Christmas is almost here, which for me means a couple of things: One, I should probably start my Christmas shopping. But I have a tradition of waiting until the 24th to do all that. Second, it means at some point before Christmas day, I have to run to the nearest comic book store to buy a giant stack of comics to keep preoccupied while the family drives me nuts.
And speaking of Christmas and comics, I’ve put together a short list of a few of my absolute favorite Christmas theme comic books. The reasons I like these issues varies, but these are comics I still try to read this time of year. Anyways, in no particular order, here’s my list:
Written by: Alan Grant
Art by: Norm Breyfogle
Batman #456 from November, 1990, is not your typical comic book Christmas issue. The story doesn’t focus on the holiday, it just happens around Christmas. But maybe that’s one of the reasons I love this comic so much. The main reason though, is because of the art by the one and only Norm Breyfogle.
In “Identity Crisis, Part Two: Without Fear of Consequence…”, Vicky Vale has been captured by some thugs, one wearing a skull mask. Batman, out on patrol; decides to track Vicky down in the Batmobile. Meanwhile, Tim Drake believes he’s figured out who was behind the whim killings, but he can’t reach Batman who’s run into the Scarecrow.
My favorite parts of Batman #456 feature Batman trailing the bad guys in the stealth Batmobile, and Tim Drake dealing with his own demons in the Batcave. All of this works because Norm Breygohle sets the perfect mood with his art. As a kid, I spent countless hours trying to imitate his art from this issue. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Batman #456 is why Breyfogle is my all time favorite Batman artist.
Written by: James Robinson
Art by: Steve Yeowell and Wade Von Grawbadger
If you haven’t read Starman, shame on you, this series is a must read. But, if you only read one issue in the series, then Starman #27 should be it. The story by James Harrison is called “Christmas Night,” and the tale takes place on Christmas Eve. First we see the O’Dare family preparing for dinner along with the series’ extended cast. Then we see how Jack Knight helps a homeless mall Santa find his last memory of his family.
The story is rather simple fo Starman, but I think that’s one of the reasons I liked this issue in the first place.The book gives you a nice balance of sadness and hope. But by the time you get to the final page, you’re left with a happy feeling all around.
Written by Jeph Loeb
Art by: Ed McGuinness, Cam Smith, Humberto Ramos, Wayne Faucher, Rob Leifeld, Norm Rapmund, Mike Weiringo, Art Adams, Ian Churchill, Joe Madureira, and Tom Townsend.
Superman #165 is a nice little comic in which Superman gives the member of the Justice League their Christmas. Supes is such a nice guy, than he gets presents he knows his fellow members will enjoy. Among the gifts are Rubber bands for Plastic Man, and Chocolates for the Martian Manhunter.
Just the image of Superman giving the League presents cracks me up to this day. Superman #165 also features Superman interacting with other heroes, and it’s fun to see his optimism compared to the others. All in all, a nice little comic written by Jeph Loeb.
The Incredible Hulk #378
Written by: Peter David
Art by: Bill Jaaska
The story “Rhino Plastered,” came right when Peter David’s run on the Hulk hit its stride. But to many, this comic was probably nothing more filler, as it interrupted the ongoing arc.
However, I loved reading an issue where Rick Jones entertains some hospitalized kids with a story about how teasing can lead to big trouble.
Rick tells the kids the story of the Rhino, who is alone for the holidays, and is depressed about his super-villain career. Rhino steals a Santa suit, puts it on top of his Rhino costume, so he can make a few bucks with a fake charity bucket. But things take a turn when he’s drafted into becoming a department store Santa.
Thing getting worse at sunset, because that’s when Bruce Banner changes into the grey version of the Hulk. And it just so happens that The Hulk arrived in time to catch a mouthy kid the Rhino had tossed across the room. Where the story goes from here, you need to find a copy of Incredible Hulk #378 to find out.