Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Comic Book Stories

Christmas is not generally the best theme for cartoon fun. It usually means cartoons and comics that are mild, not too raucous and worst of all - good for you! Even so, I highly recommend Christmas comic books as a nice present for some kid in your family.Animators-when not telling pure cartoon stories- have an odd tendency to want to draw sweet naked men and boys and this book has some of that. It's something for the kids to wonder about.
Even Santa has no qualms running around in his drawers.
You can't go wrong with a good dog-kicking lesson.
And you know I love when animals with realistic anatomy stand on their hind legs. Yes sir, I like it!
There are a lot of sweetie-pie Santas in these old comics. You'll have to see if this one disrobes when you buy the book.
Lots of semi-cartoon, semi-real funny animals used to turn out for Christmas adventures during the Golden Age of Comics.
For fans of Walt Kelly's less cartoony stuff, there are a few stories in here.

What's Christmas fun without a good cry?

All the usual approved classic comic artists are in here too.
I have to ask though... why so much John Stanley?
Every comics collection feels obligated to have John Stanley in it. I have never got him. His drawings are just boring and stiff to me and there are plenty of great lesser known comic artists from our glorious past to choose from. Someone oughta just make one final all John Stanley book for his die-hard fans. Most of the fans I talk to could care less about more Little Lulu and her ilk.
and finally, Say NO to realistic comics in funny collections!
It's hard for me to imagine that anyone who likes funny animal type comics really wants to pay for pages filled with bland realistic comics. really, the last thing anyone wants for Christmas is Jesus. Luckily there are only 2 realistic stories in the book, so feel free to just tear them out.
Please let me know if you agree or disagree about the inclusion of realistic comic stories in funny collections...maybe they'll stop doing it if they know it stinks.

But mostly, this is a swell book for kids. If kids have to hear Christmas stories before bedtime all through December, it's best to read them from comic books!


Here are some other fine collections that will make great Christmas presents:

These early Archie stories are quite ribald! Montana is very liberal with his female anatomy. No naked dwarfs or fat guys with beards in this collection, but plenty of tight sweaters and freshly slicked bicycle seats.

Of course Milt Gross is the greatest.


Steven M. said...

I completely agree! No more realistic crap in funny comic collections!

(Not to be rude, but don't you think it's a bit early to talk about Christmas when it's only November?)

Jeff Brandt said...

Best holiday cartoon: Son of Stimpy. Classic! Not a comic but it's great!

Yeah John Stanley and the realistic stuff is definitely the least interesting in all of it.

Hey I've been looking around for Spumco stuff. I need to donate here soon. I bought the old and new Ren and Stimpy dvds and I've been looking through yours and Jim Smith's blog. Does Mike Fontanelli have a website? I'd love to see more of his drawings too!

marcushelbling said...

Great books! thanks for all this, J.

David Gale said...

Do you like Stanley's Melvin Monster comics?

J C Roberts said...

I'll agree with that as well. Even if it's not holiday-themed, mixing in realistic looking material in a mostly cartoony collection doesn't really work. It ends up looking more boring than it really is just by the comparison.

And there's just not as much cartoony humor to be mined from Christmas. Not in a comics code approved mainstream publisher product anyway. Happiness-based humor is difficult to pull off. Think about what actually makes you laugh and then check how much of it is people having a pleasant, joyful occasion compared to some type of adversity.

There's plenty of humor that could be Christmas themed, but it would probably need to be a little more about things going wrong than about drinking hot chocolate and singing carols.

Something like "Son of Stimpy" is a prime example. "Santa's" only appearrance is getting a big blue nose up his- well, you know...

JohnK said...

I don't get it.

Craig said...

Best review ever! Your fans, and I count myself among them, can go to and see more of my books. 99.8% realistic crap free! thanks especiallly for reminding folks that milt gross is the greatest--the book on him has been selling like crazy!

Mykal said...

John: I don't mind realistic comics in Comic Book anthologies with a Christmas theme. Particularily the choices here, one of which has art by Alberto Giolitti, who is really great. I like Stanley's writing alot, too. I think he's incredibly funny, often very subtle. His cartooning is OK, but his writing is great. Especially Tubby.

JohnK said...

I know there are some hard core Stanley fans out there, but there are a ton of his books already reprinted.

For the rest of us who crave so many other lost cartoonists' work, I wish they would ease off on what has already been published and give us the rarer better drawn stuff.

Mykal said...

John: "I know there are some hard core Stanley fans out there, but there are a ton of his books already reprinted." Point well taken.

Of Apes and Such said...

