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Ask Chris #224: Tarot And The Krampus And The Worst Christmas Story

Ask Chris #224, art by Erica Henderson

Q: What's the worst Christmas comic you've ever read? -- @franzferdinand2

A: Folks, I have read a lot of Christmas comics. For a while, they were the only thing I actually "collected." I'd buy any Christmas story I could find, any comic with Santa Claus in it, anything that had the requisite number of sleighs and trees with lights on 'em, and as a result, I have seen some genuinely terrible Christmas stories. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good ones too, but when you're reading every Christmas story out there, you run across plenty that are overly cynical, mean-spirited, or just plain not very good.

And every now and then, you read the two-part Krampus story in Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, which is a piece of work unto itself.

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‘Afterlife With Archie’ #7 Has A Late Contender For Best Line Of The Year

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There are a lot of reasons to love what Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla are doing on Afterlife With Archie. There's the genuinely scary, atmospheric horror, the compelling character work that plays off the idea of horror movie archetypes, and the dark comedy that's inherent in taking America's favorite squeaky-clean teens and dropping them into an exceptionally violent and disturbing apocalypse. As for me, though, I'm mainly just in it for the deep-cut references to Archie's past.

The latest issue delivered on all four fronts, as the gang departs Riverdale in an efort to escape the massive zombie horde led by Jughead -- a phrase that is truly a delight to type -- but there's also something else about it: It has a strong late contender for the best line of dialogue of 2014.

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Gather Round The Campfire For Spooooooky (And All-Star) Guest comics In ‘Lumberjanes’ #9

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If you were paying attention back when it was originally solicited, you probably already know that the smash hit Lumberjanes started out as an eight-issue miniseries before it was (thankfully) upgraded to an ongoing on account of uncommon awesomeness. With the last issue, that original first story came to a close, and left us wondering what our favorite campers were going get into next. The answer comes next week, and it turns out that it's a collection of spoooooky stories.

There will also presumably be s'mores.

That's right, everybody! They're gathering around the campfire for a bunch of shorter tales, each told by a member of the Lumberjanes, written by series regulars Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, and illustrated by an all-star cast of amazing artists that includes Faith Erin Hicks, Brittney Williams, Aimee Fleck and more!

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Ed Brubaker Looks Back On Batman, Part Three: Catwoman

Catwoman by Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker

With long runs on hit titles like Captain America, Daredevil, Sleeper, Fatale, Criminal and more, writer Ed Brubaker has cemented his position as one of the most prominent writers in American comics, and he got his start with superheroes with Batman. After being brought in from the world of crime comics to write the Batman comics in 2000, Brubaker rose to prominence with his work on Gotham City's heroes, including cowriting the seminal Gotham Central, relaunching Catwoman with a critically acclaimed and influential new direction, and retelling the first encounter between Batman and the Joker.

This week, ComicsAlliance is taking a look back at Brubaker's tenure on the Dark Knight with an in-depth interview. In part one, we discussed the writer's work with Scott McDaniel on Batman and his collaboration with Sean Phillips on the Elseworlds one-shot, Gotham Noir. In part two, we talked about Brubaker's run on Detective Comics, his landmark work with Greg Rucka and Michael Lark on Gotham Central, and his and Doug Mankhe's influential Joker story, The Man Who Laughs. Today we conclude our discussion by talking about his relaunch of Catwoman alongside Darwyn Cooke and Cameron Stewart, why he was worried that it would be a "poisoned chalice," and why it's one of the most significant comics in DC's long history.

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A Seething Hell Of Steel And Stone And Women Behind Bars: ‘Bitch Planet’ #1 [Review]

Bitch Planet #1, Image Comics

Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro's Bitch Planet has the single best comic book title of the year. It's the kind of title where I stopped in my tracks when the book was announced months ago, and just from hearing those two words, thought "that's perfect" -- and that's before I heard that the premise backing it up was a modern feminist sci-fi take on women-in-prison flicks. From the moment I heard about it, I knew this comic was going to be amazing. Until I actually sat down and read it, though, I had no idea just how amazing it was going to be.

