Q: Why does everyone hate the "Christmas with the Joker" episode of Batman: The Animated Series? -- @tekende
A: You know, I'm not sure everyone does hate "Christmas with the Joker." I certainly don't, but then again, I can't really say that I like it a whole lot either. It's definitely one of those episodes that pops into mind whenever I start thinking of the worst episodes of the series, although it misses out on being the actual worst by a long shot. But that said, I don't quite know the reason why.
Q: What superhero has the loveable jolliness/elf-oppressing fist of iron necessary to take over for Santa? -- @FrankMcCormick
A: A replacement for Santa Claus, eh, Frank? Well, that shouldn't be too hard to figure out. It really just comes down to -- wait. A replacement for Santa Claus?! Why do we need a replacement?! Did something happen to Santa?!
Oh God. Oh God. Okay. Don't freak out. We've still got two weeks. There's time to fix this before Christmas Eve. C'mon, Frank. We've got work to do.
Despite the fact that a good chunk of my floorspace is taken up with long boxes and bookshelves, I consider myself more of a "reader" than a "collector," except for two things I hoard shamelessly: Christmas comics and Abraham Lincoln appearances. If I see Santa Claus or our 16th President in a comic book, I buy it -- no questions asked.
And as a result, I've picked up my share of Christmas stories that are truly bizarre -- and considering this is a weird little sub-genre that routinely features stories about Ultron being reprogrammed to give out toys, Batman stopping all crime in Gotham City by singing "Joy to the World" with the GCPD choir, and a Jack Kirby tale entitled "Santa's War Against the Seal Men," that's saying something. So this year, I've rifled through the comics under my tree to bring you The Five Most Insane Christmas Comics of All Time!
Over the last few years, the centuries-old figure of Alpine Europe, the Krampus, has become increasingly well known in the United States, thanks to books (et al) by Monte Beauchamp, and appearances on The Venture Bros, some Anthony Bourdain show or other, and The Colbert Report. As a result, the Krampus has become the subject of popular merchandise, including t-shirts, greeting cards, stickers, and figurines, leading some to assert that the Krampus, perhaps like Christmas itself, has become too commercial.
DC Comics has been producing holiday comics for a full 70+ years now, ever since Superman first teamed up with Santa to encourage kindness and generosity in "The Christmas Adventure!"
So with seven solid decades of holiday fun, some of them are bound to rise to the top, which is why we've asked ComicsAlliance contributor and Christmas comic aficionado Chris Sims to rifle through the long boxes at the North Pole and bring us his picks for DC's Twelve Greatest Holiday Stories!!
Q: DEAR CHRIS: I am 42 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in ComicsAlliance it's so, unless that Wolkin guy wrote it, and then all bets are off.' Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? -- David Lartigue, via email
A: David, your little friends are wrong, especially about David Wolkin. At least 30% of the stuff he writes is well-researched and at least partially semi-accurate. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe anything except what they read on message boards and comment threads. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, David, whether they be men's or children's, are little. Except Batman's. Because Batman thinks of everything. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect in his intellect (and not the radioactive kind that can give you super-powers), as compared with the boundless world about him.
Yes, David. There is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as Batman and Superman and Spider-Man exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no genocidal killer robots who were reprogrammed to give out presents but decided instead to murder the Avengers with hate-lasers.
Listen, I'll be the first to admit that I'm a complete sucker when it comes to Christmas comics. I love 'em, and the more heartwarming they are, the better, whether it's a thoroughly predictable ending where someone does a good deed for the less fortunate or a passionate, starry-eyed speech about peace on Earth and goodwill to others. I love that stuff, and as a result, I've never been a fan of Christmas stories that go dark. Call me a sap if you will, but in most darker Christmas stories, there's a cynicism that I just don't find all that appealing.
Every now and then, however, I run across a holiday story that's not just dark and not just cynical, but so utterly, shockingly grim that I end up completely fascinated by it, and this week, that is exactly what has happened. Everyone who has ever tried to make a jaded, pessimistic holiday story needs to step aside, because I have found the darkest, most shockingly violent Christmas comic of all time -- and it's a six-page Archie story from 1958.
Q: How do the holiday mythologies compare between Marvel and DC? -- @crcovar
A: How did you know, Crovar?! Another excuse to drop nine thousand words about the underlying differences in the structure of imaginary universes and how they've affected their storytelling over the past seventy years? It's exactly what I wanted for Christmas!
Nah, I'm just kidding. We can probably get through this one in five or six thousand. Seven, tops.
I don’t really do escapism. It’s not that the media I consume isn’t described as such, nor even that I have something against the concept. I just rarely feel as though I….escape. I mean, I enjoy the books I read and the games I play. And I suppose they keep me from considering the quotidian details of my life as I engage with them. Like, no, in the most banal sense, I am not thinking about groceries as I play Portal. But there’s a power people invest in the concept of escapism—whether they celebrate or deride it—and I just never seem to get it. It’s not a big deal, really. It’s never a metric by which I measure anything. I shrug and move on.
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