Santa Claus vs. the Nazis

Santa Claus vs. the Nazis
Santa Claus vs the Nazis review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Markosia - 978-1-911243-94-6
  • Release date: 2017
  • UPC: 9781911243946
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

There has surely been a maker of cheap exploitative films over the years who’s considered the cinematic treat Santa Claus fighting Nazis might provide, and figured they’d never raise the funding. Thank goodness then that Benjamin Dickson and Gavin Mitchell’s inspiration and methods are far more simply presented to an audience.

As we all know, Santa operates in a remote area of Lapland, where his village is pretty much as in the stories, populated by elves making the toys delivered to children before they wake up on Christmas Day. As events begin in 1940, one of the elves has just perfected a duplicating machine, which would make the requirements of supplying the world’s children far easier, and Santa is sorrowful about the number of children no longer alive when the list for presents is read. What they don’t know is that a Nazi soldier has discovered the village and reported back to Adolf Hitler, and Hitler was aged five the last time Santa deemed him good enough for a Christmas present.

The expectation may be for something sillier, but the concept is treated relatively seriously and injected with a fair amount of pathos, while Mitchell draws the strip as if something from an old British boys’ adventure comic, which is the way Dickson writes it. Despite the cover promise, it’s a long time before we actually see Santa fight Nazis, as while he’s very powerful, he’s also determined humanity can only flourish if left without interference, as harsh as it may seem. The focus is largely on Reggie, an elf, and Peter, once rescued by Santa, and their efforts to rectify a bad situation, complicated by their clashing personalities.

This is a strange mixture. A spread of Santa’s helpers flying off to war is ridiculously funny, but there a couple of dark turns, so this isn’t necessarily one for the children, although nine year old Anabel F from Huffman declares on the back cover that the violence was the best part. Dickson decides on the replicator as the story’s maguffin and makes good use of it, foreshadowing well, while Hitler isn’t the only familiar face seen. It’s tongue in cheek, but delivered straight-faced and if there’s an inevitability to an ending promised on the cover after all, not much else is predictable, and there’s still time to order before Christmas.