Archive for the ‘Christmas Covers’ Category

Posted Friday, December 6th, 2019 by Barry

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge (1990) 251

Christmas was very symbiotic for the Ducks in 1990 with Donald’s promise linked to Uncle Scrooge’s dilemma.

Hoping to avoid the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers, Donald offers to buy the boys anything. As long as it comes from one of his handpicked catalogs. The nephews plow through the pile settling on one gift they wish to share with the town.

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge (1990) 251

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge (1990) 251

Somehow a carnival catalog has made its way to the stack. The boys are wanting the Ferris wheel. Bound by his promise Donald turns to the only duck in town who can afford the gift.

Scrooge agrees, under the condition Donald and the nephews go north to escort a 100-foot pine back to town center. The fir will be featured as Duckburg’s Christmas centerpiece.

Uncle Scrooge’s sudden generosity stemmed from the previous season’s stinginess. An embarrassing encounter moves Scrooge to offer the largest tree and biggest feast in town history.

His opponent enlists the aid of the Beegle Boys to ensure the promise is unfulfilled. Still, all ends well for Scrooge, Donald and the boys by books finish.

This marked the first time Disney characters were published by a Disney publishing company. The license had returned from Gladstone, a Bruce Hamilton Company. Gladstone published the title from October 1986 to April 1990.

The license returned to Gladstone in 1993. Uncle Scrooge continued his adventures under their guidance until issue 318 in 1999. During that time the series was honored as a nominee for Best Continuing Series in 1995 and winner of Best Serialized Story (issues 285-296) that same year and nominee for Best Title for Younger Readers in 1996 all for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

Posted Friday, November 29th, 2019 by Barry

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Readers received a late Christmas gift with the first taste of John Byrne’s treatment of She-Hulk in this May 1989 dated issue of Marvel Comics Presents.

Cyclops and Black Panther took the first two-story slots, neither holiday stories, but the book closed on a holiday note.

“X-Mas Tease” is an eight-page treat veiled in a Christmas Eve telephone conversation with Ben Grimm. Readers are rewarded in the final panels as Shulkie unwraps her present from Marvel. Under the Spider-Man paper are advance copies of the first issue of The Sensational She-Hulk (1989).

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Marvel Comics Presents (1988) 18

Willie Lumpkin, mailman to the Fantastic Four, plays an unsuspecting Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Card” for a spoof of A Christmas Carol.

Downsizing and carelessness has the ghost of Christmas past, present and future all rolled into one visiting the wrong address. Willie must relive the failures of his life until Christmas morning when he realizes the season is over rated.

Marvel Comics Presents ran from 1988 to 1995, 175 issues, featuring various storylines by different authors and artists. Each issue offered four story lines. It was revived in 2007 for a one-year return. A third volume started in 2019.

She-Hulk’s second volume tallied 60 issues with John Byrne at the helm for the first 50. The title proved very quirky as She-Hulk would break the fourth wall on a regular basis. Plots were equally whimsical.

Posted Sunday, November 17th, 2019 by Barry

Spawn (1992) 39

It’s a case of mistaken identity that gives a little boy his best Christmas ever.

Spawn 39 is lacking in the title character, but that’s what makes “Noel” a seasonal story. Christmas Eve is a waiting game for most children. It’s a toss-up as to whether the evening is longer waiting on Santa to arrive or for the night to pass to morning.

Five-year old Gregory is passing Christmas Eve 1995 alone. Mom, Phyllis, is trying to make ends meet and sis, Nadine, has snuck out hoping to meet a man. Gregory is left with the Christmas classic Rudolph to babysit him.

As the time draws near Gregory hears commotion on the rooftop of the apartment building where he lives. Creator and writer Todd McFarlane and penciler Greg Capullo alternate the action to show what is happening with what Gregory believes is happening.

A careless crook drops some of the ill-gotten booty which Gregory finds and gifts to his mother believing Santa had left it for her.

By story’s end, all are happy by the hearth, but the titular character who remembers what his life used to be.

