Archie's Classic Christmas Stories, vol. 1
This volume reprints selected holiday stories from various Archie comics of the 1950s & early 60s. The stories are all just a few pages long (typically six to ten pages) and read remarkably well given their age. Sure they may be a bit dated in their outlook, but all of the stories are told without narrative captions or thought balloons, just like most modern comics. However, they eschew the decompressed style that is prevalent in many comics today, taking just a few pages to tell a complete story. Most of the stories revolve around either Archie tryig to please Veronica's father, or around kissing, with mistletoe being a primary factor in more than one tale. The biggest disappointment is the utter lack of any creative credits for the stories; while I know that Archie was never really big on crediting creators and that records for old stories may be hard to come by, I would think that with a little effort at least some of this information could have been tracked down and included.
Rating: 3 (of 5)
The Vampire's Christmas
by Joseph Michael Linsner & Mike Dubisch
It's Christmas Eve, and Esque the Vampire is cranky. He'd rather sleep through the holiday, but having been awoken by a bell-ringing Santa he now needs blood. But Christmas is a horrible time for hunting, and Esque is frustrated at every turn. Linsner tells a story that is consistant with the whole Goth-Vampire ethos in which this story resides, yet still manages to tell a somewhat heart-warming tale, relatively speaking. The art by Dubisch is painted over Linsner's pencils, and it tells the story well while maintaining the proper mood. I was surprised to find myself liking this more than I thought I would.
Rating: 3 (of 5)