami, The Fly by Howard Shore, The Hidden by Michael Convertino, Maniac by Jay Chattaway, The Mephisto Waltz / The Other by Jerry Goldsmith, Mimic: Deluxe Edition by Marco Beltrami, A Nightmare on Elm Street by Charles Bernstein, Pumpkinhead by Richard Stone, Scream: Deluxe Edition by Marco Beltrami, The Serpent And The Rainbow by Brad Fiedel, and The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde by Bob Cobert.  ($99) - Jeff Spry

The Art of Castle in the Sky by Hayao Miyazaki
Literally send the Ghibli-phile in your life to a city in the clouds with an art book that won’t stay grounded on any coffee table for long. Hayao Miyazaki uses every enchanting page to capture the magic of his mystical anime tale about a floating island, an ancient people, an unlikely heroine and a glowing blue amulet that defies gravity. It’s almost like a vacation brochure of Laputa. Miyazaki’s latest Studio Ghibli art book to fall from the sky ventures into themes of courage and corruption that stay afloat on otherworldly illustrations. Think scene after fantastical scene of racing zeppelins, enchanted caves, arcane magic, lost civilizations and antediluvian robots set aglow by the incandescent element of aetherium. That isn’t the end of the skybound journey. Beyond waits an entire hidden world of exclusive interviews, concept sketches and animation cels that whisper the secrets behind conjuring this modern fairy tale. Levitation may be a side effect. (hardcover, $18.53) –Elizabeth Rayne


The Roddenberry Vault
You don’t need to travel to the final frontier to find the perfect gift for a Star Trek fan. Instead, just get them this three-disc Blu-ray set released for the 50th anniversary of The Original Series. It comes packed with an impressive range of features. The set includes 12 episodes ,such as “The City on the Edge of Forever” and “Space Seed,” all new interviews with cast and crew like William Shatner and D.C. Fontana, and three special documentaries. There will be plenty of never-before-seen material as well. You can preorder the set now before it’s released Dec. 13. ($50.99) —Lisa Granshaw


Marvel Netflix Deluxe Vinyl Soundtracks by Mondo
Mondo made their name by creating cool original posters for re-releases of classic movies like the for the legendary Alamo Drafthouse theatre in Austin, Texas. They’ve since expanded into creating collectibles like these deluxe double-LP vinyl editions of the soundtracks to the Marvel Netflix series Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Each one is pressed on colored vinyl — red for Daredevil, purple for Jessica Jones, gold for Luke Cage — with all-new cover and interior artwork by designer Matthew Woodson. It’s also worth mentioning this new series also includes similarly stunning collectible vinyl treatments for the soundtracks of Gremlins, Planet of the Apes, The Monster Squad, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Fountain, and the Back to the Future trilogy. ($25 each) —Denny Watkins

 

The Twilight Zone The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

You might be enjoying Black Mirror on Netflix these days, but why not take the sci-fi anthology genre all the way back to the source? The entire Twilight Zone series is now on glorious Blu-ray, featuring all 156 episodes of Rod Serling’s seminal sci-fi series. This definitive collection includes high definition transfers of the episodes and a bevy of special features. Highlights include the unofficial pilot episode “The Time Element,” plus the unaired pilot cut of “Where is Everybody?” (along with Serling’s network pitch). The set also include a blooper reel, Twilight Zone radio dramas, and vintage video interviews. No, it’s not exactly cheap. But, it’s totally worth it. ($291) -Trent Moore

 

 

Middle Earth Limited Collectors’ Edition Blu-Ray Box Set
If you’ve somehow managed to raid Smaug’s stash of ill-gotten gold and come up with $800 to burn before rousing the beast, the diehard Tolkienite in your life can get the dragon’s share of VIP features in this ultimate digital tour de force of Middle-Earth. Not that there aren’t less extravagant ways to own the entire DVD saga. It’s just that they don’t include leatherbound books that could have come straight from Gandalf’s library, which open up to reveal extended multi-disc editions of all six films with 67 hours of bonus content. Never mind the bookshelf for these that could pass for a movie prop because it was designed in collaboration with Peter Jackson, a sketchbook full of original concept drawings and never-before-seen new artwork with a replica Red Book of Westmarch, and exclusive framable paintings for that Hobbit-hole ambience. The only thing better (and more expensive) is flying to New Zealand to raise a pint at the Green Dragon. ($799.99) –Elizabeth Rayne

