That nightmarish, saccharine music blasting from speakers everywhere signals that Christmas is fast approaching. While I'm not crazy about the season in general, I am a big fan of all Santa imagery, the kitschier, the better. This is probably due to the fact that I spent my diapered years watching those charming Rankin Bass animated TV specials, (which I'm STILL very happy to watch, thank you). For that reason, I look forward to holiday illo assignments, and the chance to visualize some of the weirder aspects of the jolly old elf's imagined history.
Here are three strange Santa illos from recent years: the first is an illo from the Boston Phoenix , assigned to me early last month by Catherine Tumber, (while Kristen Goodfriend was away). The article was a stream-of-consciousness piece consisting of hundreds of made-up band names; things like "Christmas Vampire," "The Devil's Tomato," "Scowling Baby," etc".
(Looking at that drawing, I'm reminded that over the years, I've done a handful of similar illos featuring whimsical bands comprised of robots, giant fish, aliens, and the like; at some later date, I'll collect them all and post 'em here.)
Next is a pro bono cover I did for an odd 'zine called ODDFELLOW, where we see a rapier-wielding Santa dressed in military regalia, dueling with the mag's creepy Masonic mascot, (a character originally dreamed up by the excellent cartoonist Jason Little ).
Last is a cover I did for New York Press' Holiday Gift Guide in November of 2003, (I think this was during Nick Bilton's tenure as Art Director) where another warrior Santa prepares to drive a spear directly into the black heart of his eternal foe, Lucifer.