Saturday, December 23, 2006

This would be total Christmas nightmare fuel, if it wasn't so funny.

The Hellboy Christmas Special features the usual rock-solid Hellboy tale (including an old woman who thinks Big Red is St. Nick) and a Gary Gianni Corpus Monstrum story, which I almost wish was still a back-up feature in B.P.R.D. or something. (Like Barren Earth or Tales of Dave, it's a feature I like when I see it, but don't necessarily go out of my way to get.) But both of those are overshadowed for me by the inimitable Steve Purcell, with Toybox.

Purcell of course is the creator of Sam and Max, Freelance Police, which are probably better known for their video games or even cartoon than for their comic, which is a crime against comics you should all hang your heads for. I'm not sure if he did more Toybox stories, but I wish he would. In this one, Suda (weird little goth-looking girl) and Ernie (rat) end up at an old lady's cottage on "the night when a strange visitor arrives with a message of giving."

The cottage is empty, the old woman Suda thought lived there gone, a mysterious pile of black lumps left in her bed. They start a fire, and fall asleep. Ernie wakes up late, the fire out, to see the arrival of a strange visitor.

Is that you, Santy Claus--oh, holy crap!
As the spider rummages through the pantry, then moves to eat Suda, Ernie has to take it down with a handy harpoon: "I can take him. I have thumbs, and...the superior brain of a mammal!" Dead, the spider's belly starts to wriggle, so Ernie takes a butcher knife to it, finding another surprise:
Even after being stewed in spider juices, Santa still has more Christmas spirit than you do.
Well, at least Ernie saved next Christmas. But, to continue gushing, I hate rats, and Purcell makes them look great. I'm not sure if this issue has been reprinted in it's entirety, since Dark Horse usually just keeps the Hellboy stuff in the trades, but see if you can dig it up.

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