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Sakura Tsukuba

Bizarro Back Issues: ‘Sweet Rein’ 2: Rise Of Dark Santa! (2005)

Sweet Rein Vol. 2, Viz Manga

Sakura Tsukuba's Sweet Rein tells the story of Kurumi, a teenage girl who discovers that she's a Santa Claus when she encounters Kaito, a wispy and beautiful boy who is also sometimes a reindeer, and who is quite literally bound to her with an invisible rein that compels him to obey her commands. Also, they are in love.

It is, without question, the single most bonkers premise I have ever encountered in a lifetime of reading Christmas comics, and I've saved the second volume for an entire year waiting to read it. And folks... it does not disappoint.

Because this is the one with Dark Santa.

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Bizarro Back Issues: A Christmas Story Of BDSM (Bondage, Deer, Santa Magic) (2005)

Sweet Rein, Sakura Tsukuba

Even though he has international influences that include a third-century Bishop from Turkey and European gift-giving traditions, I think it's fair to say that the modern version of Santa Claus is about as American as Coca-Cola. With as big a Santa Claus fan as I am, though, I'm always interested in seeing how other countries interpret the jollly old elf. That's what led me to Sakura Tsukuba's Santa-themed romance comic, Sweet Rein, and I think it's safe to say that it might just be the single weirdest Christmas comic I've ever read.

If nothing else, I don't think I've ever read another story that was built around the idea of Santa and a Reindeer falling in love through BDSM (Bondage, Deer and Santa Magic), and that's before you get to the part where they're both actually wide-eyed teenagers. Yes, even the reindeer. Especially the reindeer.

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