Over the past 40 years, Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean has transitioned from a gag-a-day comic strip about a high school to an ongoing chronicle of pure, abject misery. Thanks to the ongoing commentary on Josh Fruhlinger’s Comics Curmudgeon, I am now completely obsessed with it, which is why I spend a little time every month rounding up its finest examples of crushing despair.
One of my Christmas gift this year came from devoted FunkyWatch reader and radio DJ Evan "Funk" Davies, who gave me a year-long membership to King Features' Comics Kingdom website. Not only does this give me access to an archive of high-res Funky and Crankshaft strips, but it also means that I can have those strips emailed to me so that they're the very first thing I see when I wake up every single day for the entirety of 2014. Maybe "gift" is not the right word, but "Christmas horrifying curse" doesn't really sound right. Either way Batiuk and Chuck Ayers closed out this past year with all the uplifting joy you'd expect from a month marked by bitter cold and seasonal depression. Let's get to it!
If you aren't familiar with Mike Maihack's Supergirl and Batgirl comic strips, you're missing out. Best known for his creator owned Cleopatra in Space, as well as his contributions to Archaia's Jim Henson's Storyteller, Maichack started his Supergirl Batgirl strips in 2011, and they're pretty great. While they've recently taken a back seat so that Maihack can focus on his creator owned projects, he does make a return for special occasions, including this year's Christmas strip, which you can check out below.
In a recent essay, I posited that rather than being the villain of Christmas as he is popularly understood, the furry demon known as the Krampus is actually the Batman of Christmas. This got me thinking: who would play which role if we were to build an entire Justice League of Christmas? If you are wondering, yes, this is what it's like inside my brain all the time. And so, I propose to you this roster for the JLXmas.
Last year we collected 150 classic comic book covers celebrating the Santa-ier aspects of the holiday season and it was so popular, we dug into even more covers. Seriously, there's at least 200 now. There may even be more! Our fingers are covered in tape and bows and whatever from wrapping presents and cats are knocking over trees and there's a Tofurkey feast burning in the oven. It's chaos, man. Distract yourself from the season of giving with 200+ holiday comic book covers after the cut.
The early ’90s were spoiled for choice when it came to comic book adaptations. Not only was Batman: The Animated Series on the air, but X-Men led Marvel’s push to get on the small screen, diving right into the often convoluted continuity of everyone’s favorite mutants, luring in a generation of fans, and paving the way for cartoons to follow. That’s why we’ve set out to review every single episode of the ’90s X-Men animatedseries. This week: We're skipping ahead to find some holiday cheer with Season 4's "Have Yourself a Morlock Little X-Mas!"
Q: Can Santa Claus beat Superman in a fight? Can he beat Batman? --@byharryconnolly
A: You, Harry, have been affected by the cynicism of a cynical age. Any schoolchild could tell you that Santa Claus would never fight Superman or Batman, because they are all on the same side. Then again, I suppose that's why you didn't ask a schoolchild and instead went straight to someone who specializes in providing needlessly elaborate answers to yes-or-no questions about fictional vigilantes.
So today, on this wintry Christmas Week Eve, I'm going to take up the spirit of the holiday and give you the answer you asked for. The short version? Yes. Santa Claus could beat those dudes like government reindeer. It wouldn't even be close.
Listen, I don't want to get up on a soap box here, because that's not what ComicsAlliance is about, but there's something that really bothers me at this time of year. I've read a lot of holiday comics, and very, very few of them even touch on the true meaning of Christmas. Sure, there's a lot about the spirit of giving and being a good person, but that's the kind of stuff that superhero comics are always about anyway. There's something more behind Christmas, something eternal, something that a lot of people want to ignore for the sake of being "inclusive" or whatever nonsense reasons they have this year.
I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but let's be real: There's a reason we have Christmas, and it's time we acknowledge that. And that reason is that Batman reversed time to stop the Earth from being blown up by antimatter.
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.
There are very few things I love in this world more than a story where a superhero teams up with Santa Claus to save Christmas. I mean, I love Christmas comics in general, but the ones where the Jolly Old Saint himself shows up are always just a little bit more special, especially when the hero in question is Superman. If I was in charge, you'd see Santa Claus literally every time there was a comic set at the Fortress of Solitude, because really, the North Pole has exactly three residents, and who else are they going to hang out with? But I digress.
My point is, Superman/Santa Claus team-ups are great, even when they're weird -- and folks, they do get weird. Take, for example, one of Superman's earliest team-ups with St. Nicholas, wherein they have to battle against the evil machinations of a dude who hates Christmas so much that he makes Santa Claus even fatter than he already was, and Superman has to help him lose weight.
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