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Advance Review: Santa Claus: Private Eye Book One – Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

One day each year, Santa Claus delivers presents to children. The other 364, he moonlights as a down-on-his luck private dick named Nick Santana, working dark streets filled with gangsters, guns, and femme fatales. After all, the nicer they look, the naughtier they can be.

Written by Jeremy Bernstein with art by Michael Dorman, Santa Claus: Private Eye makes the leap from digital comics to print courtesy of Darby Pop Publishing. If you missed the comic digitally, it blends noir and detective story tropes and cliches with Santa Claus as the Private Investigator. In this world, if feels like no one is nice, not even Saint Nick, as one would expect in this sort of story.

Bernstein has fun with the concept giving us winks and nods to things like Santa knowing who’s naught and nice and his Elf staff. While the main part of the story is his figuring out a murder, there’s an impressive amount of backstory added in that fleshes out Santana beyond a simple detective. This series could of easily just been Santa as a detective but there’s an effort to make it more than that which doesn’t play out well into the read. It’s an interesting choice to breaks up the straightforward possible murder case that feels by the numbers. It’s that extra that makes what could easily have been a simple goof into something more and adds heart to what is a rather grim tale.

The art by Dorman is good and has a sense of the style of comic it’s for. There’s lots of close ups of Santana’s weary eyes and some fun details with Jack Frost. None of it blows me away but the page layouts and designs are solid. The coloring is probably what throws me and it’s a coloring style I just am not a fan of but also not quite sure how to explain what it is or specifics. Just a personal preference more than anything. But, the art is good and gets the job done.

Holiday tales often deal with naughty and nice but throw in a murder story, Santa as a P.I., and you have a whole new entertaining take. Santa Claus: Private Eye Book One – Santa Claus Is Coming to Town is out November 29.

Jeremy Bernstein with art by Michael Dorman
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.45 Recommendation: Read

Darby Pop Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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