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‘Holiday Wars': Don’t let your babies grow up to be Santa

UnknownWhat’s this affection we have for personifications of popular holidays? Santa can’t just be this weird elf who lives in the North Pole and breaks all laws of physics to shimmy down a chimney that’s too small for him. No, that guy is literally Christmas. If little children were to, say, stop believing in him, he’d up and disappear like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan. If Christmas doesn’t exist, Santa doesn’t exist. Hence, he attains this almost god-like status, presiding over the other holidays like Zeus on Mount Olympus.

The idea has been explored in more popular venues, such as Jack Skellington as the long-limbed King of Halloween in The Nightmare Before Christmas and Santa Claus as a jovial, sword-wielding Cossack in The Rise of the Guardians. (No, not the one with the owls.) If anything, drawing on familiar properties allows creators to fancifully tweak characters that have long been in the public domain. A surly Easter Bunny played by Hugh Jackman? Who would’ve heard of such a thing? Webcomics are represented as well. The most notorious is probably the Christmas adventures that Bun-Bun would have in the pages of Sluggy Freelance.

In Holiday Wars, by Scott King, Michael Odom, Guiseppe Pica and Aturo Said (Volume 1), the personification of holidays is front and center. So what fuels this horrible holiday-on-holiday violence? Basically the core tenets of most stories of this genre: that Santa is beloved, Christmas is the most popular holiday by far, and the Easter Bunny is a total jerk. (It’s got to be those creepy buckteeth.) After the old gods left Earth, the popular holidays band together to keep order and to ward off malevolent spirits, thereby protecting humanity.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Roger Langridge

Snarked! #0

Recently I was lucky enough to see a preview of Roger Langridge‘s Snarked! #0, his all ages series for Kaboom where the writer/artist uses Lewis Carroll‘s “Walrus and the Carpenter” poem (from Through the Looking-Glass) as a springboard for his storytelling. For every consumer that railed against the cancellation of Langridge’s Thor: The Mighty Avenger, here’s your chance to support Langridge again. For every pundit and website commenter who opined that Thor would have flourished, had it not been caught in the deluge of Thor titles that dashed any chance of it succeeding, take note.

A quick look at the CBR front page reveals a full court press for every new DC #1 coming our way in September. And we should be covering the DC relaunch, don’ t get me wrong. But I am fearful that some great books coming out around the same time, say this one, for example, are going to get overlooked. Roger Langridge’s Snarked! should not be overlooked. This is the comic that non-comics reading parents are looking for when they wander into a store seeking something to give their kid. This is a fun comic. This is a funny comic. This is an intelligent comic. This is a comic with puzzles, mazes and word searches. This preview issue is only a $1. This is a project that I hope to see on many folks Best of 2011 lists (I know it will be on mine).

Langridge chatted with me briefly in this email interview, and Kaboom was kind enough to give us a preview of Snarked! (provided at the end of our discussion). While the preview is not on sale until August, of course it is in Previews this month, with orders due June 30 [Diamond Code: JUN110963]. I can count on one hand the number of active creators that write and draw as engagingly a story as Langridge. If that does not win you over, the book stars a talking walrus (Wilburforce J. Walrus, as noted by Kaboom: “that’s right, the same Walrus that inspired the Beatles song “I Am the Walrus” is now in Roger Langridge’s merry, mad hands”) for the love of God. Check it out, I think you’ll agree it should be on everyone’s must-read list, no matter your age. To paraphrase Langridge fromthis interview, I hope this project is something that people will want to re-read many times–and if that’s not the definition of a great comic, I don’t know what is.

Tim O’Shea: How long have you been a fan of the work of Lewis Carroll?

Roger Langridge: It’s tempting to say “since I could read”; I’m sure it can’t have been quite that long, but I know I was very, very young when I first read the Alice books. And I’ve gone back and re-read them every couple of years since then, pretty much. They’re that rare thing, books which hit you in one way when you’re a kid, and in a different (yet equally powerful) way when you’re an adult, when you appreciate some of the really black humor and the general pricking of pomposity. They reward repeated re-readings more than most.

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