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31 Days of Comics – Great Holiday Comic

Our pal Seth Hahne, of GoodOKBad fame, came up with this 31 Days of Comics challenge, one of those things where each day of the month you’re given a different category that you then make a choice of a comic to fill that category. I figured it would be a fun bit to do, so here we are! Click here to see each of the categories so far!

We continue with Day 12, which is a Great Holiday Comic.

Read on for my pick and then you can share yours!

While acknowledging that Valentine’s Day is a bit of a stretch as a “holiday,” I’m going to go with Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #11, written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke with inks by J. Bone. It is splendid, right from the opening page!

The issue packs SOOOO much plot into its pages, but the gist of the story is that we get to check in on the Daily Bugle’s staff on a night when Peter Parker is missing (because he is passed out in an alley after a fight with the Vulture when Spidey met a wall that did not agree with him).

We meet two very different reporters…

There are a lot of other plots going on (including the fellow giving them their coffee – he has his own little drama going on this night).

But when we return to Spidey in the alley, he learns that he has double-booked himself tonight!!! Watch as, in perhaps the most wonderful part of the issue, Cooke details how each woman views Peter vastly differently…

Can Spidey get home in time for EITHER date? How is Peter going to get out of this one? What happens to the Daily Bugle intern?! So much awesome lighthearted drama! So much awesome artwork from Cooke and Bone! This issue is a real winner! It is collected in the Tangled Web trade, but you can probably still find the issue itself relatively cheap! You’ll be glad you did if you can find it!

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The Vault of Horror story “And All Through the House” is a classic. As far as I know, It features the first homicidal maniac dressed as Santa in comic book history. It was later made into a memorable episode of Tales From the Crypt directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Oddly enough, it was another EC Christmas story that got EC in trouble, or at least banned in Boston. That was an issue of Panic wherein they did a parody of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

I have a couple:

Dan Slott’s GLA/X/C/I holiday specials, GLX-Mas Special and Deadpool/GLI: Summer Fun Spectacular.

Punisher: Red X-Mas, Marvel Holiday Special 2006 (for the Fin Fang Foom/Wong team-up) and Wolverine (Vol. 3) #49.

Not sure it was actually released on Valentine Day because I read it in trade, but Marvel Romance Redux, reprinting old romance comics with new dialogues.

Hmm… all of them from Marvel, eh.

I was thinking of suggesting Grant Morisson’s JLA run which I took with me on a recent holiday.

It seems everyone else is using that other definition of ‘holiday’ though so I’ll go with Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0723277974

I loved that issue of Tangled Web. I loved a lot of issues of Tangled Web!

My choice Stray Bullets #2 is the secret origin of Virginia Applejack. It’s a Halloween tale. And it pits the lone and little Virginia against several boys from her class. If they were older, there would certainly be sexual assault involved but these are mere children and so it’s quaint and fluffy—just baseball bats, rocks, knives, and a lot of blood. Virginia gives as she gets but it’s is no Ender Wiggin moment. Even as the reader cheers her on, we are afraid. Not for her assailants but for the little girl whose tremendous inner strength and pure moxie cannot possibly be enough. It’s a good story and a perfect Halloween horror. In a series that is incredible and dark and rather brutal, this chapter is among only a couple others at the top of the game and sits as my favourite of the series. (Actually all of my favourite episode of the series involve Virginia.)

It’s about as goofy as a comic not starring Jimmy Olsen can be, but I’m a big fan of Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles. Tabloid-sized KIrby art. It’s not just the 4th of July, it’s THE 4th of July. It’s ALL the 4ths of Julys!

I thought of this one after the voting for the Christmas countdown, but it’s an issue of Box Office Poison (ah, 11, like I thought. Thank you GCD!). It’s a lot of different tales of the cast celebrating Christmas, but the loveliest story is the one of Stephen and Jane going to Jane’s family’s home for the holiday, and Stephen getting convinced by Jane’s father to become the new family Santa. It’s narrated by Stephen in, oh, I guess it’d be first person omniscient, because he knows things to come with the family, but I don’t think it’s narrated from the future. Just a lovely, bittersweet in parts, moving tribute to family traditions and the passing of time.

I have to get that issue of “Tangled Web”! That looks like a great story.

I have to agree with Travis – that issue of “Box Office Poison” is an excellent holiday story.

How about X-Men 143? Kitty Pryde spends Christmas at the mansion alone (well, she’s Jewish, so no great hardship there) only to discover a demon lurking …

Batgirl #18 — The Stephanie Brown / Klarion the Witch Boy Valentine’s Day issue. A witty, touching issue with snappy dialogue from Brian Q. Miller. But the best part is the trip to Limbo Town, beautifully illustrated by Dustin Nguyen with his splendid watercolor artwork.

I love the Christmas issue of Starman. Just so sweet.

There’s been a few holiday issues that I love but one near and dear to my heart is the issue of Johns’ JSA that reintroduced Ma Hunkle and adapted her backstory…..

