The most crass, commercial, and quite frankly scary time of year is upon us…the impending cloud of “Black Friday.”  Now, as the father of two wonderful little girls whom I want to shower with gifts and fun stuff, I fully understand the desire to save some money and get your shopping done.  But let’s remember something; it seems every year more and more people are injured or literally trampled to death in the name of saving $100 on a 36″ HDTV.  Can you think of a more depressing way to leave this planet than to die just inside the doors of Wal-Mart because some idiots behind you couldn’t wait to get the $25 Blu-ray player that they could get online or next week for about the same place?

I also don’t want to get too political, but seriously, folks, spend your money LOCALLY, and even better, spend it on artists and creators who work hard to give you your daily entertainment.  As I have done a mostly comics-related podcast for over five years, I naturally have my finger on the pulse of that world, and have made many friends in it.  These are hard-working artists and writers, and if you’re going to spend your money this holiday season, why not support the arts? Get comics for yourself and your kids, get them for your friends and family. If you’re getting a Kindle or an iPad, go out and get some $0.99 ebooks and apps from cartoonists and writers you know or have heard about.  And at the very least, don’t do all your shopping at Target and Wal-Mart. Every city has great “mom and pop” independent stores that need your help, and there are tons of craft fairs and public markets this time of year.  Wanna stimulate the economy? Then spread the wealth around to the small businesses that make up the foundation of this country.

Here’s a list of books and things to buy from some of my favorite comic artists and writers.  Many of them are friends, but they’re here because I truly love their work and want them to be successful so as to keep making all this great stuff to read. Remember, too, that most of your favorite webcartoonists and writers have “Donate” buttons on their sites, and $5 or $10 would be a huge help for them to keep going.  So, Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!

(And if I’ve missed someone or a book YOU recommend, put it in the comments!)

Irma Eriksson of “Imy” has her THIRD book out! You can get all three, or various combos! Buy here!

Lex Fajardo is trying to get Kickstarter funds to publish his third book! Give him some love and get a GREAT book!

Krishna Sadasivam does consistently amazing work on “P.C. Weenies.”  Go get some of his cool stuff!

Dawn Griffin of “Zorphbert and Fred” has more stuff to get than you can imagine! GREAT for kids to get into comics!

Justin Thompson, one of my favorite co-hosts and the artist I always wanted to be, sells his “Mythtickle” book here! Gorgeous!

Robin Dempsey is a vibrant voice for long-form web-graphic novels, and you can get her “Leylines” books here!

Jonathan Mahood’s “Bleeker The Rechargeable Dog” is funny and utterly perfect for kids! Get it here!

Francesco Marciuliano has a huge hit on his hands with “I Could Pee On This, And Other Poems By Cats.”  If you have a cat, or know a cat owner, just trust me…get it!

Tim Rickard does consistently hilarious work on “Brewster Rockit.”  Go get on board this hilarious space comic!

Mary Varn of “NPC” always makes me giggle with her work, and now you can get her 2013 calendar here!

Steve Ogden is a Renaissance Man of the highest degree; animator, artist and writer. His ghoulish collection of short stories “Headstones and Monuments” is GREAT.

Lucas Turnbloom’s “Imagine This” has been a favorite for many years. Go get his books NOW!

• If you’re a fan of “Tom the Dancing Bug” by Ruben Bolling (and shame on you if you’re not), then join his INNER HIVE, and get the comics early with very cool insightful commentary from the man himself.

Chris Sparks put together the most beautiful and amazing book to help raise money for Parkinson’s research in the name of “Cul de Sac” creator Richard Thompson. Artists from all over put in their homages to Richard’s work, and the result is simply stunning. And part of the money goes to Parkinson’s research…talk about win-win! Get it here!

Suzie Plakson, actress, singer, writer, artist, has completed her newest work “King Lillian.” Read the book, listen to her amazing audiobook!

Keith Knight is impossibly funny and insightful...get his books and more here!

Brian Anderson of “Dog Eat Doug” is a great cartoonist, but wait until you see his kids books! Get his beautiful artistry here!

Brad Diller does the really funny single panel, “Funday Morning.” Book 2 is available now!

Dave Coverly is a personal fave, and he needs to put out more books! Buy the ones he does have out right here!

Mark Tatulli enters the world of comics aimed at kids. No words, great sense of humor, and stuff kids love like zombies and monsters! Can’t go wrong with “There’s a Monster in My Socks!”

Tom Richmond is offering only 120 Artist Editions of his “Mad Art of Caricature” book, where he’ll draw YOU inside! Seriously, people…this doesn’t happen much! Get it now!

Greg Cravens does “The Buckets” and his new comic “Hubris.” His mighty facial hair commands you to buy a very funny book!

John Hambrock of “The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee” is funny and his line work is to be envied with the passion of a thousand suns! Get his book here!

• And finally, you can get books, framed art, and much more from your favorite strips by simply going to the GoComics store.  It’s a great place to make it simple to get a print of your favorite artist’s work!  Check it out here!