Who knew old jolly Saint Nick was such a badass? In this one-shot comic book, St. Nicholas is a grizzled, tired defender of Christmas – all too happy to perpetuate the ongoing myth as an avuncular, global deliverer of gifts, given that it distracts the world from the truth: that his real role is to defend the world from the evil Krampus – who seeks to reclaim the holiday season for his own nefarious purposes.

The script – by Ben Avery, writing from a story by the comic’s artist, Tim Baron – does a great job of setting up the eternal conflict and giving us plenty of worldbuilding in a nicely economical way.

Baron’s art is absolutely stunning; the use of contrast giving an incredible sense of atmosphere in the quieter scenes, with a punchy dynamism bringing a real action movie quality to the battle between Nick and his eponymous nemesis. The design of our hero tells of a long history of drawn out battles, while the more cartoony look of Krampus gives the sense of a more mischievous character who enjoys pitting himself against our weary, battle-scarred protagonist.

First published in 2013, it’s a really good festive tale, with some excellent extras included: a pin-up Gallery of the story’s characters, showcasing some great work from other artists, as well as a Sketchbook featuring Tim Baron’s designs for the story.

In short, ‘Twas the Night Before Krampus is an exciting, satisfyingly told and beautifully drawn comic, perfect for Christmas Eve reading. You can purchase and download it on Comixology at this link.

Happy Christmas everyone!

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