 

Posted Sunday, November 3rd, 2019 by Barry

The Bakers Meet Jingle Belle

The Bakers Meet Jingle Belle

The Bakers Meet Jingle Belle

A 2006 one-shot, The Bakers Meet Jingle Belle is another romp through a Paul Dini-demented Christmas season.

Santa Dad hijacks Jingle for another Christmas Eve spin. As usual his pixie-offspring is less than enthusiastic about the annual around-the-world romp. During one stop Jingle makes a break for it and finds herself mistaken for a last-minute nanny for the night.

To prove she’s really Santa’s daughter, Jingle steals Santa’s sleigh and takes the tykes to the North Pole. There they revel in the magic that is Christmas while their parents fight last-minute shoppers at the mall.

By book’s end the mood is mellow as seasonal magic sooths fraying nerves and flaring tempers.

Jingle first appeared in 1999 for Oni Press in “Sanity Clauses.” The short story led to a two-issue mini entitled “Miserable on 34th Street”/“Santa’s Little Hellion.”

Dini’s creation has bounced from distributor to distributor, most recently landing with IDW. The company released a collection entitled Jingle Belle: The Whole Package! and a one-shot for the 2018 Christmas season, Jingle Belle: The Homemades’ Tale.

Posted Friday, November 1st, 2019 by Barry

Four Color Comics (1942) 178

It being November 1st, let’s start with a first. Also known as Donald Duck issue seven, Four Color Comics 178 has the distinction of hosting the first appearance of Uncle Scrooge McDuck.

Donald Duck and the nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louis; are dreading Christmas. None have the finances for food or festivities. Donald’s wealthy Uncle Scrooge could change that – if he wasn’t such as skinflint.

As fate – and writer/creator Carl Barks – would have it, Scrooge is whiling his time away thinking up a way to trick his nephew. He decides on inviting Donald and the boys to his cabin on Bear Mountain, hence the story title “Christmas on Bear Mountain.”

Four Color Comics (1942) 178

Four Color Comics (1942) 178

Scrooge wishes to humiliate his nephew. To do so he buys a bear suit which Scrooge plans to don at the appropriate moment and scare Donald.

In the meantime, Donald and the nephews take the bait and arrive at the cabin. The only thing they lack for a true holiday is a Christmas tree. Pines are scarce so they chop down a hollow oak and drag it back.

Unbeknownst to them a bear cub is hibernating in the tree. The warmth of the cabin wakes the cub and he begins foraging for food. The mother, still in the stump, awakes and follows the web prints to the cabin.

Scrooge arrives to find an idyllic scene where Donald has fainted on the mama bear who is snoozing by the warm fire. The nephews are content to play with the cub and all is well.

Scrooge has the group formerly celebrate Christmas at his mansion where Donald is rewarded for his seeming bravery.

Barks packs a lot into 36 pages for the December 1947 comic book.

Posted Monday, October 14th, 2019 by Barry

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 9

A great Christmas cover with no holiday spirit inside. With the exception of “The Story of Christopher Columbus.”

Columbus Day celebrates its namesake’s arrival in the Americas. Observance of the holiday varies from area to area. It shares itself with Yorktown Victory Day in Virginia and Puerto Rico Friendship Day on the Virgin Islands.

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 9

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 9

Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash are the mystery men and woman of the book with Hop Harrigan keeping the skies safe from Nazi menaces.

Mermaids are the villains in Wonder Woman’s story “The Subsea Pirates.”

Doiby Dickles becomes the damsel in distress for Green Lantern in “A Tale of a City.”

The Flash is featured in “The Tale of the Winged Horse.” An invitation is extended to join the liar’s circle.

Without a doubt, the oddest story is “Filipinos are People.” The “yarn” is “devoted to furthering understanding among the peoples of the world.”

Also included are some one and dones from Mutt and Jeff.

Posted Monday, August 19th, 2019 by Barry

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 1

Steven Grant and Eric Fein take the Punisher down two very, un-Merry Christmas trails.

“Red Christmas” is the quest to bring Little Tony Caruso what he wants for Christmas. What he wants is the Punisher’s head in return for the death of his father.

