20 Best Christmas Comics To Read During The Holidays
The holiday season closes out the year with a fantastical sense of whimsy. Winter brings chilly nights and crackling fireplaces. Families and lovers huddle together for warmth, drinking hot chocolate and discussing holiday plans. Of course, not everyone likes this season, so to help ring in the end of another long year, here are 20 of the best Christmas comics to read during the holidays. It’s guaranteed that even the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge would find themselves laughing or smiling at at least one of these holly jolly yuletide comics.
The Best Christmas Comics
1. Ambush Bugs Stocking Stuffer – Robert Loren Felming & Keith Giffen
Santa’s list of names starts with the letter “A.” Here, we begin the alphabetical list of some of the best Christmas comics the industry has to offer with the darkly comedic tale of DC Comics’ Ambush Bugs Stocking Stuffer from 1986. You’ll be checking this list twice after you learn how this comic story features cannibalism, zombies, and outrageous holiday horror!
Ambush Bug used to be a Superman villain, but he later broke through his cocoon and emerged as a slightly unstable superhero in his own comic miniseries. Inside the wacky pages of Ambush Bugs Stocking Stuffer, Ambush Bug mourns the loss of his sidekick buddy, Cheeks the Toy Wonder during the holiday season. But Cheeks comes home for the holidays — as a zombie? Zany illustrations and the fourth-wall-breaking bug will leave you ho-ho-ho-ing with laughter.
2. Batman Adventures Holiday Special 1995 – Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, & Richard Starkings
Whenever writers curate “Best of Christmas Comics” articles, DC Comics’ Batman: Noël often graces the list. The A Christmas Carol-inspired comic beautifully presents different interpretations of Batman during the most wonderful time of the year. Yet, comics lovers should also consider reading the lesser-mentioned Batman Adventures Holiday Special from 1995.
The one-shot comic takes flight in Gotham City during the Christmas season. An anthology comic, the four included tales feature your favourite crime-busting Bat-Family, a Harley Quinn and Ivy kidnap-plot, a Mr. Freeze white Christmas, and a creepy Santa Claus robbing department stores in his spare time (which sounds a lot like the plot to Bad Santa). “The Harley and the Ivy” segment, full of slapstick and eye-popping colours, was adapted into an episode of the animated Batman series. This inception of the duo functioned as a defining characterization for their relationship. Quiet and loud, sentimental and extravagant, this comic will stuff you with holiday spirit like a Christmas morning stocking.
3. The Best of Archie: Christmas Comics Vol. 1 – Archie Superstars
The kids from Riverdale have been part of the cultural zeitgeist since 1941. The CW television network gambled with a gritty reimagining of the Archie characters with Riverdale and the show remains wildly popular – albeit, a punchline. Archie and his crew were given a modernised makeover in comics, beginning with the 2015 launch of Archie, Jughead, and several adjacent comic series. You can find stories about any American holiday in Archie comics. The Best of Archie: Christmas Comics volume is stuffed with 250 pages of classic holiday stories.
It’s the perfect time of year to read the best Christmas comics that Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and Hot Dog have to offer. Festivities and merry mayhem deck the halls in this huge Christmas collection. The volume chronologically organises the stories, beginning with the hilariously titled, “Holiday Horror” 1959 Archie issue. Give yourself the gift of cheer as you read about holiday humour stories spanning decades in the Archie universe.
4. Disney Manga: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – Zero’s Journey — D.J. Milky, Kei Ishiyama, David Hutchison, & Dan Conner
Return to the legendary Nightmare Before Christmas story with TOKYOPOP’s manga series, Zero’s Journey. The Nightmare Before Christmas blended Halloween and Christmas in the stop-motion animated movie decades ago. Now, readers can hang tight to Zero’s leash as they embark on a magical adventure with Jack’s ghostly pup through Christmas Town in the manga.
When playtime with Zero goes awry, the pumpkin-nosed dog enters a peculiar land. Instead of spooky skeletons and ghouls, Zero comes across flying reindeer and skiing elves. Eventually, Zero must return to the town of Halloween. But Zero finds jovial companions and delicious fresh baked goods while lost inside Christmas Town. The illustrations glisten, replicating familiar The Nightmare Before Christmas characters and bathing Christmas Town in a cheery glow. Zero’s Journey is a holiday treat for kids or Nightmare fans who always wanted to learn more about Jack’s best puppy pal.
