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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Tis The Season

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: December 2009

Well kids, it’s that time of year again. Love it or hate it, Christmas season is upon us. When I was eighteen, one of my first jobs was working at a kiosk in the Chico Mall. It wasn’t bad in the summer, I sat in a folding chair and read Palanuick novels while people meandered about. In the winter though, the mall became a completely different place. It was a battleground, with hundreds of people rushing and fighting to get through their shopping lists as quickly as possible. Working in the Chico Mall during Christmas season was a total mistake, and left me with feeling and sounding like the Grinch. However, in an effort to give the people what they want, this week I’ll be throwing out some festive gift suggestions for all the people in your life you love, (or are obligated to). And away we go…


For the Father who never quite got over his obsession with Star Wars, consider the Boba Fett replica helmet, available at Bat Comics and Games. It’s a bit pricey, but just think of seeing your Dad traipsing about the house wearing his favorite outfit topped off with a Boba Fett helmet and you tell me honestly that’s not worth the money.

Consider also: Watchmen graphic novel, The Art of Tony Millionaire, Dean Koontz’s Fear Nothing graphic novel


Even though Mom might not classify herself as a comic book fan, that doesn’t mean you can’t get her something comic-oriented for Christmas that she’ll enjoy. Consider the Wonder Woman tote bag from DC. It’s a charming throwback to the Amazon princess that will appeal to her nostalgic side.

Consider also: Collected works of Anita Blake

Moody little Brother/Sister

Emily the Strange is so last year. Slave Labor Publishing is your best bet, with a bevy of titles to suit the most discerning of tastes. Check out the Courtney Crumrin series, the Tim Burton character figures, or the collected works of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Consider also: The Umbrella Academy PVC figure set, collected Dark Tower series


If you’re on good terms with your roommate(s) and feel like spreading the Christmas cheer their way, then consider an Ugly Doll from Bat Comics and Games or www.shop.uglydolls.com.  These little guys are endearingly ugly and remarkably soft, and have an origin story that is sickeningly cute.

Consider also: Crazy Hair by Neil Gaiman, The Gigantic Robot by Tom Gauld


For your friends, whether they be nerds, bookworms, goth, emo, straight-ege, or punk rock, you’ll want to check out www.slgcomic.com and check out their massive selection of t-shirts. From “Original Nerd”, to Rex Libris, Slave Labor will have you covered.

Consider also: The My Name Is Bruce DVD, the Hellboy series, Eternals by Neil Gaiman

Arielle Mullen