A collection of festive funny books and seasonal superhero adventures.
The Christmas comic has a long and noble history, whether it be special editions of regular publications, the British tradition of the hardcover annual or simply a quick cash-in/celebratory cover for that week’s edition. As a kid, I would savour these specials when they were at their best and despair of them at their worst – but the anticipation of a story that shifted your favourite comic book hero out of their own alternate reality and into one where Santa was a living, breathing character or the joy of an entire collection of special festive stories in the humorous weekly titles was delicious. The pleasures of the annual – a book that could sit on your shelf with a permanence that the comics themselves rarely offered – were just as good, even if many of them made no gesture towards the actual season. In a way, that made them better because they didn’t date by January.
There is a fairly endless supply of Christmas-themed comics – some one-offs, some ongoing and some just too weird to ever define. As ever, in recent years the festive edition has become too knowing and cynical – while these earlier titles certainly had a touch of the opportunist about them, they also feel like more sincere celebrations from a more innocent time when comics aimed simply to entertain, not preach and socially engineer. Here is just a small sampling of classic covers…
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