Monday, December 9, 2013

Solson Christmas Special Featuring Samurai Santa #1

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Santa Claus is coming to town... WITH A KATANA!




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70 comments:

randy marshall said...

lies you don't watch power rangers!!!!!!!!1

Anonymous said...

That has to be one of the most Generic Comic Covers that I’ve ever seen! At least with others, it’s them Running at the Reader or in an Action Pose…Standing in front of a Black Background? I got Class Photos with more Personality!

I honestly don’t get Black Friday, I seen videos at what happened and that’s due to too many people in the store. Is there a system in place where they say; “Only so many people in at any one time”?
Also, what with the Internet, you can probably get them for discount prices on EBay or somewhere else.

I can see Sam’s Heart is in the right place, but I doubt Starving or Under Privileged Children would really care about that.
I know there’s a case of; “Christmas is not about the Material things”, but with Giving can demonstrate love with the feeling on Sentiment; like “You care about someone so much, you get them something that you know they’ll like or something they’ve wanted for a long time.”

Also, I love how he cries a Holier Than Thou Attitude! Isn’t Christmas also supposed to spread a time of Humbleness too? He’s just being an A-Hole at this point.

At some points in the review, I do notice the reflection of the Camera in the window behind you. I am sure you caught that too.
Maybe use it to your advantage. Like each week, sneak in a cameo in the reflection or even foreshadowing for story arcs?

Question too, When are you going to update the “Upcoming Episodes” List on the Right Side of the site?
I heard a Doctor Who Christmas is coming up, and considering what I’ve heard of those, we’re sure to get some Silver Age Gold there.

Nice Review, Linkara. ;3
Looking forward to seeing more from you.

Felix Brunschede said...

What the freaking hell is up with this comic! Can't decide wether or not the concept is aweful D: or awesome! >:D

Shanethefilmmaker said...

I just laughed from the mere title alone. Before knowing what it really was I got a mental picture of John Belushi in a Santa suit scaring kids with a sword.

LucasChad said...

I know the comic was trying to convey the whole commercialism of the holidays, but we all know that this song conveys it better!
http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/13799-cf

Anonymous said...

I almost expected a clip or reference from Phelous's "Satan Claus" review when it came to AssSanta's debut.

Oh well. Great review anyways, and true to your word, that WAS weird for a Christmas tale!

brad said...

I'd use "Everyone's a little bit racist" from Avenue Q for the ending.
can;t wait to see what's next week.

Nazaru said...

Wow, Linkara. I'm surprised you did a comic with a guy named Osborn, and didn't do a Spiderman joke. Would've payed off since Amazing Spiderman 2's trailer came out.

Drowemos said...

You should watch Samurai Jack. I think it would be your kind of thing. Heck you could turn the watching into a video blog nostalgia critic style.

The Id said...

The samurai Jack theme is a hip hop song about getting back to the past and it's only reference to Samurai is saying the the name of the show over again. It's more about the plot then actual samurai. Still very good show.

Shanethefilmmaker said...

The final speech sounds a lot like a bastardized version of Bill Murray's speech in Scrooged.

Mr. Kenneth said...

Comic Books, Pokemon and Power Rangers.

Truly a day well spent, my friend.

Anonymous said...

I don't know... I am working for retail store and actually kinda like constant holiday music cd than current pop music. Wait... OK, I got if someone couldn't recognize what country are they from at first glance, but THAT ARSE is suppose to be DA BOSS and should've heard that Sam's last name at least once, and still doesn't recognize his country?!

It would be OK or even cool if the books (easier version maybe) were like/from "Art of War,(Chinese Version)" Mèng Zǐ (Mencius), Kong Zi (Confucius), or Xunzi, even though it might be quite stereotypical (to be accurate, even though those philosopher's books were in old Japan, modified Buddhism were affecting Japan even more) still it might be less controversial or even more useful in long run.

Jesse Saunders said...

You've never seen Samurai Jack? RECTIFY THIS IMMEDIATELY!!!

Lostshadows said...