" Yes sir, I like it!"
couldn't help reading that in your Mr. Horse voice.

J C Roberts said...

Don't get the last part about "Son Of Stimpy"?

I meant compared to the average Hallmark type Christmas special made for family viewing that's too warm and sweet to be funny, the Christmas aspects of that episode are funnier for being layered into the whole story, one that's about more than holiday cheer and satisfied happiness. And that there isn't a strictly jolly old elf type Santa in it.

I'm not saying there aren't other Christmas specials with humor, just that sweetness usually displaces comedy.

Frank said...

if you want realistic take the bus ! ;)
i always disliked the look of those "realistic" stories
and never wanted to read them...
mix them with cartoony comics and it is all bad.
unless the styles are interacting with each other,
then that might be funny.

HemlockMan said...

Man, you are so totally WRONG about John Stanley! Yeah, his stuff could be considered "stiff" I reckon. But the dialogue and the emotions were great! And he had kids nailed. His kids were often mean as shit. Like real kids. John Stanley was the Ray Bradbury of kid's comics. Maybe not the very best artist, but pretty much the best writer. And I like his artwork. It still has a lot of appeal for me--especially his Witch Hazel stuff and his Melvin Monster comics.

JohnK said...

"John Stanley was the Ray Bradbury of kid's comics"

well, there you go.

ardy said...

So, what did you think of Basil Wolverton's Bible? And some of the other non-outrageous cartoony stuff?

Sorry if it's been asked before here, but "realistic comics in funny collections," made me think of that.

Oh and I'm buying this book now (for naked Santa, obviously).

Cristian AvendaƱo said...

Well, I kind dig the art in those realistic stories.

But it seems a little weird to have a book full of cartoony art and then a few pages of realism. The contrast is strange.

JohnK said...

Basil Wolverton's bible is interesting, but I would rather buy it by itself than to have it mixed in with his purposely funny stuff.

Books should give you what you think you are paying for is my philosophy. I couldn't even get the publishers of my own book to believe that.

EalaDubh said...

Whoa, WHOA, back up a minute there. Isn't that a Bernard Krigstein rendition of the Christmas Carol tale? It sure looks like his style. If you're all ragging on an artist of Krigstein's calibre just because some hack publisher got guilt-tripped into maintaining the fibre content of his box of chocolate oat cookies, I'm going to have to ask you ALL to step outside. At once. :)

Steve Hogan said...

John, if I'm not mistaken that's not a John Stanley story. That's Irving Tripp, the regular artist for Little Lulu working solo. I think what you're associating as Stanley's "Stiff" artwork is Tripp working from Stanley's layouts. The comics Stanley drew himself are much looser looking. You should check out his "Thirteen Going On Eighteen" stories.

(I actually like Tripp's art in context. For me it just makes the manic Stanley storylines seem more preposterous. Especially when it involves enraged adults looking to beat the crap out of children.)

Thomas said...

I can't say I'm much interested in the book, apart from maybe the Kelly and Bradbury stuff. It all looks very bland and saccharine sweet to me.

What the book needs is a good fight between funny animal characters, like this one from an actual Christmas story by Carl Barks:

I encourage anyone to read the wole story, starting here:

drawingtherightway said...

It does seem odd that they would have almost all cartoony stuff and then switch to realistic stuff. The artwork in the realistic comics looks good, but I can't imagine kids wanting to read the stories.

Craig said...

i included the beautifully drawn realistic stories so that the book would have a feel of those great old dell Christmas giants comics. those wonderful comics mixed both cartoon and straighter styled stories to great effect IMHO. how can one get too much of a genius like stanley? great action, humor, expressions, body language. and i've reprinted stories not seen anywhere else by john. hey john k. how about that crazy santa and the pirates story?!? anyway glad you liked the male nude elves--there's terrific stuff in the book for even the weirdest of fetishists. and as far as the heart-warming stories included in the book: any wet-blanket, cynical, cold-hearted scrooges out there will just have to "deal" as the young people say.

Anonymous said...

Now I definitely know what I might consider getting for Christmas. Thanks for the helpful post, John.

Elana Pritchard said...

Does anyone know of any Hanukkah collections at all? I bet THEY'D be really funny ;)

me said...

my friend bart bush conrtibuted to this book. he helped pick the stories for this collection. bart and i both manage comic shops here in oklahoma.

me said...

this is just a great publication. craig yoe has been putting out some amazing books. my good friend bart bush helped craig put this book together. he chose a lot of the stories that were published in this grand christmas collection. it still is pretty refreshing, considering all the other drab books that came out this week.