This Happy Morning

Best wishes for 2014! I got back from Glasgow just before Hogmanay but as a library user, this is my first chance to post about the Christmas comics haul. 

Over the holiday period, I re-read the classic Marvel UK 1975 Avengers Annual and another childhood favourite, The Horrific World of Monsters. I also got the hardback reprint of  Kirby’s brutal and adult In The Days of The Mob. And, full of nostalgia for 1983, the Thomas/Ordway Infinity Inc. Generations Saga. Frustratingly, DC saw fit to cancel the second volume that would have completed the story.

Among the regular monthly comics, I enjoyed Astro City and Byrne’s Triple Helix. But I really preferred Marvel’s Mighty Avengers spin-off, with its ethic minority line-up.

Today’s post, however-  number 175!-  is the last in a series on festive comics and it looks at a DC tabloid from ebay. The 1976 Limited Collectors Edition C-43 Christmas with the Super-Heroes features a Curt Swan cover. Reputedly, Captain Marvel Junior was  trailing behind the sleigh on the original design; the kid marvel didn’t make the final cut, unfortunately.

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Superman at the North Pole: a whimsical fairy tale from 1940, in the vein of Captain “Shazam” Marvel. While Supey teaches the true meaning of Xmas to a spoiled, wealthy boy, the villainous pair Dr. Grough and Mr. Meaney launch an assault on Santa’s toy factory by space rocket. ” The world will be flooded by the tears of little children”, the fiends exult!

The Silent Night of the Batman: a mostly wordless 1970 vignette written by Mike Friedrich and with art by the hugely stylish Adams/Giordano team.  Bats lends his “deep vocal chords” to Xmas carols with Gotham’s Finest. Corny but effective.

Night Prowler: a 1971 House of Mystery short by the creepy team of Wein and Wrightson. Surprisingly, this Twilight Zone- tale has a happy ending of hoofbeats and jingle bells.

Wonder Woman and the Story of Fir Balsam: a bizarre 1943 adventure from Sensation Comics. A talking Xmas tree narrates a tale of the amazing Amazon, a jealous husband, neglected children and a Nazi spy ring – one of the villains being the eponymous Carl NATZ. The usual silly antics  of Wondy’s bondage -happy dreamworld.

Santa Fronts for the Mob: a sensational 1943  seasonal comedy from Adventure Comics. Sandman and Sandy, The Phantom Pair, rout an underworld plot as a wrestler is hired to be a department store Santa. References to the underprivileged kids of Suicide Slum (of Newsboy Legion fame) make this Art Deco Simon/Kirby story an ancestor of Marvel’s shared universe.

Ultimately, this collection is a little silly and juevenile, when you compare it to its Marvel contemporaries in February 1976. This was the era when US Marvels returned to our shops with a vengeance and I was buying one every day:

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Compared to the themes and emotions explored by Marvel’s creators, DC in 76 seemed very thin, pre-teen fare.

The final Batman 100-pager of the 70s, also a Xmas issue, will soon be discussed as part of this year’s series on vintage tales of the Caped Crusader. Next time, I’ll look at the swansong of the Eleventh Doctor and the Big Finish 50th anniversary epic.

All images are presumed copyright of their respective owners

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