In German and Czech central Europe before World War I, some old folklore gained new currency when the Krampus flourished in the new medium of the color picture-postcard. With horns, pointed ears, and cloven hoofs (or a hoof and a taloned human foot); covered in black fur; and bearing a trident, a birch switch, and a big basket, the Krampus accompanied St. Nikolaus on his feast day and, while the saint left gifts for the good, switched the naughty and carried off the worst. The demon proved ideal for greeting cards that were perhaps admonitory but definitely festive in a Halloweenish way. Beauchamp, who has featured the cards in Blab
, the quasi-annual mounting of art-oriented comics he edits [see review, p.1277], presents more than 150 of them on all-color, larger postcard-size pages, interrupting them only three times with two pages of white-on-red historical text. Although that could be better written, the pictures, remarkably varied in style and portraying adolescents and adults as well as children as the Krampus' victims, constitute a perennial browser's delight. Ray OlsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Monte Beauchamp edited The Life & Times of R. Crumb from St. Martin's Press, and the popular Blab! series. His work has appeared in Print, Communication Arts, American Illustration, and the New York Festival's Annual of Advertising. He lives in Chicago, IL.