Every year at some point after Thanksgiving I decorate my spinner rack with comics that have Christmas-themed covers, super-hero themed Christmas cards I’ve received, as well as a variety of super-hero ornaments. I even saw this year that someone else put Christmas lights on their spinner rack! I’ll need to try that myself next year…
Decorating my spinner rack this year I got to thinking about what my all-time favorites are from all the Christmas-themed comics that I own and I decided to come up with a “Top 12” list of my personal favorites to parallel the “12 Days of Christmas” (I’ve been posting these one per day starting with #12 over on the ComicSpectrum Facebook page since December 13th).
I sorted through the big stack of books that I pull out every year and picked the 12 that I really love the most and then put them in rank order. DC came out slightly on top with 6 entries to Marvel’s 5, with 1 indie cover making the list. What can I say? I like seeing familiar characters getting into the holiday mood.
Here we go, from Number Twelve to Number One: my personal top 12 books:
#12: DC Special Series #21 [José Luis García-López]
I’ve had this comic a long time, I bought it off the rack and have loved it since I first saw it. I’m a big fan of José Luis García-López, he’s a very strong DC artist who is not very well know by a lot of current day comics fans but was a mainstay at DC throughout the 1980s. I love the composition of this piece, focused around the Christmas star.
#11: Hulk #9 (2008 series) [alternate covers by Ed McGuinness]
I love interlocking covers that go together to make a complete image. In this one I’m just tickled that Rulk (Red Hulk, aka Gen. Thunderbolt Ross) is getting coal in his stocking! Also a nice touch that green Hulk’s red Santa hat is counterpointed by Rulk’s green hat.
#10: Bone Holiday Special [Jeff Smith]
How can you not love Fone Bone in a Santa suit? Christmas is all about giving and Bone is giving a gift to the stupid, stupid rat creatures. Perhaps it’s quiche!
#9: Teen Titans #13 (1966 series) [Nick Cardy]
This one is all about the composition. Cardy chose to use the triangular area to evoke a Christmas tree, and it works! The Titans colorful costumes become ornaments on the tree and the whole image comes together to evoke a holiday feeling even though it has no actual traditional imagery on closer examination.
#8: Marvel Age #109 [Sergio Aragonés]
Hiding in a tree to keep Groo from doing what he does best? Good thing none of them have any cheese dip or Rufferto would be able to help Groo sniff them out! Looking at my favorites, I do seem to have a soft spot for Christmas tree imagery.
#7: Ant-Man’s Big Christmas [alternate cover by Phil Winslade]
I love the zoom-in on the tiny Ant-Man and Wasp against the Christmas tree and the lights (those trees again, I do love them!)
#6: DC Holiday Special 2009 [Dustin Nguyen]
DC heroes frolicking in the snow in Dustin Nguyen’s whimsical painted style, this cover just feels cheery and evokes winter fun. I love the Flash snowman who seems to have run through the body of the Batman snowman (and we also see Flash laughing and patting Batman on the back….)
#5: Fables #56 [James Jean]
The big guy himself, Santa Claus! I love the huge sack full of toys and Santa is the perfect guy to be a Fable. James Jean has done a spectacular job on the “soft focus” feel of this image and the colors, making this feel rich and warm without over-doing traditional Christmas coloring, which makes Santa’s red suit “pop” even more.
#4: Marvel Holiday Special 1994 [George Pérez]
Not quite a Christmas tree, I have to settle for a wreath here, but come on, it’s a wreath by George Pérez! Spidey takes center stage as some of Marvel’s most popular characters get the spotlight in the ornaments. And the Thing being used to tie off the bow…inspired!
#3 DCU Holiday Special [Frank Quitely]
Quite frankly, I think this Frank Quitely cover is one of his best. Santa in his sleigh, snow, presents, a wreath, and taking a nod from the Nick Cardy design at #9, a generally triangular layout evokes that christmas-tree-y feeling. This cover screams “Christmas!”
#2: Christmas With the Super-Heroes #1 [John Byrne]
The great John Byrne working with DC characters. This is almost perfect as far as Christmas covers go. A tree & presents; Robin has a suspiciously batarang shaped package, Black Canary is giving a very bow-like gift to Green Arrow, and Superman’s box is wrapped with lead paper so he can’t peek with his x-ray vision! and check out the heroic footwear hung over the fireplace! No coal for these heroes on Christmas morning…
#1 Marvel Treasury Edition #8 [John Romita, Sr.]
This is the one I’ve had the longest and it’s done by the man who was the artist on the 1st comic I ever bought myself (Amazing Spider-Man #88) and is still one of my all-time favorite comics artists. This cover has it all: a Christmas Tree, trimming of said tree, a fireplace with Christmas stockings, snowy winter weather outside the window, a hero in a Santa suit, a cute kid with a long list of desired presents (maybe “Peace on Earth” is at the top of the list). Not as jam-packed with heroes as some other covers, but I like the representation of the B-list heroes Luke Cage, Nick Fury, and Doctor Strange. I loved reading the stories with these guys in them. And this comic (like all Treasury Editions) is HUGE. There are several Christmas themed treasuries (including some Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ones from DC!) but this cover was by far my favorite. Ironically, due to it’s size it’s off in a box that isn’t very accessible at the current time and is the one cover I don’t have up on my spinner rack this year! I settled for a couple of the other treasuries that were easier to get my hands on and I’ll make sure I have this one ready for next year!
Hopefully everyone had a good time counting down these favorites of mine. They’re far from a complete set, there are lots of other Christmas comic covers. I have many more sprinkled around through my collection, several that people have been bringing up on Facebook these past 2 weeks. I’ll need to do a better job of collecting all the Christmas stuff in one place to make it even easier next year to decorate with these themed covers!
Bob Bretall: firstname.lastname@example.org
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture