Grant Morrison has a few holiday traditions, and one of them is pitting Santa Claus in battle against the forces of evil.
The writer's annual team-up with artist Dan Mora and BOOM! Studios has this year delivered Klaus and the Crying Snowman. The one-shot on sale this week is the latest addition to the stories of the Santa that begun in the 2015 Klaus mini series and continues each December like a present down the chimney.
CBR spoke with Morrison about the latest adventure of his superhero Santa, and below the writer reveals Klaus' sci-fi inspirations, the father/son themes at the heart of the new story, and his personal holiday traditions.
CBR: As I was thinking about the new one-shot, it occurred to me how while it's a Christmas experience for the readers, you must be writing this months out. Do you have to come up with these Santa stories in the summer, or is there a way you can get into the spirit to tell this story?
Grant Morrison: No. I have to just use a bit of imagination because I start the script at the end of March. And that's okay because that's when it's snowing here. So I get a little boost to get going, but then when you're still writing in the summer, that's when you just have to descend into fantasy.
Klaus has been a series of one-shots since its initial miniseries, but you have some more connected story elements, like the references to Santa's war on the moon. Is another full miniseries in the offing?
This is a one-shot as well, though we have been talking about doing a longer story. I've got ideas for that and some other ideas for specials as well. I think I'm going to go back one day and deal with the war on the moon. But what I like to do is you're introduced to it, and you have a certain idea of what that was like. Then in this issue, the reference that we do looks like Yellow Submarine. [Laughs] It's like, "What the hell?" I just like to tease it and play around with it. One day we'll reveal what happened, but for now it's fun to have these little flashes, and it seems quite important that we never really know what went down.
The origin of your version of Santa Claus draws on a lot of cultural traditions, but it's a very secular story. Some of these are Christmas stories, but none of them are necessarily Christian. Are you on the lookout for other international representations of this idea like Father Frost, who appears in this one-shot, to avoid narrowing this to one point of view?
There's a process that was simple for this, because for me the idea was Santa Claus as a superhero. And that informs every decision you make. As you say, this is a secular hero, as all superhero stories are, in a way. We've focused on that by making his sled sort of his Batmobile, and the other Santa Clauses suddenly become a Justice League of scientists. So everything relates back to something. He's got a superdog, and there's a lot of stuff that's taking Christmas ideas and bending them ever so slightly so they look like a superhero story.
And every one of these has a character core tied to that Christmas concept. Here is a snowman that's kind of emotionally cauterized by the cold. What was the heart of that story for you?
The first two specials had been about Klaus coming into the life of young women, and this one was more about a boy and his dad. Hanging onto those Christmas themes, the idea of a boy and his dad building a snowman with resonates with a lot of our lives. But then I started to turn that approach to more of a Scrooge story. Really this dad is not a nice man at all. [Laughs] And it's very telling the way that Klaus deals with him in a way that Superman or Batman could never do. So I think it was about that central father/son relationship even though the other stuff bounces off that and amplifies it.