Pleasant Valley Mall becomes the battleground.

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 1

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 1

It’s interesting to turn the clock back. Look at the backdrop with the drapings of 1993. At this writing, that was about 25 years ago. A time when compact discs still housed our music. Cordless telephones were high tech. Malls were still in vogue.

Maybe the best of the flashbacks was Stan’s Soapbox. Even after several months it’s hard to believe the man who raised so many of us has passed. It’s nice to know he’ll never be completely gone.

No seasonal glad tidings from The Man. No, Stan was at his best when huckstering. He was laying it on with a shovel in this issue. Marvel had conquered the United Kingdom and Stan wanted the Marvel Zombies in the colonies to know they could have a piece – for a nominal fee of course.

Rounding out the book, the body count drops in “Armed Salvation.” The Punisher teaches a little boy family is the more important than any petty grievances.

Posted Sunday, July 28th, 2019 by Barry

Captain Marvel (2014) 11

Captain Marvel has one day on Earth. Good thing it’s for the holidays so she can save Santa Claus and Christmas.

Maybe.

Captain Marvel (2014) 11

Captain Marvel (2014) 11

Depends on how you read the story.

Carol Danvers does return to Earth for 24 hours. During that time she visits a dear friend and mentor in the hospital. At least until she’s abducted, restrained and held with Santa Claus.

Here’s where it gets fuzzy. Not sure if it’s Christmas magic that turns a down-and-out Mr. Kringle into the real thing or not. All that’s certain is he’s trussed up like Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction. And, the gimp is coming.

All is well by book’s end and Captain Marvel is ready to return to her duties.

The issue is called “A Christmas Carol Part Two of Two,” but part one is just a vehicle to get Carol back home for the holidays.

It’s probably better if you’re a regular reader of the title. There’s enough history to keep someone like me clicking to Wikipedia for some background. Still, a nice Christmas tale.

Posted Tuesday, July 16th, 2019 by Barry

Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus

Ash bumps into his past on Christmas Eve.

This 2016 festival of fisticuffs proves the old adage, “no good deed goes unpunished,” is true. Especially for Ash Williams.

Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus

Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus

Beer and softcore porn are the order of the night until Ash’s neighbor comes calling – loudly. Ash must play the hero again, but it’s his involvement that leads to a one-sided reunion.

Though he doesn’t remember, Ash has met Krampus before. Many times.

In the flavor of the season the two make nice over liquid spirits and Ash learns of his transgressions against Krampus. A peace is made though the Christmas demon does exact his revenge against his former protagonist.

Krampus is the antithesis of Santa Claus. The half goat, half demon has domain over the naughty children.

His origins were birthed in eastern European legend. The myth has seen a revival of recent, enjoying top billing in seasonal scare films.

Ash is more of a recent legend having been born from the fertile imagination of Sam Raimi. He was brought to life by Bruce Campbell in three feature films and a television series on Starz.

Posted Monday, July 1st, 2019 by Barry

Jingle Belle (2004) 4

When readers last saw Jingle, she was being extorted by Leo Gatch to turn over 40-percent of the Santaville Casino profits to him.

Picking up the action, Jingle goes to war with Gatch. Not only does the gangster own most of Lake Tahoe, but controls pretty much all of the services needed to maintain a resort.

Jingle Belle (2004) 4

Jingle Belle (2004) 4

Jingle is not intimidated. Rather she ups the ante. Entertainment is imported. Food is found. Most importantly, Gatch’s machines are rigged to pay out. Pay out big.

As Gatch crumbles, so does the resolve of Bud Coleman, park manager. Santaville is no longer a fun land for the kiddies and he misses the old days. Jingle is thrown under the bus by Coleman who calls Santa lamenting the loss of the former theme park’s innocence.

To add insult to injury, Jingle is retained to help as the park reopens and gets back on its feet.

The whole issue is hilarious. Paul Dini directs the dialog with precision. Each character is fleshed out in a mere 20-some pages and the jokes are prevalent. This is a series that must be read.