As it turns out, I’ve had a few Christmas and Holiday themed comics sitting around for a while and one I just borrowed from a friend that I figured I would finally give a read to. My in laws found the Marvel Holiday Grab-Bag (1974) in their travels a year or two back, I grabbed a copy of the DC Universe Holiday Special last year while at Wizard and the latest version is on loan. So how were they?
Well good and bad. I was pretty disappointed with the over-sized Marvel treasury book. It’s only actually got one Christmas story in there, from what I can tell it’s originally from 1972’s Marvel Team-Up #1. It’s got Spider-Man teaming up with the Human Torch to take down the newly reconstituted Sandman. After an initial skirmish with Spidey, Sandman makes a break for it and heads to New Jersey to see his mom. It’s an alright story, not too great, kind of hokey, but it’s fun (as is Johnny Storm’s shirt and ascot). The coolest part about the book is really the cover and back cover which mimics the front. The other stories were pretty standard, though there was a pretty funny panel from a story that brought Namor and Daredevil together. I snapped a pic of a particularly hilarious panel where a revolving door runs afoul of the Sea King. Anyway, I enjoyed the two DC books a lot more because they were actually fully holiday themed. Standouts in the 2008 volume were Superman/Santa mash-up written by Matt Cherniss and Peter Johnson with art by Ivan Reis and a day without crime in Gotham written by Joe Kelly (love that guy) and drawn by Mick Betrilorenzi. I’m still not sure how I feel about the Aquaman/Mary and Joseph mash-up, but I’m leaning towards liking it. And overall, I liked all of this book. Oh, plus, the Frank Quitely cover is rad, right? The second one, from this year, was good too, but I think 2008’s was overall more interesting and original. This one has a lot of stories with the theme of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and what not. I did like the retelling of the story of Hanukkah with Ragman by Rob Levin and Brian Ching. The Billy Tucci Sgt. Rock story is also pretty great, but following it with the very similar Enemy Ace story was probably a mistake (the whole “enemies getting along during WWII on Christmas” thing is already pretty well known, so doing it twice in one book seems weird). I was also pretty blown away by the art on the Doom Patrol story by Jonboy Meyers. Here’s hoping he gets more work toot sweet.