I am lucky enough to have been born right in the midst of so many great Christmas movies and shows. From the traditional, the religious, the modern, and the absurd, I thought all bases had pretty well been covered. Until Klaus landed in my inbox.
Santa in comics isn’t a new concept, from the Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special to Joe Hill’s Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland Santa, as well as his myth and it’s ramifications have been the fodder of many a storyteller. Klaus calls back to one of the well-known tales of Santa. Those of you who remember 1970’s Santa Claus is Coming to Town will jump into this comic with both feet on firm ground, and then that ground will promptly shift beneath your feet.
The story of a man coming upon a village where happiness is outlawed by a cruel and heartless official is a traditional one for sure. We’ve seen that theme of creative oppression played out in different ways over and over. But Santa Claus is Coming to Town postulated that young man, so disheartened by the plight of the youth, finds that he has to do something about it. And in doing so becomes Santa Claus, hero to millions, along the way. Klaus takes this heartwarming story in slightly more adult direction.
When Klaus happens upon the village of Grimsvig, his sled laden with skins and meat for trade he assumes he’ll find if not welcome at least somewhere to trade his goods for necessities. Instead what he finds is a town full of ruffians, thieves, and scoundrels all seemingly in the employ of the baron of the village. When Klaus runs afoul of some of the town soldiers we quickly see just how much pleasure the town’s master Lord Magnus takes in the pain of others.
Escaping with his life intact, through being saved spectacularly by a friend, Klaus wonders just what he can do to help the people of Grimsvig. But really what can one man do? The plot twist at this point is too out of this world to explain here, let’s just say that the help that comes his way is fantastic and gives us our first glimpse of the Santa we know and love.
Grant Morrison pens an excellent opening to a new look at an old myth and Dan Mora’s art straddles the line between fairy-tale and sword and sorcery barbarian story so well. Issue 1 was a pleasure to read. Klaus #1 gets a five out of five!
Klaus #1 (of 6)
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
On Sale November 04, 2015
Publisher BOOM! Studios
Diamond Id: SEP151100
Update 12/4/2015: Due to it’s critical and reader popularity Klaus is getting a third print run! You only have a couple of days to preorder so get moving. Call your local comic shop and order it. Klaus #1 third print ships with a new cover by Mora and carries a retail price of $3.99 under Diamond Code OCT158556. Orders close on December 7th, and copies are anticipated to be in stores on December 23rd.