And another book from Christmas week that only just got delivered.
Klaus And The Crying Snowman
This is the third of the Klaus Christmas Special one-shots, and is maybe the best of the lot.
That’s partly because it ties its story to a strong emotional core, with the gradually-unravelled mystery of the titular snowman and Klaus’ sympathetic, compassionate handling of the story’s baddies both providing really satisfying and heartfelt payoffs to the smart setups earlier in the issue.
It’s also partly due to Dan Mora’s art, which just seems to get better and better. I love this book’s take on Santa as seen through a heavy metal/superhero lens, as it always gives Mora something visually interesting to get his teeth into.
And in a book where Morrison seems to be consciously upping the ante to give his artist more and more weird concepts to realise on the page, Mora rises to the challenge.
That battle with a weird alien tree-creature is an early highlight, as is a retelling of the Ragnarok myth in this stunning double-page splash.
Oh, and did I mention that one of the heroes of this issue is a melting blob of snow and ice and another is a cryptically poetic red-caped goat-man?
It’s the kind of book that could be a mess without a solid artist to bring all the elements together and make them feel like part of the same whole, but Mora pulls it off - also managing to conjure up the most sympathetic snowman this side of Raymond Briggs.
It’s no exaggeration to say that this book evokes All-Star Superman at times, partly for the essential warmth and humanity that Morrison pours into the story and partly because Mora is clearly an artist who is able to tune in to Morrison’s wavelength just as intuitively as Frank Quitely.
Missing out on reading this book during the festive period could have risked robbing it of some of its magic; but instead, this is like finding an extra present that was hidden at the back of the Christmas tree.