If you haven’t been reading Image Comics’ Krampus book – the series began just in time for Christmas! – you’ve been naughty, and we’re sending The Krampus after you, just after he wraps up his 5-issue tale, which hits comic book stores today.
Krampus has seen a nice resurgence in popularity over the last year or two, with an appearance on the TV show Grimm, a few novels, t-shirts, and even some… well… more interesting pieces of literature.
Image’s Krampus comic by Brian Joines has been some of the best Christmas and Krampus storytelling I’ve ever read, and I’m not exaggerating. The book is FUN. Krampus is laugh-out-loud hilarious, and Joines has done his homework – the amount of research he’s put into the world’s different iterations of Santa Claus, not to mention the other winter myths, is amazing and worthy of huge respect. He’s created a holiday adventure with a good old mystery smack in the middle. When he responded to my Tweet about getting an interview, I was just a happy little fangirl. So, without further ado, I give you, the Brian Joines interview.
WhatchaReading: Thanks again for taking the time to talk Krampus! What made you want to write a book about Krampus?
Joines: I grew up with a kind of jaded, dark sense of humor and I love the idea of anything that punches holes in the bright and shiny sacred cows of childhood and innocence, like Christmas. I was having a particularly rough holiday a few years ago and a friend of mine mentioned the Krampus, which I had never heard of before. I learned more about this creature that punished wicked children and I KNEW I had to do something with it…it was just a matter of finding the right story to use him in.
WhatchaReading: Krampus has been popping up a lot these days – he was on the Grimm series a couple of months ago, and he even had his own ugly sweater Christmas pattern. Why do you think people are so interested in him all of a sudden?
Joines: I think people have become more and more aware of the crass commercialism associated with the holiday, how much “Christmas cheer” is really about the bottom line and whatnot. It’s definitely becoming more and more of a manufactured holiday and I think a lot of folks are savvy enough to have recognized and grown tired of the “cash-grab” components of the season. I think the Krampus is a figure that represents a rebellion against the false elements. In a lot of ways, it’s kind of cathartic.
WhatchaReading: What else are you working on these days? Your writing is hilarious, do you like writing dark humor, or do you tend toward a different genre?
Joines: I grew up surrounded by funny people who loved various kinds of humor: Monty Python, Mel Brooks, old comedy albums from the 1940s-1960s, so my default is to always do comedy; most of my favorite comics have had a strong comedic element to them. And I’m firm believer that you need comedy to offset the drama and make it more dramatic (and vice versa). Right now I’ve got a couple different projects in the works, one more serious, and one that will have a healthy mix of comedy and drama. I also have a pitch in that, if it gets picked up, will fall more on the comedy side of things.
WhatchaReading: Do you have any other mythical monsters in mind for future stories?
Joines: Oh, I’m all about mythical monsters, believe me. I have a few stories in mind that could incorporate other myths and legends. I had tentatively started to develop a book on Spring-Heeled Jack, but another publisher beat me to the punch, at least in terms of using the character in a similar fashion as I’d intended. Welcome to comics.
WhatchaReading: Will we be getting more Krampus next year, if we’re good? Or bad, depending on how you look at it.
Joines: That is very much so to-be-determined. I just finished wrapping up issue five and, to be frank, sales aren’t great. There could be any number of reasons…people are put off by the tone/comedy, it’s a Christmas-themed book in April/May when most are “over” Christmas…who knows? So on that alone, I’d say probably not. BUT…awareness has grown since the book came out and it’d be a shame to have someone else capitalize on that. So we’re looking at our options. But I definitely have more stories I want to tell…there are various European legends that are perfect for Krampus adventures. And I barely tapped into using Dickens characters. If worst comes to worst, I may try to do a little follow-up story for the trade paperback. But like I said, we’re in wait-and-see mode. 🙂
Folks, GET OUT THERE AND FIND KRAMPUS. Hit those back-issue drawers and bring this series home. Issue 5 hits stores tomorrow. This series has been a 5/5 star series – buy it digitally on Comixology or wait for the trade. But whatever you do, if you get a kick out of fantasy, fables, and dark humor, don’t miss this book.
Thanks so much to Brian Joines for the great interview. You can follow him on Twitter @brianmjoines and you can catch his work on Imagine Agents for BOOM! Studios.
Writer: Brian Joines
Artist: Dean Kotz
Publisher: Image Comics
On-Sale: May 14, 2014
Diamond ID: FEB140608