Review: Krampus! #1

Krampus is a character that’s grown in popularity over the years. I don’t particularly know why since no one includes the character in their yearly celebrations of Christmas (though I suppose parts of Europe could still), but my first and only exposure to him has been via comic books. He’s a great comic book character because it’s the only time child abuse would be tolerated in a comic. Each year I see him more and more, but this year someone gave him his own series. If you can’t tell then let me spell out that I am a sucker for holiday specials. Any holiday special I’ll be there for it. Last week I read Zenescope’s holiday issue which also starred Krampus, be it a version that didn’t match any description I’ve ever read for the character and his only goal was to punish “naughty” women. It was everything that people think of when reading a holiday book… bad. I needed something to cleanse the palette with and thankfully Krampus! was here for that.

It’s pretty easy to sum of this issue. St. Nicolas’ remains have been taken by sugar-plum fairies which takes away all the magic from the world’s Santa Clauses or the Secret Society of Santa Clauses as they’re called. That’s right every version of Santa is an actual version of Santa. They meet to deal with the stolen remains problem and discover that magic is fading from them and everything effected by it as well. That means Reindeers and elves. They’re left with only one option… free Krampus to solve the mystery of who’s behind this act and return the remains to restore magic.

krampus01_coverOf course they don’t just cut him loose; after he agrees they strap a bomb on his chest that monitors his intentions and if he sidetracks with punishing children or is too naughty, it’ll go off. As Krampus says, “Leave it to the guy from Japan to come through with the tech side of things.” I liked this because it felt like Escape from New York… X-Mas style!

This story is fun and the idea of multiple Santa’s is very cool. As Belsnickel says one of them could actually make all the rounds, but they’d rather just cover their own territories and all keep their jobs I guess. The point is that the story is full of Santa lore and covers anything you could think of or at least initially think of as I’m sure there’s more to come.

The writing walks the fine line of campy and serious. I can’t say that it doesn’t take itself seriously, but there are parts that are intentionally campy. Most of the Santa’s are kind of doofy and they’re all two-dimensional characters that wear one emotion on their sleeve and make sure that you know it. For instance there’s the whiny Santa, the bratty Santa… wait that might be the same Santa. Well I’ll admit that aside from the main plot driver and Japanese Santa the rest are all just there for filler. The dialogue is good though and the holiday themed jokes are humorous for sure.

The art is very good. It’s so good it actually feels a little out-of-place for a holiday book. Little known fact most holiday books have shit art which is part of their charm. Not here. Here the artist is more than capable and makes this world very cool and interesting. Krampus and Belsnickel have the coolest designs. You can see Krampus on the cover, but for Belsnickel you’ll have to picture Santa ripped with muscle. I mean this dude is diesel as fuck!

It’s been a while since I read a good holiday book, in fact whenever the last issue of Paul Dini’s Jingle Belle released… that’s when. This was a fun story and I’m very excited to see that it’s continuing. There is at least two more issues of this series that I’ll be looking forward to for sure, so if you dig holiday themed books or just Christmas in general then you should check out Krampus!

Score: 4/5

Writer: Brian Joines Artist: Dean Kotz Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 12/11/13