It’s December 5, do you know what that means? IT’S KRAMPSNACHT! What? You don’t know Krampus or Krampusnacht? Fair enough, his notoriety in North America still limited, but steadily growing. Krampus is a figure from pre-christian, Central European, folklore with the appearance of a demonic satyr. He traditionally comes on Dec 5, Krampusnacht (literary: Krampus Night, but no one actually uses the translation.) to punish bad kids ahead of Saint Nicolas’s arrival on Dec 6.
I like to think of him as more aggravating to the #WarOnChristmas crowd than Starbuck cups, less problematic than Zwarte Piet, and as good a transition from Halloween to Christmas as Jack Skellington. Everyone needs a little more Krampus.
Anywho, when I can I like to review a Krampus comic every year. This year I’m stepping outside my usual box and looking at a webcomic. I first encountered creator, S.M. Beiko, and Krampus Is My Boyfriend at the Edmonton Comics & Entertainment Expo. I was rushing somewhere and took a hard 90º turn at seeing KRAMPUS on a banner. After a brief conversation, and a quick thumb through of one of the limited edition print copies onhand, I rushed off knowing I had my Krampusnacht review.
S.M. Beiko is an award-winning YA author, so it makes sense that her foray into comics would be similarly structured as a teen fantasy. Krampus Is My Boyfriend features 16-year-old Olga Bozyk, her friends, and her – less friendly – classmates at St. Gobnait’s Academy in the town of Prairiecrest. The first print issue collects the first four chapters of the webcomic and introduces us to all the characters you’d expect to see.
One of the things I appreciate about the cast is their obvious diversity. Olga’s BFF is an LGBTQ+ girl of Japanese descent, one of her classmates is a person of color with a specifically “non-ethnic” sounding name, the German exchange student is visibly an amputee, and Ollie herself is a chubby Ukrainan-prairie girl, which is a something of a rarity in most media. The beauty in this is that almost none of these things are mentioned. Names are given, subtle references are mentioned when specific to the story, the exchange student’s prosthetic arm is clearly visible but never referenced. It’s how things are (or should be) in the real world but are rarely how comics seem to unfold.
There are many reasons I dislike the ongoing webcomic format. They are largely irrelevant but are a major reason I’m only reviewing the story included in issue #1. By the end of the first issue, we are where we should be by the close of a good first issue. We know almost all the main players, with a big reveal leading into the next part. I enjoyed it, I want more, I wish this was a complete story right now.
I’m giving this a 3.5 out of 5, with the admission that I would likely give higher if I knew I’d have another full issue in my hands next month.
If you like the webcomic format, I encourage you to check this out at www.KrampusIsMyBoyfriend.com or join the Krampus Is My Boyfriend fan group on Facebook. If you’re not sure, there’s still enough story to check out it out or maybe consider picking up one of the print editions.