Comic books have been a part of my life pretty much as long as I can remember.
Christmas has been a part of my life before memory.
The marriage of Christmas and comic books didn’t really happen till 1974 with DC Comic’s Limited Collector’s Edition Christmas With the Super Heroes (C-34).
That was the morning I ambled down the stairs of our old farm house in Virginia, nestled in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley amidst apple orchards and the best childhood anyone could ever hope for.
I would take the steps three or four at a time as I bounded toward the bounty that was Christmas morning.
For those who don’t remember or never experienced it, the Limited Collector’s Editions were the forerunners of trade paperbacks; chock full of golden- and silver-age reprints featured in tabloid-size format.
Christmas With the Super Heroes (C-34) was released in November 1974, though dated February/March 1975. The cover sported Santa Claus flanked by the Teen Titans, Superman, Batman and Shazam all framed in a wreath on a bed of festive, fushia-pink.
Tucked between were five holiday stories culled from the golden and silver ages of DC.
In Mom and Dad’s house, Christmas morning was regimented. You rose, washed, brushed teeth and hair, dressed and waited for the family before diving into the stockings. Those were to tide me over till after breakfast when we then tore open the wrapping paper to see if our dreams from the Sear’s Christmas Wish Book came true.
Though I didn’t know it, that was the morning I began a collection of Christmas comic books; a sub-collection of my normal books.
1974 was my introduction of Christmas and comic books. I didn’t always have Christmas With the Super Heroes in my stocking. DC would only publish one more of the Limited Collector’s Editions (C-43) the following year, and yes, I had that one as well, but I always had comic books in my stockings. There are so many fond memories of rummaging past the Life Saver Holiday box and Crayola crayons to find DC 100 pagers or Giant-Size Marvel fan favorite.
As with all good things, those days passed. Sadly they passed without me realizing they had and the comic books disappeared without mourning.
Fast forward to 1988.
A lotta snow had flown and wrapping paper been rent from presents. The thoughts of comic books in Christmas stockings I\was almost forgotten until I happened upon Christmas With the Super Heroes (1988). While I didn’t find it in a stocking, it was in the next best place, a spin rack.
My original Limited Collector’s Edition from 1974 was long gone, but this sparked memories of mornings rummaging past stocking stuffers to find the real prizes. This was a piece of my childhood reimagined.
Later I learned this present was courtesy of Mark Waid who urged DC to produce the third special entitled Christmas With the Super Heroes. It may not have been tabloid sized and the price had doubled, but collected inside were more holiday-themed stories from the DC Universe.
In addition to the name, the other constant was The Teen Titan’s Swingin’ Christmas Carol, a staple that I would later find was also collected in the Best of DC 22, also titled Christmas With the Super Heroes. This version was part of DC’s digest line from the early to mid-1980s. I blame these and Marvel’s Pocket Comics for my reading glasses today.
At some point I found myself buying any comic book that had a Christmas theme. I guess it was a voluntary decision, but I don’t remember it as such.
One day a few years back, Jeff, who is co-authoring this site, was over and I stated peeling off holiday issues. The wheels turned immediately and he urged me to do a Web site. It was a niche no one had touched on – yet.
This is it.
If you like the site, I’m glad. Hopefully some of these issues will bring back fond memories. They may be sappy, but it’s Christmas with cheer and goodwill toward all, the season of giving and all that. For me it’s all about the comic books.