REVIEW: Krampus #1
Krampus’s popularity has increased recently and with Christmas quickly approaching, what better time for him to get his own comic book? Don’t know who the Krampus is? Don’t worry, neither did I. Read on to learn more and see if he is deserving of his own book!
Great inclusion of Christmas lore
Fun character designs
Some of the art is a mess
Krampus seems too nice
Previously in Krampus!: Krampus: An evil creature used by Sinterklaas to bring terror and punishment to wicked children on Christmas Eve. Sound cruel? The idea was thought up by Germans. (I sincerely apologize to the German readers for that horrible, funny joke.)
WOW. SANTA SEEMS LIKE KIND OF A DICK
Being the unhip moron that I am, I was completely unaware that Krampus was a real creation. I’d seen him mentioned on The League and some people with pictures on Facebook, but I assumed it was a fad. When I saw there was a comic from Image being released I did some research (i.e., Wikipedia). To my surprise it is an old European legend and quite a wickedly hilarious one at that. I knew I had to read Krampus!
Brian Joines does a great job of giving the history of Krampus and we’re thrown right into the story. There are a lot of cool and funny ideas like evil Sugar Plum Fairies and a Secret Society of Santa Clauses. The Sugar Plum Fairies steal the remains of St. Nicholas, which fuels Santa’s magic. They must turn to Krampus to recover the remains and help save Christmas.
I was impressed with the extensive Christmas history in the book. It’s there, but subtle enough that the uneducated can still enjoy the issue while those in the know will get a little extra out of the book. It’s presented in a humorous way and the majority of it works. The Society has Santas for each section of the world, each with traits similar to the people of that region. None of them seemed to get along and some are downright dicks which felt appropriate considering the current state of the world. United States Santa’s obsession with food seemed about right. Krampus is introduced and though he’s supposed to be evil, he didn’t read as wicked apart from one scene. Christmas spirit runs throughout: hard working elves, a naughty bomb strapped to Krampus, dead reindeer and the aforementioned Sugar Plumb Fairies. Some of the jokes fall flat and certain dialogue is silly but overall it’s a fun read. I look forward to seeing where the conspiracy heads and I hope Krampus really lets loose and brings the evil.
I’D LOVE TO HANG OUT WITH SURFING SANTA
Dean Kotz brings some great character designs to this book, particularly the Secret Society of Santa Clauses. Each Santa visually reflects their region and, just like their personalities, were fun. My particular favorite was Pacific Island Santa. Shirtless, wearing a backwards hat, hula skirt and carrying a surfboard. This alone made my read worth it. The easily offended may be upset by the stereotypes but with a book like this, it’s hard to take seriously. Kotz’s style is hit or miss, reminding me of some art seen in Mad Magazine. Lots of scratchy lines fill characters and many thick ones outline areas as well. This causes some problems, particularly in backgrounds. Objects become almost unrecognizable and look like thick, messy blobs. Faces are strong and do a great job of conveying emotion and thoughts. While it’s a style that isn’t to my liking, it worked with the book and tone.
BOTTOM LINE: A READ FOR CHRISTMAS FANS
Krampus! is a comic that will be most enjoyed by those well versed in Christmas lore. Brian Joines sprinkles history throughout in a subtle way that’s accessible to all. There are great character designs from Kotz and the visuals match the humor. It will be interesting to see how Krampus handles his mission but I hope we see more of his wicked side. While not all the silliness works, it’s a fun read and a must for Krampus and Christmas fans alike. Krampus! #1 gets 3 out of 5 stars.