Christmas creep hits Marvel comics this year

marvelholidayspectacularcoverAMarvel Holiday Spectacular Magazine

Note: The format for this comic is a square-bound magazine. No issue number nor month of publication is indicated except for its manufacturing date between 9/28/09 and 10/16/09. It was released on 10/28/09, the Wednesday before Hallowe’en, which qualifies as Christmas creep in my book.

Reprinting previously released material and some original filler pieces, this issue is the first paper printing of the Marvel Digital Holiday Special from 2008, which was a free digital comic available at the Marvel website for a short time in December of 2008 and still available to paid subscribers. The second feature (of fourteen!) in this printed version is the first story from the digital version: the X-Men in “If the Fates Allow”, with cameo appearances from Northstar and Persuasion.

marvelholidayspectacularaHaving recently moved to San Francisco in Uncanny X-Men #500, the X-Men gather warmly with friends and family for a holiday celebration and a bit of a memorial to Kitty Pryde, recently presumed lost. As they set up a giant Christmas tree and an inappropriately gigantic Hanukiah, Northstar can be seen shaking hands with a young man, and Persuasion can be seen sharing a gift in a large 2pg spread.

These holiday books remind us of the odd relationship between comic book time and real time. Events that unfold over four issues might be a few days while in our time, three months have passed. Characters introduced as kids 30 years ago are still young-ish while world events, fashion and technology depicted in the comics catch up to modern times. So when a holiday issue comic comes out, can we place it into our character’s chronology or just suspend time for one issue to enjoy the merriment without worrying about all that? In this case, the situation is simplified… this was Northstar’s first appearance since Secret Invasion: X-Men #2, which took place in San Francisco, and his next appearance after this would also be in California when he was recruited in Uncanny X-Men #508, so placing him in San Francisco for this issue makes sense. Of course, he can fly at super-speed so he could get anywhere he wants to nearly instantly, but for continuity’s sake, it’s appealing.

marvelholidayspectacularbPersuasion hadn’t been seen since the end of volume 1, with the exception of an entry in X-Men: The 198 Files in 2006 where it was indicated she retained her powers following M-day. Her appearance in this issue is the real surprise, and a nice treat for Alpha Flight fans. What she was doing there (besides for the obvious holiday celebration) or why she hasn’t been seen since, even in cameo during Utopia, is a bit puzzling. Anyway, good job, Jim McCann (the writer) for picking up the 198 Files and seeing which mutants might be gathering for the holidays that year.

The eighth feature in this magazine is a reprint of Uncanny X-Men #365 which contains a small Puck appearance. Note: once that issue has its own post, the bolded text will link to it and this note will be edited.

Note: this issue has a 50:50 variant cover with the Spider-Man balloon, a long-standing tradition from the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade here in NYC. Removed from the usual cast of characters since the late 1990s, it returns in 2009. Here is an excerpt of a press release from Macy*s dated November 2, 2009:

Millions of New Yorkers will feel their Spider-senses tingling on Thanksgiving morning when New York’s own neighborhood Super Hero(TM), Marvel’s Spider-Man, makes a triumphant return to the skies over Manhattan to ensnare a new generation of fans. After a decade, the legendary crime-fighting web-slinger returns to the Parade line-up in celebration of Marvel’s 70th Anniversary. Spider-Man made his Macy’s Parade debut in 1987, becoming an instant classic. The new, more modern and muscular Spidey is in full crawling mode with one hand set to release his web. On Parade day, the Spider-Man balloon will measure 78-feet long, 37.8-feet wide and 29.1-feet tall and will be filled with 11,800 cubic feet of helium.

Sort of off-topic but hey, I live here!

marvelholidayspectacularcoverB Marvel Holiday Spectacular Magazine – Spider-Man balloon variant

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3 Responses to “Christmas creep hits Marvel comics this year”

  1. Chris Says:

    Cool find. Last time I recall Northstar or Alpha Flight celebrating Christmas was AF 105.

  2. Susan (Taffy) Says:

    Alpha Flight should live on

  3. Chris Says:

    Bought the magazine last night. I had to look through the Christmas story about 10 times in order to find Persuasion because of the layout of the mag. She’s in the top right corner of page 4 of the story.

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