Sam needs to sit down and watch some holiday tv. Even the Grinch brought back the presents after he got the true meaning of Christmas.

Konsolero said...

The sad part is that this could have been a half decent story (even with the racism) if they just played the "give toys to poor children"-card and went through with it. But then you get all this religious crap which is a. dead wrong and offensive at times and b. even if your a christian that doesn´t necesserly mean that you celebrate the religious theme of christmas.

I even guess that most people just celebrate christmas as a fun holiday where you´re loved once are around you.


Also why if he´s supposed to be a racial stereotype is this guys name Sam? Because of Samurai? Sam suggests that this guy is born in the US and then there is no need to give him weird dialog because even with a migration backround you should be fine speaking the nations language you grow up in.

Anonymous said...

ettertso...
whatever happened to Fat Grandma?

Cletus said...

well OF COURSE he was Jesus!
didn't they teach you anything?

http://www.hookiedookiepanic.com/comic.php?ID=2

10reapaer01 said...

Why was Superman in the crowd of parents near the end?

Rue Ryuzaki said...

Even though I agree with the fact that people should actually show, love, concern & respect to others than just one specific part of the year. This comic failed spectacularly in getting that point across. & Then the stereotypes & racisim, just why? just why were they there?

Also You should check out samurai jack. It is awesome.

-WD said...

Asssanta: rolemodel for objectivist parents everywhere.

Megan said...

"Shanethefilmmaker said...

I just laughed from the mere title alone. Before knowing what it really was I got a mental picture of John Belushi in a Santa suit scaring kids with a sword."

You too?! Now that would have made for a pretty funny comic.


Instead, we get this drek. While it's not as horribly depressing as last week's, it's still pretty bad. Its heart is in the right place I guess, but since this is Brodsky, I'm less inclined to believe that he's actually being sincere and more that he's trying to manipulate people into buying his books.

Also, Linkara, there are Catholics in Japan. Granted, it's a very, very small percentage of the population, but they still exist, so the idea that the Japanese would celebrate the religious aspects of Christmas isn't that far fetched.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man, that walking lizard! I had/still have one just like it I got from a street vendor some fifteen years ago, except mine is purple. I could do all kinds of tricks with it, and still kind of can!

DuelMark said...

You never saw Samurai Jack? Someone needs to give you the DVDs for Christmas, especially with the Samurai Jack comic.

Also, there were like 5 different points where you could have made a Green Goblin joke?

Ozaline said...

As far as I know Christmas in Japan is more of a trendy, hip, couples holiday while New Years is the more traditional family holiday where everyone gets together... Some families in Japan do do gift exchanges but mostly just the Santa tradition for the kids and exchanges among couples.

I'm not Japanese (though I have studied the language) so that's just what I've been told or gotten through cultural osmosis from media... take it with a grain of salt.

You would think that Sam is a first generation American, unless Solsen comics believes that all people of East Asian descent are incapable of speaking proper English no matter how long they've lived in an English speaking country, and given that this was published in 86 and Sam is about probably somewhere between 30-40 years old... yeah I could see that his parents might have rejected western traditions and he might only have a superficial understanding of the traditions from seeing what was going on around him and not put much thought into it before.

Then again this is a comic with a Samurai working in a department store so I'm probably over-thinking things.It certainly doesn't excuse all the racism, and outright dumb ideas, and the whole bit at the end. His experience with the homeless man should have shown him how material goods can sometimes enrich people's lives. I wonder what he did with all the toys, is he a thief ontop of everything else?

Anonymous said...

If he doesn't believe in the guy's religion, then what's up with the religious/spirituality book he was trying to give to the kids and his speach about Jesus?

Anonymous said...

How exactly did some weird foamy lizard impact your childhood? I can't think of any toy that had a deep impact on my childhood

Kaze Koichi said...

And Sam isn't even a Japanese name. Maybe the employers can't prononse his real name but judging by all rasism in this comic they likely are just a bunch of asses who don't care what Sam's real name actually is.

