If I’m being honest, I’m not the most consistent reader of Klaus. Yet at the same time there has never been a time where I flipped open a book or issue and didn’t feel satisfied with what I read. I find it pretty bold that someone can take the concept of winter holidays and run wild with it like this. Even to be daring enough to tackle a holiday calendar-inspired comic. There was definitely some expectations I had in mind when I first read what this was supposed to be. Which was why I ended up mind-blown by what this actually turned out to be.
When you jump into a calendar-inspired comic, for the most part you assume that you will follow your average story through the days of the month, or the months of the year. You expect there are words and everything. For that many days or months to follow, you even expect that it will be something oversized. However, Klaus And The Life And Times Of Joe Christmas is bold because this is 25 pages of illustrations which tell a story of their own. When I say this, I quite literally mean that these are just illustrations and nothing more. No words aside from the days of the month, and the years which the events in the pictures took place. Just the pictures themselves capturing the experiences shared between Klaus and Joe Christmas. Now I know what some people will think. Is that something worth my money? How can this be a comic if it’s just pictures and no words to accompany it?
Well, the answer to that is very simple. What makes the medium of comics so special is that words are not always necessary to tell a story. In the case of Klaus And The Life And Times Of Joe Christmas #1, it was a beautiful story told through imagery which captured their times together, times specifically for Joe Christmas, and all of it working backwards through time. The writing is in the imagery. It takes a team to look at a script and decide what a character is supposed to do in any given scene and how it should be depicted visually. These were images that you could look at and pretty much figure out for yourself what they were going through in that period of time. I mean, Joe Christmas has had one heck of an eventful life. Some events seem so surreal, but then again everything would be if your life is lived in the orbit of this version of Klaus.
A big sell on this book for me just so happened to be seeing Dan Mora drawing these pages. Someone honestly needs to give this guy a medal for 2019. He is all over the place and doing amazing work. He’s either capturing your attention through work that envisions already established characters and worlds, or breathing life into original characters and concepts. Just when you think you have seen the true brilliance in the detail he can capture in his art, here you are struck with 25 pages full pages, not panels, full pages of fully rendered scenes. No while I’m giving this guy his credit for the pencil work, we can’t leave out his color work either. I believe this is the first time where I have really taken in the fact that Mora can do both roles. It takes the same brilliance to be able to jump into these pages and at the same time be the one to breathe life into the pencils through a serious amount of color. This isn’t an issue of a book where everything is following one simple color scheme, or set in a specific atmosphere. This is also 25 pages where every point in time and team-up called for a shake-up in his pallet.
Whether you are a fan of the Klaus series, or just someone who wants to experience some holiday cheer in comic form. Klaus And The Life And Times Of Joe Christmas #1 is worth putting on your pull-list. This book makes a great statement at the end of the year that there are always ways to tell a story than what people expect when they flip open to that first page.