One of my favorite things about watching sitcoms when I was younger was checking out the holiday episodes every year. It was entertaining to see how each show would divert from its regular programming to fit in Thanksgiving turkeys or Christmas trees. Sometimes it was fluid and fit in nicely – sitcoms have the advantage of being primarily episodic and therefore throwing a little mistletoe around doesn’t affect any ongoing arcs – and other times it was the definition of contrived. I love that the celebration of holidays occasionally makes its way to comics too. I don’t know that it occurs as part of continuing series often, but it’s well suited for one shots.
And it’s fun to come across them.
At a convention I went to last year, I stopped at one of many booths filled with long boxes and aimlessly browsed until I saw a sectioned sorted by creators and went right to the one labeled Darywn Cooke. I flipped through the issues and was thrilled when I spied Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #21: ‘Twas The Fight Before Christmas by Cooke and Jay Bone.
Spider-Man, Medusa, the Fantastic Four, J. Jonah Jameson, and Santa?! Sign me up.
It’s the night before Christmas, and Jameson sends out Peter Parker in a ferocious storm to do some last minute shopping – he needs him to get a crystal unicorn for his wife (fellas, here’s a hint: not many ladies actually want a crystal unicorn). While he’s out and about, Parker comes across some kids who got separated from their group and being a hero and all, he gets them out of the cold and takes them back to the Daily Bugle where the holiday party is still happening.
Jameson’s reaction to the children is priceless… and expected. He doesn’t know what Christmas cheer means.
The good times continue when Wasp and Sue Richards head out to finish their shopping at Macy’s. It just so happens that Flash Thompson is there donning the Spidey suit for the occasion because nothing says the holidays like Santa and Spider-Man making a joint appearance.
However, all isn’t as it should be. The Puppet Master is hiding in the wings and has the faux Spidey and Medusa under his control. He manipulates them into wreaking havoc and stealing from the store, and when Jameson gets wind he can’t wait to take the kids down there to show them the truth about their beloved hero.
Yeah, he can be a real jerk.
Thankfully Peter Parker was also on his way because he still needed to find the unicorn for Jameson’s wife. With the Fantastic Four, Wasp, and the actual Spider-Man all in the same place, the Puppet Master couldn’t keep up his charades for long. The fakeness of the holiday got to him, and he just snapped. It happens to the best of us. Though he was hauled away, the kids were probably quite confused about why Santa and Spidey appeared to be the bad guys.
I adore the lighthearted tone of the story, and the way it almost bounces around. It’s infectious and bound to make the reader smile. I love jokes like this:
Watching superheroes act like everyday people who do human things like putting off shopping until the last possible minute is always a blast.