A TREACHEROUS BLOOD-FILLED FABLE, A “MALICE & MISTLETOE” (REVIEW)
Writer: Nathan Graham Davis
Artist: Jack Purcell
Letters/Colors: Davin Pasek
When you think about Christmas, several words come to mind that are synonymous with the holiday; Mistletoe, Elves, Rudolf, Santa and Krampus. A lot of stories try to put their own twist to the Christmas tale, but most of them keeping the core of Santa being the jolly hero surrounded by his elves. What Davis and Purcell have done here, is take those traditional Christmas words and put a new meaning behind each of them. Sure Santa still knows what you want for Christmas, but how he obtains that information, and what it is actually used for, creates a new type of Christmas story that I will be re-reading every December.
I had a chance to talk with Nathan Graham Davis (@NGDwrites) and Jack Purcell ( @jackpurcell38) while at Terrificon where I didn’t need to be swayed too hard to preorder this comic. The short, but very enthusiastic pitch I was given was more than reason enough to give this comic, its fair shot and to preorder my copy. With Santa obviously being one of the main characters, he “convinces” a highly skilled assassin, Eldon Carillo, to breach Krampus’s hostile territory and kill the closest thing to a brother Claus has, Krampus himself. A man will go to very extreme lengths for his family, even try and kill a legend in order to retrieve the Rudov, a time stopping mechanism, just to see his family again. Nathan Graham Davis is a smart writer who makes it very interesting to read how a tree stand, Mrs. Claus and even milk all come into play in ways that turn the gift giving origin into a treacherous blood-filled fable. By the end of this eight chaptered fantasy, there is a shift in who you want to see with their head on a platter for Christmas morning.
Jack Purcell gives this comic the yuletide feeling with his strong character work. Claus has the maniacal appearance to have you questioning his decisions from the start of this book. Krampus has the right amount of flair to make the tot-torturer evil looking but his actions give him a different definition. While Eldon looks like an ordinary man (though very well-toned) caught in the middle of a back stabbing war between the elves. Each of the characters and side characters we meet are unique and memorable. The artwork gives the writing solid definition, but the coloring fills out the panels to a point that makes this twisted tale, so different from all the other Christmas stories. With all black and white illustrations, there is a red and green accent added to important figures, actions and even moments. Letting the reader know when the Rudov is active, the pages turn to a negative and have an almost 3D feeling with the red and green coloring.
I really enjoyed this book, as it is more than just a retelling of the Yuletide Origin between Santa and Krampus. All myths and tales have a shred of truth to them, such as Claus having eight reindeer, but that is where the similarity ends in Davis and Purcell’s book.
This is a great book to get your hands on. To open your mind about what you know and how you look at the classics, by twisting and altering the meanings of the words and giving them a new definition. Nothing is what you thought it was, no one is who you think they are, and I can’t stress it enough that the reimagining that redevelops the Christmas world kept impressing to the end. With this comic having its roots as a successful Kickstarter, what the creative team has accomplished here is even more impressive.
*Jack and Nathan have a signing on Saturday the 12th at Comics N More in Easthampton, MA, from 5-7, so get your books and go talk to these two about their very successful Kickstarter.
Buy their book! http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692555536
Check out the process: http://maliceandmistletoe.com/
Talk with the team: Facebook