Comic Review: Krampus! #1-5

2014, written by Brian Joines, Illustrated by Dean Kotz

You know Krampus by now, right? You probably do if you’ve been hanging out on Mainlining Christmas long. So you know that Krampus is a demon companion of Santa/St. Nicholas, who punishes bad children at Christmastime.

He’s also the star of this extremely fun comic series.

Think of every winter/christmas related character you can. Now expand your horizons a little and you’ll start to get an idea of the world of Krampus! The first issue opens at a dead run to establish the world and the plot premise. Someone has stolen the power source of the Secret Society of Santa Clauses, made up of Christmas gift-givers from across the world. Desperate, the Santas turn to their long-time enemy to help solve the mystery.

The snarky infighting among the Santas is plenty of fun, with the main focus being on Father Christmas from Britain, Sinterklaas from the Netherlands and Hoteiosho from Japan, with many of the others taking sides.

Krampus is a definite anti-hero: he’s more than rough around the edges, he simultaneously respects a certain amount of evil, and delights in punishing the wicked.

On my first read, it took me a bit to get used to the Krampus’s heavy-dialect accent but it grew on me quickly. The writing is light and punny, but generally tight enough that you don’t lose the thread of the surprisingly complex plot.

The art is mostly good; there are some outstanding panels with mostly solid work but there are a few with awkward angles or confusing details. I wouldn’t say that either the writing or the art is flawless, but it’s all pretty darn fun.

The story wraps up satisfactorily in five issues, although the final panel is a hook for a potential second story. If we want to see more zany holiday adventures, though, we need to show Krampus! some love. The graphic novel collection of these issues has been sadly delayed a few times, but you might be able to get one by Christmas, if you check a local comic shop or bookstore.

Read the preview here.