The PopCult Bookshelf

Because you’ve all been good boys and girls, you get a bonus PopCut Bookshelf this week!

lastchristmas_hc_coverThe Last Christmas
Written by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn
Art by Rick Remender and Hillary Barta
Forward by Patton Oswalt
Image Comics

The Last Christmas is a warm, fuzzy, feel-good testament to hope, faith, and the everlasting joy of a child’s belief in Santa Claus. It’s also a gore-filled tale of revenge, chock full of death, destruction, alcohol, blood, guts and gore, set in a post-apocalyptic nightmare of a world.

Yes, Virginia, you can have it both ways.

lastxmas_05_cov_CLRCRX.sizedWriters Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn (Marvel’s Deadpool comic) have crafted a story set in a world where civilization has collapsed, chaos reigns, and pockets of survivors are constantly under attack by zombies and evil marauders. As you can imagine, this has had a serious effect on Santa Claus and the elves at the North Pole.

Santa Claus is an immortal who cannot die as long as there’s one child remaining who believes in him. When marauders attack the North Pole one year while Santa’s out on his run, he returns to find Mrs. Claus dead, the workshop laid waste, and retreats to his room to drink himself to death.


Being an immortal, Santa Claus cannot end his own life, despite several tries. As long as there’s one kid out there who still believes in him, he will live on. Drunken and depressed, Santa Claus hitches up the sleigh one last time so he can find the boy and eliminate him with extreme prejudice.

images (62)This is an extremely dark, twisted, and hilarious take on Santa Claus. Essentially it’s Mad Max at the North Pole. What’s amazing is that with all the blood, guts, and gore and with a drunken, depressed and suicidal Santa Claus, and with a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape, the story is still resolved in a hopeful, optimistic manner. The Last Christmas is truly imbued with the real spirit of the holiday season.

It’s really cool that it conveys this message with foul language, ultra violence, and a healthy dose of cynicism. We have elves hell-bent on revenge, marauders teaming with zombies to wipe out survivors, and a Santa Claus who totes around a saw–not a gift saw, but a “murdering saw.” Even with all that, The Last Christmas is still a sweet tale. Think of it as candy, only with dark chocolate.

lastchristmasThe Last Christmas is definitely not a graphic novel for children. It’s recommended for mature readers. It’s also probably not the type of book that you want to give to your devoutly religious friends or family members. However, if you liked “Shaun Of The Dead” or “Zombieland” or have managed to laugh out loud during moments of “The Walking Dead,” then this is the holiday book for you.

This hardback volume collects the entire five-issue limited series from 2005, along with a hilarious forward by Patton Oswalt and an even funnier preface written by Mrs. Claus, plus the original covers, including artwork by Geof Darrow and The Walking Dead’s Tony Moore.

There’s also an afterword by Posehn and Duggan, plus a collection of developmental sketches by Rick Remender and a section that shows the progression of some pages from script to layout to pencils to inks to colors. Remender, teamed with inker, Hilary Barta, does a fantastic job bringing this story to life, and it’s cool to see the steps he took along the way.  This is a great package for a delightfully twisted holiday tale. Highly recommended for the people that you know would like that sort of thing.