The naughty and Nice of Christmas-themed comics (part 1)

This and the next two articles are one part of my final project for my Online Journalism class.  They were written for a collaborative project on a different site, but I thought I’d share them here.  As both articles written for the final are over 1,200 words long, I decided to break them into 3 posts each.  Enjoy!

‘Tis the season for spending time with family, feeling the cheer of the holidays, and reading comics. Different comics have been created for, and inspired by a variety of different things – from filling a media void to the simple desire to tell a story. However, nothing is quite as festive around this time of year as a comic celebrating the Christmas holiday.

Christmas Eve, the First Lady of Yuletide Cheer confronts Black Peter
Christmas Eve, the First Lady of Yuletide Cheer confronts Black Peter

A perfect example of the playful side of Christmas comics is the work of George Broderick Jr., professional comic artist and Christmas comics extraordinaire. Broderick, whose long list of work includes titles from both of the big comic publishing companies as well as many other licensed characters, has created a veritable avalanche of loveable Christmas themed comics. These comics include characters like Christmas Eve, The First Lady of Yuletide Cheer; Dill Gherkin; and Andy Claus, the son of Santa.

Broderick, who prefers to create comics not limited by age restrictions, credits the inspiration to start making Christmas comics to a combination of right time, right company, and right ideas. He tells about going to a convention with friends in the mid ‘00s to promote his work, and noticing the trend of comics becoming grittier, and more serious. “I was getting a little bit depressed by the fact that every comic seems to be getting darker

Dill Gherkin and the Legend of the Christmas Pickle
Dill Gherkin and the Legend of the Christmas Pickle

and grimmer, a lot of stuff with zombies and dismemberment, and I said, ‘Where’s the fun?’ Comics were fun when I was growing up,” explained Broderick.

His friend (who he didn’t name), listening to Broderick’s comments, made a joke about writing Christmas comics instead and the idea stuck. “A light bulb went off – I said ‘Well, wait a minute, what’s more fun for kids than comics and Christmas? That’s a natural combination.” Since then, Broderick has created at least one Christmas comic per year to date.

According to Broderick, the inspiration for his cast of Christmas characters came from varied sources as well. “When I picked Christmas, I said ‘Okay, there’s a lot of icons and symbols related to Christmas, how can I work with those?’” For example, his character Dill Gherkin was inspired by an old German tradition of hiding a pickle shaped ornament on the Christmas tree. “I thought, well if Santa brings all of the presents, somebody’s got to bring all of those pickles,” said Broderick.

Broderick’s work is partially available to read on any of his three websites, and available for sale in hard copy on his sites as well.

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