Matt Johnson

Klaus No. 1 of 6 – Comic Review

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In the intro issue of Klaus, Grant Morrison and Dan Mora build the framework for a bloody medieval fantasy-style world that adds a noble and violent backstory to a much beloved holiday figure.

Hi everybody, I don’t have any previous articles to link to yet.  I’m Matt, the new guy around here.  I look forward to to doing lots more from here out and welcome any feedback you may have.

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Title: Klaus #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora
Cover Artist: Dan Mora
Publisher: Boom Studios
Release Date: November
Buy your copy of Klaus #1 (2nd Printing) TODAY, Boom! Studios is now on their second printing!

Klaus no. 1 won my heart the second I lay eyes on it. The cover sports a blood covered medieval dude, who looks like he’d be just as comfortable in a metal band as in the woods hunting, standing in snowy woods with a fresh-slain deer over his shoulder and a blood-muzzled wolf angrily pacing behind him. The words “Grant Morrison” and “Dan Mora” are also emblazoned across the top. I almost feel like I could end this review on that information and you would instinctively know how great this comic is.

Klaus establishes itself “Once upon a time. And a place.” and informs you that what you’re about to read is the “greatest untold story of them all.” The world is frozen, bleak, hard wood and stone. Black ravens perch on inky wires. Guards with pikes leer…coldly. Everything is cold in the world of Klaus; even the bar – traditionally the warm, welcoming place of respite in the fantasy genre.

Our eponymous hero, a red-hooded hunter, pulls a sleigh full of pelts into a sparsely populated town and immediately meets unfriendly welcome. His goods, attempted in trade for necessary food and supplies, are confiscated as being property of “the Baron” as is everything inside the town walls. Klaus, wanting no altercation, attempts to leave peacefully, noticing the strangeness of the town along the way. When he sees a guard beating a child while trying to confiscate a toy, “property of Master Jonas”, he finds himself in a situation that reminded me of something out of Apocalypto-albeit in snowy setting rather than the jungle. After a brutal fight for his life and a reveal of a badass ally, we learn that the Baron and his son Master Jonas are sucking the town dry, using up it’s people and goods mercilessly. As you get to know him, Jonas begins to make Joffrey Baratheon seem like Mr. Rogers in comparison.

What follows are several pages of deliciously lonesome one-shots that bleed into a hallucinatory sequence of what is, quite possibly, my new favorite example of comic book art. These are pages I’d put on my wall, or on my body. It’s that good.

The issue closes with two pages of suddenly bright and warm panels that explain exactly who Klaus is to become in such a way that I literally found a smile creeping across my face.

A lot of people don’t like origin stories. I’ve been in this camp occasionally, though usually only when it’s done in horror movies for no good reason (see any modern remake of an old classic horror-I’m looking at you Rob Zombie). Klaus takes a character that has never seemed to need more than a nebulous backstory, and who lives in a jolly, brightly-lit world, and throws him into a cold unforgiving situation. It chips off his squishy edges and turns him into a chiseled, hard man with a good heart…and alludes that there may possibly be some magic to him. Issue 1 is, I dare say, perfect. There’s a planned run of 6, with designs at making the whole thing an ongoing series. I’ll read this until they stop making it and I seriously can’t wait to see Klaus start kicking some serious ass as the run progresses.

I haven’t read much in the comics world that I would recommend as similar but Klaus issue 1 has touches of everything from Conan the Barbarian to Game of Thrones, and more than a little of any of the “serious” Robin Hood iterations. I highly recommend anything Morrison and Mora put their hands on, either together or apart.

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