Christmas Comic Cavalcade: A slew o’ holiday comic book stuff!

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I’m a fan of comics. This doesn’t always mean I’m a fan of superhero comics, but in America… at least during the time and place where I grew up… if you liked the medium, you would read Marvel and DC comics. In recent years, I’ve fallen out of the habit of reading a lot of superhero books; while the genre continues to crank out monthly serialized adventures, my taste for them has sort of soured for a variety of reasons.

So to with Christmas, I’m sorry to say. Whereas I once had a great appetite for the holiday, recent events in America have put me off Christmas, at least with the same love I once had for it. It seems like a certain segment of our population has taken the spirit of the holidays and sort of weaponized it. Half the time when I’m met with a “Merry Christmas” out in the world, it seems less a well-intentioned seasonal greeting and more a cudgel. Maybe these things were always a part of the holiday and I was just blind to them… but I don’t think so. I think particular thing is new.

Where does that leave me? Well… as an adult in 2017 struggling with the holiday, I’m reminded of what Charles Dickens says at one point in A Christmas Carol as Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present are spectrally amongst his nephew Fred’s celebrations – “… it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself.”

So be a child with me for a moment and let’s together look at some of my Christmas comic books.

I honestly had a nice haul this year of Christmas related comics goodies, starting out with meeting a few creators of comics I love. I had the good fortune to meet a handful of comic creators and have them sign favorite books of mine over the course of the year.

I got a couple of books signed this year by comic creators involved with holiday comics. First up, my copies of Christmas with the Superheroes #1 and #2 signed by book editor Mark Waid.

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I’ve written about CwtS #2 here before, it remains not only my favorite Christmas comic book but also one of my all-time favorite Superman stories as well… and as I came to find out, producing these books was something of a labor of love for Waid. I was thankful that I got to tell the guy how much the books meant to me growing up and how much they still mean to me as an adult.

I also got this copy of Batman and Robin Adventures #2 signed by Ty Templeton this past fall.

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While I’ve written about the Batman Adventures Holiday Special before, I never had the chance to dig into some of the regular series’ takes on Christmas. This is a good ‘un written by Paul Dini, a writer who’s created something of a cottage industry out of expressing his love of Christmas through comic books.

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Finally, behold my copy of Spawn #39, signed by series’ artist Greg Capullo. Greg’s gone onto major superhero noterity wiith his work on a lot of DC Universe projects including a long run as the penciller of Batman but in the 1990’s, he was the Spawn go-to penciller after Todd McFarlane left the book.

(I feel like this is the right place to say that when I asked Capullo to sign this book, he seemed a little taken aback. I would imagine its not one high on the “I need to get this signed” list but I’d have been stupid not to. Spawn #39 is one of the most insane Christmas issues of a “superhero” comic ever.)

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Alright, above you can see an unssigned copy of Marvel Classics Comics‘ take on A Christmas Carol. Penned by Doug Moench with art by a cadre of unnamed folks, I picked up this comic a few years ago and found it to be a pretty good adaptation of Dickens’ classic… which is why I was so excited to buy a page of original art from the book this summer!

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One of the really lovely things about the prospect of owning a piece of original art from any adaptation of A Christmas Carol is that pretty much every page will end up having a truly iconic moment or two portrayed… and with mine, it’s Marley’s lamentation about the chains we forge in life. It might only be Christmastime once every December, but I leave this piece hanging on my wall all through the year. Make no mistake, this isn’t a valuable piece of art beyond my loving it.

I picked up a lot of other Christmassy books and now that I’ve had the chance to paw through them a bit tonight, I’m genuinely sorry not to have a little more time with them.  Sometimes its hard to find something to be festive about when you look at the world… and these did the trick for me a little bit this holiday.

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