Bleak Midwinter

Continuing a series of posts on festive comics from yesteryear. Last week, I looked at Marvel’s Xmas offering for 2010. The DCU Holiday Special 2010 is an altogether darker affair.

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Sometimes the Bear: a charming adventure about Xmas miracles starring Howie Post’s caveboy Anthro. Joey Cavalieri draws on Beau Geste for a central gimmick. By far the most satisfying story in the entire collection.

Guiding Light: Jonah Hex avenges the murder of a Jewish boy’s father at the hands of robber twins, Larry and Barry. The use of “bastard”, “sh-” and imagery of prostitution seems weirdly dissonant in a Xmas comic. Seth Albano dedicates his story to John Albano Sr. and Jr. ( the former being Hex’s creator). 

Holy Day: it’s been traditional for Green Lantern to present  heavy-handed stories with a message since the early 70s. John Stewart narrates  an ugly tale about ritual martyrdom and warfare, employing imagery from Manila and Baghdad. Avoid.

Hero of Heroes: poorly-drawn metafiction in which a kid disfigured by fire wins a bravery award at the Thanksgiving Day Parade. A shallow, saccharine tale that fails to earn the pathos of the ending. There’s a leaden joke about Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern vehicle. Superman claims to be no good at speeches for half a page. Terrible.

The Gift: ghost stories at Xmas are a tradition evoking Dickens and MR James. Here, the Crispus Allen goateed Spectre visits retribution on some muggers in Tehran. This bleak tale rather misses the point of the holiday “spirit”, as it were.

Holiday: Brainiac 5 learns the value of taking a break when the Science Police A.I. generates false emergencies. Nice though it is to see the LSH again-after the demise of their own series this year, thanks to bland art and glacial plotting- Abnett and Lanning produce a dull tech story. The 2000AD-style use of “sprock” is overdone and irritating.

This was not a particularly enjoyable read- the Anthro story aside. It accurately captures the flavour of anomie and Goth-gloom I currently associate with DC  but that hardly recommends it. I was surprised arch-miserabilist Psycho Batman was not on hand to lend some grisly Gotham horror. It was a stark contrast to the wit and playfulness of its Marvel contemporary. The only thing in this comic’s favour was the absence of fussy Jim Lee New 52 costume designs.

Next: DCU: Infinite Christmas

All images presumed copyright of their respective owners

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2 comments on “Bleak Midwinter

  1. Kid Robson says:

    Not one that I should bother seeking out then, eh? Listened to Spidey yet? How was it?

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