I don't understend Assanta's motivation in this comic. He persuaded the kids to ask their parents for more presents and then he... gives presents for free. What part of it is evil again? Looks like the guy is doing what he believe to be good.

But at least in this comic (unlike the Punisher) nobody is killed.

Arianne Wingard said...

Love the title card. I must admit, If it was less pretentious and less racist. I might have liked the comic. It had its sweet moment, but it still does suck.
Neither the protagonist nor the antagonist entirely got the meaning of Christmas. Also, I think the anonymous at 10:09 said it best.

PopCultureOtaku said...

Oh hi jim lee. You are a little early. ASBAR is next month. I like Jim artwork most of the time but not redesign of the new 52 he came up with.
If he was working cosplay then he is missing a towel.
Stores giving away items that can't sell? Unheard of!
I think religious soul is suppose to be the Bible but could be wrong.
I think Sam was asking the guy about the mean of christmas to judge him. Maybe giving this comic to much credit. Either that or he read the religious soul book.
I say this looks better then Santa The Barbarian. Way less weird too.

Gabriel Godinho said...

Hey, the drunk Santa is named Walker, I thought you'd make a reference to Santa Christ.

I think the seven little... joke was supposed to be a pun on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai.

Anyway, great review, specially how you showed that the message in the comic contradicted itself.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it's been brought up yet, but the samurai's name is Sam, because how else would we know he's a samurai :-D

Adam said...

This comic could have been better if the Samurai Santa angle was played more tongue-in-cheek and had a clear-cut message. But this was made by Solson, so we got a racist, hypocritical piece of crap instead. Maybe Santa should take that huge lump of coal he was planning to give Gary Brodsky, stick it in his stocking, and use it as a weapon to smack him over the head.

BTW, Lewis, you need to sit down and watch Samurai Jack. It is one of the best cartoons ever to come out of Cartoon Network.

Gigi said...

I agreed with almost everything you said in this review, except some of your comments on religion. Part of acceptance is actually seeing how similar you are, not just acknowledging the differences. For example, when I was younger, I knew nothing about Hinduism and assumed it was a weirdo religion with wacky beliefs. As I learned about the faith, I realized that even though there were some concepts different from my own religion (reincarnation, for example), at it's core the practicers I know value love and doing good for others just as much as me. Whether Karma or Salvation, the important message is that you should care for others. If more Americans realized that Muslims believed in the same God as Christians, just with a different name and form of worship, wouldn't we as a country be able to come to terms with the fact that terrorists are only an extremist sect? If around the world, we realized that all faiths are not as different as we thought, wouldn't that lead to peace and the acceptance of differences? I am not defending this horrible comic, of course, just pointing out a flaw in your statement, one that you have expressed before on this show and has bothered me every time you express this particular opinion.

Unknown said...

Don't take this the wrong way, I understand that this wasn't your intention. But as a practising Bahá'í I find the implication that religions are irreconcilably different insulting. One of the fundamentals of my religion is that nearly all religions (including Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Bábiism, Aboriginal Spiritual traditions, and the Bahá'í Faith itself) are the same fundamental religion taught through a progressive series of revelations by the same one God to the same humanity. The differences between only resulting from each message being tailored to specific people at a specific time, and because direct knowledge of God is incomprehensible to us, their are wildly different ways of looking at the same fundamental truth. I'm sorry if I come off as over-sensitive, I just wanted to share that perspective.

Falcovsleon20 said...

Well now we have another Missed Opportunity to add when we get to that video: A chance to use clips from the Super Santa cartoon.

Yes that exists. Just ask CR.

Nice use of GiR though. Everyone loves GiR.

Tia Wheeler said...

Solson comics: If you're not promoting sexism, you're promoting racism. -_-

But in all honesty, I think that having a random samurai working at a department store while randomly smacking down bad guys could have been a good idea for a story... in the hands of a different writer.

P.S. I agree with everyone else, Mr. Lovhaug, check out Samurai Jack please!

Anonymous said...

