Originally published on my blog, My Urban Fantasies.
( http://myurbanfantasies.blogspot.com )
Brom's art is simply amazing, although a little creepy. Krampus: The Yule Lord is a dark but surprisingly uplifting story. Bram has this amazing gift for showing the dark parts of humanity while still managing to give you a sense of hope. Krampus and Santa are rich and complex characters. I could not help falling in love with Krampus, he's definitely my favorite character. Krampus is endearing one moment and very naughty the next. I also loved the fact that Brom mixed the story of Krampus with Norse mythology.
Yule is the rebirth of seasons and the true spirit of Mother Earth. Without Yuletide the earth cannot heal herself. If mankind stops believing, if the spirit of Yule fades, Mother Earth will wither and die. The power of mankind's belief, their love and devotion, is what heals the land. But mankind eventually had new gods, the old ways were being forgotten. Krampus the Yule Lord's shrines were being abandoned. By the early 1300s a new tradition named Christmas had begun. More and more people began celebrating Christmas, Yule and Winter Solstice were being forgotten. Krampus decided that he would remind them, rewarding children that remembered him with a gift from Loki's sack and punishing those who did not.
Santa Clause is really Baldr, the son of Odin. Baldr was Odin's most beloved son and was virtually indestructible. The only thing that could harm Baldr was mistletoe. Loki, Krampus' grandfather, saw Baldr for the treacherous person he was. Loki tricked Hoor, Baldr's blind brother, into killing Baldr. Baldr was then imprisoned in Hel, where Krampus' mother ruled. There was a prophecy that Baldr would be reborn on earth after earth was cleansed of darkness by an all-consuming fire. Baldr was to be reborn a god of light and peace, a just god, to watch over the world of men. The fire never came and sometime between the 1300 and 1400s Krampus found Baldr stumbling around in the woods. Krampus pitied Baldr and brought Baldr back to his house. Krampus offered Baldr brotherhood and a place a his side, but Baldr had decided to embrace Saint Nicholas. Baldr told Krampus that the old ways were dead and the ancient's time on earth had passed. Baldr imprisoned Krampus and tries to learn the magic of Loki's sack. Baldr had betrayed his heritage, Krampus and the ancient ones.
Baldr's obsession with Saint Nicholas grew. He started dressing like Saint Nicholas, growing his hair and beard long. Baldr started visiting homes on Christmas day, pretending he was Saint Nicholas, and handing out presents. In the 1400s Baldr started parading Krampus around in a cart pulled by goats. Krampus sat on a throne of rotting vegetables. Baldr preached Christian virtues and called Krampus nothing more than a wicked imp, an evil buffoon. Year after year this would continue unless Krampus revealed the secret of Loki's sack.
That stopped in the early 1500s. Krampus thought Baldr had forgotten him until Baldr showed up in front of his cell door. Baldr introduced himself as Father Christmas and told Krampus he was no longer needed. Baldr had unlocked the secret of Loki's sack using blood magic, the very thing he preached against. Baldr claimed that it was time for Krampus to be utterly forgotten and flew them across the ocean to America and chained Krampus in a cave were no one would ever find him.
That's were Krampus sat for 500 years, in a cave in Boone County, West Virginia. All the plotting and waiting is now over, Krampus is free. Now the epic battle between Krampus and Santa Clause can begin. Krampus now only has two things left to accomplish, to kill Santa Clause and spread the splendor of Yuletide once again, returning Mother Earth to her glory.”