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Ask Chris #271: Santa Claus, The Greatest Superhero Of Them All

Ask Chris #281, background art by Pete Woods

Q: How do Santa Claus and Christmas magic mix with superhero settings, where actual magic and superpowers exist? Just how powerful is it? -- @anniezard

A: If my years of obsessing over Christmas specials have taught me anything, it's that Christmas magic is quite possibly the most powerful force in the universe. It can change the hearts of miserly ducks, open up a portal to to the mystical realm of Eternia so that kids can learn all about how Skeletor loves fights, and it can even cause dangerous levels of interference with the Morphin Grid. Outside of Batman's thirst for justice and Jughead's love of hamburgers, it might be the single most powerful force in the universe, assuming that you're measuring between Thanksgiving and January 6.

As for how Santa Claus himself can fit into a superhero setting, I actually think he's one of the easiest characters from literature or folklore to just slide right into a world of crimefighters and arch-villains. More than Dracula, more than Robin Hood, he's the one who works the best, because when you get right down to it, he's already doing the same kind of stuff. It's just that for some reason, they never call him up when it's time for a crossover.

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Fantastic Five: Worst Marvel Events

worst marvel five

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our years on the Internet, it’s that there’s no aspect of comics that can’t be broken down and quantified in a single definitive list, preferably in amounts of five or ten. And since there’s no more definitive authority than ComicsAlliance, we’re taking it upon ourselves to compile Top Five lists of everything you could ever want to know about comics.

Nobody’s perfect, and just because the House of Ideas has been responsible for some of the greatest spectacles in comic history doesn’t mean they haven’t had their fair share of awful moments as well. This week, we point our all seeing eye of judgment at five of the worst offenders.

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What’s A Star War? An Expert Explains ‘Star Wars’ To A Novice

Tim Hildebrandt
Tim Hildebrandt

Andrew Wheeler doesn't know much about Star Wars. Dylan Todd knows possibly everything there is to know. Most people probably fall somewhere between the two of them in terms of knowledge and passion about the franchise. In order to help those with less-than-perfect insight into Star Wars to prepare for The Force Awakens, Dylan has agreed to answer some of Andrew's probably stupid questions about the original trilogy, the prequels, and what to expect from the new movie.

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Bizarro Back Issues: How Tharg Saved Christmas! (1981)

Tharg's Christmas Tale, 2000 AD

I have read a lot of Christmas comics in my time, and while I usually love them all with the unconditional affection of someone who goes around humming "Good King Wenceslas" in the middle of August, I have to admit that they tend to get pretty repetitive after a while. Even I can get tired of the endless string of halfhearted Christmas Carol parodies, which is why my favorite stories are always the ones that get a little weird. You know, the "evil robot santa" stories, or the "Batman goes back in time and recreates the universe and becomes the subconscious source of all Christmas Elf imagery" kind of thing. Those are the ones I really like.

So when I tell you that there's a story where Tharg, the mighty alien comic book editor who supplies 2000 AD with its weekly dose of Thrillpower, has to save Christmas after a bunch of readers wake up to bad presents on Christmas morning, rest assured that it is somehow even more amazingly bonkers than it sounds.

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‘Supergirl’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 1 Episode 8: ‘Hostile Takeover’


Welcome back to Supergirl Guys, our regular feature breaking down the highs and lows of CBS’s Supergirl TV show starring Melissa Benoist. Your travelling companions on this journey are Superman super-fan Chris Haley, and Flash recap veteran Dylan Todd.

This week, Cat gets hacked, Kara gets punchy, Astra gets a backstory, and we meet none other than Non. "Hostile Takeover" was directed by Karen Gaviola and written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Caitlin Parrish.

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Snacks On Snacks: A Needlessly Thorough Look At The Strange Food Of Japan Crate

Japan Crate

One of the weirder new quirks of the gift-giving season over the past few years has been the rise of services that send you a big ol' box of stuff every month. It seems like there's one for almost every kind of geeky interest, from general nerd merch to video games to pro wrestling, and I have to admit that they make for a pretty solid holiday present. If nothing else, there's enough thrown into those monthly boxes that as long as you've picked the right genre, there's probably going to be something in there that your giftee is going to like.

The one that I've been most curious about is Japan Crate, a service that loads up a box with Japanese candies and other snacks every month, but despite my fascination with foreign snack foods (and the chance that I'll get some kind of Super Sentai branded potato chips), I've been a little reluctant to spend money without giving it a shot. Fortunately for me, Japan Crate offered to send over a couple of sample boxes, and that was how I ended up sitting down with my girlfriend and eating an entire box of Japanese candy all at once in about an hour.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Culture, Humor

Ask Chris #270: A Kirby Carol

Ask Chris #280, background art by Jack Kirby

Q: Which Christmas song would make the best Kirby comic? -- @hazbaz

A: Okay, first of all? This is literally the best Ask Chris question in the five-year history of this column.

I mean, there are very few questions I've ever gotten that hit the exact bullseye of my interests quite as well as that one. If I somehow manage to come up with an answer that involves a Christmas song about Bulbasaur - something that actually does exist thanks to the charmingly bizarre cash-in abum The Pokémon Christmas Bash - then I think I will have covered everything. But even more than that, it's an opportunity to fix one of the greatest tragedies in comics history: The fact that there just aren't a whole lot of Jack Kirby Christmas comics.

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‘Arrow’ Post-Show Analaysis: Season 4, Episode 9: ‘Dark Waters’


It’s time for another installment of Pointed Commentary, the feature where grizzled Arrow watcher Matt D. Wilson and newcomer Chris Haley dig into the details of Team Arrow cleaning up the filthy, crime-ridden streets of Star City.

This week’s episode, “Dark Waters,” unfortunately isn’t a sequel to the J-horror film Dark Water, though it does have quite a bit of doom and gloom, with many major, minor and incidental characters put in some serious peril as Damien Darhk really turns the screws on Team Arrow. John Behring directed, while Wendy Mericle and Ben Sokolowski took on writing duties.

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‘Agents of SHIELD’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 3, Episode 10: ‘Maveth’


Welcome back to another Agents of S.O.M.E.T.H.I.N.G., where Chris Haley and Ziah Grace talk about all the things to like and complain about in this week’s episode of Disney’s ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

This week: The winter finale! A bunch of people have gone to an alien moon, and some of them won't make it home again. ‘Maveth’ was written by Jeffrey Bell and directed by Vincent Misiano.

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‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 2, Episode 9: ‘Running To Stand Still’


Welcome back to Up To Speed, in which Flash TV show veteran Dylan Todd and newbie Ziah Grace break down the latest episode of The Flash, dispense some Flash Facts, and talk about what works, what doesn’t, and where the series might be headed.

This week, we all know it’s Christmas, a son rises in the West, and Patty Spivot reads our recaps. “Running To Stand Still” was directed by Kevin Tancharoen, and written by Andrew Kreisberg.

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Filed Under: , Category: DC, Humor, Opinion, Television, TV Recaps

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