Part three of “Happy Horror Days” is here just in time for the Christmas season. I guess that I shouldn’t really be surprised that the main focus of this story is a villainous Santa Claus. As Egon so eloquently puts it, “Santa Claus is a bastardization of Sinterklaas, softened by decades of poetry, ad campaigns, and children’s programming.” This original legend of the chubbiest and sweetest old man in history actually takes traits from Odin, the Norse God, and various other pieces of folklore with some traits of the Catholic Saint, Nicholas. And he isn’t as jolly as we’re used to. He does reward good children with gifts, but the naughty ones don’t get off as easy as just getting a lump of coal in their stockings. They’re punished. Often times they’re abducted. If that wasn’t motivation to behave I don’t know what is. It looks as though this less than saint-like “Sinterklaas” has shown up and is scaring the Christmas spirit right out of the kids of Rhinebeck, New York.
This issue succeeds in two areas. The first way is that it is extremely educational. I kinda enjoyed the history lesson. I had very little knowledge of how the Santa that we know and love today, became what he is. There is so much history behind the folklore. The coolest part about it is that it’s all true. Erik Burnham didn’t just fill this book with a bunch of original ideas from his own mind, in case you were wondering. I looked into it. This stuff checks out. The second thing that I liked about this issue is that it really sets up the next issue. I’m actually really excited about that one. I think that when you finish this issue, you’ll start to get all fidgety with anticipation. I can’t remember the last time that this subject matter was used in comics.
The look of Sinterklaas was cool. Dan Schoening did a really good job of keeping the classic look of the times. He wasn’t dressed in any Santa Claus outfit that I had ever seen, which by the way was accurate too. I liked the overall feel of the book. Like Dustin, I like to see how winter is depicted in comic books. If you haven’t been graced with any snow yet, there’s a bit in here. And it is well drawn.
I’m hoping that Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening really deliver next month. At this point, I’ve kinda come to expect a pretty interesting story based on the carrot that has been held in front of our faces with these past few issues of Ghostbusters. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what they have in store for us.
Writer: Erik Burnham Artist: Dan Schoening Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/18/13