Others: Cannonball/Gladiator in Uncanny X-Men, The second to last Bone issue, just for the stupid rat creature scene with Fone Bone, and any of the JLA/JSA holiday get togethers over the ages… most notable Batman’s “I told you so” scene with Mr. Terrific…

I generally don’t like holidays, except it gives me enough time to read my favorite comic. This Christmas, I dedicated my time to re-reading of the famous Captain Canuck series. He is one of the few comic heroes, who made it into a stamp. And to be honest, I don’t consider Valentine’s Day to be a real holiday, since you have to go to work. Even if you are a superhero, as you showed us.

Not my favorite holiday comic, but my favorite holiday moment:

Batman leaves some food at the sewer entrance for Solomon Grundy in The Long Halloween. Very touching.

JSA All-Stars #7 by Michael Chabon and Michael Lark. This story not only changed my taste in comics and how I drew comics (I began getting into “artist’s artist” types rather than stuff like the flashy “Image style”), but it also became a comic I had to read every Christmas season. Definitely a comfort comic for me.

That tangled web story is great solely because it does such a good job masquerading as a Silver Age story. If it weren’t for a few cues in the story (something gave me the hint that Flash wasn’t in high school anymore), I’d have sworn that the story was supposed to be set in the Lee/Romita years.

My bar-none best holiday comic is the BATMAN ADVENTURES HOLIDAY SPECIAL. I break it out every Advent, and it’s still great. Shame the whole thing hasn’t been reprinted. A chunk of it is in the MAD LOVE collection, but not the whole thing. Most of it was adapted into a Batman: TAS episode, which is awesome.

My second best holiday comic is the original Marvel Holiday Special from 1993 (I think), which was discussed in a CSBG column a few weeks ago. Spidey and JJJ visiting kids in the hospital, Ghost Rider being mistaken for Santa, and the Punisher busting up a drug ring near a homeless camp were all awesome stories.

Surprised there’s no mention of THE LONG HALLOWEEN yet. The holidays in that story are a trope and become decreasingly important as the story progresses, but there’s some nice chapters, like when Batman had Thanksgiving dinner with Solomon Grundy. (In context, it worked.)

I’m a grinch so I’m going to go with the Dini Xmas issue of Detective called Slayride. It’s a dark, nasty attack on consumerism with Joker driving an SUV up on the sidewalk mowing over shoppers (and Robin kidnapped, in the cab, with an ornament ball-gag).

@Sgt

Yeah, Dini has a way with xmas. It is also evident in that great DCAU JLU ep, Comfort and Joy.

How about Incredible Hulk 378. A Peter David story about the Rhino working as a mall Santa until the Grey Hulk shows up and Hijinks ensue.

Hitman #22: The Santa Contract. Tommy and Nat hunt down a deranged murderer in Gotham with a radioactive melting touch and a Santa suit, all narrated in the style of ‘Twas the night before Christmas. It’s that perfect Ennis balance of delightful and depraved:

“‘Word!’ Said his homie ‘I got my nine. Now let’s go bust a cap in that nuclear swine!’ So they took their nine mil’s and a big forty-four and a hand grenade Tommy’d been keeping in store and enough ammunition to fight a small war… And went off to inform vile Bob of the score.”

“Christmas is whizzo! Christmas goes ping! Christmas makes people feed squirrels and sing. No matter your race or your class or your creed, isn’t that something we all really need? One day of the year painted up in bright colors. One day when we’re groovy and cool to each other? And sure you can grumble, but any who would will miss out on something incredibly good. And anyone pissing and moaning instead…
Might get two in the back of their miserable head.”

Most of my favourites have already been mentioned here or in Brian’s Advent Calendar, but here’s one that hasn’t: a Darkseid two-pager by Ty Templeton from one of those old DC holiday books from the ’90s:

http://tytempletonart.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/a-little-pre-christmas-gift-from-ty/

Bwah-hah-ha indeed.

The Winter Soldier: Winter Kills. A gem made available again by Marvel’s 700 project. The story uses Bucky, his history, Namor, and the Young Avengers really well.

Mine would probably be the other Darwyn Cooke Tangled Web holiday story that takes place around Christmas. Fun stuff.

Brian, you DO realize that the Tangled Web story is just a sideways “Archie/Betty/Veronica tale told by Marvel? Heh…..

Anyway, my choice is the 1977 DC “Christmas With The Superheroes”, a series of 4 tales (Jonah Hex, Batman – Frank Miller’s first work on Bats – The DC Haunted/Unexpected/Mystery cast, and Superboy and the Legion Of Superheroes). Fun stories with great messages, in a sometimes cheezy vein……

There’s an INCREDIBLE Easter story by Alex Toth in Our Army at War #241 called “Dirty Job”. Hands down the best “holiday” story in comics ever. There’s also a metric ton of Disney Duck Christmas stories that rank up there as well. And the issue where “Barry Allen” comes back from Waid’s run deserves a mention in part for being an awesome story but mostly for setting up one of the greatest long form superhero stories of all time.

Hitman #22, Garth Ennis and John McCrea. In which the boys fight zombie Santa Claus, and there’s an amazing faux-Grinchian rhyme scheme throughout.

http://www.the-isb.com/images/HitmanXMas05.jpg

Winter Soldier: Winter Kills. Bucky never needs to worry about being visited by ghosts from his past on Christmas ’cause they come by every day!

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