Last week, I mentioned that Lost in the Andes, Fantagraphics' amazing new book Donald Duck stories by Carl Barks, had one of the weirdest Christmas stories I've ever read. And for me, that's saying something: Christmas comics are one of the few things I go out of my way to collect regardless of who the creators are and who puts them out. I love the darn things, and over the years, I've read hundreds of 'em, going back through my favorites every year.
And even with all that, The Golden Christmas Tree might just take the fruitcake. After alll, most of the other Christmas stories I've read don't involve a harvest of tears or someone turning into a woodchipper.
Christmas is a time for traditions. For some, it's all about stringing up lights on a Christmas tree and wrapping up presents to put beneath it. For others, it's spending singing carols door to door to spread holiday cheer. And for still others, it's a time to beat a log with a stick until it poops out candy.
If you're not familiar with that last one, don't worry: ComicsAlliance favorites Benito Cereno and Anthony Clark have stepped up to explain it all in an original comic featuring an Untold Tale of St. Nicholas! Check out the five-page Tio de Nadal: A True Christmas Storyafter the cut!
Q: What is the best media representation of Santa Claus's origin? -- @pbarb
A: I'll be honest with you, folks: I love Santa Claus almost as much as I love Batman. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only reason the Caped Crusader gets the edge over Jolly Old St. Nick is that nobody's out there publishing five monthly comics about his continuing adventures. As a result of that egregious oversight, I'm not as familiar with Santa's various origins as I probably should be. There are, however, two origins for Santa Claus that I like an awful lot, despite the fact that they're so different from each other that they could almost be about two completely unrelated characters.
Should you ever need a reminder that the 1990s were a strange, strange time, look no further than We Wish You a Turtle Christmas. Released in 1994 at the height of that hazy, pre-Pokemon era when when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise reigned as the most popular thing in the entire world, Turtle Christmas was a 25-minute video in which the Turtles sang Christmas songs about themselves.
If that sounds weird, believe me that it's actually even weirder. So today, deck the sewer walls and wash that pizza down with eggnog as we take a look back at this holiday classic, and the great many questions it raises just by its very existence.
Chris: Hello, everybody! Over the past couple of weeks, we've been taking a look at the Japanese Spider-Man show, but in this special holiday season, we thought it might be fun to fast forward a bit...
Over the last several weeks, we've been running Dinosaur Santa Comics -- an original holiday comic by Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North, featuring all-new clip art of Santa and dinosaur. As Ryan explained, "ComicsAlliance asked if I wanted to do some holiday comics using a new layout and I said 'HELLO, NEVER IN MY NEAR-DECADE OF MAKING COMICS HAVE I EVER DONE THIS, so actually I'm really glad you asked!'"
Now that Christmas is here, we've archived the complete Dinosaur Santa Comics below for your viewing pleasure. Happy holidays!
It probably won't surprise anyone if I say that Archie Comics has published a lot of Christmas stories over the past 60 years, but you have to understand that when I say "a lot of Christmas comics," I mean a truly ridiculous amount. Just to give you an idea, there are two separate characters in the Archie universe -- Jingles and Sugarplum -- who are magical Christmas imps who use their powers to give the gang a hard time during the holidays. They have done stories like that so many times that they actually needed a spare.
And as you might imagine from the fact that I just used the phrase "magical Christmas imps," Archie's holiday stories tend to be a little weird. But none of them -- and I say this as someone with two paperbacks' worth of Archie Christmas comics -- skew quite as far into madness as the one where Little Archie meets the alien Santa Claus from Planet Peewee.
Q: What '80s or '90s cartoon do you think has the single best Christmas episode? -- @UncannyJay
A: Given the things I tend to write about in this column, it pretty much goes without saying that I absolutely love cartoon Christmas specials. I even wrote about a few of my favorites last year for ComicsAlliance, including the truly bizarre Christmas Comes to Pac-Land, in which a visit from Santa Claus makes it abundantly clear that Pac-Man's living nightmare of eating dots and being menaced by the vengeful spirits of the damned occurs on some kind of demi-plane that exists outside of the sight of God. That one has to be in my top three.
But beyond those three, there's definitely one Christmas episode in particular that I absolutely love: G.I. Joe's "Cobra Claws Are Coming To Town!"
Over the past 70 years, Batman has been involved in a lot of Christmas stories, and with good reason. More than any other character, Batman fits right into the role of Santa Claus: He travels by night, he's dedicated to giving people nicer childhoods than he had, and he has the resources to offer people pretty much whatever they want for Christmas...
2012 has arrived, and ComicsAlliance finishes its year-end wrapup of the now-departed year with the complete series of infographics about comics in 2011 by Wired Art Director (and former Comic Foundry Editor-in-Chief)Tim Leong, who previously graced ComicsAlliance with his charts summing up Comic-Con 2011...
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