Saturday, November 20, 2010

REVIEW: The Great Treasury of Christmas Comic Book Stories

Dear Santa: If you haven't noticed lately, author/publisher and general iconoclast Craig Yoe has been a very good boy this year with nearly a dozen fun, important and informative comics history books published including this hot off the presses holiday comics collection, THE GREAT TREASURY OF CHRISTMAS COMIC BOOK STORIES! Even if you can't remember a Christmas before saturation advertising, these gentle, well-chosen 1940's and '50's tales are sure to make you smile and melt the heart of the most jaded grown-ups and kids alike. Be sure to bring Craig some nice presents, Santa.

There used to be actual annual Christmas comics that kids would eagerly await all year and many of the stories here stem from these. POGO creator Walt Kelly did lots of holiday stories for Dell Comics and a number of them are present along with the seriously funny John Stanley and even a rare comic book turn by now-legendary children's book author and illustrator, Richard Scarry.

There are plenty of other artists also but, of those, the standout to me is Klaus Nordling, best known for his LADY LUCK back-up in Will Eisner's early SPIRIT sections. Nordling has a couple of absolutely delightful pieces here with art that looks to me like a dream combination of Eisner and Howard Post.

As befits a Christmas treat, THE GIANT TREASURY OF CHRISTMAS COMIC BOOK STORIES is not TOO filling but just filling enough! There are snowmen and bunnies and mice (including ATOMIC MOUSE!) and toys and cute kids and elves and Christmas Trees and Scrooge and, of course, Santa and his reindeer! To top off this tasty holiday confection, however, there's a marvelously detailed and beautifully drawn version of the Nativity credited to Alberto Giolitti--an artist whose only other work with which I was familiar was his rather pedestrian STAR TREK work of the late sixties and early seventies. Let's just say I can see an influence here on the later, lush style of John Buscema!

The whole package may be leftovers from another era--one which was never even real to many of us--but it's the type of Christmas we still dream about and secretly long for...and you'll find it all right here in this colorful, beautifully wrapped present. If you have kids, this would be great to read to them. If not, just sit back and remember what it was like...or should have been. It goes without saying that THE GREAT TREASURY OF CHRISTMAS COMIC BOOK STORIES would also make a wonderful present that children would cherish for years to come! Order today from the link on my sidebar.

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