Four Color Festivities: 8 of the season's jolliest holiday comic specials

Contributed by
Dec 7, 2016, 4:55 PM EST

One of the great advantages of the monthly medium of comic books is their immediacy and ability to reflect the passing of time. Nowhere is this more obvious than the grand seasonal tradition of comic book holiday specials! For almost as long as there have been comics, they have been celebrating the season with special publications that feature tales of their characters during the most wonderful time of the year. Whether it’s Superman saving Santa, the Ninja Turtles tossing snowballs, the Guardians of the Galaxy gathering around the Christmas Groot, or your favorite franchise getting festive, each year there are always plenty of holiday specials to cozy up by the fire with, and this year is no exception.

Join the fun at your local comic shop this winter, by having a sweet Christmas with the Heroes for Hire, believe in the spirit of the season with Mulder and Scully, or spend your holidays in Gotham. I’ve gathered a list of 8 fun new issues to try out, or to stuff a stocking with. So grab your comics, your cocoa and your loved ones and make a new holiday tradition with your favorite heroes. And be sure to spread the cheer to your favorite holiday comics in the comments below!




(By David Walker & Scott Hepburn. Cover art by Jamal Campbell. December 21 from Marvel)

Holidays are best spent among friends, and there are no truer friends in the Marvel Universe than Danny Rand and Luke Cage. That’s why I’m excited that the duo is getting their own Christmas-themed annual from regular Power Man and Iron Fist writer David Walker and Drax artist Scott Hepburn! The ongoing series is one of Marvel’s most fun, charming and heartfelt, so it’s a classic combination of heroes and holidays. The solicits promise that we’ll find out how kung-fu kicks and unbreakable skin fare against a horde of demonic toys, so it’s sure to be a blast.




(By Grant Morrison & Dan Mora. December 21 from BOOM! Studios)

Klaus is the best thing to happen to Santa Claus in years. Superstar writer Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman) and this year’s Russ Manning Award winner, artist Dan Mora (Hexed), have joined to create a definitive and unprecedentedly epic origin for the legendary gift-giver. They’ve turned the jolly old elf into a dangerously good-looking pacifist warrior-shaman with stories that are part Christmas magic, part ancient folklore, and part Conan the Barbarian. If you haven’t read the superb Klaus, now is the perfect time to pick up the hardcover, but if you need a sample first, this is a great one-off adventure to start with, which sends Klaus and his giant white wolf on an adventure through space and time! This Christmas, get a new appreciation for Santa Claus with Klaus.



(By Paul Dini, James Tynion IV, Steve Orlando, Vita Ayala, Cullen Bunn, Tim Seeley, James Asmus, Heath Corson, Kate Perkins, Robbi Rodriguez, Gustavo Duarte. Cover art by Jorge Jimenez. December 14 from DC Comics)

The Rebirth of DC’s universe continues to grow and so does its renewed sense of optimism. What better way to show that off than with a celebration of the most hopeful time of the year? The DC Rebirth Holiday Special features an all-star roster of DC creators and characters in a series of sensational stories. A Harley Quinn story by her co-creator Paul Dini frames the rest of the tales, which feature Wonder Woman, Flash, John Constantine, Huntress and the return of one of my personal favorites, Detective Chimp. This jam-packed 96 page issue is an essential stocking stuffer for DC fans.




(By Joe Harris & Wayne Nichols. Cover art by Menton3. December 21 from IDW)

Do you want believe…in Christmas? IDW has been putting out annual Christmas specials from the world of The X-Files for a few years now, and they’re back again this year to investigate what’s really the reason for the season. In this issue Mulder gets Christmas Carol’d in a way that only he can, as supernatural and extraterrestrial specters of the past, present and future pay him a visit. Will he and Scully survive long enough to open their presents in the morning? Find out in this year’s X-Files X-Mas Special!




(By Tom King, Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes, Paul Dini, Steve Orlando, Scott Bryan Wilson, David Finch, Declan Shalvey, Neal Adams, Riley Rossmo, Bilquis Evely. Cover art by David Finch. On sale now from DC Comics)

The first annual for the recently rebirthed Batman series doubled as a Batman-themed Christmas special, and it was an absolute delight. The lead story by the normal Batman creative team of Tom King and David Finch is a touching tough-love story about the origin of Ace the Bathound, which is followed by a beautifully illustrated and choreographed short from Declan Shalvey, fresh off his stint on All-Star Batman. Then readers are treated to a heartwarming Harley Quinn story by Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini and defining dark knight artist Neal Adams, and a tease of the future from Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo, who recently rocked Gotham with the Night of the Monster Men crossover. A wholesome holiday helping of Batman by some of his most celebrated creators, new and old.




(By Byron Erickson & Massimo Fecchi. Cover art by Ulrich Schroeder. December 14 from IDW)

How do you make Christmas even more magical, you ask? By adding Disney, of course! And it doesn’t get any more Disney than the company’s two most enduring icons, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, who are returning from last year with another new issue of Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade! The main feature here sees Mickey and Donald in a time-travelling adventure to save Christmas’ very existence from the clutches of one of their oldest foes — The Phantom Blot! Classic Disney fun awaits in the best time you’ll have at a parade this year.




(By Mike Mignola, Chris Rberson, Scott Allie, Paul Grist, Christopher Mitten, Sebastian Fiumara. Cover art by Sebastian Fiumara. January 25 from Dark Horse)

Need some comics for those long, dark winter days? Well Hellboy and friends have you covered with another weird and wonderful winter anthology. While maybe not technically a holiday special, it is a special and it’s close, and you should always read more Hellboy! This issue features stories set in the ever-growing Mignolaverse, with one set in 1890s London, another starring Hellboy, Liz and Abe as they search for missing kids in New England, and another set in the 1950s that leads into the upcoming series The Visitor. For anyone who isn’t as into the holidays but needs some reading material all the same, treat yourself to this great jumping-on point of one of the greatest worlds in comics.




(By Christopher Hastings, Ryan North, Nick Kocher, Karla Pacheco Chynna Clugston-Flores, Myisha Haynes, Nathan Stockman, and more. Cover art by Salva Espin. December 14 from Marvel)

I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of Gwenpool. She’s ostentatious and crassly commercial, which is probably why she’s such a perfect fit for a Christmas special! Despite my dislike of the character, last year’s Gwenpool Christmas special was a ridiculously fun ride around the Marvel Universe, and this year looks to be no different, with some of the biggest villains—and I mean that literally, as it includes Galactus and Fin Fang Foom—in the universe arrive to crash the party. Luckily Gwenpool, Deadpool, Miles Morales Spider-Man, The Punisher, and more are ready to save Christmas. Picking up this issue is the only way to guarantee a truly marvelous holiday.