While going through the trades for this holiday list, I tried to focus on ones that would be good gifts for non-comic fans or to pull fans into new universes of characters. Today's is a great trade to introduce fans to the world of Harry Dresden and to bring Dresden fans into comics.
The Dresden files is a highly successful series of novels by Jim Butcher that focuses on the only Wizard for Hire in the Chicago area. He handles cases on his own and consults for the Chicago P.D.'s Special Crimes division where he works with Lieutenant Karen Murphy. Murphy is a by-the-book officer that has accepted that the book is missing a few chapters dealing with the Supernatural. Over the sixteen plus novels in the series, the Dresden universe has grown to include a host of interesting and colorful characters including multiple versions of vampries and werewolves, fairies, demons and even a spirit in a skull that likes porn.
Welcome to the Jungle is unique as it was published by Del Rey and put together by the Dable Brothers. Written by Jim Butcher and drawn by Ardian Syaf (Batgirl) and it is a prelude to the novels and an original tale. So if you have only read the books, you are missing a story.
In WttJ, Dresden is pulled in on a case at the Chicago Zoo. A guard has been murdered and the higher-ups want a gorilla to be blamed and the case to be closed. But Murphy sees holes in the theory and has called in Harry to take a look. But he only has 24 hours to find out who is really behind the murder. Harry ends up having to protect a young woman employee of the zoo, fight off a pack of jungle cats and take on a hag or three… all billable to the CPD.
WttJ is a great diving in point for folks wanting to get into the Dresden Files. It gives us enough of his abilities, characteristics and cohorts to get a feel for the series, but you don't get overwhelmed with issues like the White Council, the Red Court or any of the other people who seem to want Dresden out of the way. It's also a great gift for any Dresden fans as this story takes place prior to Storm Front, the first Dresden Files novel. Its written by Jim Butcher himself, so you know it has to be canon and the cover is by Chris McGrath, the artist who does the covers for the novels.
Plus, who doesn't like a Wizard named Harry?