If you thought Archie Comics’ horror series was running out of ridiculous monsters for its stars to battle, well, the publisher has a little Christmas present for you. Namely, an upcoming one-shot titled Happy Horror Days, which features three tales of holiday mayhem, and io9 has a special preview of all three.
First up is a look at Frank Tieri and Joe Eisma’s “T’was the Night Before the Hunger,” which returns to the Hunger-verse where Betty Cooper: Monster Hunter tries to enlist her lycanthropic friend WereJug in an attempt to stop the legendary Krampus. In Joanne Starer and Butch Mapa’s “Cat Got Your Tongue,” budding fashion designer Sheila Wu gets revenge on the bullying Veronica and Cheryl Blossom with help from the Yule Cat, a creature of Icelandic folklore that eats people who don’t receive new clothes on Christmas. Finally, the trio wraps up with Joe Corallo and Patrick Piazzalunga’s “Wrath of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” in which a mysterious woman and the somewhat obscure Archie characters Sugarplum the Fairy and Jingles the Elf make Reggie Mantle’s life a holiday hell.
“Returning to the universe of Jughead: The Hunger was like slipping into a warm (blood)bath,” artist Eisma said in a statement provided to io9. “Frank Tieri and Matt Herms are two of my favorite collaborators in the business, and together I think we make horror magic. Frank writes the best version of Betty I’ve worked on, and Matt has always colored the characters exactly as I’ve seen them in my head. I think that energy and excitement comes through in our short story with JugWolf squaring off against the legendary Krampus! I can’t wait for folks to read this one!”
Equally enthusiastic was writer Corallo. “Making a selfish Christmas wish may not be in the spirit of the season, but that doesn’t stop Reggie from wishing for a girl that he can parade around at an upcoming party. Little does Reggie know that Sugar Plum and Jingles don’t take kindly to people corrupting the holiday spirit. He’ll pay a high price to give Sugar Plum and Jingles Happy Horrordays.”
“As someone who loves horror and Christmas, this really has been a dream come true! I had a great time writing this story, and I’m particularly excited for people to see just how wild the last two pages get. I won’t spoil it for you, but I think it really captures the season’s spirit. Happy Horrordays to you and yours!”
The excitement was also shared by writer Starer. “If a dog is man’s best friend, then a giant man-eating cat has to be a girl’s best friend, right? At least that’s the case for Sheila Wu. Sheila just wants to spread holiday cheer with gifts of her handmade fashions, but Veronica, Cheryl, and Reggie are making a mockery of her merriment. They weren’t counting on the fact that Sheila’s kitty is the size of a house... with claws to match.”
“I love the holidays. I love comics. I love Archie. But there’s one thing I love more than all of that: cats! Getting to work with Butch Mapa on this story to create a cat that was both adorable and terrifying was such a delight. Of course, we didn’t ‘create’ the Yule Cat of Iceland that you’ll see by Sheila Wu’s side. It’s folklore dating back to the 17th century and has been reinterpreted a number of ways by artists over the centuries. But I think what Butch came up with is completely unique and people are really going to fall in love with the character. Sabrina has Salem, and now Sheila has Jólakötturinn (go ahead... try to say that three times fast!).”
Take a peek at all three tales, some behind-the-scenes info, and the one-shot’s two covers:
Alas, you’ll need to wait until December 14 to fully unwrap this present, by which of course I mean purchase Happy Horror Days and read it in its entirety.
Update, December 9, 1:30 pm: This post has been updated to include quotes from the creators.
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