5. Friday, Book One: The First Day of Christmas — Ed Brubaker, Marcos Martín, & Muntsa Vicente
Cosy up to the fireplace with a holiday horror mystery comic. Friday, Book One: The First Day of Christmas from Image Comics tells a tale about a young woman who returns home for the holidays. Writer Ed Brubaker brings his pulp fiction storytelling sensibilities to the YA comic genre as the artists punctuate the narrative with shadowy, uneasy imagery. Readers will want to wrap themselves tight in a blanket as they investigate the mystery inside Friday, Book One.
Friday Fitzhugh heads back to her small New England town during the holiday season. In Friday’s childhood, she and her best friend Lancelot Jones used to run around King’s Hill acting as sleuths, solving local mysteries. Returning to King’s Hill after spending time away means returning to Lancelot and the secrets churning within the town. An ideal Christmas vacation read, Friday, Book One chills with winter thrills.
6. Giant Days 2016 Holiday Special — John Allison, Lissa Treiman, Sarah Stern, Caanan Grall, Jeremy Lawson, & Jim Campbell
The Giant Days 2016 Holiday Special essentially uses the What If? Marvel Comics template and theorises what would have happened if the university student ensemble from the BOOM! Box comic series Giant Days never met. Giant Days follows three best friends as they wade through the drama-filled waters during their time at the University of Sheffield.
In the Holiday Special, Susan, Esther, and Daisy never meet on their first day at college. Their lives take separate paths and certain misery afflicts each of the young women. Fast forward to the holiday season, and a yuletide miracle may just turn the three coeds into friends again during the darkest timeline. Featuring adorable art and anime-reminiscent expressionism, young readers would especially enjoy receiving this comic as a gift – paired with a copy of Giant Days Vol. 1, of course.
7. Hellboy: Christmas Special (1997) — Mike Mignola, Gary Gianni, Geof Darrow & Steve Purcell
Krampus, make way for another demon this holiday season. The Hellboy: Christmas Special merges folkloric horror with the Christmas spirit in the one-shot anthology from Dark Horse Comics. If readers want a Hellboy/Krampus mashup holiday comic special, also try Hellboy: Krampusnacht.
Included in the Hellboy: Christmas Special is one of the best Christmas comics to date, Hellboy: A Christmas Underground. And Hellboy does spend his 1989 Christmas underground in the Underworld! The Hellboy: Christmas Special boasts macabre tales where Hellboy descends into Hell to find a dying woman’s missing daughter, Ernie battles gigantic spiders, and a few characters spend their Christmas night inside a forbidden chamber. Bolstered by sumptuous illustrations, reading the Hellboy: Christmas Special feels akin to feasting on a sugary holiday dessert platter.
8. The Island of Misfit Toys — Brendan Deneen & George Kambadais
Return to the lovable world of Rankin Bass’ Rudolph with the Scoot! Comics graphic novel, The Island of Misfit Toys. The story takes place in the same Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer television, stop-motion holiday special universe. Think of this graphic novel as a holiday special extension episode of the original holiday special.
The Island of Misfit Toys is the ultimate Christmas present for Rudolph lovers. Set two days before Christmas, a snowstorm ravages the island. Consequently, Charlie-in-the-Box finds himself swept away and lost at sea. All the lovable Misfit Toys unite with Yukon Cornelius and lovable abominable snow monster Bumble to rescue their jack-in-the-box friend. These toys can’t catch a break. Take a holiday adventure on the high seas with iconic Rudolph characters in The Island of Misfit Toys graphic novel.
9. Jingle Belle: The Whole Package – Paul Dini, J. Bone, Stephanie Buscema, Stephen Destefano, Jose Garibaldi & Stephanie Gladden
Jingle Belle: The Whole Package comic omnibus from IDW Publishing jingles all the way when it comes to merry mischief. This 340-page trade collects the best stories about Jingle Belle, a sprite who can’t help spreading cheer and mischief.
The daughter of Santa Claus, Jingle Belle adds stress to the Kringle’s busy holidays with her rebellious teenage antics. Being Santa’s kid comes with stressors for Jingle Belle, causing her to act out for attention. At one point, Jingle Belle and her dad address their grievances in family therapy! Santa can’t wrap up his daughter’s problems in a neat little package. Readers will be singing, “Oh, what fun!” while jumping in the sleigh with Jingle as they read Jingle Belle: The Whole Package.
10. Klaus – Grant Morrison, Dan Mora & Ed Dukeshire
Did someone say sexy Santa? When talking about the best Christmas comics, acclaimed comic series Klaus from BOOM! Studios rests on top of the tree as the shining star. Santa loses his beard and beefs up in this intimate Nordic/Viking-lore-inspired comic series. No better Santa depiction exists than that of Klaus; a black-bearded, muscled-saviour determined to save his hometown from evil.