Well, outwardly the comic at least had good intentions, and it even had a genuinely heartwarming scene with the homeless guy. But yeah...at the end, there are less sanctimonious ways to decry mindless consumerism. Hell, they didn't even play up the 'Samurai' part other than stereotypical Japanese mannerisms and a couple of brief fight parts.

Better than that Punisher comic though.

I look forward to the Star Trek review next week. Wonder how Christmassy that will be.

FugueforFrog said...

Nope, Brosky still is not the smartest.

In general, Japanese Christmas is pretty much a secular family holiday before the bigness there of New Years. They probably know of Santa Claus and the general stuff and, since there is Christianity in a tiny minority, perhaps a couple do use the "Jesus" interpretation. But mostly it's usually seen as the holiday of presents, love and cake.

Not trying to get into religious aspects but goodwill is a good thing to get out of the holiday but you sort of get rather tough when you have those overreligiousizing and overcommercializing things. The reason why something like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" works and this doesn't is that it is entertaining and does mention the overcommercialization without going too crazy while acknowledging the religious idea to those who believe in that sort of thing. This just has some "Japanese guy" who happens to be a "samurai/ninja/random martial artist" who suddenly becomes Santa, fights an evil corporate executive trying to overcommercialize the holiday, and then suddenly thinks he knows the true meaning of Christmas. Its pathetic and really belongs in the burn pile.

BTW: I thought you were going to use "Endicott" by Kid Creole and the Coconuts with how that guy was named that and how rare a name it was. It isn't a Christmas song but it is funky.

Ciaran Hillock said...

@Gigi

Like that would ever happen, nobody wants to be part of that hate religion especially the people under it, or haven't you noticed they are dropping like flies because of that religion. Also at least God didn't have sex with children, allah surely is a weird one.

DWP102589 said...

Who are you, Frank Miller?

In all seriousness though, Muslims make up a fifth of the world's population, so you've pissed off more than 20% of the world. Islam brought about what was, for a time, the strongest, most moral, and most progressive kingdom of all time. As a Bahá'í, Islam is to my religion what Judaism is to Christianity, and all four of them believe in the same God and have the same prophetic traditions. I'm sorry for lecturing you like this, I could never just let that kind of thing go.

Jeff Jacobson said...

Do you think you said the word "dude" enough times?

riffingacademy said...

Long ago in a distant department store, I, Osborn, asshole in a Santa suit, unleashed cartoonish evil! But a foolish employee wielding cloying, impotent Christmas sentiments stepped forth to oppose me.

Before the final blow was struck, I did...absolutely nothing, to be honest. Then he started speechifying himself and gave a baffling true-meaning-of-Christmas diatribe. Now the fool has gone to...uhh...wherever the hell he left to...and undo the...the...uhhh...what was he supposed to be again, exactly?

E M said...

I just thought about the "seven" thing and it sort of rung a bell, a really racist bell. There's a character in Santa Lore (okay well Sinterklaas) called Black Peter (or Black Pete). See Sinterklaas has between six and eight black men (formerly slaves now friends) as "helpers". So seven would be an easy number to pull from that if you couldn't get a straight answer... if he was going to finish the line "my seven little helpers" it could very well refer to this group.

Given the rampant racism in this story I could totally believe that this is what they were going for.

I love how all of the kids look like they're in their late teens, and Sam's English is broken only when they are trying emphasize how Japanese? he is.

I agree that it's pretty muddled in it's presentation.

Paul S. said...

You know what's really frustrating about this comic is that there's just enough of a kernel of a good satire that this could have worked. But it's so hamfisted, racist, and self-righteous that it just fails.

Still some actually good art by Jim Lee.

Cat C said...

I think Linkara's point on religion is that over generalizing isn't about understanding, that's what the comic was portraying. HIS point was not to dismiss similarities, but insisting that 'they're all based on the same thing so just shut up and love one another' is a poor representation of the complexities various religions have.

At least, that's my feelings on what he said.

Also I understand more your tweets from a few days ago.

