Comic books 20 Dec 2007 07:31 pm
’Tis the season to remember Christmas comic books. The one pictured above (click it to see an enlarged cover) is from 1976. “Christmas with the Super-Heroes” was one of a series of tabloid-sized comic treasuries, about twice the dimensions of today’s comics. These were big books, and young readers could really get caught up in the art and stories.
Between its wraparound cover by the great Curt Swan, this treasury reprints some classic DC comics. The first is a Superman story written by co-creator Jerry Siegel and drawn by Jack Burnley (credits courtesy of the Grand Comics Database Project). Supes has to foil the attempts of “Dr. Grouch and his crony, Mr. Meany” to take over Santa’s workshop. The story is great because it presumes Santa is real and that Superman and Lois Lane will help him; I don’t know if you could sell that concept to more worldly kids today. Ultimately, Santa gives Grouch and Meany gifts. These are the first presents they have ever received, and Santa’s generosity makes the two give up their wicked ways.
The second story is “The Silent Night of the Batman” by Mike Friedrich, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. Here, the Darknight Detective patrols on a very atypical Christmas Eve in crime-filled Gotham City.
Len Wein and Berni Wrightson, creators of Swamp Thing, contribute a House of Mystery story called “Night Prowler” that blends horror with heartwarming holiday sentiment. It works nicely.
The last two stories are less enjoyable. One is a Golden Age Wonder Woman story, and the other is a Golden Age Sandman story, “Santa Fronts for the Mob,” by the great Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
The issue is rounded out by a word search and a maze (my 8-year-old self did both), two pages of “Sing Along with the Super-Heroes” (Supes sings “Silent Night” and Batman belts out “Jingle Bells”), and an odd page of “Season’s Greetings from the DC Editors” done all in poetry.
I remember this as a fun way to spend a few stray holiday hours when I was a kid. Hey, it was still fun as a nearly 40-year-old kid, too.