Klaus functions as a Santa origin story, painting Klaus as a Viking crusader in tune with Siberian shamanism. His former soldier-in-arms, Magnus, has all but banished any Yuletide celebration in their Nordic town. Like the jolly figure in the Rankin-Bass claymation holiday special, Klaus risks his life and takes down armed guards to deliver banned toys to children’s doorsteps during night time. But Magnus holds the town captive with an iron grip, working men to the bone in the mines, taking the children’s toys away, and ordering Klaus’ capture. However, dark forces beyond either Magnus or Klaus’ control seek children for a much more sinister purpose.
Illustrated by Dan Mora, Klaus radiates with cinematic beauty. Psychedelic colours and pops of traditional red and white tones transmute Klaus into a paragon of beauty. Klaus is a sensational holiday read portraying Santa as you’ve never seen him before.
11. Krampus – Brian Joines, Dean Kotz, Ron Riley, & Charles Pritchett
Krampus is the antithesis to Christmas. The anthropomorphic, horned villain scares naughty children as a punishment during the holiday. With his ghastly goat features and lolling tongue, those who want to invoke holiday spirit tend to avoid reading about the yuletide terror. But for some, horror remains in season year-round. Krampus, the comic series from Image Comics, leans on comedy and creepiness in its humorous portrayal of the holiday menace.
Like the Klaus comic series, the Krampus comic series boasts a league of extraordinary Santas. When someone steals the magical powers belonging to the Secret Society of Santa Clauses members, the group turns to the demon Krampus for help. Krampus accepts the terms of the bargain and sets out on his flying wolf across the globe to discover who wants to destroy the Santa Clauses. Art and character designs are fabulous in Krampus. Each Santa receives a lovely costume reflecting the style of their international-Claus counterpart.
Krampus is chock full of scathing wit and hilarity in the horror. Peek inside Krampus’ hysterically opinionated mind this Christmas.
12. Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special #1 — Keith Giffen, Alan Grant, Simon Bisley, Lovern Kindzierski, & Gaspar Saladin
One would likely not associate interstellar bounty hunter Lobo with Christmas. Presents come early for Lobo in a bizarrely fun DC holiday comic, Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special #1. The mercenary eagerly accepts a hit job…on Santa Claus, during the most wonderful time of the year.
Out of jealousy, the Easter Bunny hires the intergalactic alien mercenary to kill Father Christmas. Lobo travels to the North Pole, decapitates Santa, and steals his sleigh with glee. ‘Tis the season for merry murder. Have a holly jolly Christmas with Lobo while he commences a violent yuletide rampage.
13. Marvel Holiday Special 2005 — Various Creators
Marvel Comics released annual Holiday Special comic issues for years, starting with Marvel Holiday Special 1991. Although many issues warrant mentioning, the Marvel Holiday Special 2005 makes this list due to its hilarious eccentricity.
Inside this holiday fiesta anthology comic, mirthful mayhem unleashes when an evil robot Santa drops through the chimney during the Avengers Christmas party. It’s a holly jolly clash of the titans as Spider-Man swings in to save the day! The merry-mutant fun continues as the Fantastic Four battle Moleman, and Captain America delivers a wholesome speech to rouse everyone’s spirits. All the Marvel Holiday Special comics distribute uproarious Christmas jubilation.
Children often adore Christmas time. They peer at the twinkling lights and gentle snow with wide-eyed wonder. Nine-year-old Lunella Lafayette and her red T-rex friend Devil Dinosaur venture to spread cheer for some children in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #37.
Prodigy Lunella tracks Santa’s delivery route with her GPS on Christmas Eve. When Santa’s sleigh crash lands before he makes his final present delivery to the children on Yancy Street, Lunella chooses to save the day. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur must free a frozen Santa and battle a monstrous snowman if the Yancy Street children want to wake up with presents on Christmas morning. Killer art, killer colour work, and a killer snowman deliver a jolly holiday comic experience.
15. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King: The Graphic Novel — Natalie Andrewson
The Nutcracker rules as the universally popular holiday story. A tale of mystery and horror, The Nutcracker beguiles readers and ballet audiences alike. Comic creator Natalie Andrewson adapts E.T.A. Hoffman’s fan ethereal tale into an enchanting graphic novel with The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.
