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Santa vs. Dracula Perfect Paperback – November 15, 2013
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The major problem with this story is that it doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it an action comedy that parodies classic Christmas and Monster stories? Is it a dark comedy that laughs at the face of death and destruction and is the anti-Christmas movie? Is it an action adventure fantasy that wants you to actually care about these characters and take it seriously? The story tries to be all of these conflicting things and fails at all of them as a result. It doesn't help that depending upon the genre I judge different characteristics more harshly than in others, for example in an action adventure fantasy I judge character development and setup more harshly than in a Comedy where I'm more ok with characters not having much depth since they exist more to serve the jokes than actually be part of a compelling story. Likewise in a comedy I judge the quality of the jokes much more harshly than in an action adventure fantasy.
If this story is a comedy then it doesn't have anywhere near enough jokes in it. Don't let the "running Netflix gag" the previous reviewer stated fool you, the Netflix joke is brought up only twice, and is not set up anywhere NEAR enough to be as funny as it could be. Not to mention it has way too many serious moments in it. Every death scene (which there are quite a few) is treated as something serious and to be sad over and while a good comedy could do this once in their story it's impossible to have this happen so often in your story and call it a comedy, not to mention the deaths themselves are pretty brutal at times. And not brutal as in haha, brutal as in gruesome.
Ok so maybe it's a dark comedy, the anti-Christmas story. Laugh at death and all of that stuff. The problem with this though is that it takes itself WAAAAAAY to seriously for this. The "fights" that make up the middle of the story are played relatively straight with little jokes of any kind, other than the New Ms. Claus vs. the Hunchback fight. Each fight is centered on one of the fighters sad backstories and while I'm no expert on dark comedies this setup feels much more action adventure oriented.
Ok so maybe it's an action adventure fantasy, while I personally don't think this premise is a good one for this genre it is possible to do. The problem is that one, the characters are nowhere near developed enough for us to care about. There's WAAAAAAAAY too many characters in this story to develop any of them other than with basic character traits and I know what you're thinking. Oh well these are classic characters, we already have plenty of stories and lore about them. Except the story goes out of its way to say "Hey, the classic lore is wrong in all of these areas", Rudolf, Frosty, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Elves, etc. Too many characters have been changed from their classic origins for us to reliably use the lore for any of them. Now once again if this was a comedy having these parodies versions would be fine but as an action adventure story we aren't given anywhere near enough time with any of these characters to really connect with them.
This leads into the second big problem with this being an action adventure story. The story structure itself is pretty bad. The traitor is obvious from page one. The book is WAAAAAAY too short for there to be more than one one on one fight and yet it tries to cram three in there instead of actually having a middle act. This would be ok in a comedy/dark comedy but the fights themselves aren't really funny in my opinion and are played pretty straight with *insert sad backstory here*. The sadness I feel in these fights just comes across as cheap. These aren't characters that I've grown to love and genuinely feel bad for. I'm a human being, if you tell me a sad backstory I'm going to feel bad but it doesn't take any effort to do that. If I tell you a child die while holding a mall Santa you'd feel sad because your human but that's not freaking character development.
For example, we're constantly told that the New Mrs. Claus is the best thing to happen in Santa in a long time but we're never SHOWN WHY this is. She's supposed to be this big important character but I can only tell you two things about her, 1. she's hot and 2. she can fight. Hell I just read the story an hour ago and I can't even remember her name, that's how much development she has. No wait, I did miss one character trait which brings me nicely into the third problem.
The third problem with this is that the heroes are kinda jerks. The original Mrs. Claus apparently left Santa and ran off with the Boogieman so yeaaaaaaa in this version she's a jerk. The new Mrs. Claus takes advantage of Hunchback's feelings in frankly a very cruel way and I know that they technically started the fight but still I think a line was crossed. If you were going to be just as bad as the villains why even fight them in the first place. Santa is a job obsess jerk that cares about the feelings of strangers but can't tell when his own friends are upset with him. Now if this was a dark comedy this would be perfectly ok, but in an action adventure setting it makes the characters unlikable and hard to root for.
