Saturday, December 16, 2006

Merry Christmas: Graphic Novel Style



MANGA CLAUS (Honor, Loyalty, Tinsel): THE BLADE OF KRINGLE
by Nathaniel Marunas
artwork by Erik Craddock
Razorbill (a division of Penguin Books), 2006

One of Santa's elves, a disgruntled laundry room worker, wants to share some "cutting edge spells" with Santa. You've got to give it to Santa, he has made time on December 23rd to meet with Fritz, even though it's obvious that Fritz is not one of his top-notch elves. Their discussion is interrupted when Santa has to leave to attend an emergency on Assembly Line #47.

Fritz's eyes land on a Ninja nutcracker, a lightbulb goes "Bing!" over his head, and he hatches a plot to make Santa realize that he needs him for more important things than laundry.

Unfortunately, the magic that brings the Ninja nutcracker to life manages to spread to the teddy bears, and the Ninja teddy bears are on the brink of destroying the hydroelectric power plant that powers everything at the North Pole. Santa does indeed need Fritz now -- Fritz must bring Santa the two swords that the Samurai gave Santa a century and a half earlier.

The swords transform Santa into the buff Ninja teddy bear slasher seen on the book's cover, and as expected, he triumphs over evil, and the plant is repaired in time to complete orders for Christmas. In a surprise move, Fritz is promoted from laundry to Special-Effects Coordinator.

I won't spoil the ending, but after you read it, you'll understand why this book is paired with Jon Agee's SMART FELLER FART SMELLER on Amazon.

A fun holiday book for anyone who is a little over all the saccharine of the season.

(Too bad it wasn't a Cybils nominee. I would have definitely included it in my top five in the 8-12 year-old sub-category.)

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