Klaus, Grant Morrison and Dan Mora's recently-launched series that recasts Santa Claus as a populist superhero, will expand from its originally-planned six issues to seven, BOOM! Studios tells ComicBook.com.
In the story, Klaus finds himself in Grimsvig, a small town under the thumb of a petty dictator where toys have been outlawed.
Set as the "first season" of what Morrison plans to be numerous stories, Klaus has sold out and gone back to reprint with each of its first two issues. You can see some exclusive, unlettered preview pages of Klaus #3 below.
Morrison joined ComicBook.com to discus the title, what made him want to explore "a Batman Begins version of Santa Claus," and the decision to expand the best-selling series.
So, I'm sure you've answered this, but why Santa? You've got so many of your own big ideas, what's the appeal of writing about one of the most thoroughly "covered" characters in literary history?
As I’ve said before, despite having stepped away from monthly superhero books I still felt the itch to indulge my love of writing superhero fantasy fiction. I liked the idea of having my own Superman or Dr. Who—an instantly recognisable, familiar character who could appear in any kind of adventure or story but who wasn’t already owned by some entertainment corporation. Santa Claus fit the bill perfectly; not only was he open source, he seemed relatively untouched by the revisionist’s hand. I figured someone would get around to doing Santa as a superhero if I didn’t, so I went for it and Klaus is the result.
Ultimately, it was a big hot choice between Santa Claus or Jesus Christ. Santa won the toss. Otherwise, Christ appears prominently in an upcoming project for Heavy Metal magazine!
What's the balance here of traditional mythology to entirely new ideas?
Klaus season 1 is mostly my initial thoughts on a Batman Begins version of Santa Claus, mixed with the few elements of research that finally made it to the book. It’s rooted in Siberian tomfoolery and Nordic folderol but this is mostly a new science fiction/fantasy take on Santa Klaus and his origins. The first series is all setup and it’s fairly straightforward. Future stories will go to surprising places and that’s where you’ll see how far from “traditional” we can get.
What led to the decision to expand the series from six issues to seven?
I just got deeper into the story and characters and felt it needed room to breathe a little. Initially, my pitch was for a very simple, stripped-back, fairy-tale approach but I couldn’t help getting wrapped up in the characters and their back stories, so we made the decision to expand a little. My editors at BOOM! were happy to oblige, as was [artist] Dan [Mora].
This isn't entirely a kids' story, but it doesn't feel particularly dark or violent, in spite of a world where there is real danger and stakes. Were you trying to build almost a Star Wars/Goonies-style high-adventure family drama?
Yes. Definitely. That’s exactly the tone I’m going for: Star Wars, Doctor Who, The Hobbit. Essentially, this is a story for kids — but kids are far from stupid and it’s important to talk to them with respect.
The colors are gorgeous, especially in #1. How important was that to shaping the look of the series?
Dan does his own colours. It’s all him. I had no idea how good Dan would prove to be so it’s been a revelation to me. He’s utterly brilliant. I’m sure within a year they’ll have chains around his ankles as he illustrates Wolverine’s bleak and meaningless existential adventures in the umpteenth century but right now he’s doing his own thing and KILLING IT!
The musical sequence in #1 kind of reminds me of the way The Invisibles communed with John Lennon. Is that just me overanalyzing, or was that intentional?
No, you’re right, there’s a similar use of music and colour but let’s not remind people of those day-glo ‘90s days! The DMT tryptamine “elves” Klaus communes with in issue #1 get their big moment in issue #6.
We saw this with Superman a bit during your Action Comics run: What about these very clean-cut heroes makes you focus on their rebellious streak?
I like the superhero as rebel better than the superhero as defender of the status quo, I suppose. Ideally, the best superheroes selflessly battle on behalf of people who are too weak or downtrodden to fight for themselves—that tends to be poor or marginalised people who lack the protection of the law—so for me these characters work best when they also bump up against the agents of entrenched power, like police and courts and the army.
In the course of the first issue, we learn a lot about Klaus. In the second, we seem to learn a lot about the history of the town. Will we eventually see how his past with the town played out?
Yes. Issue #4 shows us how Klaus first came to Grimsvig and we see him as a baby, a child, and a young man. He definitely has history with the town and its inhabitants, so there’s a little Count of Monte Cristo in there, too.