Thursday, December 24, 2015

shorts SHORT Review: Manga Claus, The Blade of Kringle

Manga Claus: The Blade of Kringle
Written by Nathaniel Marunas
Illustrations by Erik Craddock
Razorbill (I'm really not sure who they are, but it's a word in the description page)
Published by Penguin Group - Penguin Young Readers Group

Welcome to another shorts SHORT Review, let's keep in the Winter Theme and venture further into the weird world of Santa Claus, this time we're joined with a Samurai Santa, well another Samurai Santa. I guess this would be more of a Ronin Jolly Red Man, House of the Flying Postman? Mostly this is the type of story that makes me happy by title alone, but the interior art creates a different joy. Since the style reminds me of PvP (Player verse Player) by Scott Kurtz or his action RPG webcomic Table Titans. Though this is where things go wrong, it plays more with drama, then the comedic, the writing has the full intent of a horror movie, but the art of that for a jape on the genre.

With title in mind and the cover as the introduction of the short, I'm excited, though I noticed a few problems. Not for a lack of trying I looked to see if there was a designer, though couldn't find a name. I found three colorist Erik Craddock (the Illustrator), Marion Vitus (the Letterer), and John Green, though other then legal mumbo jumbo no one designed this book. Unless it was Illustrated and designed by Erik Craddock, but why wasn't he credited? I mean, it's not like he wasn't credited when doing other jobs in the comic, it just feels weird that a book has no editor or designer apart of the novel. I enjoy the creative design of the covers and the page layouts, I hope that the person who was in-charge of this portion of the book knows they did a great job of creating curiosity and a strong idea of what to expect within it's pages and how it's format helps the story it's self.

Tea Steeping ready with her sword for the coming battle, or just a chance to flaunt.

If you excuse the pandering and misuse of Manga and Japanese Culture, this is really a great comic and a well paced/designed story. I will burn it at the stake for being not at all "Manga" and not even trying to be "Manga", but I will stand by it being an amazing B-Movie plot and wonderful illustrations by a skilled cartoonist. For the most part it is giving the reader a taste of things that are Japanese culture and historical figures, though at the same time it's just pushing the idea of stereotypes and whitewashing culture.

Gom showing off the battle stick Tea made him, reindeer wasn't excited about making it though.

This was a fun plot, it's your basic Cheesy B-Movie plot for instance Chucky or Gingerdead Man or Sorcerer's Apprentice (either the poem by Goethe or from the Disney movie Fantasia), though there's things that bother me. Here's the few things that I felt could have been explored better. We see Santa getting a gift from his master, but nothing beyond that, just a hand off of important swords that show tradition and respect between master and student, then nothing, no reason beyond, though in the story it means everything to Santa.

Greatest part of this whole book is from page 66 till page 72, I would wallpaper my body with these pages, with ink or actual paper and glue.

Another was the origin of the "evil" elf's magic, it seemed immoral in nature, though Santa was totally okay with it in his workshop, though implores no magic user other then that one elf. Lastly, the Elf wants the nutcracker to be a ninja, just commands it to be so, since he knew the word. Howard Beckerman, a respectable man in the animation business, my instructor of many animation courses while attending the school of Visual Arts, and the man that's literally wrote the book on Animation History, told me (I'm horrible at quoting, so I'm gonna paraphrase) "Don't have magic solve your story, if there's a problem, good, solve it, don't just have it wished away." which is a point I'd want to make here. Since magic seems to have been a way to make the problem appear without a reason. Like the elf could have asked for any fighter, that would make the story even more interesting, it could have been the spirit of the rival of Santa's Master that then called an army to fight along side him while trying to kill the apprentice, Santa Claus.

Anyhow beyond this I had a great time with the designs and the over all talented individuals that took part in creating this wonderful piece. It was a fun time and masterful in expression and color design. I've said in another review that Warrior Santa Claus is my favorite, so this was an instant hit with me, though with it's bad movie premise and creative artistic style I found a charm to the comic that made it's rough superficial beginnings desirable for future creations.

I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
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Keep well and Stay well.

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