The season of giving is upon us. Holiday songs have hit the radio. Bright décor has lit up your neighbors’ windows. People are flocking to malls armed with wish lists. For those of us with slim wallets, or a lot of friends, or a love of indie publishers and artists — or a combination of the three — we have the perfect recommendation: minicomics. Nothing says you care like a $4 to $10 thoughtful, (often) hand-made, hand-picked book. Here are our favorites, available from local booksellers, just for you.
$4 at Quimby’s
The narrator of “Virago” is as resolute as the minicomic’s design is thorough. Black and green color the pages and even the thread binding. Dense drawings and stripped-down prose deliver a short, poignant story about strength and invincibility.
Perfect for: kids whose youth makes them feel like they can do anything; anyone nearing 30 who needs a reminder that they’re not that old.
Oscar Arango, Victor Devlin, Scott Partridge
$5 at Chicago Comics
Issue #1 is brought to us by the Culture Initiative, a Charlotte, N.C.-based arts forum. Risograph printed in an edition of 200, this piece unfolds into five drawings. Keep it on your shelf or hang it on your wall. And be on the lookout for issue #2.
Perfect for: day dreamers; folks who maybe aren’t into comics; illustrators.
Fixated: Three Fictional Stories about Obsession
$5 at Quimby’s and Chicago Comics
Corinne Mucha’s stories ask all the important questions: What in our lives is actually in our control? Can we ever gain control, or is it just an illusion? What does it mean to know ourselves? Find the answers in this collection.
Perfect for: Data analysts; anxious friends; English majors.
$5 at Quimby’s
The latest installment of minicomics in kuš! komiksi’s series is all winners, but our favorite is Mikkel Sommer’s “Limonchik.” The dog that the Soviets launched into space in 1957 finally returns to earth. Charming art won’t prepare you for what happens next.
Perfect for: dog lovers; fans of “The Martian”; survivalists.
$8 at Chicago Comics
Emi Gennis tells a breakup story, but it isn’t your typical one. Most of this beautiful comic consists of landscapes and views from a car, which create a quiet, meditative space. Flashbacks to a troubled relationship build tension, telling us everything we need to know with as few words as possible.
Perfect for: drivers; minimalists; fans of ***serious*** comics.
Breaking is Opening
$10 at Chicago Comics
The oversized “Breaking is Opening” isn’t exactly a minicomic, but it’s impossible to kick off the list. The comic envelopes you in intricate red drawings that, with the text, remind you what it feels like to be in love. Wrap this one up in our cover and keep it out of the stocking.
Perfect for: your dearest friends and lovers.