Whether it’s movies or TV, we all love a good Christmas special this time of year. But of course, for our little community of geeks, we’ve got the added medium of comics to look forward to! So here are 7 of our favourite Christmas comic specials to read beside the fire this year.
1) Batman Returns: One Dark Christmas Eve (2022)
Here’s one for those who like a bit of a chill with their Christmas comics! Made in a colourfully illustrated storybook style, this adult retelling of Tim Burton’s delightfully disturbing film puts a deranged twist on classical Christmas imagery. As the three Wise Men once bestowed gifts upon a newborn King, three villains of Gotham hatch a nefarious festive plan of their own, leading to the Dark Knight taking on three of his most deadly adversaries. A cautionary tale of identity and ambition, this macabre, Christmassy comic-themed romp is guaranteed to get you thinking.
2) Zombies Christmas Carol (2012)
When it comes to festive stories, it doesn’t get more classic than Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol. It’s a quintessential piece of seasonal literature with countless adaptations, some of which are faithful and others put an entirely new spin on things. Of course, it was inevitable that comic books would soon jump onto the Dickensian bandwagon, with Marvel Comics offering up this frightful retelling in which the arc of Ebeneezer Scrooge unfolds against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse! Vivid, inventive and visually compelling, this is a great festive option for all you horror fans out there.
3) Archie: 80 Years Of Christmas (2021)
A true veteran of the comic medium, the Riverdale Gang have one hell of a history with the Christmas season. And now, Archie’s Comics gives us a compilation of the lot, compiling 80 years’ worth of Archie Christmas Specials. With over 250 pages of Yuletide shenanigans, this hilarious vintage classic is a light-hearted must-have for the festive season!
4) Klaus: How Santa Clause Began (2019)
If you’re looking to wind down with a bit of escapism this Christmas, then this festive-themed comic is sure to carry you away. A collaboration between none other than Grant Morrison and Dan Mora, Klaus: How Santa Clause Began is a reimagined origin story behind the folktale figure of Father Christmas. Exploring the Scandinavian variation of Santa Clause, it delves into Santa’s roots in Viking mythology and Shamanism, making for a slightly more sinister version of the jolly magic man we’re all familiar with. A unique twist on a well-loved tale, How Santa Claus Began is a spellbindingly creepy interpretation of a classic Christmas story.
Speaking of more sombre festive retellings, here’s one of my personal favourites. We all know that fairytales have twisted origins to begin with, but Snow, Glass, Apples offers up an entirely new take. From the mind of Neil Gaiman paired with the captivatingly regal illustrations of Colleen Doran, Snow, Glass Apples is an unexpected twist on the tale of Snow White, following a not-so-evil Queen who lives in fear of her monstrous stepdaughter. Determined and of strong resolve, she sets out to repel the terrifying creature and save both herself and her Kingdom from a not-so-happy ending. A gorgeous comic to get lost in, Snow, Glass, Apples has as all the frosty vibes of a classical festive folktale.
In another Dickensian retelling, DC takes the stage with the Dark Knight in his very own Christmas Carol inspired adventure. Batman Noel follows the Caped Crusader as he takes a reluctant dive into his past, coming face-to-face with old versions and alternate interpretations of himself, from his dark and brooding persona all the way back to his wacky golden-age incarnation – it’s like a broodier version of the Spider-Verse! We also get to see classic Gotham villains and sidekicks work their magic along the way. A treasure trove of Batman lore inspired by a literary Christmas Classic, Batman Noel is an absolute gem among seasonal specials.
Wrapping things up with this gorgeous indie graphic novel written and illustrated by Borja González, I’d recommend A Gift For A Ghost to anyone this Christmas! The past and present clash in this charming tale of youth when Teresa, a young girl from an aristocratic family in 1856, dreams more of writing avant-garde horror poetry than making a married woman of herself. Meanwhile, we follow a parallel story of three teenage girls from 2016 as they out to achieve their dream of becoming a punk rock band. However, as their worlds intertwine, the three girls find themselves haunted by the echoes of events that occurred 160 years ago. Brimming with frosty magic and a warm melancholia that will make your eyes sting in the most bittersweet of ways, Gift For A Ghost is the perfect after-dark read for these cold Christmas nights.
What comics will YOU be reading this Christmas? Let us know in the comment section below!