 


Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box Limited Edition Trilogy
With his 1987 directorial debut Hellraiser, Clive Barker created a gruesome horror universe that put aside the slasher tropes of the 70’s and 80’s and opened the door for what eventually grew into the “torture porn” genre. In this four-Blu Ray collector’s set, you’ll get newly remastered 2K HD editions of the first three Hellraiser films, audio commentary tracks by Barker, actress Ashley Laurence, and other crew, plus behind the scenes footage and documentaries about the series. It also includes a 200-page hardcover book Damnation Games by Clive Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes, a 20-page booklet with Hellraiser concept art, and a fold-out poster. We just hope you weren’t planning to sleep much at night after re-watching these horror classics. ($125) —Denny Watkins

One Piece Box Set 3, Thriller Bark to the New World by Eiichiro Oda
For the comics-obsessed Japan geek is just as into Bleach as Batman, this swashbuckling pirate series is a high-seas departure from the usual action-adventure epic. Get on board with Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates as they set sail seeking the legendary One Piece—aka the holy grail of forbidden treasure. Supernatural manga fans won’t want to miss exploring this one either. The world of One Piece is crawling with giants and dwarves as well as deep-dwelling Neptunians and humanoid hybrids such as fishmen and minkmen. Not to mention mollusks with technological advances, invisibility spells cast with magical sea-prism stones, a rainbow of colorful mind control techniques and the mysterious “devil fruit” that gives the ship’s captain paranormal powers. While Box 3 includes volumes 47-70 (along with an exclusive poster and mini-comic), it’s impossible to drown. Even someone who didn’t dive into the series at high tide can navigate the new arcs. ($117.93) –Elizabeth Rayne

 

Jack Kirby: Pencil & Inks
2017 will mark the centennial of the birth of comics’ greatest genius, Jack Kirby. So there is no better time to dive in and get the full understanding of why he’s known as The King. There is no shortage of excellent books on Kirby available, including the Eisner Award-winning Kirby: King of Comics. But Jack Kirby: Pencil & Inks by IDW provides a unique opportunity to examine the staggering power of his artwork. You get side-by-side examples, in pencil & ink, from 3 Key Kirby books from his DC days: Kamandi #1, The Demon #1 and Omac #1. The pages are scanned from the actual original art pages Kirby and his inkers worked on, and if you’ve never seen raw Kirby pencils, prepare to have your mind blown. Whether you're a hardcore Kirby-phile or a newbie, this is a fantastic peek into the process of the man behind the Krackle. ($49.99, available in Dec.) - Mike Avila

Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie
The Force will be strong with you this holiday if you give this beautiful two-volume book set to a Star Wars fan. Ralph McQuarrie’s art helped define the look of the original trilogy and classic characters like C-3PO and R2-D2, leaving a legacy that still impacts the franchise today. This set collects McQuarrie’s stunning work, including some never-before-seen pieces, all in one place along with unpublished interviews and thoughts from those who knew him. It’s the definitive collection of the influential artist’s work that will surely have you feeling like you’re transported to the galaxy far, far away as you peruse it’s 800 pages. ($155) —Lisa Granshaw

DC: The New Frontier Deluxe Edition
The late, great Darwyn Cooke’s magnum opus was recently collected in this beautiful book. Those who have never read The New Frontier (or have only seen the amazing animated adaptation) are in for a treat, with Cooke’s reimagining of the Silver Age, coinciding with the dawn of the Kennedy administration. This collection also includes Justice League: The New Frontier Special #1. The superfan might also want to get their hands on the beautiful collection of “New Frontier” figures ($28 each) put out by DC Collectibles. ($75) - Henry Hanks
 

Aliens 30th Anniversary Blu-ray
A stellar release worthy of one of the great science fiction films of all time, the Aliens 30th Anniversary Blu features a pristine HD transfer of the original film. We won’t bother going into the premise and plot because, well, if you’re reading the Blastr gift guide, you better know what Aliens is about, or its ‘Game Over, pal!’

But, you get to choose between the original theatrical version and the Director’s Cut, which is about 17 minutes longer. The Bonus Features crowd will enjoy the 16 deleted scenes and the audio commentary (taken from the 2003 special edition DVD release), as well as a brand-new ‘Making Of’ featurette that is only available to be streamed from Fox’s site. An essential add to any film fan’s library. ($9.96 on Amazon) - Mike Avila