That's the thing about the first issue of Bitch Planet. It doesn't hit the ground running; it kicks off by blasting you into space and setting up a story of a world where the penalty for not knowing your place is a life sentence in a violent, neon-pink hell, juggling multiple points of view for a story of just how cruel that world can be. It's thrilling, it's violent, and it's one of the best first issues of the year.

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Ed Brubaker Looks Back On Batman, Part Two: Gotham Central And The Man Who Laughs

Batman: The Man Who Laughs, Ed Brubaker and Doug Mahnke

With long runs on hit titles like Captain America, Daredevil, Sleeper, Fatale, Criminal and more, writer Ed Brubaker has cemented his position as one of the most prominent writers in American comics, and he got his start with superheroes with Batman. After being brought in from the world of crime comics to write the Batman comics in 2000, Brubaker rose to prominence with his work on Gotham City's heroes, including cowriting the seminal Gotham Central, relaunching Catwoman with a critically acclaimed and influential new direction, and retelling the first encounter between Batman and the Joker.

This week, ComicsAlliance is taking a look back at Brubaker's tenure on the Dark Knight with an in-depth interview, and today, we continue our discussion of his work on Detective Comics and focus on two of his most well-known projects: Batman: The Man Who Laughs and Gotham Central.

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FINALLY: IDW Announces Artist’s Edition For Don Rosa’s Scrooge McDuck Masterpiece

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If you're a fan of Don Rosa's work on Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge, now is a great -- and somewhat expensive -- time to be alive. Not only is Fantagraphics putting out hardcover collections of Rosa's work on Disney's most adventurous waterfowl, but IDW Publishing announced today that Rosa's masterpiece, The Life And Times of Scrooge McDuck, was getting the prestigious Artist's Edition treatment.

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Arcade Brewery Releases Jason Aaron & Tony Moore’s ‘Festus Rotgut’ Comic On Beer Bottles

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I'm not really a beer drinker, but that has never stopped any of my friends who do enjoy the bitter taste of malt and hops from trying to convince me to give it a shot. "Oh, this one's pretty sweet, it's like chocolate" they'll say, giving me something that doesn't taste anything like a milkshake, or "it's an acquired taste." I have never acquired it, but really, if they actually wanted to get me interested in beer, they should've probably told me there's one out there that comes with a story by two dudes who did that issue of Ghost Rider about demonic truckers.

That, at least, is the strategy currently being employed by Chicago's Arcade Brewery, who have released a new six-pack called Festus Rotgut Black Wheat Ale, in which the labels tell a six-part story by Jason Aaron and Tony Moore.

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Ed Brubaker Looks Back On Batman, Part One: The Most Driven, Depressing, Exciting Character Of All Time

Batman by Ed Brubaker and Scott McDaniel

With long runs on hit titles like Captain America, Daredevil, Sleeper, Fatale, Criminal and more, writer Ed Brubaker has cemented his position as one of the most prominent writers in American comics, and he got his start with superheroes with Batman. After being brought in from the world of crime comics to write the Batman comics in 2001, Brubaker rose to prominence with his work on Gotham City's heroes, including cowriting the seminal Gotham Central, relaunching Catwoman with a critically acclaimed and influential new direction, and retelling the first encounter between Batman and the Joker.

This week, ComicsAlliance is taking a look back at Brubaker's tenure on the Dark Knight with an in-depth interview, and today, we start off with a look back at the writer's work on Batman and Detective Comics, discussing how he got the jobs, how Batman got him back into reading superhero comics, and the surprising character he picks out as a favorite.

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Kyle Starks Wishes You A Violent, Cuss-Filled Christmas With ‘Three Thieves A-Thieving’ [Full Comic]

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The Christmas season is upon us once again, and that means that it's time for children all over the world to kick off the annual debate about the existence of Santa Claus -- despite the fact that we've already settled that in court, twice. I mean, yes, it was a court in a movie, but this is America, and if there's anything more binding than a fictional courtroom scene in a beloved classic that's upheld in its '90s remake, I'd like to hear about it.

In any case, the Santa Question has provided the inspiration for a new short comic from Kyle Starks. The infuriatingly good creator of one of the year's best graphic novels, Sexcastle has given us the gift of ten new full-color pages, decorated in the spirit of the season with a whole ton of cusswords. It's a Christmas miracle!

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