The “Weird Christmas Tales” comic book column, done for my APA column The Issue At Hand # 57 (2001), was both one of my favorites, and one of the best received in the column’s nearly 15 year history. So much so, that it was one of the first things I’d considered as a Blog posting. Now, Christmas Week is here and the time is right to share.
This lengthy piece will consist of our introduction and four chapters, to be posted over Christmas week. Here goes…
Though less common today than in years past, the Christmas comic book was, and is, a special treat. Whether it be a Christmas themed issue of a regular, ongoing series, or a specifically prepared Christmas annual or one-shot, the Christmas comic book never fails to deliver a unique type of entertainment.
Often, the treatment is reverent or, at the very least, in keeping with the spirit of the season – even within the context of comedy or adventure. Carl Barks’ 1951 classic Donald Duck story “A Christmas for Shacktown” ( Dell Four Color # 367 ) may be the most sterling example of this – and is likely the most frequently reprinted Christmas comic book story worldwide.
But, as much as I love them, we are not here to discuss the type of good Christmas story that gives you the “warm and fuzzies” even on the chilliest day of the year, and seemingly coats the world in a blanket of pure white, freshly fallen, unsullied snow…
…We are here to discuss their opposite number… the “Weird Christmas Tale”!
The “Weird Christmas Tale”, by my definition, is not necessarily one that pokes fun at the spirit and sentimentality of the season. That would fall under the generally accepted parameters of comedy, parody, or satire. The “Weird Christmas Tale” goes beyond this, and presents us with something different, unconventional, or… uh, just plain “weird”.
The “Weird Christmas Tale” is one that will leave you saying: “Wow!”, “What th’…”, or (…in the case of our second example) “D’oh! Why didn’t I ever think of that!” Think of it as the kind of Christmas story in which you’d never find Bing Crosby or Burl Ives. Though you WILL recognize most, if not all, of the names of the characters involved, as comic books often tend to trot out their best and brightest for this sort of thing.
And, while not as indelible as “The Bells of St. Mary’s” or “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, once read, these “Weird Christmas Tales”, on the strength of their sheer unconventionality, just may stick with you a tad longer than the average holiday fare. They have for me! (…or maybe I just like Christmas comics – Period! Who knows!)
Next Post: We’ll “Crack those Covers” for some “Weird Christmas Festive Fun”…