I did check and don't think this was mentioned, 'Sam' is probably wearing a Yukata, not a Kimono, I could be completely wrong about this but that's just how it felt based on the belt and him wearing it for work.

At least he had the correct side closest to the body.

No, I am not Japanese or claiming to be an expert, but I DO read things and had some help for a work of fiction I did several years ago about wearing traditional clothing.

Oh, and Lewis, good call on moving the camera a little, was less distracting without seeing your reflection moving in the window this time.
@dragons_dusk

Ming said...

I think this is most likely Jim Lee's Old Shame. And yet somehow, despite coming from the moron who created Sultry Teenage Super Foxes, this doesn't appear to be as horrible as The Punisher Xmas comic!

Max said...

Japan does have Christmas, but it's not that big. There's a lot of build up, with elaborate lights and decorations EVERYWHERE. But the actual day isn't a holiday, meaning you COULD have to go to work or school on Christmas Day. Most families have a special Christmas cake and eat KFC (not joking) for dinner. New Year's is a bigger holiday over here. Christmas is more a holiday for young couples, who have a fancy dinner together, and usually stay in a nice hotel for the night.

William Ngo said...

Oh, Jim Lee. I like his art, but he should never be allowed to design anythin. Ever. The New 52 redesigns can be boiled down to unnecessary line work (the Justice League) and collars (the Justice League). and in some causes, trying too hard (Kid Flash, Hawkman) or trying too little (Stargirl). Okay, I'm done :)

The thing with the sais is just... ugh. Sadly, it's common for people to further boil it down to just 'Asian' (unless it's a katana, sicne most people know that one).

And regarding the Black Friday thing... South Park recently parodied Black Friday, the Console Wars and Game of Thrones in a thee-parter. Best episodes ever. Anyway, I live in Australia, and it's not a major thing here. Black Friday to me is going to online stores and getting even further reduced price :)

CollectorX said...

So Norman Osborn is in this ? no really there's a character called Osborn

Doresh said...

Man, I want to read that Gerbil comic.

And wait... Zatoichi Walrus? Zatoichi. Walrus. What the... o_O

And why is the Jim Lee's "portrait" Hitler's scalp O_o ?!

Man, an Akira Kurosawa Christmas Charol would've kicked ass. And please tell me there's a Blaxploitation Santa movie somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Riffingacademy, I actually read that in Aku's voice. :)

But yeah, this was...actually better than I thought it would be. Wasn't good, yeah, but when I saw the title I almost choked on my lunch. (Killed by a salad, how humiliating would that have been?)

Honestly, I think I was expecting something like the Punisher comic last week, but more amateurish. i.e. one that didn't even try to capture the Xmas spirit and aimed for the lowest common denominator with more zeal than a YouTube comment.

Anonymous said...

I want to give this comic some slack. It was the 80's, Ninja Turtles was popular (although no one seemed to realize it was a Daredevil and Frank Miller parody), and from what little I've seen, 80's black and white comics done manga style were even worse.

Here's my question- Couldn't Sam give the kids the books AND the toys? He would have come across a lot less patronizing and insulting. As it stands the comic's heart is in the right place, but it's ruined by stereotyping and grandstanding.

Anonymous said...

"So Norman Osborn is in this ? no really there's a character called Osborn."

And Kruger actually did call him 'Norm' at one point. So Ass Santa actually was Norman Osborne. Kind of makes you wonder what kind of experiments he was running in this universe...

Kth-77 said...

I can't fully articulate the disappointment I felt when I found out this wasn't some kind of Christmas Samurai Jack comic. :(
The Invader Zim reference at the end gave me a nice little laughing fit though. :)

Rue Ryuzaki said...

It's funny that I saw a bunch of samurai jack comics at this con I went to this past sunday. Hmmm.. Probably should have checked it out.. >.>

wrabbit said...

Is that a plush rainbow candy cane hanging on your tree, or a plush Lady Rainicorn? If the latter, where on Earth did you get one! O_O

re: the comic. At least they didn't have Samurai Santa STABBING with his sai... They... they didn't, did they?

