Today, we see a Spawn adventure in which a little boy somehow confuses Spawn with Santa Claus!
It’s our yearly Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar! Every day until Christmas Eve, you can click on the current day’s Advent Calendar post and it will show the Advent Calendar with the door for that given day opened and you can see what the “treat” for that day will be! You can click here to see the previous Advent Calendar entries. This year, the theme is a Very Dope 90s Christmas! Each day will be a Christmas comic book story from the 1990s, possibly ones that have a specific 1990s bent to it (depends on whether I can come up with 24 of them).
This year’s Advent Calendar, of Grunge Santa Claus giving out 90s present, like a Tamagotchi, while posing with four superheroes with the most-90s costumes around, is by Nick Perks.
And now, Day 3 will be opened (once opened, the door will feature a panel from the featured story)…
Today’s comic is 1995’s “Noel” from Spawn #39 by Todd McFarlane, Greg Capullo, Tom Orzechowski and Steve Oliff.
It’s remarkable to think that Spawn, which was one of the very first comic books released by Image Comics in 1992, is still being released to this day. It’s a testament to Todd McFarlane’s dedication to the character, really, as he has gone through many different creative teams over the years, but McFarlane has always kept the title going, through a variety of dramatic revamps of the character (but never an outright reboot).
As you may or may not know, the concept of the series is that Al Simmons was a government agent who was murdered by his boss (originally it was by one of his former allies, Chapel, who went on to become a member of Youngblood in Rob Liefeld’s Image comic of the same name, but McFarlane later retconned Chapel’s involvement so as to avoid having a character from another comic book creator be part of Spawn’s origin). He cut a deal with a demon in Hell to return to Earth as a Hellspawn. Disfigured and featuring a magical costume and cape (thus Spawn’s cape had an actual reason to make all the sorts of crazy twists and turns that comic book artists, McFarlane included, used to do with Batman’s cape over the years), five years have passed since Al had died and his wife has remarried (to Al’s best friend) and has a young daughter.
Spawn has a great deal of magical energy in him, but if he uses too much of it, he is sent back to hell, so he has to conserve his powers. Al lived on the streets, befriending various homeless guys, and he typically took on the various crooks and bad guys that you would find living on the streets (when other bad guys weren’t going out of their way to attack him, that is). A mysterious being known as Cogliostro becomes a mentor to Spawn, but it is unknown exactly what his agenda is, as well. There are also two police detectives known as Sam and Twitch who cross paths with Spawn a number of times.
Okay, so that’s the basic setup for the comic as of December 1995, when our story begins. By this point in time, McFarlane had stopped penciling the series a couple of years earlier and Greg Capullo, hot off of an acclaimed run on X-Force, took over penciling duties. McFarlane still wrote the series, though, and often inked Capullo.
A little-heralded part of the early years of Spawn is that McFarlane would dedicate each issue to a different comic book creator, which was a really cool thing that I don’t think McFarlane ever got enough credit for. We’re not talking just hugely famous names, either, but guys like Ernie Chan, Don Heck and the like. It must have been cool to get their names referenced for a whole new generation of comic book readers.
In this comic, though, the issue was dedicated to Phyllis Capullo, the mother of Greg Capullo.
Capullo lived until 98, passing away last year. Her obituary mentioned, “Phyllis was born Philomena Angela Gentiluomo in Schenectady on August 3, 1921 to the late Salvatore and Domenica Trifilo Gentiluomo. She graduated from Nott Terrace High School and worked at General Electric during wartime. She also worked for NYS and other part-time positions while raising her children.”
And so sure enough, the story in the comic is about a single mother working a variety of jobs to raise her two children, Nadine and Greggy (Capullo’s older sister in real life, of course, is named Nadine).
When Phyllis leaves to work one of her cleaning gigs, Nadine was left behind to watch Greggy on Christmas Eve. She ditches her brother, leaving him home with a VHS tape of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which she lets him watch as many times as he wants (which he is thrilled about). However, later on, after Greggy fell asleep, he hears a loud crunch outside…
It is Spawn fighting a bunch of crooks out on the roof of Greggy’s building, and the little boy, naturally, assumes that Spawn is actually Santa Claus!
Spawn had recently received a brand-new costume with a cape that has even more magical powers and so in a really cool bit, Spawn and his costume wrap up all of the beaten up crooks and sure enough, it really does look like Santa trailing a bunch of reindeer!
There is a sad bit where the kid thinks that “Santa” has left without giving them any presents, but then he looks out on the fire escape and sees that there is a bunch of cash on there (no doubt dropped by one of the crooks during the fight) and so Greggy take it and wraps it up for his mother.
His mother, in turn, uses the money to help out all of her neighbors and they all throw a party to celebrate each other as the issue ends with a beautiful Christmas-y double-page splash…
Boy, Capullo and McFarlane are quite the artistic team, huh? What an adorable tribute to Capullo’s mom, who really sounds like she was one remarkable woman.
from Ultimate Comic Blog