Top Ten Least Appropriate Christmas Comic Covers

A column article, Top Ten by: Danny Djeljosevic

It’s been a very hard hour for me, Googling Christmas comics expecting to get 12,000 variations of Lobo mounting Santa’s fat carcass only to find that, yes, there are dozens of horrifying comic book covers supposedly made in the so-called Spirit of Christmas. But let me tell you, Internet: there’s nothing Christmassy about A Very Zombie Christmas. Or Santa the Barbarian.

But these ten (plus one), these are the most inappropriate, the silliest, the most transcendent of Christmas comic book covers. In other words, they’re the ones that gave me the most viable jokes.

Honorable Mention: The Vault of Horror #35 (1953) 

Easily the best cover appearing in this list (which, as you’ll see, doesn’t say much), this classic EC Comics cover perfectly captures the fragile, tense moment right before the inevitable. There’s a chance, ever so slight, that this guy might relent, but -- this being an EC Comic -- we know that hope to be futile. He’sgoing to lop that poor woman’s head off. And you thought I was going to focus on the ribbon on the casket.

Also, it’s really funny to me that every character on the left looks exactly the same.

10. Batman #33 (1946)

This might be my favorite cover ever. It’s intentionally hilarious but also really, really adorable. And there’s just so much going on here. Not only has Robin ruined Christmas, but Batman’s just standing there and watching, with the most delighted smile on his face and not a hint of concern for his young ward about to fall on top of glass ornaments. Did Batman stage some sort of prank? Why was Robin trying to put a magic wand on top of a Christmas tree? Why is Robin falling in front of the tree yet the tree’s still falling?

9. Comic Cavalcade #9 (1944)

I don’t know what Comic Cavalcade was about, but it seems like the most good-natured comic book on the planet. Every cover had Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern doing something cute like riding on roller skates, going to the circus together and other activities that make Archie seem like Evil Ernie. This one, though -- it’s just creepy.

I give you two possible scenarios depicted by that cover:

  1. After sleeping with the window open, that child has frozen to death those kindly looking superheroes are stealing his presents.
  2. There is only one possible scenario.


8. Captain Marvel Adventures #19 (1943)

Look at that. Look at that.

It’s like those ones where Captain Marvel’s riding the big phallic rocket, except that this time Captain Marvel is the penis.

Kudos to Santa for being smart enough to use Cap’s butt as the seat.

7. Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #7 (1973)

Marvel Comics Editor Roy Thomas: "Hey, Billy, since it comes out in December, would you mind making #7 a Christmas cover?"

Luke Cage, Hero For Hire cover artist Billy Graham: "Um, I already drew the cover? It has a character I assume to be the Grandson of Fu Manchu pushing a button that says 'Destruct.’ Then New York destructs."

Marvel Comics Editor Roy Thomas: "Okay, we can work with this. How about you draw a Christmas tree in the corner and we’ll throw in some holiday word balloons."

Luke Cage, Hero For Hire Cover Artist Billy Graham: "I can’t wait until I die in 1999."

6. Spider-Man Dallas Times Herald Advertising Supplement #4 (1983)

Despite the super-immediate title "Christmas in Dallas!" this has nothing to do with the Kennedy assassination.

Also, SPOILER: Santa is really the Kingpin.

5. Glory and Friends Christmas Spectacular (1995)

Before he drew such titles as Thunderbolts and Secret Avengers, Mike Deodato drew the first bare ass on the cover of a Christmas comic.

Somewhere between my thoughts of "I didn’t notice if she was wearing a hat" and "She must be cold" I noticed her fondling the carrot.

4. Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #112 (1985)

This is the perfect comic book cover. It’s well-rendered and a dead serious execution of an inherently silly idea. This is what comics are all about. This is what Batman strives for five times a month. Mythic children’s figures made into "mature" adult fare. This is Identity Crisis and a legion of rapey DC comics in a nutshell -- Ol’ Saint Nick with a handgun shades, and a cigarette.

If this wasn’t the inspiration for Santa, NO! I don’t know what could have been.

3. Superman #166 (1964)

In which Superman admits shame for his crippled son. On Christmas.

2. The Punisher Holiday Special #2 (1994)

There have been many Holiday Specials featuring the Punisher (at least two just going by the numbering), but this one is easily the most frightening, with Frank Castle reigning fiery hell upon some unseen victim. Also, there’s some kind of distorted apparition forming from the Punisher’s red gun smoke (?).

There’s also something just so right about there being a Punisher Christmas special. I think it’s become a yearly tradition in a way that Doctor Strange Halloween Occultaganza! hasn’t, partially because it actually exists and partially because we all love to see that the Punisher’s never-ending war against crime never, ever takes a vacation. It’s reassuring to know that, while we’re opening presents and insisting on watching A Christmas Story on TBS in Tarantinoesque fragments there’s an ageless Vietnam vet murdering crime lords and serial killers.

The Punisher, you see, is the world’s Christmas present to us.

1. Warrior X-Mas Special (1997)

If you were a pro wrestling fan in the late '80s to early '90s, you may remember the Ultimate Warrior as one of the WWF’s more marketable personalities, with his face paint and curious arm tassels. Or, if you were a pro wrestling fan in the late '90s, you’ll remember the Ultimate Warrior as a hyperventilating mesomorph who briefly haunted Hollywood Hogan and the New World Order until his story was abandoned due to overwhelming unpopularity.

The Ultimate Warrior, it turns out, is insane. You can tell because he legally changed his name to Warrior. But here’s the thing: if he changed his named to The Ultimate Warrior, he’d be a genius.

Like many celebrities, Warrior produced a comic book about himself, called -- wait for it -- Warrior. He got Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti to do the cover for the Christmas special. Unlike many celebrities, Warrior wrote the comic himself.

And here our troubles begin. 

Warrior used Warrior as a platform for his nonsensical life philosophy hinging, as far as I can gather, on a concept called "Destrucity" -- something, I assume, only a true warrior can live by. As a result, the comic is pretty much plotless yet full of text. And, I assure you, as far as wrestlers-turned-writers go, Warrior is no Mick Foley.

It’s not clear if Warrior even wrote the X-Mas comic, which is really just a series of pin-ups (including contributions from Ron Lim and Bart Sears) that involve Warrior wreaking havoc upon the usual good tidings of the holidays.

As a result, this happens.

And this.

And this.

What’s more horrifying: the Santa bondage in the second pin-up or that the third artist doesn’t know how to draw a Christmas tree? I thought Christmas was supposed to bring out the best in people.

This comic’s become pretty infamous as The One Where Warrior Rapes Santa, which is funny consideringhis political views.

This isn’t just the most inappropriate Christmas cover, it’s the most inappropriate Christmas comic.

Try and have a Merry Christmas after that.

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