Christmas of the Dead is basically what you think it is. It’s a Christmas story with zombies and Santa Claus. With that said, some of you are going to give this a pass because you’re burnt out on Christmas and even more burnt out on zombies. I don’t know if I’ll really be able to sway you if that’s the case, but Christmas of the Dead was interesting. Interesting enough to give it at least another issue of the nine issue series. What makes the story interesting is that it’s not that heavy on the zombies. At least not until the third issue, but even then it avoids a lot of the pitfalls of the genre. It is heavy on the Christmas aspect of the story, but it brings its own lore and twist to Christmas. Santa is real and he does get the letters, but he doesn’t read them. Instead he just throws them into a pot and the good kids produce magic and the bad kids produce coal which they use to run their entire operation.
The story follows one family in particular. A single mom and her two sons. The older son is to the age in which he’s discovering girls and has a girlfriend. He’s also lashing out at his mom and younger brother. To be quite honest, if the old son is our hero of the story… he’s a real piece of shit. So much so that I can’t see myself rooting for him in any capacity. He’s thrust into the role of saving his brother after zombie elves kidnap him in the third issue.
How did we get zombie elves? Well the story actually begins in the ice age when a nasty bout of zombisim was spreading through the land and a zombie baby was frozen. A diligent elf goes to find the baby that shows up on their radar and gets bitten of course. This is the part I liked. The infected didn’t turn right away. They seemed to have their wits for a minute, but had a hard time expressing themselves and so our patient zero elf ends up infecting others and soon they take their magic sleds and start kidnapping children.
During all this we see how Santa and the elves work. All mall Santa's are actually elves and they can tell when you’ve been naughty or nice. One elf is burnt out on the job and wants some old fashion justice for all the mean shits. She gets paired up with the actual Santa to get her spirit back, but that’s when the zombie plague starts to spread.
The story has interesting aspects to it. I like the idea. I like the twist on Christmas and Santa. I didn’t like the characters or a lot of the dialogue. There’s a bunch of pointless dialogue. There are characters that may have a larger role later, but for now feel like wasted page space. There’s a mall cop. He does nothing for the story other than reveal that adults basically know that Santa is real. I don’t know why he’s important to the story yet and we’re three issues in.
There’s scenes between the younger unlikable boy and his girlfriend in which they’re going to kiss and he chickens out because people are watching. I don’t know what that does for his character or the story, but it felt pointless. It comes across a running gag, but the gag isn’t hitting. Additionally, her brother is a useless character and why he’s given any page time is again, yet to be revealed.
The art is mostly good. If you’ve even seen children in comics, then you know they usually look like shrunken adults on the page. It doesn’t happen that often here, but there’s definitely a few key times in which it does. Otherwise the art is pretty detailed. There are some weird shifts in the style in later issues and it really starts to look inconsistent by the third issue. I thought there was an art change because of this, but it could be that the coloring switches after the first issue. Because of this, the first issue is definitely the best issue. It’s not terrible, but it’s not the best fit for the artist or the story and the inconsistency of the art didn’t do it any favors.
I’m glad that this story hasn’t been overkill on the zombies. For now, they seem to be the obstacle preventing Christmas and nothing more. This could have been snow, the lack of Christmas spirit, really anything works with the formula when you think about it. It’s entertaining. It’s not perfect, but if you like Christmas stories and can tolerate another zombie story then you might just find some joy from reading it.
Christmas of the Dead #1-3 Writer: Ryan Galletta Artist: Jethro Morales Letterer: Ed Brisson Publisher: King Cookie Press Price: $2.99 Website