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Krampus: The Devil of Christmas Hardcover – October 1, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...an arresting terror!" -- Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune Magazine

About the Author

Monte Beauchamp is founder, editor and designer of BLAB!/Blab World. His work has appeared in Communication Arts, American Illustration, Society of Illustrators Annual, Print, Graphis, and SPD. He has served as a juror for American Illustration and The Society of Illustrators, and has received numerous advertising and design awards, including five New York Festival Awards for excellence in print and television communications. Since 2005, Monte has curated five BLAB! Gallery shows and five BLAB! Museum Retrospectives.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Last Gasp (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0867197471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0867197471
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #557,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Monte Beauchamp is the author of numerous other "eye-opening" publications. In this 2010 book, he gives a very brief history as an introduction to nearly 200 reproductions of posters, drawings, post cards, etc., illustrating the story of "Krampus."

He writes, "In nineteenth century Germany... children of goodwill sprang from their beds and rushed to the empty shoe they'd placed outside the night before... Disobedient children, however, awoke to the shakes and the shivers. In their shoes awaited switches, with which their parents would spank them. Or worse yet, they'd be paid a visit by the Krampus. In European folklore, the Krampus is (St.) Nikolaus's dark servant---a hairy, horned, supernatural beast whose pointed ears and long, slithering tongue gave misbehavers the creeps! The Krampus terrorized the bad until they promised to be good." He adds, "Such scenarios were delineated by skilled and imaginative Old World craftsmen, printed on penny postcards and disseminated throughout Europe. The rare examples that follow are, perhaps, the best history has left to offer." (Pg. 7)

He notes, "Dating as far back as the mid-seventeenth century, European history reveals that St. Nikolaus has traveled with an array of unsavory servants. The Dutch speak of Zwarte Piet, a black-faced menace in medieval dress who crams misbehavers into his Christmas bag and then spirits them off to Spain. In Czechosolovakia, children unable to recite their prayers ... are beaten by an evil spirit called Cerr. In northern Germany, Nikolaus is served by Knecht Ruprect, a disheveled, devilish-looking lout who crams boisterous brats into his hefty cloth sack and totes them around town on his shoulder!" (Pg. 9-10)
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I don't know how, but I had never heard of the Krampus until this year! As a fan of the supernatural and all things spooky, this was an amazing find. This is a fun collection of Krampus drawings over the years that is great as a coffee table book, or (if you're like me) to bust out during Christmas dinner and pass around for everyone else to witness the holiday demon we never knew about.
Lots of laughs for those of us with a twisted sense of humor. My favorite picture is the one where Krampus is lifting a screaming child by his ears. 'Tis the season to be jolly!
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...or, "Greetings from Krampus"!

What a marvelously imaginative fantasy character! Unfortunately, as Americans we have a tendency to bowdlerize, sanitize, and cute-ify everything. Disney polishes all the rough edges off of Grimm's fairy tales, and Clement Moore and Thomas Nast took the greek Saint Nickolaus and turned him into a jolly red-suited fat man called Santa Claus that has nothing left in common with his predecessor except a white beard and a predilection for gift-giving.

The folk myth that Europeans had in the 18th and 19th centuries was designed to impress unruly and raucous children with the need to behave themselves. Bad behavior would not only result in no gifts from Saint Nickolaus, but also a visit from his dark servant, the Krampus. The black-furred, horned and cloven-hoofed demon consulted his Book of Sins and was tasked with the responsibility of punishing recalcitrant and unrepentant children. Depending on the seriousness of a child's sins, Krampus would frighten, spank, whip with a birch switch, or in cases of extreme misbehavior, even toss them into a large wooden or wicker basket he carried on his back and cart them off to Hell for punishment. A far more serious consequence than merely receiving a lump of coal in your shoe! The Krampusnacht festival is still held in some places in Europe on the eve of December 5th (December 6th being Saint Nickolaus' Day).

When high-quality color printing technology came into existence in the 1890s, the image of the Krampus was playfully celebrated each year in a series of postcards that were extremely popular, and sometimes collected the way kids in America would later collect baseball and other types of trading cards.
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If you are a little over-dosed on sugary angels, glittering snow, sweet improbable children and perfectly functioning families, this comes as a welcome alternative. Full of mischief, satirical takes on people and the holiday, this is evocative of a time and place
through the art, and makes it more real in doing so. A little like watching old prewar motion pictures, it is entertaining, and a little dated. I hear stories from older people about Krampus from their childhood and how this collection depicts the fanciful with some basis in their experiences they always were told about, but never really experienced. Good fun.
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I love all things Christmas. From Peanuts to Tolkien's letters to Victorian images, I love to see the various ways we've celebrated. Krampus is one of the more recent additions, but an enjoyable one.

I've known about Krampus since around 2004, and I've found him fascinating. This past year (Christmas 2013), I brought this book to our family gathering for Christmas. It was really amusing and interesting to just about everyone..

The book has a lot of great images and is bound well and printed on quality paper. I expect this book to have a place in my Christmas collection for years to come.
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