Category Christmas Covers

Comic Cavalcade (1942) 9

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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.

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Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 1

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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.

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Captain Marvel (2014) 11

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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.

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Evil Dead 2: Revenge of Krampus

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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.

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Jingle Belle (2004) 4

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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.

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Jingle Belle (2004) 3

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Jingle takes a down-on-its-luck tourist stop and turns it into a money maker.

Father Christmas, also father of Jingle, sends his little girl out, into the world to help some old friends. Bud and Vera Coleman have been keeping the faith since 1962. Santaville is a side-of-the-road tourist spot not seen in decades. The quaint curiosity has outlived its usefulness, but Santa still wants to see it survive.

Jingle Belle (2004) 3

Jingle Belle (2004) 3

Jingle is to investigate and offer her input. After a quick tour she decides the best way to keep up with the times is to turn the tourist trap into a money pit for anyone hoping to get rich quick.

Without her father’s knowledge, Jingle transforms the tourist stop to a gambling mecca. Her efforts are rewarded exponentially as profits pile up. The untold treasures do not go unnoticed and not by her father, but a more sinister presence.

While the first two issues were self-contained, this is the first of a two-part story. Needless to say, author and creator Paul Dini leaves readers hanging at a most inopportune time for Jingle or themselves.

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Jingle Belle (2004) 2

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“Belle’s Beaus” explores the impact Jingle has made on people over the years.

Investigative writer Peter Smith chases a memory from his youth in an attempt to discover the validity of the remembrance. Throughout the story Smith solicits the stories of others with like experiences. All have a similar feel, but each is as elusive as his recollection. Each is grounded in salvation, but as tangible as a wisp of smoke.

When Smith finally confronts his conundrum, he’s still unsure. He decides the matter comes down to faith and leaves it at that.

The second story, “Kiyote Christmas Party,” is a bit more anthropomorphized as Christmas Eve becomes a raucous round up at the local watering hole. The girls show they can take care of their own with the seasonal spirit still provided.

Jingle Belle (2004) 2

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Jingle Belle (2004) 1

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Jingle Belle (2004) 1

Jingle Belle (2004) 1

Jingle Belle attacks the skeptics who say she doesn’t exist.

To do so, she decides on a Christmas special. In the style of the Rankin/Bass stop-motion puppet spectaculars of old. The network likes the idea of a special; just not her vision.

Paul Dini destroys demographics with his version of a seasonal special. He raids the Rankin/Bass treasure trope for the villains while giving George Lucas a sly nod.

“A Very Special Jingle Belle Special” is worth the price of the book alone, but Dini tosses in a follow up that teaches the greedy a lesson.

“Nibble, Nibble” introduces Polly Green, a self-styled suburban witch. Jingle Belle makes a guest appearance to help the youthful witch with family trouble.

Stephanie Gladden takes a page from Phil Folio with her illustrations.

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Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 3

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Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 3

Punisher Holiday Special (1993) 3

Frank Castle’s third and final holiday special hit comic book shops just in time for the 1994 Christmas season.

“Cold Land” and “X-Mas Stalkings” are buffeted by the “Punisher’s Arsenal” and “Punisher War Journal Equipment” pages. Charles Dixon and Dale Eaglesham relate the first story while Mike Lackey and Phil Gosier bat cleanup.

“Cold Land” takes no prisoners as the Punisher attempts to save a boy from the sins of his father.

“X-Mas Stalkings” shows a more psychological thriller side to the book. Charles Quinn has found a fixation at random. His fetish has led to a fantasy life that ruins everyone else’s. When the confrontation comes, Quinn dies for a misunderstanding he created.

Of the three holiday specials, this is the best. A strong finish to 1990s vigilantism.

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Giant Days Where Women Glow and Men Plunder

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A holiday in Australia for the holidays.

Not much here Christmas wise. A decked out tree and some other imagery, but the main thrust of the book is a young man visiting his girlfriend and (barely) surviving a week with her family.

Giant Days Where Women Glow and Men Plunder

Giant Days Where Women Glow and Men Plunder

Ed Gemmel is the victim in this story. A victim of his own hormones and the wilds of Australia. Nina Archer is the object of his affections. Those intentions are tested by her father, brother and rival boys from the next town over.

During his stay Ed must prove his manhood to impress the cast. He finally does as intelligence triumphs over sheer muscle.

I thought long and hard about including this. As mentioned earlier the holidays are just an excuse for the vacation.

The meat of the story is in the interaction with the supporting cast.

Still, I read the book and rather than waste the time spent with an Englishman in a strange land, I thought I’d include it anyway. Take what you want from the review, such as it is, but pick the book up and read it to decide for yourself.

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