Happy Halloween, dear readers, and welcome to another Infernal Review. As October comes to its regrettably inevitable close, minds (and stores) start to look ahead at the holiday season to come. Soon the politically correct benediction “Happy Holidays” will fall from the lips of many innocuous people – people who don’t realize just how many holidays there are. They don’t even know of the terrible struggle going on right now known as…
Now, I know a webcomic with a cover image of Santa Claus doesn’t seem very Halloweeny to most of you, but it is a series featuring all the major holidays (and many of the minor ones), which includes – wouldn’t ya know – Halloween. If there’s still any doubt, the comic begins with the Easter Bunny torturing Santa by pulling out the big man’s fingernails, all while singing the lyrics to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” (or at least the ones that make St. Nick sound like a psychopath i.e. making a list, checking it twice, etc). It appears that the Easter Bunny has finally become fed up with playing second fiddle to the Jolly Jiggler, and has decided to take over as Head Holiday. However, in order to do so, he needs something called “The Holiday Spirit”. Santa, to his credit, has apparently anticipated the bunny’s plan and has hidden the Spirit away somewhere.
Cut to 16 years later and enter Tegan Cassidy, a young girl in high school who lives in a foster home. While serving detention for troublemaking, Tegan bumps into a mysterious boy named Taylor. Immediately afterwards, her school is attacked by a giant killer chick… and it’s looking for her. It’s then that Taylor reveals himself to be the literal embodiment of Labor Day, a member of the Rebellion, sent to protect her from the agents of the Easter Bunny. What follows is a madcap romp across the country (and other parts), as Tegan struggles not only to learn the truth about herself, but also to survive.
I rather like the art for Holiday Wars. It’s not perfect, but it portrays the characters and the sense of a world gone mad admirably well. I like the sheer ridiculousness of some of the images. I also like how the sum of a character’s personality is displayed in the way they look; The Easter Bunny looks like a mad man, Arbor Day looks like a neo-hippie, and Tegan looks like an otherwise normal girl that’s found herself forced to become involved with things she doesn’t really understand. I also like the button noses. The art’s biggest flaw, in my opinion, is how limited it is with action sequences; character poses just seem too stiff and there’s very little sense of connecting movement to make the art dynamic.
The premise (and the art, a bit) reminds me a little of Fables. The concept is similar, but applied to a different roster, in this case, holidays instead of fairy tale characters. The pacing is fairly good, introducing characters, establishing at least a little background or personality depending on what the story requires, and framing the plot and exposition with healthy amounts of action and humor. Character dialogue is excellent. The characters (especially the more colorful holidays) all sound distinct enough that the reader could probably tell who was meant to say what even if he or she were given the lines out of context. The biggest flaw here is that sometimes it feels like things are skipped or glossed over for the sake of expediency, such as the reason why the Holidays mustn’t be revealed to humanity or how quickly Tegan is told of her being chosen by Santa. The characters are all interesting and many are compelling, however an in depth look at them would inadvertently spoil much about the plot. Still, a fair amount of time and effort has gone into the characters and it shows.
All in all, Holiday Wars is a webcomic with a fantastic premise, intriguing characters, and good art. If you’re interested and planning to do an archive dive, brace yourself; there are hundreds and hundreds of pages spanning from 2010 to present. While it is flawed, the comic is at times so good, it’s spine-tingling.
Holiday Wars was created and is currently written by Scott King. Holiday Wars, including all images used here, belongs to him. The penciling for the art and the inking for Volume 2 are done by Odom and the coloring is done by Giuseppe Pica, while the inking for Volume 1 was done by Arturo Said. The comic currently updates Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The first volume has been collected and published by Th3rd World Studios.