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GameZone's 2012 Holiday Gift Guide: Comics and Books

It’s not easy finding a gift for the gamer who has all the year’s hottest titles.  That’s why we’ve compiled a list of art books, comics, and novels related to our favorite obsessions. From the Art of Halo 4 to the History of Sonic the Hedgehog, there's plenty of reading material that gamers would love to have. Take a look at our top 10 picks.

The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia

This 248-page hardcover collects a wealth of historical information on Hyrule, the rustic land of The Legend of Zelda series, as well as the official chronology of the games -- which you could debate until the cows come home to Lon Lon Ranch.

Hyrule Historia is a gem for any Zelda lover. It contains concept art, an introduction by creator Shigeru Miyamoto, and an exclusive comic from Zelda manga artist Akira Himekawa. The full retail price for Hyrule Historia is $34.99.

Hyrule Historia page

The Legend of Zelda manga box set

All 10 volumes of Himekawa’s manga, by the way, would make an excellent gift. The collection tells the stories of Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages, Four Swords, The Minish Cap, A Link to the Past, and Phantom Hourglass. Luckily, you can buy the box set for $69.99 (or cheaper, like on Amazon. These things are always cheaper on Amazon.)

The Legend of Zelda manga boxed set

The Art of Assassin’s Creed 3 and Awakening: The Art of Halo 4

What could look better as a living-room centerpiece than coffee-table-sized art books of your favorite video games? The Art of Assassin’s Creed 3 ($29.95, 144 pages) from Titan Books contains concept art and plenty of commentary from the game’s artists to match. It’s an inside look at the game world and characters in their American Revolution setting.

Titan also recently published Awakening: The Art of Halo 4 ($34.95, 192 pages), which takes readers behind the scenes and gives them a tour of the worlds, heroes, and enemies of the recently released Halo game. The series is more gorgeous than ever. With a new developer comes a new style, and this provides a glimpse into the inner workings of 343 Industries.

Awakening: The Art of Halo

Penny Arcade Volume 8: Magical Kids in Danger

One of the most popular video game web comics now has an eighth volume in print. The 112-page Magical Kids in Danger ($14.99) compiles every strip from 2007, along with commentary from creators Jerry Holkins (“Tycho”) and Mike Krahulik (“Gabe”) as well as a foreword by Cliff Bleszinski, the creator of Gears of War.

The Spellbound Edition, only available online, features a special embossed and foil-stamped cover. It’s 119 pages and costs $15.

Penny Arcade Volume 8: Magical Kids in Danger

The History of Sonic the Hedgehog (plus more art books)

Udon Entertainment released The History of Sonic the Hedgehog ($49.99), which covers 20 years of the blue Sega mascot’s history. The hardcover packs in 300 pages and details the 2D and 3D, the spinoffs and crossovers – along with character profiles, concept and promotional art, and Sonic’s origins.

On an added note, the publisher is offering a ton of art books this year, too, including The Art of Darksiders 2 and Valkyria Chronicles 3: Complete Artworks (both on December 11), Marvel vs. Capcom: Official Complete Works, Persona 4: Official Design Works, DISGAEArt!!! Disgaea Official Illustration Collection, and others.

The History of Sonic

The Art of Journey

One of the most popular PlayStation Network exclusives and best examples in the games as art debate is Journey. The Art of Journey book (which fetches for a pricey $60) explores the ideas and visual development of the game. Art director Matt Nava writes about Journey’s style, narrative, and game design and discusses the iconic wanderer, cutscenes, and landscapes as well.

The 188-page hardcover is filled with concept art, pencil drawings, and fan art. It also comes with the “Journey AR Viewer,” a free companion augmented reality app for Android and iOS that allows readers to point their device’s camera at the book’s images to reveal 3D models from the game. (You can test it out here.)

Purchase the art book and you'll also receive a code for the official soundtrack on the PlayStation Store. 

The Art of Journey sample

The Walking Dead Compendium, Volumes 1 and 2

For those who have been enjoying Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead episodic adventure, the comic books that they (and the hit TV show) are based on would make great extentions to the experience. Image Comics has published the first two compendium books of the series, each collecting a whopping eight volumes. Together, that’s practically nine years’ worth of comics and almost the entire line.

Each costs $59.99. Or you could preorder the retail edition of The Walking Dead game to get a limited edition version of the first compendium. 

The Walking Dead Compendium One

The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect

Maybe you couldn’t find time to visit “The Art of Video Games” exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum this year. That’s all right -- you have plenty of chances to travel and see it for yourself as it tours the U.S. from now until 2016.

Or you can just buy curator Chris Melissinos’s book ($40), which details 40 years of video game history and includes interviews with prominent designers and artists, like Warren Spector and Tim Schafer. Whichever’s easier for you.

The Art of Video Games sample

Mistborn Trilogy Boxed Set

Mistborn: Birthright is due out in fall 2013, which is good because action-role-playing game fans have well over 2,000 pages of reading to do before then. The list price for Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy is $23.97, which is less than you’ll probably pay for the game. You’ll want to pick up the fourth, stand-alone book, too, though: The Alloy of Law. At least it’s shorter. 

Mistborn

Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover, Volumes 1 and 2

Color is a wonderful thing. Now you can own the first two volumes of Scott Pilgrim -- Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World -- as full-color hardbacks ($24.99 each).

The video game adaptation might be 2-years-old by now, but remember the downloadable content with online multiplayer and Wallace Wells as a playable character? No? That’s because it still hasn’t arrived, but it’ll release one of these days. Probably.

Scott Pilgrim Color

Let us know if we missed any good ones from 2012, and happy shopping!

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Tags: The Legend of Zelda, Halo 4, Assassin's Creed 3, Sonic, Journey, The Walking Dead, Mistborn, Scott Pilgrim

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