By Dustin Cabeal
If there’s one thing most comic readers don’t know about me from reading my reviews, it’s that I love Christmas. No, I’m not, so cliché to follow-up with saying that it’s my favorite time of year, but it is a time in which I love to see the transformation of humanity. In particular, I love things involving Santa Claus and often worry that the lore will be extinct in my lifetime.
The reason I worry about this is that much of what we celebrate and cherish about Christmas came from generations ago. Every year the newest artists bust out the Christmas classics giving their piss poor spin on them and then calling it a day. Seriously, I can count on one hand how many new Christmas song has been any good. Sorry Harry Connick Jr, but your new songs suck, and I don’t want to hear them. I also don’t want a Kenny G Christmas, and I say that as someone that enjoys the sound of a Soprano Saxophone.
My point is, there is some effort to make new Christmas traditions and entertainment, but very little of it is good or lasts. It doesn’t mean that people should stop trying though and that’s unfortunately what’s happening more and more.
The Naughty List is something new. Something different and based on the title, it was quickly something unexpected. It’s about a boy that must save Santa via the naughty list. It’s an entertaining story that looks at the shades of transgression that can land a child on the naughty list. It quickly dives into the ridiculous, but that’s what makes it fun and enjoyable to read.
Norm Harper does a wonderful job thinking of a new idea that is both clever and executed wonderfully. I will say that it felt like it was a few pages too long, but I’m not going to knock it for that. Harper’s narration throughout had a classic Christmas story appeal, without being dated or borderline homage.
Christopher Tupa’s artwork is beautiful. It’s modern, it’s detailed and yet still looks warm and inviting like a kid’s book should. The main character’s transformation is slow and steady which fits the pacing of the story. There’s also several Easter eggs for you to spot throughout the story, mostly 80s references which I enjoyed.
I have no idea if The Naughty List is an instant classic or will stand the test of time, we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m someone that’s pretty damn harsh with new Christmas stories, that should tell you all you need to know when I say I enjoyed the heck out of this story.
The Naughty List
Writer: Norm Harper
Artist: Christopher Tupa
Publisher: Karate Petshop