COMIC BOOK REVIEW: RED XMAS #1 / AUTHOR: CLAY ADAMS, ALEXANDRE PHILIPPE / ARTIST: DOMINIKE STANTON / PUBLISHER: FRIED COMICS / RELASE DATE: OUT NOW
Red Xmas is a festive tale of the like you’ve very rarely seen. A pulpy comic book with a brutal edge, this latest offering from Fried Comics is the tale of a Kris Kringle very much removed from Miracle on 34th Street. Hell, this is a Father Christmas who makes Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa look like a Saint.
The story here is that it’s another busy Christmas Eve, meaning the usual hectic schedule for Santa’s helpers when it comes to finding out which presents need to go where. These days it’s all iPads and fancy presents on the “want” list. Key to the festivities is Santa’s level of jolliness. The more jolly Santa is then the more happy Christmas time is, and as such he even has a watch that monitors his jolly-quotient level. If the level drops below a certain point, something unspeakably dark will happen. Things aren’t helped when Mrs. Claus meets her demise after being unfortunately trampled by a group of reindeers. To keep Santa’s spirits up, he’s plied with alcohol, images of naked women, and the insistence that his departed beloved’s dying wish was for him to deliver the presents. The elves keep drumming this home to Santa: he must not let his jolly levels drop. To paraphrase a certain Green Goliath, you wouldn’t like him when he’s not jolly. We soon see why, for the second half of this issue sees Santa start cracking skulls.
Elsewhere, we have what initially appears to be a more standard and simple household as part of the tale. Single mother Ellie Tewksbury and son Byron are preparing for Christmas Day. The thing is, this is a mother who is an FBI agent and who has no time for sentiment and fairytales. As she regularly states, the world is not a nice place. To highlight this, she plays a bleak version of hide-and-seek that is called “Silence of the Lambs”, and then there are bedtime stories where she tells her son that if he’s not on his toes then he’ll get “raped and murdered”. For the son, he is just a young boy who yearns for his missing father and has hopes that his departed dad will return one day. Even when Santa does visit Tewksbury household, he gets shot at and even some reindeers are taken out, and this serves as the catalyst to fully push Saint Nicholas to the dark side.
This is a book full of violence, sex, language, attitude, and humour that is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. There’s even a certain sense of satirical comedy in how the book unravels, particularly when it comes to the modern world. One such moment is how a kid hacks Santa’s computer to move himself from the naughty list to the nice list. Obviously the death of Mrs. Claus is the initial turning point for Kris Kringle, but there’s seemingly a lot more that’s gone on in Santa’s past that will hopefully be delved into in future issues.
Sure, it’s not Christmas anymore, but a comic like this is one that makes for brilliant reading whatever the time of year. Whether it’s a kid being given the brutal harsh realities of life by his mother, an elf walking in on Santa Claus getting a blowjob, or Santa opening up a literal can of whoopass, this is certainly not a festive tale for little eyes. But for those who do read Red Xmas, you’ll be ho-ho-happy that you did.
The first issue of Red Xmas is currently available to purchase for whatever amount you see fit over at Fried Comics.
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