If you've ever been curious what would happen if a Christmas poem was turned into a comic book monster mash, then A Kaiju Christmas should be right up your alley. The newly-launched Kickstarter project comes from the creative team of Sam Haine (Slow City Blues) and John Schrad, with A Kaiju Christmas marking Schrad's first illustrated book after working primarily in film and television doing concept art, graphic design, and storyboarding. A Kaiju Christmas is a 40-page children's book featuring big monsters and giant robots, in the vein of Power Rangers, Godzilla, Pacific Rim, King Kong, and Voltron, all built around the popular The Night Before Christmas.
ComicBook.com spoke to Sam Haine and John Schrad to learn how they came up with the idea for A Kaiju Christmas, its anime influences, remixing The Night Before Christmas, potential sequels, and more. The Kickstarter page for A Kaiju Christmas can be found here.
The Idea for A Kaiju Christmas
ComicBook.com: Kaijus aren't the first thing people normally would associate with Christmas, but it looks like you're making it work with A Kaiju Christmas. For both of you, what was behind the idea to merge the two genres together?
Sam Haine: I'm a big Christmas fan. I was born in late December, so I'm always watching A Christmas Story on TBS come the 24th. I started Slow City Blues. That was such a long and intensive endeavor and I just wanted to stop clout chasing. I wasn't looking to chase the validation anymore. I just wanted to create cool shit with my friends. So I actually got brought on to do another Kaiju book. That's actually in the works, and I thought of this because I love Christmas. I wrote it out and I just thought to myself, they're never going to let me do this. They're not, this is not going to fly. So John and I, we've been very close friends for almost 10 years now. I knew he was a good artist. I didn't know he was this good, but we've been looking to work on something together, and so then it was July when I pitched it to him. And so I was like, Hey, what do you think?
John Schrad: Yeah. I thought this sounds great. This is right up my alley. Because I came from being an anime fan and an illustrator and all that stuff. So big monsters, Godzilla, that sort of stuff. I do love the holidays. So I was like, this is kind of perfect, and it's a good idea.
John, you mentioned your anime influences. What are some of the anime influences that you look back at?
Schrad: Oh, I mean this piece especially is very, Voltron, Power Rangers sort of feel. My heroes are Miyazaki, which I know is technically not anime, he's a Japanese animated film creator. Then it kind of paired with, Neon Genesis, Evangelion, is the thing that I really watched as a kid. Big monsters, big robots, and then just pairing it with the Christmas theme of Norman Rockwell or Edward Hopper sort of stuff. That painterly feel to it. I definitely don't want it to just be an anime children's book or a manga children's book.prevnext
A New Take on The Night Before Christmas
So it looks like the story is "The Night Before Christmas" and instead of Santa coming down the chimney, it's a big Santa mecha robot if I'm understanding correctly?
Haine: Yeah. So it's about a big giant mutant snowman coming through this extra-dimensional portal and kind of just wrecks shop. So then it falls onto nine kids to jump in their reindeer zords and save the day in the holiday season. So yeah, it's based on "The Night Before Christmas." So it's instead of, "Twas the night before Christmas, when outside the house..." It's "Twas the fright before Christmas, when outside the base, a rumble, a bumble, and in a rip in time-space."
These nine kids, they've always had their zords that they can use to fight crime? Or do they get them in the story?
Haine: They get them in the story. So they have to rise to the occasion and save the day.
Okay. What can you tell us about the nine kids as far as their personalities? What type of characters are they?
Schrad: The cool part about it is it's a very succinct poem. Sam did the poetry of it. So it fell on me to kind of build out their characters a little bit and we want this to be all ages, all ethnicities, all backgrounds. It's been me trying to figure out who's the playful one visually? Who's the energetic one? Who's the lazy one? Who's the timid one? Who's the driven one? So there's a visual reference to this utopian sort of society, but in a dystopic world.
So, it's got that Logan's Run, your age is dictated by the clothes you wear, sort of thing and the color of clothes you wear. I wanted it to be; every person, boy, girl, or non-binary could look at this and find someone that's, "this is my person. This is who I connect to." Not just have a bunch of generic bunch of boys running around.
The human race has kind of been descended upon with all these monsters. So you're not being, "oh, you're the bad guy." It's, "oh shit, we got to come together to get that. We're a team now we're all a team. There's no other way." The one thing I may say about it, "it's eight of them eager each night dreamt at the day, but the ninth too small and only wanted to play." That's literally all I say about the kids in general to set up, who's the small one who will then hopefully save the day? It was incumbent upon John to fill out all the roles and give them the personality. So we have our leader, our lancer, our brains, our brawn, and then everyone in between. Have those fall into place.prevnext
Publishing Through Kickstarter
Is the project through a publisher or is it just you two going through Kickstarter?
Haine: We are going through just Kickstarter. I just didn't want to do the chase after that anymore. It's just one of those things where I just wanted to create cool stuff with my friends, and so we want to just have the book out. So we're looking for $5,000 to print 200 copies. I did the logistics and the administrative or 200 was the base number where they're not $40 a book. "Oh my God, I'm never going to be able to make this thing." But to get over that hurdle. We wanted book production.
I gave John the script in the middle of July. If we were going to pitch it to a publisher, we had to pitch through a publisher, go through the process, and we're looking at next Christmas. We were debating whether or not we were going to do it in November, but going in November it's like buying somebody one of those 1x1 square foot plot of land in Scotland. And you're a Lord or a Lady now. I'm never going to see this plot of land as opposed to doing it in September, you can buy the book and have it in your hands.
What are some of the Kickstarter rewards you're going to be offering up for the fans?
Haine: We'll share it with you, not just the link to the landing page, but we'll share with you guys the link, so they can actually see the whole campaign page. So they can see, we cut a sizzle trailer together, which is super cool off of Trans-Siberian Orchestra kind of music. We'll see all the rewards. So we're doing the PDF, we're doing the hard cover, which is always better because it's better to hold something in your hands. We're doing a signed version. We're doing a version that includes BYOO, which is, "build your own ornaments." So they'll be the mecha Santa, and the mutant monster frosty, and you'll be able to cut them out and glue them together and hang them from the tree. Then John came up with a super cool add on which was gift wrapping. So if you want to buy it as a gift and give them that, all you got to do is add on the gift wrapping and you slap on the, "to who it's from" tag.prevnext
What Readers Can Look Forward To
What else would you like to tell readers about A Kaiju Christmas?
Schrad: I think it's a fun adventure for people in their '30s with new kids or kids between eight to 12 that are into this sort of genre to get a cool Christmas submersion of that mainstream Christmas trope and have something that more appeals to them as an individual. I hope it's going to be fun. I've read the poem. So I think that's going to be fun to read. I hope that everyone enjoys the art too.
Haine: For me, this is John's first book. This is his first at bat. So to have such amazing art in such a small amount of time is mind blowing. If everyone digs it and everyone likes it and it's successful, we have a trilogy planned. They kind of stick with the same group as they evolve and they tackle the bigger forces at play. I'll give John some more time next time.
Are you going to try and base each part of the trilogy on a different poem or Christmas Carol or holiday themed carol?
Haine: This is just for you, right? So just for you, I haven't told anyone this, I don't even know if I told John this. So the first one is "A Christmas Story" and the next one will kind of be loosely based off, "How The Grinch Stole Christmas."
So it goes up from 40 pages to 64. I'm sorry John.
Schrad: But that'll be fun to change the art style to something more, "Seussian."
And the longer lead time helps as well.
Schrad: Yeah, always.
Haine: There's that too.prev