Leave Your Spandex At The Door: Happy Hoildays

Welcome to the 23rd installment of ‘Leave Your Spandex @t the Door’.

And what an installment this is. Just in time for Christmas, (and my name day, thanks for the wishes!), I got in contact with some of comics’ most talented creators and the most promising new talent (and also Rich Johnston, who is just plainly rich) to do a Ho Ho Holiday-themed round-table!

Roll Call:

Mike and Laura Allred lead a double life. Every Christmas, they take a week off from their work on X-StatiX, the Atomics, and Madman, to go to the North Pole to undertake a special assignment. (Hint: -ho ho ho-) 😉 [AAA POP website]

Dave Crosland is following up on his hit ‘Puffed‘ and ‘Stay Puffed’ projects next year with ‘Stuffed’, the tale of a stripper trapped in a Turkey outfit, and stranded in the middle of Ozzy Osobourne’s Christms banquet. My spies also reveal a little something called Heaven, LLC. Stay ?uffed. [Hired Meat Homesite]

Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir are on Santa’s hate-list. Apparently he dropped a sleigh on Nunzio’s dad and ate all of Christina’s christmas cookies. Her brother blames her dad. They also write New Mutants for Marvel and Maria’s Wedding (GN) for Oni Press.

For his next publicity stunt, Ed Brubaker will go on a one-night gift-giving crime spree across the whole world (with a flying squadron car no less) and give out copies of Catwoman, Sleeper and Gotham Central to all kiddies over 15 years old. [Ed’s website]

Jamie S. Rich retired from a successful carreer as Santa’s little helper to become editor-in-chief of Oni Press. After many years of blackmailing (involving some spoiled pudding and at least two individuals with rhyming names ending in ‘-inky’), he is returning to his old gig later this year. Oh, and don’t say you read it here, but S stands for ‘Sweety’. 🙂

Jose Garibaldi illustrated 20-or-more members of the problematic extended Pirelli family in Maria’s Wedding . Now he has set to outmaster himself by illustrating the family tree of Santa’s house elves. We’re talking oooold roots here. And speaking of holiday spirit, don’t forget to pick up Jose’s Jingle Belle album!

Rich Johnston stopped getting presents from Santa when he started spreading those rumours about Miss Santa’s pies in his weekly ‘Lying in the Gutters‘ column.

Mike Carey was my first choice when deciding the line-up of this Christmas special. He writes Lucifer, Hellblazer and the upcoming My Faith In Frankie about a girl with her own personal pagan deity. Buh-Humbug. (All from Vertigo, DC Comics)

Troy Hickman is set to cause a stir next year with his work on Top Cow’s Common Grounds, but his mom still hasn’t told him the truth about Santa. Ixnay on the imAllenTay.

But let’s hear from the people themselves:

1. The Fourth Wall breaks, just in time for Christmas, and long enough for you to give a special Christmas present to one of your characters. Who’s the lucky sod and what is he/she going away with?

Mike and Laura Allred

Frank Einstein deserves an IPOD this year.

Dave Crosland

I’d drop in to see Solomon Grundy, and hook that brotha up with some Just For Men hair dye. If he didn’t have to live with the shame of having gray hair, maybe Solomon could learn to love himself, as well as others.

Nunzio DeFilippis

I think David (one of our new kids, the real overachiever) needs a little more fun in his life, but most fun things would be something he’d overanalyze – so something fun and simple – a Slinky, maybe?

Christina Weir

I’m kind of partial to Laurie. The shy girl needs a little attention. And I’d give her an old-fashioned southern belle fan so that everytime she gets nervous or flushed, she can fan her pheromones away. Plus, she gets to look stylish doing it!

Ed Brubaker

Holden, from Sleeper. I’d get him a Presidential Pardon, and maybe his own private island.

Jamie S. Rich

I’d let Bleu Finnegan indulge her taste for older men and do things that are illegal in some states of the union. Is that what you wanted to hear?!

Jose Garibaldi

Ector (from Teen Heaven) would get the dashiki he’s been asking for.

Rich Johnston

Cerebus. Right now, a colostomy bag..

Mike Carey

I’d give Lucifer one of those motivational wall posters with a cute kitten and a slogan like “If you can make somebody smile, You’ll know your day has been worthwhile.” And a pair of fake Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer antlers that light up when you move your head. He needs to lighten up a bit, bless him.

Troy Hickman

Hmmm…well, I’m not sure it would be kosher for me to give a Christmas present to my character the Acidic Jew, so let’s think about this. A lot of my characters (Mental Midget, Strangeness & Charm, American Pi, etc.) have already dealt with their issues, so I think maybe I’d give the gift of legitimacy to some of the supervillains (the Marquis De Sod, Baron Existence, Man-Witch, etc.). I guess the best present I could give any of them would be good sales for the comic, so that they can all be seen again!

2. Christmas-themed stories are a long tradition in comics that seems to have faded in recent years. What is your all-time favourite holiday-spirited comics story and/or movie?

Mike and Laura Allred

That’s a tuffy. Our family LOVES Christmas time and traditionally dig all the classics It’s A Wonderful Life, Rudolph, Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Carol, It goes on and on. We thought the new flick, ELF, is an instant classic–great fun. My favorite comic related Christmas story would have to be ours– MADMAN COMICS #16 with Santa and the first appearance of MR. GUM (how’s that for self-serving?).

Dave Crosland

I’d have to say that episode of “Lois and Clark” called “‘Twas The Night Before Mxymas” was the bomb. Mr. Mxyzptlk and Kim Basinger broke up the Daily Planet Christmas party. He was running around with a Hepatitis gun,.. pure comedy. Oh, and my favorite Christmas movie? “Die Hard”, of course! Long live Uncle Bruce!

