Legendary comics scribe Grant Morrison may be taking a break from DC and Marvel books for the time being — but he certainly isn’t done with superheroes. In particular, he’s set to dig back into the world of a character he created — Klaus — just in time for the holiday season. Based on Santa Claus, the character is a gruff, fantastical reimagining of Saint Nic, which Morrison describes as his own Doctor Who. And just like Doctor Who, he’s getting a Christmas special this year, courtesy of BOOM! Studios.
CBR had the opportunity to speak with Morrison about the upcoming one-shot — titled “Klaus and the Witch of Winter” — in a conversation that spanned his connection to Santa Claus, the magic of toys, the co-opting of the character by the Coca-Cola Corporation, and much, much more.
Check out the interview below, and enjoy some exclusive art from the one-shot by Eisner Award-winner Dan Mora!
CBR: What’s your personal connection to Santa Claus?
Grant Morrison: It got to the point when I was suddenly in my teenage years, and I realized Santa was real because he was a big idea, like God or Superman or Batman. He was an idea that actually was undeniable. So, yeah, there’s a reality to that character that I’m connected with.
What do you think is the connection between toys and storytelling?
Morrison: Speaking from my own experience, anything from your environment becomes a tool for telling stories. I think as you grow up you lose a lot of that unless you’re a comic book writer, you can hang on to it. In the mind of a child, the entire environment becomes a play place, and everything in it can become something that can become different. A flight of stairs can be a mountain…a little bit of that goes into the creation of Klaus.
Why do you feel Dan Mora’s a good fit for this one-shot?
Morrison: That boy is brilliant. There’s a bunch of artists like Frank Quitely and [Chris] Burnham I really relate to, and they understand what I’m saying, and they’re able to translate it into pictures — it’s quite amazing. And Dan [Mora]’s one of them. The work that he’s done, the things that he did based on my script are so beautiful, so personalized and so individual — I love what he’s doing and I think he really deserved that Eisner Award last year.
What time period is the Christmas special set in?
Morrison: We set up the Klaus origin story in an ancient, sort of fantastical Tolkien-esque version of 17th century Norway, and the new one, the Christmas special, is set in the modern world, it’s set in the contemporary world, so we’re kind of trying to show that this character can operate across all possible genres, all possible locations, all possible ideas of stories. So what we’re kind of trying to do is set him up as a Doctor Who or Superman or Batman-type of character who can appear anywhere and do anything.
Why did you decide to set the story in the present-day?
Morrison: Well, we want to do one every year until I die. We wanted to show with the Christmas special that this character can operate in any period…he can come up in World War I, he can come up in the AIDS crisis, he can come up in the Summer of Love…it was to make a point that this character can be used in all sorts of ways by bringing him into the present.
Does the one-shot touch on elements of Klaus’ origin explored in the original series?
Morrison: The one-shot’s a singular story that does its own thing, and it plays out over…however many pages it is…But yeah, everything ties in, the origin is important to what he does, the origin is in the background of what he does. It explains why he’s got this friend that’s a wolf, it explains why he’s got this super-strength and the powers –but ultimately the origin just sets up the character.
What’s the one-shot about?
Morrison: The new one’s about, ‘how did Christmas become commercialized and fucked up,’ you know? There are kind of references to the Coca-Cola Corporation — and I think we all know what I’m talking about. So there’ a bunch of things — how did that idea of Santa Claus become co-opted or changed or perverted, and what happens when [Klaus] comes [to the present] and says ‘wait a minute, this isn’t what I speak for, this isn’t who I am.’
…In next year’s Christmas special, we’ll actually see him up against the Coca-Cola Santa and the idea of commercialization. But this one’s more about a couple of kids in a really weird situation that brings in a ton of Santa Claus and Christmas lore…I think we’ll explore them in more detail as we go on with the character.
Who’s the target audience for the one-shot?
Morrison: Everyone who’s ever read! Every child, everyone who’s ever had Christmas, everyone who ever grew up with Santa Claus and wondered ‘who is that person?’ We wanted to do something that doesn’t require a lot of knowledge — it’s not like the DC or Marvel Universe…Everything you need to know is in the origin story, and then it progresses from there. We’re doing kind of a Doctor Who thing — [just like] every year Doctor Who does a Christmas special.
Do you have any other ideas — locations, time periods, etc. — you have cooking for Klaus?
Morrison: Oh yeah, there’s a ton of stuff! I want to see him in space… I want to see him deal with contemporary issues. I think we’ve created a character that can fit into all kinds of stories — it can be science fiction or horror, or any of that. I wanted to create something that we could use in a lot of different types of stories.
“Klaus and the Witch of Winter” hits stands in December.
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