This Christmas, Klaus better watch out.
Grant Morrison and Dan Mora have returned to Klaus and BOOM! Studios for a third time, and CBR has the first details on their latest adventure, the 48-page one-shot Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville. This time around, the action picks up with Klaus -- the superhero-esque version of Santa Claus introduced by Morrison and Mora in 2015 -- in the 1980s, faced with an evil version of Santa who is described by Morrison as "cruel, violent, unreasonable, a bully, a monster -- and a werewolf."
If that's not enough, Klaus is also locked in the fiercest of all battles -- "trademark dispute" -- with the Pola-Cola Corp, a familiar-sounding company looking to permanently co-opt Klaus' image for commercial use.
CBR spoke in-depth with Morrison about spreading "more weirdness" with Klaus and the Crisis in Xmasville, setting the story in the '80s, his own nostalgia for the decade (spoiler: he has none), teaming again with Mora and what could be next for Klaus. Also, an appreciation of Twin Peaks: The Return, an update on Morrison's projects in TV and comics and building the heroic holiday world of Klaus. All that, and the first look at Mora's cover for the special, and solicitation text for the issue.
CBR: Grant, you’ve said in the past that you’re up for returning to Klaus each year -- given the weird world we’re living in, what makes Crisis in Xmasville the story you wanted to tell this year?
Grant Morrison: The best response to the weirdness that surrounds us all right now is more weirdness. We guarantee to add to the confusion wherever possible!
Last year’s Klaus special drew on a lot of traditional Christmas lore from around the world. This year, the influences are more contemporary, and Crisis in Xmasville takes some of its inspiration from the history of Coca-Cola and Santa, and from things like the 1964 screen classic film, the open-source Santa Claus Conquers the Martians! We also meet one of the “League of International Santas” who were glimpsed briefly in last year’s special. The Russian Santa Claus -- Ded Moroz, or Father Frost -- and his assistant, Snowmaiden, make a big appearance in this story and they’ve already become two of my favorite characters, with the potential to support their own spinoff!
The plan is to keep expanding the Klaus universe with each new story -- introducing new villains, new allies, new setting -- to give it a scope and richness that generates new adventures.
This story is set in the ‘80s -- how did you arrive at that setting? How does it affect the storytelling, and the depiction of Klaus himself?
We’d established in the 2016 special that Klaus was trapped on the moon for a while sometime between the ‘80s and now, so this was a way of providing some more links in the continuity we’re building. The time frame also allows us to play into the Gordon Gekko “greed is good” yuppie corporate ethos of the ’80s. And there’s the inevitable flavor of Spielberg and Stephen King -- Xmasville is classic small town with a big-secret setting, in the vein of E.T., The Goonies, It, and more.
The ‘80s is also the decade where you broke through as a comics writer -- how do you view that time period now? Nostalgically? Cynically?
I look back on the ’80s as a doomed planet I was fortunate enough to escape. I hated the ’80s when they were happening -- I hated the music in the charts, I hated the clothes and the haircuts, I hated the politics and the politicians, I hated the dreary obsession with 1950s culture (I find it interesting that the ’80s have ended up being the new ’50s).
On the plus side, there were some good comics, indie music, TV, and films, but otherwise I was unemployed for most of the first half of the decade -- a work-class dole statistic in Margaret Thatcher’s unwelcoming Britain, with no hope and no future, or so it felt at the time. I look back on those days and shudder, to be honest. Zero nostalgia. I don’t think I’ve ever felt nostalgic for any era. The future’s always more interesting to me than the past.
You’re once again pairing with Dan Mora for this Klaus story. He’s become a frequent collaborator for you -- how do you view your partnership with Dan? What are you excited to see him take on in his story that’s different from the past Klaus tales?
Dan quickly established himself as one of my favorite collaborators and it’s always a pleasure to work with him again. I’m keen to see him do more aliens and sci-fi stuff for this one. I’ve seen his alien designs and they’re amazing. I’m especially looking forward to seeing him bring the world of Father Frost and Snowmaiden to life. I like to fill these stories with colorful, mad stuff for him to draw. He can do anything and it’s good to take advantage of that kind of talent.
So far, Klaus has been set against fantasy backdrops, like the town of Grimsvig in the origin story, or the Witch of Winter’s lair in last year’s special, so I’m looking forward to seeing Dan tackle a more modern suburban setting with science fiction elements.