Marie can’t help fawning over the nutcracker her Uncle Drosselmeyer made for her and her brother. The nutcracker’s alluring face hypnotises the young girl. As midnight approaches, Marie scurries down the stairs to check on her beloved nutcracker gift. Unfortunately, a mouse king suddenly begins guarding the Nutcracker and bribing Marie to ensure its protection. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King adds depth to the story beyond what the ballet communicates. Readers are drawn into Marie’s magical tale, where fantasy and imagination blur reality in the opulently drawn graphic novel.
16. Sabrina’s Christmas Magic — Archie Superstars
Originally part of the Archie Giant Series, Sabrina’s Christmas Magic comics from 1972 through 1982 are now available to read as a 100-page collection. Sabrina the teenage witch had just received her first comic series in 1971 when the holiday comic issues began appearing inside Archie Giant comics. Sabrina’s Christmas Magic comic collection jingles all the way with spellbinding seasonal magic.
Whether she’s drinking eggnog with a werewolf or hanging decorations with a finger point, Sabrina loves celebrating the holidays with her aunts. Christmas bells ring and choirs sing while Sabrina ventures to make the season special for everyone. As usual, hijinks ensue when it comes to the magical teenage witch. Pour your own glass of eggnog and try not to be jealous of Sabrina’s levitation powers as you read Sabrina’s Christmas Magic.
17. “Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot” – Christmas With the Superheroes #2 — Alan Brennert, Dick Giordano, Steve Haynie, & Tom McCraw
Now famously a Dark Justice League member alongside the Hellblazer, Deadman took center stage in a holiday special comic. Not wanting to be a ghost in Christmas present anymore, Deadman pines over his condition during the DC Comics Christmas With the Superheroes #2 story, “Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot.”
Boston Brand, the superhero ghost better known by the moniker, Deadman, bitterly sulks around snow-filled Manhattan. The holidays bring tidings of grief for Deadman since he can only experience tidings of joy in life through possessing a living human being. Loneliness overwhelms Deadman. A visitor from the past helps the anguished hero begin to understand his conflicted existence. Essentially, this Christmas story shows how darkness does not have to sweep away the light in one’s life.
18. The Simpsons: Winter Wingding (2006-2015) — Various Creators
The Simpsons television sitcom has an affinity for Halloween. Their annual Treehouse of Horror episodes have told tales of terror every October since the Season 2, 1990 premiere. However, in the comics medium, The Simpsons also celebrate winter holidays. Published each November between 2006 and 2015 by Bongo Comics, The Simpsons: Winter Wingding issues featured winter-themed stories about the eponymous Springfield family.
The Winter Wingding comic stories are written in anthology format like Treehouse of Horror. Instead of fall frights, the Simpsons snowball downhill and exchange Christmas gifts during blustery winter days. Hang up the stockings with care, but Bart Simpson may knock them all down in these comedic holiday Simpson comics.
19. Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #21 — Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone, & Matt Hollingsworth
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, Peter Parker was waiting for his (hopefully) future spouse. Spider-Man rescues orphans and waits for Mary Jane’s plane to arrive on Christmas Eve in Marvel’s Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #21. Not only does this issue top best Christmas comics lists, but it also offers a captivating Spider-Man one-shot story accessible for any reader.
Peter Parker hoped he wouldn’t have to fight the night before Christmas, but his holiday plans are swept away by a snowplough when a snowstorm grounds Mary Jane’s plane in Philly. As Spider-Man, he drops off a group of orphans shivering in the storm at the Daily Bugle Christmas party, much to J. Jonah Jameson’s chagrin. Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four discover the Puppet Master’s nefarious plans to ruin Christmas for Macy’s shoppers. Spider-Man’s Tangled Web #21 grants readers a classic Christmas tale they’ll be yearning to re-read every holiday.
20. Stranger Things: Winter Special One-Shot (2021) — Chris Roberson, Abel, DJ Chavis, & Nate Piekos
The Stranger Things: Winter Special One-Shot brings yuletide cheer to Hawkins as the kids gather around to regale Eleven with their childhood Christmas season stories. Dark Horse Comics presents a lovely comic where the chill in the air might not be the only thing outside nipping at the kids’ noses.
It’s December 25, 1984, in Hawkins, Indiana. The Stranger Things kids pack themselves into Steve Harrington’s car as he chauffeurs them to the Byers’ house for a Christmas gathering. On the way there, Dustin notices something in the forest. Although Christmas spirit drifts through the cosy home as Eleven experiences her first holiday season, Dustin wonders about the shadowy creature threatening their evening.
This is 80s nostalgia on full display. Any Stranger Things fan can appreciate the authentic character voices and the Byers boys’ hilariously charming sweaters in this sweet comic one-shot.
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