Christmas Time Is Here

I loved Christmas specials when I was a kid.  I watched them all.  Oh sure, I watched the classics, like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, and those awesome stop motion ones, too.  But I also liked the Christmas specials that were just shameless toy commercials, like the Smurfs Christmas, for example.  I kept hoping that the Transformers would do a Christmas special .

Uh, maybe not.

Anyway, when I started ‘Uptown Girl’ as a monthly mini-comic, I thought it’d be fun to do Christmas issues.  I kind of wanted to capture the feeling of the Christmas specials when I was a kid and take familiar characters and putting them into a holiday adventure.  I don’t know how close I came, but I had fun.

On this Christmas Eve…uh, eve, I thought I’d look back on the 6 Christmas issues Uptown Girl was in.

The first of these stories was issue #8 where Uptown Girl gets tricked into being the mall Santa’s personal assistant/elf.  I had no idea where I was going with this issue, but I seem to remember thinking about a diva Santa Claus who believed he was the real deal.  I also remember wanting to have Uptown Girl reach her breaking point and yelling at Santa in front of hundreds of children.  I wisely chickened out.

Next year I followed up with issue 20 which had about three story lines in it.

Uptown Girl’s story was the sentimental one where she is trying to find an ornament that resembles one that was special to her growing up.

Ruby’s story was trying to win a gingerbread house contest.  Her story line was based on a contest I heard about where the second place prize was actually much better than the first place prize.  I used the same gimmick for Ruby.  She wanted to win second place so she had to build an awesome, but not too awesome, gingerbread house.  She ends up winning first place anyway due to the fact she was the only one who entered.

Rocketman’s story had to do with Secret Santas at his office and him trying to find a gift for the very shallow Material Girl.  This was Material Girl’s only appearance.  Too similar in looks and personality to Kate the Great, I suppose.

Issue 32 was the next Christmas story and Brian Bastian wrote it.  This issue was also the first issue to have the new logo.  Snazzy.

Brian wrote a homage to the oft parodied ‘A Christmas Carol’ with Sulky Girl starring in the Scrooge role and Uptown Girl and the gang as the ghosts.  This issue ended with her actually happy.  I thought about never using Sulky Girl again and toyed with her being…uh, “cured” but she quickly went back to her sulkyness.  Thank God.

Issue 44 is probably one of my favorite issues ever.

The star of this issue is ‘Our Friend, Squirrel’, a remote controlled squirrel that can talk and says very odd statements such as ‘”I like quarters’ and ‘Watch out for elephants’.  It also smells like celery.

The squirrel toy is a running joke between myself and my two sisters.  We made up this “toy” a few years ago it’s one of those things that to us is the most hilarious thing in the world but is lost on everyone else.  In the story Rocketman is tasked by his boss to track down this hot holiday toy and ends up living in the store until he can get one.  I love this issue.

A year later issue 56 came out and….well, it’s a pretty depressing issue, despite the cheery cover.

The story starts out funny, with Ruby wanting to cut down her own Christmas tree but quickly turns into the story of a criminal named Joe Rock.  Uptown Girl is trying to report the story on Joe who is on the run from the cops.  In the finale, Joe ends up being a pretty decent guy who made the wrong choices but really wanted to take care of his family.  This was a little darker than most stories I was doing at the time so it’s kind of weird to look back on this issue.

Issue 68 was the last Christmas issue I did, so I wanted to do something big.  And something weird.

I had a lot of weird ideas for this issue but was thankfully talked out of the weirder ones.  But what I ended up with was pretty weird anyway.  It’s about a Christmas display at the mall featuring animatronic elves who end up robbing the mall after it closes each night.  Uptown Girl intentionally gets locked into the mall one night to try to figure who is committing these crimes.

Yeah, the issue took a lot of liberties and a lot of silliness, but man, I had fun drawing it.
This page was inspired by an early issue of Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where they heroes are facing off against an army of robotic Mousers.

And the scene from the Turtles:

And there you have it.  A long, thoughtful holiday post that ends with an image of mutants fighting robots.

Merry Christmas.




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2 responses to “Christmas Time Is Here

  1. I always enjoyed your Christmas stories, Bob. My favorite will always be the ending of issue #20 where Uptown Girl receives the star ornament that she was wistfully looking for when shopping with Rocketman. The sincerity in your characters plays out so well that little moments like this really stand out. I can only hope to one day develop my characters to that level.

    I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, and all the best for 2011! Keep up the great work, and I look forward to seeing more in the years to come!

  2. Amy

    Issue 44 was a fave of mine, too!

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