I found these mini floodlight/reflector bulbs burned out in an old china cabinet. I reclaimed them by hollowing out the bulbs using the familiar method, etching off the metal coating inside with extra-strength white vinegar, and fitting them with white (salt) and black (pepper) 16 oz. screw-top pop bottle caps with holes drilled in the center. Unlike a regular pear-shaped light bulb, this mini-floodlight type will stand upright on its own without help. I’ve done this before, but never with these cute little R14 bulbs.
The premise of this Kickstarted graphic novel is, by itself, is hilarious. As far as I know, the comic book superhero take on The Modern American Xmas is largely untrodden cultural ground (cue: Comic Book Guy voice, elucidating every red-suited winter solstice hero in the Marvel and DC Canons; I seem to remember at least one such musclebound goon hoisting a mailbag on the letters page of one of my Green Lantern books ca. 1982). But even if the basic idea is not totally new under the sun, Mssrs. Corbett and Peralta’s “brooding” take on it likely is. This is not Golden Age Superman in a red suit with an elf hat—more like The Punisher meets Kris Kringle.
I think these kinds of experiments are worth doing almost for their own sake. Even if it were just a gimmmick, it’d be an entertaining one, and it’s pulled off with great skill. I’ve been a devotee of MST3K, and since then RiffTrax, since well before Mr. Corbett was involved (though I love the direction he took the show). Fans like me will recognize Bill’s comedic style here, and the comic book form shows it off well—the layout of a page in a graphic novel does things for timing that are much more difficult in straight prose, and Bill’s instincts for witty asides and sotto voce gags are of course thoroughly well honed. They shine.
As for deeper meaning and/or “significance,” well, I would first offer the “Sullivan’s Travels” defense: In a world with more than enough misery to go around, making people laugh is enough. And then I would go on to say that there really is a morsel of substance about this story, and that the comparison to Sullivan’s Travels is fair. If it must have a deeper interpretation, this is a piece of metafiction about the proper role of festival, fiction, and faith in our lives, and its message—that cynicism by itself leaves us with hollow experiences—is certainly welcome in my own. Well done, guys.