This month’s Passionate Geek is Robin! Robin Rivera trained as a professional historian and worked as a museum curator. She writes young adult thrillers and her blog is Write On Sisters. Or you can find her on Twitter at @RobinRWrites. Robin has posted about her love of comics for us before with another seasonally appropriate post!
Over 70 years ago, Superman made his first appearance in a Golden Age holiday inspired comic book. The man of steel, teamed up with Santa to save the big day and it was an instant success. The public embraced the new tradition and we have all been enjoying comics that celebrate the winter season ever since.
Today, Allison asked me to share some images from this comic treasure trove and since I love comics (and Christmas), how could I refuse?
I don’t remember my first introduction to these books; however I do own one, and just one, in my Silver and super early Bronze Age collection. It’s a lovely over-sized comic called “Christmas With the Super Heroes.” On December 1st it came out of storage and I put it in a place of honor so we could all take turns reading it. It’s one of the few books in my collection I don’t make the kids handle with extreme care. After all, it’s Christmas, and it’s a holiday that’s all about making the kids happy.
Since Superman’s first big holiday team up, these seasonal comics have been penned by all the most respected artists, and most of the core characters we know and love, Hulk, X-Men, Flash and more, have taken up the shenanigans at one point or another.
And it’s not a tradition restricted to just DC and Marvel. Gold Key, Dark Horse and all the other companies grace the racks every December with new stories and amazing holiday cover art.
One of my favorite covers is this one for Hellboy. I think it hits the right note of nostalgia and creepiness, making it a visual treat to be savored.
But I also love the silly ones. I’ve always enjoy seeing Hulk in a Santa hat, or watching the superheroes hunt for the perfect gifts. It’s nice to know even they struggle with the age-old question: What the heck should I buy my relatives this year?
The best thing about these seasonal books is the traditional décor lends to a brand new dimension to the crime fighting gear. When Batman hurls a Christmas tree through the air, it’s bound to make an evildoer think twice. Plus, a snow dipped Gotham City is always worth a leisurely page stroll, if for no other reason than to enjoy the ambiance.
Browsing the old holiday comics section is a great way to find a long forgotten movie tie-in comics, like this Ghostbusters title. Or this one from Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
Even the most notable villains and antiheroes come out of hiding during the winter season. They’re joined by animated toy soldiers, ghouls, wicked elves and the odd evil holiday shoppers. And of course old St. Nick can have a moment of villainy too, just to keep thing interesting.
In fact, many super scary characters have come out to play in these holiday theme issues. You can find offerings that are not always the best buy for young children, featuring plots designed to add a dose of naughty to the nice.
Others books strive to bring readers more uplifting mix of stories. These ones are much more in keeping with that you might come to expect from the holiday season, and promote messages that are hopeful and often humorous. One Superman story even featured putting Santa on a diet.
The one thing to note about these books is they are overwhelming Christmas focused. You may see New Year’s get some holiday love, but Hanukah gets much less page time, and I’ve yet to find any evidence that Kwanzaa gets any mention at all. However, I still like them and I’m looking forward to seeing them appear in my local store this year.
Looking for a 2016 sneak peek? Take a look at the new Harley Quinn teaser cover from DC:
And you can find more sneak peeks here at http://www.dccomics.com/comics
So far Marvel hasn’t released any seasonal news, but keep an eye out. I’m betting something fun is in the works.