Klaus #1 Review: Can Grant Morrison Write Santa’s Origin?

Since it was announced, Grant Morrison’s Klaus has been an intriguing book. The first looks at this book showed a Santa Claus that was built like a super-hero, and was decidedly less jolly than the Santa we’ve all come to know. However strong Grant Morrison’s reputation is, this story’s premise seemed unlike something that could actually work as a comic. Despite all of these doubts, Grant Morrison has written some of the best comics of the last twenty years. Will Klaus stand up next to Invisibles, All-Star Superman and Batman & Robin?

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Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora

What’s to Love: Grant Morrison is one of the most prolific and best-selling writers in comics, earning a reputation for his ability to effectively revamp superheroes like Animal Man, Batman, and the X-Men. His creator-owned titles are also highly praised, including The Invisibles, Nameless, We3, and Joe the Barbarian because no one tells mythical stories better than him. In Klaus, Grant reimagines one of the biggest cultural myths in history, and we could not be more excited to pair him with one of our homegrown talents, Dan Mora (Hexed)!

What It Is: Set in a dark fantastic past of myth and magic, Klaus tells the story of how Santa Claus really came to be. Where did he begin? What was he like when he was young? And what happens when he faces his greatest challenge? Drawing on Santa Claus’ wilder roots in Viking lore and Siberian shamanism—taking in the creepier side of Christmas, and characters like the sinister Krampus—Klaus is “Santa Claus: Year One.”

Preview:

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Review:

The story reads very well. Grant Morrison almost instantly makes Klaus a believable character. The medieval world is populated, but run in a way that is almost as cartoonish as the town run by the Burgermeister in the classic stop-motion Christmas Special Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. However, that cartoonish quality is tempered by some cruelty in line with what is known of the medieval north. Without spoilers, there is a scene which taps into, as the solicitation puts it, “Siberian shamanism.” This is probably the most controversial scene in the book, but its resolution is satisfying and doesn’t betray the popular image of Santa Claus, despite at this point, Klaus is not Santa yet.

The artwork is typical of a BOOM! comic, although that is becoming less simple to describe. Klaus is rendered consistently, and the town is believable in being stark and poor despite the beautiful covering of snow. The double page spreads are gorgeous and one of the best pages illustrate Klaus and his wolf taking down a huge reindeer. It’s magnificent and shows that Dan Mora has the artistic chops to illustrate a Grant Morrison script.

Is the story good? Yes. Is it on par with Grant Morrison’s best work? It’s too early to tell, because where early issues of Invisibles and All-Star Superman could be evaluated on their own merits, this is the first part of a larger story. Final judgement has to be withheld until the story is finished, but it’s a good start.

Variant Covers:

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