Archive for the ‘Holiday Specials’ Category

Posted Saturday, May 25th, 2019 by Barry

Jingle Belle (1999) 2

Jingle Belle (1999) 2

Jingle Belle (1999) 2

Paul Dini and Stephen DeStefano wrap up the two-issue mini with “Santa’s Little Hellion.”

When we left Jingle Belle at the end of issue one, she had released the wrath of the Blizzard Wizard after disobeying her father, Santa Claus. The good intentions of faux elf and newfound friend, Andy, allow Jingle to return to North Pole headquarters, but the damage is done.

To thwart the Bliz Wiz again, Jingle retreads old ground seeking aid from those who helped Santa before. Between a contest to prove herself and unexpected help from a suicidal source Christmas is saved.

Jingle raises her will in defiance one last time to help Andy. The good deed does go unpunished, but not unnoticed.

She is allowed a place by her father’s side on the most generous of all nights.

Another homerun from Dini and Destafano. Y2K could never have dampened the spirit released from the two issues as the duo close out the old millennium with fun and flare.

Posted Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 by Barry

Jingle Belle (1999) 1

“Long, long ago…” so the story begins, the good northern elves became the Blizzard Wizard’s entertainment. When the elves even gooder Queen Mirabelle sought their freedom she too was captured.

As with all good fairy tales the queen was rescued. Rescued by a saint: Santa Claus. Her hero rode forth and banished the evil and vile wizard to his icy caverns while forcing him to relinquish his power.

In a show of appreciation the elves vowed their allegiance to Santa and his mission to bring happiness to children the world over. Santa and the queen fell in love and were married.

And, they lived happily ever after.

Jingle Belle (1999) 1

Jingle Belle (1999) 1

At least until Santa couldn’t keep his pants up any longer and Queen Mirabelle bore him a daughter. One they spoiled with the best presents.

“Miserable on 34th Street” is the rest of the story. One in which their daughter, Jingle Belle, seeks a way back into her father’s good graces. Be it through deceit, granted, but still a chance to climb from under the mountain of coal she receives every Christmas Eve.

Through misunderstanding and indifference Jingle reunites the cold czar of chaos with is power source again and earns the hatred of children everywhere.

To be continued…

Paul Dini serves up the frozen fare with Stephen DeStefano illustrating the icy tale. Pin ups are served by Jill Thompson and Sergio Aragones.

Posted Friday, May 10th, 2019 by Barry

Gen 13 A Christmas Caper

This 2000 holiday offering opened the millennium with a look at the past.

Gen 13 is/was a team of teens with a mentor. As individuals they were recruited by International Operations, a clandestine government organization along the lines of a James Bondesqe-cabal. They are trained through this organization to become heroes.

Something like that.

For the purpose of the Christmas special, that’s a good enough explanation.

Gen 13 A Christmas Caper

Gen 13 A Christmas Caper

This story takes place when the group was still old enough to believe in Santa Claus. Grunge had concocted a calculation that will give the exact time of Santa’s arrival at the facility. His plan is to hide and record the jolly one’s visit.

What no one realizes is the facility, the children, all the trappings are just bait. IO headman The Baron wishes to exact revenge for years of coal under the Christmas tree.

The plan works and Santa is captured. However, the end result is Christmas magic that reveals The Baron’s suffering was undeserved.

I’ve had this issue for years. Just sitting in my box of holiday comic books. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve pawed past it looking for the next issue to read.

While scheduling ahead for the summer season it was just time to read this book.

Having done so, I can’t believe it took so long. What a fun read. You don’t need to be a fan. I’m not. I may have read the first issue of the original title. It didn’t do anything for me. That’s probably why it took me so long to read this.

I wish I hadn’t. Waited, that is.

Next time you’re at your local comic book shop, leaf through the back issues and see if this one is available. It’s worth the time and money.

