Christmas must have come early for you, SYFY readers, because we have a gift that's sure to get you in the Yuletide spirit: an exclusive first look at Dan Mora art from Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville, and a quick chat with its writer, comic book living legend Grant Morrison!
Morrison and Mora are about to deliver their third annual Klaus story, which features their reinvention of the Santa Claus myth into a studly superheroic paragon of justice and generosity, and will see the champion of cheer in the 1980s as he faces off against his evil counterpart from another universe! The story also has an army of mall Santas and an evil soda company called Pola-Cola — it's sure to deliver everything you could possibly have on your comic book Christmas list.
The 48-page one-shot will arrive in stores and stockings on December 6, but that doesn't mean you have to wait that long for a little holiday magic; you can simply keep reading to hear right from Morrison himself what he has in store in this wild winter sci-fi romp, and take a first look at some behind-the-scenes development art by Mora, featuring designs for the villains and a color test page. And if that weren't enough, we're also revealing a festive variant cover by star artist John Cassaday (Star Wars, Astonishing X-Men). So keep reading for the interview and preview and be sure to put Klaus on your list this Christmas.
So this story is set long after the first series, but only a few decades prior to last year's The Witch of Winter. How is Klaus a different person in the '80s than in the first two stories?
Grant Morrison: He's lived for hundreds of years and has had many outlandish adventures on Earth and in space, so Klaus in the 1980s — and in the present day, when last year's Witch of Winter special was set — is more of a superhero than he was when we first met him as a wild-man reindeer herder in 17th-century Grimsvig. The Christmas specials are tight, fast reads where Klaus' character tends to come through in action. I'm hoping to do another longer story that gets into his head a little more to really see how his experiences have changed him.
There's an evil Santa from another dimension in this book. Does that mean there's a good Krampus as well?
Undoubtedly! We all know how these things work. Although our Anti-Santa may have killed and eaten his Krampus a long time ago. He certainly doesn't appear in this story.
The doppelganger is also some sort of werewolf, which continues the association the character has with wolves in your stories, as the main Klaus has his wolf companions and sleigh team. What makes wolves and Santa Claus two symbols that go together?
It just seems right. Wolves and shamans go together like Trump and Fake News.
What's your favorite thing that Dan Mora has drawn for Crisis in Xmasville?
Dan is so great it's hard to pick just one thing, but I love his designs for Milhous and Pontius Partridge, two members of the Pola-Cola corporate dynasty that's been at "war" with Klaus since 1931. Anyone who's familiar with the almost-forgotten "Sprite Boy" mascot Coca-Cola had in the '50s will get a kick out of this pair.
Given the analogue to Coca-Cola in the story, are we going to see Klaus have to fight any polar bears?
Klaus would probably protect polar bears rather than fight them. He's several times stronger than a bear, so it wouldn't be the sort of fair fight our Yuletide hero would favor! We've taken some small inspiration from the history of Coca-Cola, but our Pola-Cola Corp. is a soda company as run by Blofeld or Ra's al Ghul, rather than any kind of direct analogue.
The previous stories certainly hinted at some sci-fi elements around the edges of the fantasy, but this one seems to be leaning into the sci-fi. Did the story feel like it tested the malleability of the character a bit more?
Yes, this is more in the vein of the Doctor Who or Superman stories I talked about as an influence on giving Klaus some scope and longevity. He's a character who can turn up in any kind of story, from a science fiction romp to a psychological thriller or a widescreen fantasy.
Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville is on sale December 6 from BOOM! Studios. Art by Dan Mora, variant cover art by John Cassaday.