As many of you regular Knuckleheads know, the month of December is my favorite month of the year. It’s got all the ingredients that I hold dear? colder weather, football, my birthday and of course Christmas.
When I was younger I always enjoyed the Christmas Specials on TV and comic books did Christmas themes. It meant a lot to me to see the Fantastic Four, Batman, Wonder Woman, or Spider-Man having an adventure during the Christmas season. As a young reader it made me relate to the characters even more.
I always swore that if I ever got to write for Marvel or DC Comics that I would write a Christmas themed issue. Well, in 1996 that dream came true.
Guy Gardner Warrior #39 was the issue that would get marked off my comic book checklist of personal goals. At this point I was lucky enough to have been writing Guy Gardner Warrior since issue #20. I had plenty of issues of continuity under my belt and had established his supporting cast. Everything was in place.
I had originally planned this to be a story drawn by my amigo Mitch Byrd, but at this point Mitch had decided that the monthly grind was something that he wanted a break from so Marc Campos stepped in with Dan Davis and Nick Napolitano to play my story out with their art.
The title of the story was “Merriment, Mistletoe and Mayhem”. It was jam-packed with all sorts of DCU guest stars. The opening double page spread was an eye feast for anyone that loves to I.D. DCU heroes in a crowd. The story took place at Guy’s bar/eatery Warriors. Everybody that was anybody was there as well as some obscure characters as well. If you look real hard you’ll also see me and the rest of the creative team in a cameo.
The story was filled with firsts such as the Warriors toy line being introduced by Olivia Reynolds. A toy line of Guy, Wildcat, Buck Wargo and The Monsters Hunters and the rest of Guy’s supporting cast. It was also announced that the toys were designed by none other than Kyle Rayner.
There was lots of smooching under the mistletoe by Clark Kent & Lois Lane, Guy and the temptress Martika and his lips also locked with the last person anyone ever expected on the final splash page? Fire!
Part of what always drew me to comic book Christmas specials were the fact that you had all kinds of super heroes mingling on a social level instead of battling some supernatural, intergalactic, or revenge seeking team of super villains. This issue didn’t get away villain free. Guy’s nemesis Dementor shows up for a few panels, but he’s never much of a threat in this story.
I also liked the stories that were character driven and showed the main character(s) going through an emotional change or progression that usual battle issues didn’t get a chance to delve into. As a writer I’ve always felt it was important to stop now and then and give the readers a reason to have an emotional investment in the character(s). if you don’t then nobody cares when the character(s) is involved in a life and death struggle.
Corny as it may be, I also liked it when a Christmas story had a Frank Capra “It’s A Wonderful Life” touch to em’. Yeah, it can be somewhat predictable, but I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I want my heartstrings to be played. I want a feel good story. I want a happy ending. You got a problem with that?
In this story with the help of The Spectre and The Phantom Stranger, Guy gets closure with his late father. It was a chance for me to untangle a lot of knots in Guy’s past that were always brought up, but never finished. It also showed another layer of Guy’s personality that helped explain why he acts the way he did in the past.
I feel so very lucky to have had the chance to put not just words into the mouths of these DCU characters, but to also inject emotions and meaning into them.
I still get stoked when I think about having Firestorm, The Outsiders, The Metal Men, Lobo, Blue Beetle, Lady Blackhawk, The Phantom Stranger, The Spectre, Plastic Man, The Enlogated Man, Fire, Booster Gold, Black Canary, Superman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Zatanna, Hawkman, and so many more characters all partying together in one issue. Keep in mind this is ten years before 52, Infinite Crisis and Civil War when everybody is at each other’s throats. This was possibly the last real feel of comradarie that we’ve seen on this level at DC in a very long time, possibly ever.
I know that my run on Guy Gardner Warrior (#20 through #44 plus two annuals) may not be as popular with older readers as the bowel headed jerk Guy from the JLA and current version are? or maybe he is and the majority is just silent. I don’t know. What I do know is that I would love to see some more Christmas themed issues that emphasize the brotherhood of these characters and not so much the petty squabbles, mistrust and fighting. Last time I looked there were more than enough bad guys that did that. Since when did heroes start acting like bad guys?
To quote Guy Gardner from the last page of issue #39:
“It was time to start using the past to build the future.” HLRINEBusted Knuckles Christmas Babe Of The Week
Keeping with my own Christmas theme I thought this would be a good time to unleash the loveliness of actress Stacey Sparks for the holidays. You may or may not know of Stacey from such classic films such as Descend Into Darkness, Evil Ambitions, and Vamps. She’s blonde, beautiful and bound for some mistletoe.
Busted Knuckles Manly Christmas Covers Of The Week
Sensation Comics #38
The Nam #23
Marvel Comics, 1988
It’s Christmas so I’m stuffing your stocking twice with two Christmas babe covers. After all, it is the season for giving. Notice the subtle touches of the times with these covers. No matter what the decade, you know it’s Christmas.
I want to keep this simple if I can. Today’s world has more than enough complications. You don’t need me adding to it.
Thank you for sharing your time reading Busted Knuckles. I know that these are a few minutes of your life that you’ll never get back. I appreciate you spending them with me.
My hopes are that you’ll find something to entertain you maybe even something to educate you. If you come back more than once then it’s me that’s truly lucky.
Know this, the time you spend here with me is a Christmas gift 52 weeks a year. I thank you for it and I never take it for granted.
From all of us here at The Flying Fist Ranch?
The Flying Fist Ranch
Ceredo, WV. 25507
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