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Jess Knows Best! Advice on love, life, and more for the modern geek and geekette!


Happy holidays dear readers! Another month has come and gone, and here I’m back again! Want to get the first Q&A of 2008? Send your questions to me, or visit my new MySpace page!

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Q. My husband loves comic books, especially comics with more artistic flair (he is an artist himself). I don't really know which ones he likes in particular, but do you have any ideas for a good gift for his Christmas stocking?

I really need your help!

A. To answer your question I consulted with two colleagues that are very knowledgeable on this topic:

First, we go to Comics Waiting Room genius Marc Mason for his suggestion of comics that literally fit in a stocking. Manga (Mahn-gah) (the Japanese word for comics) are usually long, book style publishings, ranging from 100-300 pages in length. While mainstream books in the West tend to lean on men in tights, Manga covers a wide range of genres. Not only will the books fit in a stocking, but manga books often feature that “artistic flair” you mentioned above. From Marc:

“If he likes action or sci-fi, I'd go with PARASYTE or PLANETES or BATTLE ROYALE or ES: ETERNAL SABBATH. For suspense, something like GHOST HUNT. If he likes umm... girls... HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS (if ya get my meaning) or GRENADIER.

“Does he like sports? REBOUND or SUZUKA might be to his taste. If he cooks, IRON WOK JAN. Does he play music? NODAME CANTABILE. Historical action? LE CHEVALIER D'EON. Mysteries? REMOTE.”

Moving on to the West, and those men in tights, I turn to Brandon Jerwa, comics author and fellow columnist for Comics Waiting Room. Though I must first say if you put any of these books in a stocking, it better be a stocking that accommodates bagged and boarded books. You wouldn’t want to buy him a beautiful book and then squish it all up in a stocking. That would be worse that not buying the book at all. Brandon suggests any of the following:

“ART OF MARVEL COMICS Vol. 1 and 2, BEST OF SPIDER-MAN Vol. 1-5, MARVELS 10th Anniversary Edition, ABSOLUTE KINGDOM COME, or MYTHOLOGY: THE DC COMICS ART OF ALEX ROSS.”

I hope this gives you plenty to ponder on the way to your local comic shop. If you find it a little too much to ponder, just get the guy a gift certificate! Print this Q&A out to put with it and you’ll show him just how thoughtful you were being when considering the gift. Plus you can cram it in his sock without fear of creasing the edges, and you’ll give him the power of choice!

Q. My boyfriend and I are both gamers. We spend most of our weekends at home together gaming together or playing our own games. The thing is, I like to have a social life as well. When we first hooked up, we lived in an area where I had a decent group of friends so there was plenty of opportunity to go out and do things with others. Now we live in a totally new city where I know few people. He is completely content with staying home on the weekends, and I'm going a little stir crazy.

Are my boyfriend and I hanging out too much? When it comes to spending time with other people, what would you advise is healthy for couples?

A. I hate to give a ‘go-to’ answer and say “compromise,” but honestly, it’s a must. Sit your boy down and tell him you’re feeling shut-in. Offer that you want to make sure he’s getting his weekends at home too, so here’s what you propose: The “One Weekend” program. He gets at least one weekend a month to sit at home and do nothing but game. In return, you get at least one weekend a month to go do something, with him. If the two of you cannot come to some common ground in spending just one weekend of four doing what you’re mate wants to do, there may be some deeper issues with regard to making sacrifices for your mate.

Now to answer the second part of your question: This is tough to work out an answer since I don’t know you and your mate personally. I myself spend 98% of my time with my husband. We have a lot in common, met as coworkers, and have remained involved in similar endeavors in our near 10 years of marriage. Many of our friends in committed relationships spend a lot less time with their mates and they are perfectly happy too. Ultimately, what is “healthy” is subject to what makes you happy and is reasonable to your mate’s feelings. This is where I get back to my answer above. On the One Weekend program, you each get one. That leaves two more unplanned weekends. On those days each of you should feel free to do what you’d like to do, with or without the company of your mate. If he objects to you venturing out without him, that’s a good time for him to get his pants on and join you, eh? Obviously, you will need to work this part out as you go, but working it out as you go is a good thing. You don’t want to come to him with a calendar and lay down the days in ink, or the schedule flexibility required in a relationship will become completely rigid and destined to be cause for disagreements. In short, play the other two weekends by ear, in a way that leaves you both feeling healthy and happy.

Any questions?

Ask Jess!
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