Have you ever watched a Rankin and Bass holiday special and wondered what the story of Santa Claus would be like if it was written by Grant Morrison? Well wonder no more.
Klaus is an imaginative retelling of the beloved Christmas character’s origin story. It borrows elements from Scandinavian legends to present the toy deliverer as a shamanistic man of the wilderness, an ex-soldier driven from service by the corrupt politicians who have taken over. Morrison blends these elements masterfully, as one would expect.
Grimsvig is a sad, oppressed town in the far north. When Klaus returns after years of absence, he finds the people ground down by the Baron. All able bodied men work in the mines, toiling underground even during the yuletide. There are no toys allowed. Everything in the town is the property of the Baron and his impossible to please son. The reader follows Klaus’ metamorphosis from loner to hero to savior. Along the way we see the origins of many of the classic Santa Claus tropes — toys down the chimney, the red and white garb, Krampus. Sometimes these follow our traditional expectations, other times not.
Yeah, this Santa’s sleigh is pulled by a team of enchanted wolves.
How bad ass is that?
The story itself is extremely entertaining, but it is really brought to life via Dan Mora’s artwork. The sweeping vistas of the wilderness are majestic, the characters and settings are at times realistically portrayed. Other times, as when Klaus communes with the spirits which reside beyond the Northern Lights, the artwork is ethereal, magical. The presentation of Krampus and his team are terrifying.
By retelling a classic story, the team behind Klaus has given us a magnificent new work destined to become a classic in its own right.
Klaus HC Hits Comic Shops Nov. 9th From Boom!