Manga Claus: The Blade of Kringle

Nathaniel Marunas, Author, Erik Craddock, Illustrator , illus. by Erik Craddock. Penguin/Razorbill $12.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-59514-134-7

A buff, shirtless Santa, in red suspenders and stocking cap, wields two shiny Samurai swords on the cover of this manga spoof. In the opening scene, he receives the blades from his sensei in imperial Japan, near Kyoto. A flash-forward brings readers to the present-day North Pole, where Fritz the elf requests a promotion, but Santa doesn't think he's ready. So Fritz seeks vengeance, magically transforming an ordinary nutcracker into an anti-Santa ninja with "the burning clutch of the Heat Miser and the chilling destructive power of the Abominable Snowman !" Ultimately, Kris Kringle breaks out his best fighting moves. Marunas deftly alludes to classic TV, movies and Christmas carols, while Craddock ably parodies manga in avalanches of wordless action and bursts of noisy onomatopoeia. The irreverent creators' premise is a winner: Santa Claus goes from gentle soul to impressive avenger, wishing "Merry Christmas to all, and to all Banzai! " Ages 9-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/25/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Genre: Children's
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