Posted Wednesday, April 10th, 2019 by Barry

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1966)

Dell produced the comic book adaptation of the movie in March, 1966. To add insult to injury, a Comic Book Storyteller edition was offered with a read-along record voiced by Dan Ocok, Ann Delugg and Ralph Bell. The album also featured the film’s theme song, “Hooray for Santa Claus.”

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1966)

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1966)

Often billed as one of the worst films of all time, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians appeared in theaters in 1964. The film was based on a story by Glenville Mareth and was directed by Nicholas Webster.

The plot is pretty much spelled out in the title. When Mars children are found to be living by too rigid standards, Santa Claus is kidnapped to bring some whimsy to their world. Saboteurs attempt to foil the plan, but are set straight by the man in red. Santa is released from his captivity and returned to Earth in time to make his Christmas Eve rounds.

The film has become a cult favorite in part to its public domain status. During its initial release the film did recoup its production costs as well as making a profit.

Posted Thursday, April 4th, 2019 by Barry

Marvel Holiday Special (2005)

Marvel recycled the cover and stories for its Marvel Holiday Special trade, but the original 2005 one-shot was all original.

Marvel Holiday Special (2005)

Marvel Holiday Special (2005)

Shaenon K. Garrity serves up a jaunty pre-Christmas tale with shades of Citizen Kane. The Fantastic Four and Namor celebrate the holiday to satisfy an aggrieved Moleman’s childhood fancy in “Moleman’s Christmas.”

The disgruntled youth’s misgiving-theme is continued in “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santatron.” Spider-Man swings in late for the annual Avenger’s Christmas party. An unexpected – and unwanted – guest arrives in a Tannenbaum trimmed Trojan horse. Heroes prove their mettle as they circumvent the intrusion with a confederate confection.

Marvel’s holiday season comes to a close with “Christmas Day in Manhattan.” A rhythmic recital has the Fantastic Four saving another holiday from a poor-intentioned father. Their mercy provides presents for the innocents.

This 2005 edition is a worthy addition to any collector’s repository. A goodly portion of the Marvel U appears in either leading rolls or in cameos. The stories are heartwarming without being saccharine and the feeling of the season is almost tangible.

Posted Monday, March 25th, 2019 by Barry

Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies (1950) 5

Bugs and friends starred in the self-titled Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies from 1950 to 1958 under the Dell imprint.

Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies (1950) 5

Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Funnies (1950) 5

The fifth installment includes:

  • Bugs saving Christmas from the Old Man of the Mountain;
  • Porky Pig finding the error of his ways in the Bizzaro world of Backward’s Valley;
  • Tweety and Sylvester tearing a department store apart as the hungry cat tries to fulfill the flighty bird’s wishes;
  • Elmer and Daffy squaring off with explosive results as a parade loses its float;
  • Bugs and Elmer headlining in a one-page gag;
  • Petuna Pig with piggy bank woes that Pork cannot fix;
  • Little used Henery Hawk making an appearance and earning a shiner;
  • Mary Jane and Sniffles forming an unusual bond to locate their run away gifts;
  • Porky and Petuna returning for a mashed up, mix up; and
  • Bugs isn’t the only one to suffer when his pretending becomes pretentious.

All in 100 pages for a quarter.

While a bargain today, a quarter in 1955 is currently the equivalent of $4.70. Of course a regular comic book runs four dollars. Maybe it’s still a bargain.

Posted Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 by Barry

Punisher MAX X-Mas Special 1

Frank Castle can’t stop the Massacre of Innocents, but does save the life of one in “And on Earth Peace, Good Will Toward Men.” Don Maranzano is the King Herod in this Christmas passion play.

The Castellano family is about to sire another heir to the criminal empire. Maranzano wishes to halt the birth and orders the slaughter of all children in the birth ward. The intended one not yet born, Baby Castellano escapes the carnage.

The story takes an even more Biblical turn when the Punisher hides the parents-to-be at a race track stable. Would be attackers are thwarted once more and the baby is given a chance at a normal life.

