Lucifer #33 by Mike Carey and Dean Ormston available in Lucifer Book 3
Let’s face it this time of year is extremely stressful. One of the ways we, as a society, try to deal with this stress is in partaking and sharing of stories that both capture the spirit of the season, and inform about the multicultural traditions that all come to a head at this special time of year.
Hands down, my favourite holiday story comes from Vertigo comic’s Sandman spin-off, Lucifer. Now just to ruffle a few feathers fresh out of the gate, in my opinion Mike Carey’s Lucifer is far superior comic to Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, in form and pacing. Gaiman’s work, while brilliant, was very unfocused until about halfway through the series when it really started to tighten. Truthfully Gaiman’s explosions of imagination in the early Sandman issues work in his favour as they embrace the exploding ideas of dreams. But for Lucifer, Mike Carey had the delight of moving pieces in a fully developed world and then crafting his own exquisite epic without breaking any of Gaiman’s rules.
Lucifer is a large family story, following one of The Sandman’s most popular characters as he tries to make peace with his father and brother, their upbringing and their roles in the shape of the universe. Issue 33 is one of several stand-alone stories that gave comforting closure to the previous story arch while teasing out things to come.
Drawn in the eerie pencils of Dean Ormston, Mike Carey’s untraditional holiday story hits all of the right holiday buttons. A struggling storeowner has just learned about an untreatable tumour, which keeps him distracted when holiday ruffians attempt to rob his small corner store in the quiet hours of Christmas Eve. The shopkeeper is saved from this event by one of his regulars, who is dealing with a sibling’s complicated birth labour and just has no time for mortals robbing folks and stuff. Oh yes, this mysterious benefactor is a demon, recently set loose on the world due to some of the earlier events of the Lucifer series.
As the shopkeeper struggles to decide how to share his prognosis with his wife, the demon woman returns in desperate need of help that only he can give. Her sister’s demonic birth requires negative energy to help with the delivery, something she had been covering by collecting curse words and the like, but it’s just not enough. In the end the demons will need the shopkeeper to give his tumour over to them to succeed in delivering the young demon spawn.
It’s the perfect flip on the traditional holiday story… Someone has a crisis of faith; their lives seem to have reached a crux point; one that seems destined to end badly until a selfless sacrifice rewards the individual with the happy holiday they thought impossible. It’s hands down, my all time favourite holiday comic story for it’s brilliant twist of expectations. It’s just wonderful. This holiday season what are your favourite stories to share?