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"Is that a plush rainbow candy cane hanging on your tree, or a plush Lady Rainicorn? If the latter, where on Earth did you get one! O_O"

Rainbow candy cane. ^_^

Zero said...

You know now is a perfect time to try and get into Samurai Jack, it's coming to Toonami next year so that may be the best chance to watch it.

Michael Roby said...

Damn, I actually really, REALLY wanted to like this one. Yeah there was some racism in there, but Sam was still a pretty enjoyable character with a lot going for him and there were some very entertaining scenes. But I guess Brodski couldn't leave well enough alone and decided we all needed a stern talking to. That's when it got painful.

starofjustice said...

Gary Brodsky and the guys who got jobs from him are the last people who should be lecturing on the true nature of Christmas. Especially when they can't even make it past Japanese person =/= ninja.

Tantum Ergo 2 said...

Okay. Suppose, for a moment, that I don't notice stereotypes at all. Suppose that I -enjoy- watching characters moralize, provided their understanding of morals is right. Suppose I -like- the idea of a samurai dressing up as Santa Claus and fighting evil. You're still left with -at least- the following issue...

You're a samurai, and samurai work is kind of drying up these days, so you move to America, but the best job you can get (that fits into your honor code) is at a department store. Okay. Fine. Let's also suppose that this is one of those department stores that doesn't have mandatory uniforms. Fine. Before you head off the work, you say to yourself... "You know... I'd better wear my conspicuous samurai robe, because if any political leaders stop by, looking for a samurai to protect them, I want them to notice I'm a samurai right away!"

Putting that another way, why would you want people at your department store job to know you were a samurai? Wouldn't it make more sense to dress in a rather normal manner, to blend in, if only for the purpose of doing your job?

Problem number 2. Apparently, you were raised in a province of Japan that's never heard of Christmas. Fine. Whatever. You ask your supervisor about Christmas, and he kind of gives you an answer that doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense (goodwill? Shouldn't that be every day of the year?) But whatever.

Now, the question still bugs you. You're sure you haven't got the whole story, so you go to the library or online or something (department store jobs on the heels of a failed samurai career clearly providing enough money for a computer and internet connection, right?) and you learn the true origins of Christmas and its original purpose. Weird, but okay. I'll buy it.

For the entire next day, you just sort of forget most of that while buying gifts, instead substituting pluralistic wishful thinking (that all religions are the same) until after you've bought the books and started your grand speech. You -then- remember all that stuff you found out before, and shout "oh, crap! I'd better work that religiously-specific stuff in somehow!"

Either that or one of Sam's samurai powers is to be a sort of knowledge sponge, who gradually absorbs more knowledge about the true spirit of Christmas through passive telepathy or something.

This comic has -a ton- of problems.

Also, Merry Christmas, Dr. Linksano.

John Pannozzi said...

Hey, Lewis, did you hear about Frank Miller's perfume commercial?

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/08/video-frank-miller-gives-sin-city-treatment-to-perfume-ad/

arw1985 said...

@riffingacademy - That was awesome.

Man, that was a weird comic. Good review. Also, check out Samurai Jack. You'll probably like it. It's got Mako in it for goodness sake!

le-messor said...

Y'know, racism and racial insensitivity are not the same thing.

It is true that many people believe all religions are the same - there are at least two separate religions in my hometown alone dedicated to that idea. (Technically, a religion and a spiritual organisation.)

~ Mik

Synchronist said...

If you're wondering how big Japanese robots can be, Engine-Oh G-12 is very, very, large.

Rak Nay said...

Changing the subject.
Where is the Day of the doctor review?

Lewis Lovhaug said...

"Changing the subject.
Where is the Day of the doctor review?"

I never said I was going to do one. And as I've said on twitter and tumblr, my opinion is simple: it was a good episode, but not a good 50th anniversary.

Shada67 said...

How is he a samurai if he's Mongolian as they say??

NelsonStJames said...

Did anyone notice Clark Kent and Matt Murdock in the crowd listening to the meaning of Christmas speech?