Merry Christmas and welcome back to Strange Times & Places! Today, we’re doing something a little different & looking at a re-imagining of folklore – Grant Morrison’s Klaus!
How’s It Different?
Gosh, that’s a hard one since there’s no one single “accepted” Santa Claus canon. Probably an Imaginary Story – in the words of Alan Moore, “Aren’t they all?”
What’s The Story?
Exiled fur-trapper Klaus returns to his hometown of Grimsvig to find that it has been brought to heel by the tyrannical Lord Magnus: he has banned children’s toys, he’s working men 24 hours a day in the coal mines, and generally promoting misery by cancelling the annual Yuletide celebration. The incensed Klaus takes it upon himself to bring joy back to Grimsvig, using his years of military and outdoorsman experience (with some help from forest spirits) to return toys & Yuletide celebration to Grimsvig under the cover of night.
Best of Differences
- The forest spirits are heavily implied to be some kind of super-advanced interdimensional aliens, because Grant Morrison is going to be Grant Morrison no matter what he does.
- The “final boss” of the story turns out to be The Krampus, albeit unnamed.
- The comic reads like the PG-13 fantasy movie version of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, my favorite Rankin/Bass special.
- The series is reminiscent of All-Star Superman in as much as Morrison is able to tell a story with adult themes and “mature content” without losing what made a character geared at children great. Unlike other “gritty” reimaginings of old St. Nick, this comic keeps the core of Santa Claus’ care for children and his spreading of joy & good will. It is a fantasy story where people die and hero battles a demon using a broadsword, but it is at heart still a warm and fuzzy Christmas tale about the one time of year where…well, Bill Murray sums up the feeling than I ever could: