Can’t afford a family trip to Comic-Con? Here are some holiday gift ideas for the pop-culture geek in your life.
For the music lover
▪ Digital may be the format of the moment, but younger people are growing more aware and appreciative of physical copies via records and cassettes. Classic albums are a good place to begin a record collection, and everything from The Smiths to Third Eye Blind to Willie Nelson is enjoying the deluxe re-issue treatment ($22 and up, depending on how deluxe). For fledgling young music fans, try a boom box and an array of classic cassettes, or a kitschy, suitcase-style record player (starting at around $75 to $100 and available in fun designs, from Mickey Mouse to Star Wars) and a stack of used 45s that you can pick up for a dollar apiece.
For the toy enthusiast
▪ Lego Ideas’ new Women of NASA set features mini figures of four pioneering females: astronaut Sally Ride, computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, engineer/physician Mae Jemison, and astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, and their corresponding builds. It’s a sought-after item, so if you can’t find it at your local gift shop or Lego Store, keep an eye out for inflated prices from online sellers. Retail is $24.99.
▪ Vinyl toy maker Funko makes plastic figures of practically every licensable franchise you can imagine. One of this season’s hottest pop properties is “Stranger Things” Wave 2 with Mike, Dustin, Will and Lucas dressed as Ghostbusters ($10-$15) – with a special Hot Topic exclusive of Max in her Michael Myers’ costume. Chains like Hot Topic and Toys R Us have collectibles and toys even adults can enjoy, as do local comic book shops like Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find and Rebel Base, which both carry retro fare like vintage GI Joe toys and classic comics.
For the art aficionado
▪ There’s plenty to peruse at Goodyear Arts (516 N. College St.) and pop-up events like the Dead & Company pre-concert party at Triple C Brewing (2900 Griffith St.) on Tuesday. And Etsy, Society6 and individual galleries and artists sell prints and originals online; a few favorites include L.A.’s Gallery 1988, New York’s Spoke Art, Bottleneck Gallery and Heroes Complex, all of which often host pop culture-themed shows inspired by films, comics, TV, games, toys and books.
▪ Online hubs like RedBubble, TeePublic and Society6 make it easy to find wearables and home décor tailored for very particular tastes, from device cases and stickers to wall art and home decor. This includes original themes and characters, as well as artists’ takes on iconic characters like Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Wonder Woman. If your tastes skew more toward, say, literary quotes or inside jokes about your chosen profession, those options are often there, too. $20-$45.
For the fashion fanatic
▪ What’s old is always new again, so retro may be the way to go with a cute ’50s-inspired dress from Plaza-Midwood’s Stash Pad or a worn-in vintage concert T-shirt from The Rat’s Nest in NoDa.
▪ Who could’ve predicted the comeback of the enamel lapel pin? These tiny metal buttons pay homage to everything from classic horror films (www.demonicpinfestation.com) to Eastland Mall (www.pathattack.com) to noodle bowls and Sriracha (https://shop.100soft.us/collections/pins). There are also badges, which once adorned many a jean jacket and are enjoying their own resurgence. $5 to $10.
▪ While a tin of tube socks may be lame, the selections from Odd Sox are inspired – whether it’s ’90s Nickelodeon characters like Arnold and RugRats, Slick Rick or Cheech & Chong. $14.99; available in knee and ankle lengths. www.oddsoxofficial.com.
For the book buff
▪ Introduce kids to hip classics through Eric Morse and Playdoh artist Anni Yi’s “What Is Punk?” and “What Is Hip-Hop?” series, although keep in mind that some of the band names may not fly with Mom and Dad ($11-$16). On the flipside, adults fascinated with the macabre may be drawn into Riley Sager’s fictional account of surviving a serial killer, “The Final Girls” ($15-$26), or former Manson acolyte Dianne Lake’s memoir, “Member of the Family” ($18-$27). If you want to avoid horror all together, go for a veg-friendly cookbook like the 10th-anniversary reissue of “Veganomicon.”