Nunzio DeFilippis

A Christmas Story. That and A Charlie Brown Christmas are my two favorite holiday stories. No favortie holiday comic, really.

Christina Weir

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer would be my favorite holiday TV show. I don’t think I know of any holiday themed comics…

Ed Brubaker

Probably my favorite Christmas movie is Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, because it’s really sad and weird, and it makes no sense that he’s Mr. Magoo. He doesn’t mistake a car for a waiter or anything Mr. Magoo-like, it’s just a musical Scrooge. Weird. I honestly can’t remember any Christmas comics, though I’ve read most of the Xmas Spirits.

Jamie S. Rich

JINGLE BELLE: DASH AWAY ALL by Paul Dini and Jose Garibaldi, on sale this Christmas Eve. It’s the best JB story we’ve done, and since I have no Christmas spirit, crass marketing is perfect for me!

Jose Garibaldi

Christmas movie: Hands down “A Christmas Story” Jean Shepard wrote about the area I grew up in.
Comic: I remember an old Hulk comic, something to do with the grey Hulk and the Rhino in a children’s hospital (or somethin like that….)

Rich Johnston

Tie between It’s A Wonderful Life and Love, Actually.

Mike Carey

I love that Top 10 story where Smax and Toybox have to take down a drunk Santa Claus who turns out to be both telekinetic and certifiably insane. That made me laugh a lot. My favourite line was probably where he asked all the little kids who were watching whether they thought the two cops had been nice or naughty. In terms of Christmas movies, I confess a great fondness for the Bill Murray film Scrooged, in which all three of the Christmas ghosts are immaculate comic turns by the likes of David Johansen and Carol Kane.

Troy Hickman

Well, the first one that comes to mind is that story from the very first issue of Marvel Team-Up, where Sandman asks Spidey and the Torch to let him visit him mom before they take him to the klink. That one had true heart, and it resonates so much when accompanied by that issue of Marvel Two-in-One, years later, where Sandman has a drink with the Thing and decides to reform (which is one of the stories that inspired Common Grounds, by the way). There was also a Justice League story, I think it was in one of the 100-page Super Spectaculars from the mid-70s, where the JLA (with the help of the then-rarely-seen Green Lantern John Stewart) perform a Christmas miracle. I dug that one a lot.

3. if you could give out a comic book or tradebook as an x-mas gift to get a young person interested in comics, what would that be and why?

Mike and Laura Allred

Just had a huge gorgeous book called THE SILVER AGE OF COMIC BOOK ART sent to us and it’s a stunner. It blows up classic comic panels real big and in your face. Think it would turn any kid onto the unique beauty of comics.

Dave Crosland

I’d give a kid a book on photography and tell them to steer as far away from comics as they could. It would be just another child saved from choosing the poverty-stricken, under-sexed path I walk.

Nunzio DeFilippis

I think I’d give a young person our book, because I am a complete egomaniac. But for a better book, I’d give him or her Magic Pickle or Allison Dare. If I wanted the kid to get into superheroes, I’d probably give Brian Bendis’ Ultimate Spiderman.

Christina Weir

I’d have to pretty much agree with Nunzio. Allison Dare is a great book. There’s also some fun manga out there. I really like Inu-Yasha.

Ed Brubaker

I’d give them the whole run of Nausicaa by Miyazaki, because it’s got the sweeping epic adventure of something like the Lord of the Rings, while being a coming of age story, too. And it’s one of the most beautiful and well-told comics that’s ever been done for all-ages. It’s exciting, and I think any kid who reads it would become addicted to comics after that. Though probably more to Manga, since that’s what all the kids like. Maybe there’s something to that…

Jamie S. Rich

THE COMPLETE SOULWIND by Scott Morse will open their eyes to the amazing possibilities of story, showing them that anything can be done with the proper dose of imagination

Jose Garibaldi

Harvey Kurtzman’s Hey Look! – Kurtzman was genius, and this book might be the most accessible. It’s fun and pretty.
Jetcat Clubhouse by Jay Stephens and White Flower day by Steve Weissman are great gift ideas.
(and of course Jingle Belle vol 3: Dash Away All!!!!)

Rich Johnston

Any issue of Viz Comic. It’s got Not For Children on the front, that always gets them interested.

Mike Carey

This isn’t even tough. It would be Amy Unbounded, by Rachel Hartman – a medieval coming-of-age story set in a world only slightly divergent from ours, in which dragons are great scholars who can take human form whenever they want. Amy is a ten-year-old girl: her Dad is a weaver and her mum is a barbarian warrior maiden (retired), and she’s got a huge, embarrassing crush on her best friend’s big brother. The whole thing is beautifully observed, funny and endlessly readable, even when the only action that’s going on is rolling a cheese downhill.

Troy Hickman

Well, even though I have some 20,000 comics in my collection, I find that what has gotten my son more interested in comics than anything else are the trade paperback collections, especially classic stuff like the Marvel Essentials books. They’re a great little package, and the stories are both intriguing enough and comprehensible enough that I think they really draw kids in. For young people who will “get them”, I’d also recommend things like Watchmen or even American Splendor; give the kids some credit for sophistication. And hopefully around next Christmas, you’ll be able to watch their little eyes light up when they unwrap that Common Grounds collection they put at the top of their list!

Thank you everyone for your time and your answers! Merry Christmas to all and I hope you have the best of holidays!

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The rest of you, tune back in 411Comics and “Leave Your Spandex @t the Door” in one short week for part 2 of the interrupted ‘Oni, Actually’ tribute, as I look back at this year’s graphic novel offerings from OniPress.

Do you want to discuss this article? Come to the all-new all-empty LYS@D discussion thread in the 411message boards and drop your spare cents.

Oh, and Merry X-Mas too!

Manolis Vamvounis

a.k.a. Doc Dooplove