The X-MAX title hit comic book shops for the 2008 season.

The Punisher was first introduced in Amazing Spider-Man 129. He was created by Gerry Conway, John Romita, Sr and Ross Andru. The MAX imprint was launched by Marvel in 2001 and aimed at adult readers. That said, Punisher MAX X-Mas Special 1 is not for the faint of heart.

Posted Friday, March 15th, 2019 by Barry

World of Archie Comics Double Digest (2010) 64

This 2016 offering featured 150 pages of Archie and gang antics. Holiday hijinks sandwiched normal fare.

Celebrating the season were “Spinner Winner,” a cautionary tale of stubbornness and sledding; “Fresh Idea,” in which Archie drags Jughead about the country side to find the perfect tree; and “Clean Sweep,” with school custodian Mr. Svenson’s lesson in the true meaning of Christmas.

World of Archie Comics Double Digest (2010) 64

World of Archie Comics Double Digest (2010) 64

Other Christmas tales included “Engage the Enemy.” A misunderstanding the scale of any Three’s Company episode ensues when Veronica mistakes Archie’s musings for marriage.

“The Season of Magic,” has Jingles the Elf skedaddling back north courtesy of a gaggle of Santas.

Miss Grundy reminisces about her favorite gifts from students in “The Presents.”

“Aid Parade” is a one-page Mr. Lodge gag proving you’re never too old to believe in Santa.

Veronica and Betty have their “Santa Claws” out over a fashion faux pau.

Hot Dog is featured in a one-page skit entitled “Wrap Flap.”

Finally, “Holiday Prone” has Archie making amends Santa style for a stay of execution.

Posted Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 by Barry

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2018) 4

IDW included a homespun tale for the 2018 Christmas offering while importing the rest of the book.

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2018) 4

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (2018) 4

“The Coat of Christmas Magic” came from the 2011 Italian Topolino issue 2926. Mickey takes center stage in a coat that knows the wearers heart.

Gyro Gearloose’s latest invention proves too much for him and his home. The story is pulled from Italian Topolino 2405, 2002.

The Dutch provided “Donald’s Cold War.” From the pages of Donald Duck Weekblad 51, 1980, Donald terrorizes his nephews in a snowball fight until the tables are turned.

“Very Merry Christmas” is a retread from Brazilian Natal Disney de Ouro issue seven from 1985, starring the Beagle Boys who steal a page from Alice in Wonderland.

Breer Wolf stars in the lone American offering “Fir Tree Fermata.”

Issue four goes back across the big pond for the final two stories, “Pearl Jams and Secondary Clauses,” from the Dutch Donald Duck Weekblad issue 51, from the year 2000; and “Quick Solution,” a Finnish offering from Aku Ankka 52 originally published in 1992.

Posted Sunday, March 10th, 2019 by Barry

Ghostbusters: Past, Present and Future

For $4 million dollars, will the Ghostbusters capture the spirit(s) of Christmas?

IDW released this Rob Williams/Diego Jouran Pireira production for December of 2009. The company had acquired rights to the franchise the year before offering both one shots and a mini-series.

Ghostbusters has a long history in comic book form beginning with NOW Comics in 1988. The – no pun intended – now defunct company based its adaptation on the then current Real Ghostbusters syndicated cartoon. The two volume series has been collected in trade format by IDW.

Concurrently Marvel UK published a Ghostbusters series that ran 193 issues beginning in 1988. A reprint of the foreign series made its way into issue 21 of Real Ghostbusters due to NOW Comics production problems.

Further incarnations were also witnessed from Welsh Publishing Company and 88MPH Studios out of Canada. Tokyopop issued a one-shot manga comic book called Ghostbusters:  Ghost Busted.

The film itself was a 1984 tour de force directed by Iven Reitman and co-written by Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis. In its initial theater run the movie grossed $242 million domestically and $295 worldwide.