When looking for that perfect gift for the comic book fan (or suggestion for yourself) then value and quality are a must, so look no further than DC's 'Showcase' and Marvel's 'Essential' collections.
Since most of us can't afford to get the first bunch of issues featuring (insert your favorite character), what better way to read where most characters began.
Filling in around 500 pages, these books pack a serious value for the money and for comic fans (and prospective fans) give an incredible starting point for collectors.
People always complain that they are in black and white but I say SO WHAT!!! Sure color would be great, but where else are you gonna see and be able to appreciate the art of some of the greatest of all time; Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert and so many more.
The other amazing thing about these books is that even if you don't like the character that much, you can at least read some of the classic cannon you should know. Case in point, Thor. I don't like Thor as a character, but I got the first Thor Essential so I could know where the character came from and what he is all about.
So as you can see; value and incredible reads that are guaranteed to make you smile!