Thursday, December 24, 2009

Top Ten Santa Covers: Part 2

Welcome to day two of our countdown of the top ten Santa covers in comics history. Yesterday we brought you numbers 6-10, so that can mean only one thing for today -- or five things as the case may be: numbers 1-5. So treat yourself to the merriest of Christma Eves with a stroll down comic book lane with good ol' Santa.

5) Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special #1

This is probably the most famous Santa story in the history of comics, which is saying something. Nothing good, mind you, but something, anyway. Lobo was originally created as a spoof of Wolverine's over-the-top, grim-n-gritty attitude, but the joke was on DC, because fans took him seriously and made him one of the most popular characters of the early 90's. This special is both the pinnacle of, and a parody of, those times.

4) Giant Superhero Holiday Grab Bag #1

Ok, we'll admit, this one is cheating a little, because Santa technically isn't on this cover, instead being subtly replaced by fill-in Ben Grimm. Still, we can buy Thing as Santa a little easier than we can buy a grinning hulk as Blitzen, so why not? Besides, this cover reminds us, like Christmas itself, of a simpler time, when superheroes could find time in their busy schedule of angst and woe to have some light-hearted holiday cheer. We'll tip back the eggnog to that idea.

3) Hulk #378

Speaking of the Hulk, here he is wailing on a mall Santa like the big jerk he is. Hulk, I mean, not Santa. The fact that Santa is giving Hulk a whooping with a crowbar, however, is one of the most perfect presents we could have asked for. Now if only St. Nick would pound that lame character right out of existence, we'd really have a jolly old time.

2) Peter Parker, Spectacular Spider-man #112

Writer Peter David must have a thing for Santa, because here his is for the second spot in a row, backing this terrific cover from Rich Buckler. Of course, knowing Buckler, he must have swiped it from somewhere, but regardless, it's pretty cool. We mentioned yesterday how Santa has been dirtied up starting in the mid-80's; while some would cite the Hitman cover where Santa has a gun jammed in his mouth as the top example of this, we prefer Santa to do the whooping, thanks very much. And if you can't find your crowbar, this gun will do nicely.

1) Panic #1

One of the true classics from the beloved EC Comics is this cover from Panic #1. As it turns out, Rich Buckler isn't the only swipe specialist going, as this cover seems to be an "homage" to More Fun Comics #16, which similarly shows a kid setting a bear trap for Santa. While that early example was done in a very 30's cartooning style, however, this more sinister version is timeless thanks to that sadistic EC touch. That is one evil looking kid right there, huh? Not everyone found this issue funny, of course; the state of Massachusetts banned it because the parody of Twas the Night Before Christmas inside was deemed to "desecrate Christmas."

You go, Bill Gaines.

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