Have you ever played the game of wondering which one of two historical or mythological figures would win in a fight? That’s what author and illustrator Brom was wondering when he started writing his book Krampus: the Yule Lord. Brom pits Krampus, the Austrian demonic creature who rewards good children and punishes the bad ones, against Santa Claus. He was particularly interested in why these two opposing figures would become associated with one another. The answer he envisioned is quite the delightful tale.
While debating where to spend another Christmas Eve alone in Boone County, Jesse Walker witnesses a pack of devils attacking Santa Claus. During the attack, Santa’s sack falls straight into his trailer. Discovering that the sack is magical, Jesse thinks his money troubles are over. But both Santa Claus and the devils, called Belsnickels, are still after that sack. And when the Belsnickels find him first, Jesse is thrust into service for Krampus, the Yule Lord. Krampus has been imprisoned by Santa Claus for five hundred years, but now that he has the sack, he is finally able to get free. And he wants revenge against Santa Claus; revenge that the Belsnickels and Jesse are going to help him get.
In typical Brom-fashion, Krampus: the Yule Lord is a complex tale of differing viewpoints. He has managed to seamlessly blend the histories of Krampus and Santa Claus into other mythologies. His story is also richer because we get to see the world through both Krampus’ and Santa Claus’ eyes. Just make no mistake, Krampus: the Yule Lord is a very adult story, completely unsuitable for children, which is okay because I don’t think most children want to see their favourite Christmas figure at war.