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Gifts for comic book lovers 

This week, Creative Loafing's cover story is designed to provide cheap holiday gift ideas. But if you've got a little more cash, here are a few graphic novels that would make great gifts for the comic book lovers in your life:

Watchmen (hardcover): Before the film version hits the big screen next summer, get your hands on this hardcover copy of Watchmen. Most comic readers and critics consider it the "greatest graphic novel of all time" -- and with its detailed art and complex take on superhero mythology, I think they're right on the money. The newly released hardcover offers the same story as the trade paperback, but also features a new slipcover, re-colored pages and a ton of backmatter (such as conceptual drawings and essays). On top of that, it's just a damned-attractive book. Published by DC Comics. $39.99

A People's History of American Empire: Author Howard Zinn made a name for himself in 1980 when he wrote the book A People's History of the United States. That text was one of the first to tell history through the eyes of ordinary people. Now, more than 20 years later, Zinn has adapted his greatest work into a graphic novel with A People's History of American Empire. This new release, however, slightly differs in that it focuses on America's actions abroad and how those actions shaped life in the United States. Published by Metropolitan Books. $30.

Potential: I love autobiographical comics like Potential by writer/artist Ariel Schrag. With its scraggly, childlike drawings, Potential offers up true-life tales about the author's junior year in high school -- wherein she tries to lose her virginity to a boy and has a love affair with a girl, among other adventures. Good stuff. Published by Touchstone/ Simon & Schuster. $15.

Some reviewed materials supplied by Heroes Aren't Hard to Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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