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Devil in Design: Krampus Paperback – May 5, 2004

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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 Olson
Copyright © 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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; 2nd annotated edition edition (May 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560975423
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560975427
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,552,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Monte Beauchamp's dazzling 'The Devil in Design: The Krampus Postcards' (2004) is a collection of 147 vintage images of the dark and Pan-like Krampus, who, with his guiding companion St. Nikolaus, visited German and Austrian children at Christmastime.

But while St. Nikolaus rewarded the well behaved with small gifts, Krampus, as a more active presence, not only left switches for disobedient children with which their parents could beat them, but spanked, shackled, and even kidnapped the worst juvenile offenders, who were carried away and thrown into hell. Thus, a child's good behavior at Christmastime and indeed throughout the year took on an entirely different folkloric coloring than it did in America, a continent to which Krampus never successfully emigrated, though other parts of Europe had similar "dark" Christmas traditions.

Krampus was a childhood nighttime bogey and bedroom invader par excellence: small, horned, hairy, and black furred, he was almost identical to the archetypal Christian image of the devil. The classic Krampus figure was readily identifiable for his exceptionally long and permanently extended bright red tongue, as well as for having one cloven hoof in addition to a human foot.

The numinous Krampus was a hybrid figure composed of both comedic and frightening characteristics; his bestial appearance and unmistakably phallic tongue underscored the decidedly sexual angle in his nature, which several of the included images make apparent.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. The brief descriptions make the cards easier to understand by putting them into the historical perspective of beliefs and practices of late 19th and early 20th century Europe. Most of the cards are colorful and impressive, depicting different styles of the Krampus, having both humanistic and animistic qualities. This is definitely a good buy if you're interested in seeing the postcards without too much reading.
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Format: Paperback
An historical, folklorical, and thought-provoking collection of symbolic prints geared to scare

kids into behaving via paranoia and the dark side of Santa Claus. Well done. I keep it next to

my copy of "Der Struwwelpeter".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interspersed with brief historical and current information about the European Krampus phenomenon, Monte Beauchamp presents a great artistic introduction to the obscure dark companion of St. Nicholas. As I look at the vintage images of Krampus pulling on the hair and ears of naughty children, chasing them with birch switches, and hauling the worst of them down into his lair, I try to imagine how the American view of Christmas would have been altered had this demonic element also been adopted from European traditions.
Unfortunately, it seems that this book has gone out of print, and sellers are now charging exorbitant prices for it. I'm sorry, but if you choose to pay $50 or more for a copy of this book, you are being ripped off. Making a quick Google search, you can find most of the images that are in this book (and many more that are not included).
I managed to find a copy of this book through my local library; I would suggest trying this first before you capitulate and line some greedy seller's pockets with too much money.

***UPDATE 9/12/12*** - Recently, a number of sellers have been offering this book for less than $10. This is the lowest pricing that I've seen for this book in over a year. I sincerely doubt that this reasonable pricing is going to last. If you are serious about owning a copy of this book, I would suggest getting it now while it's still available at a fair price.
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