Then there's the ending. Ok without getting into spoilers here just know that it's the reason why I consider this a dark comedy and that it sucks and makes no sense and was clearly sequel baiting. And since we're in 2016 as of this review and I haven't heard anything about a sequel to this book coming out I'm guessing it's never going to happen. Even if this was a well-written story recovering from a bad ending is hard and this is not a well written story. While it's not the worst thing ever I can't recommend it.
Assuming anyone is still reading this and hasn't read the book by now here is your SPOILER WARNING, SPOILER WARNING, SPOILER WARNING.
The reason why I think this is trying to be a dark comedy over the other two genres is because of the ending. Santa and Dracula duel and Santa manages to win.........but Santa still gets turned into a Vampire O.o YEA, that happens. It's not made clear at all how or when this could have happened. It's made even MORE confusing when every other Vampire gets turned back into normal upon Dracula's death (so assuming Dracula did bite Santa before he killed him shouldn't Santa still be fine O.o). The epilogue shows the elves have become Vampires and are killing everyone in the world on Christmas night. The second epilogue, yea there's two, that's a good sign, is a straight up sequel bait. The other holidays (Thanksgiving, Valentine's day etc.) have banned together and are going after Vampire Santa. In a sequel which is clearly never going to happen.
I mean in a dark comedy this ending could work I suppose but it still kinda sucks. While there's certainly a lot worse Christmas stories this one is still not good which is a shame since the premise could be a lot of fun to read but the story is over ambitious and tries to be too many things and ends up being none of them.
P.S. I still miss Squishy.
Since Dracula (usually) cannot enter a home without an invitation he wants Santa's power to enter any home in the world. So he wages war on the North Pole.
There's a lot of dark humor. There's a parody on Avengers with an elf named Nick Frosty who leads a team called the Silent Knights. Dracula's army consists of emo teens lead bit a girl named Debbie who has changed her name to Demona (with one of those cheesy Mary Sue character style last names).
There's a running gag of both Dracula and Santa having learned tricks from renting Lost Boys on Netfix (Though Dracula is embarrassed to admit it). "No one must know Count Dracula has a netflix account."
One of my favorite scenes is when the Frankenstein Monster fights a snow man. The Frankenstein monster waits while reading a book. He looks like the Universal stuidios version but speaks like and has the back story of the Mary Shelley novel. "You're more literate than I gave you credit for!" and he replies with "Yes, I should really sue universal studios." He gives the literary backstory of how he came to the North Pole to die but adds the twist that he found his solitude invaded by singing elves. When the snow man tried to use fire against the Frankenstein Monster he replies with the classic "FIRE BAD!" And then "No, wait. Fire good. Want to know something great about working for a vampire? The free hypnotherapy for your phobias!"
I was glad that though they gave him the Universal studios monster look that they had actually referenced the events of the Frankenstein novel and the creature's intellect in the novel. They get points for that.
An alcoholic Rudolf the red nosed Reindeer (turns out that's not his real name) fights Edward Hyde.
It's a very dark, twisted graphic novel but it was a fun read. You have to take it for what it is. It's essentially a parody but I would love to see this turned into an animated feature perhaps for Adult Swim.
Dracula is invading the North Pole, and it's up to Santa to stop him!
And the battle is on! Fur will fly! (Not to mention ninja throwing "snowflakes" and tiny elf limbs!)
Who will win the ultimate WAR ON CHRISTMAS?
This holiday fantasy showcases gorgeous artwork. There's a healthy dose of yuletide violence, sprinkled with witty fun:
--When a witch is dispatched by a tossed beer, she cries, "Help me! I'm MALTING!"
--Dracula vows vengeance on the woman who created the "Twilight" books.
--The leader elf's battle cry? "LET'S GET TOLKIEN ON THEIR ASSES!"
While I was not absolutely crazy about the ending, there are two epilogues. The second offers up a slightly brighter forecast and features some awesome tricked out holiday mascots.
Please, oh, please...let this one be the sequel!