Marvel Holiday Special 2006 #1, February 2007, Marvel Comics
contributors: Andrew Farago, Shaenon Garrity, Ron Lim, Pat Davidson, Dave Lanphear, Scott Gray, Roger Landridge, Mike Carey, Mike Perkins, Jeff Christiansen, Sotocolor's A. Street & J. Brown
Thus far, my holiday trip to Arizona has been marvelous, in more ways than one. When I rolled into my native Peoria, I visited the 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter (a tradition I began quite a few years ago), and discovered several toy pegs full of brand new Spider-man Origins action figures. I haven't picked up my choices from the line yet (Dr. Octopus, Demogoblin, the Rhino, and Secret Wars Spider-man, if you must know), but the birthday money burning a hole in my pocket will soon make my Christmas wish come to pass, believe me. Despite popular opinion, it pays to have a birthday so close to the Christ's.
The other yuletide "marvel" I experienced today is the Marvel Holiday Special, depicted above with a certain rosy-cheeked saint. Even Santa has time to read a comic in the midst of his busy Christmas Eve schedule. This issue offered a nice variety of holiday offerings, from a tale starring Dr. Strange's assistant Wong and the humbled, embittered dragon lord Fin Fang Foom, who begrudgingly saves a winterland New York from a Hydra invasion, to a story featuring the Thing and Annihilus, written and drawn with the charm of a storybook fairy tale, and with an unlikely ending just as heart warming. The entire packaged is laced with brief chapters in an ongoing story about the Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) New Year's party, and the unwitting date that suffers onslaughts from the Hulk for the sake of a mistletoe smooch from his peculiarly hot date. Talk about a Christmas miracle.
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry about Santa Claus was the icing on the cake of this holiday package, with cut-out ornaments and a past cover gallery to imply a sense of holiday history from the House of Ideas. I dug it. With most of their characters entrenched in the Civil War storyline, it was nice to approach these icons without that baggage, with the continuity of Christmas as the only -- albeit welcome -- consideration. With a few movies slated to hit the theaters in '07, next year is going to be a marvelous one, for sure. For me, it's started early.