13 COVERS: Merry Christmas — 2023 Edition!

A stocking full of Yuletide cool…


Some might argue that it’s a fool’s errand to put together yet another piece that celebrates 13 great Christmas covers (and comics) since there have been so many here already over the past decade. I mean, 13thD has offered up 13 Christmas Covers in 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Paul Kupperberg’s 13 picks for 2020 and 2021, Groovy Comic Strips in 2021, 13 Dell Christmas covers in 2022, and a tribute to Neal Adams by his son-in-law, Pete Stone, this year.

So there can’t possibly be anything else worth covering, right? Wrong! Luckily, holiday-themed covers are one of the most prevalent of any comics cover theme. And I’d know—I’ve been presenting a wide array of cover themes as a regular feature in my Substack newsletter.

What I’ve done here is cross-reference every Christmas-themed 13th Dimension piece I could find, and eliminate any cover that’s already been featured from consideration this year. While this has meant I have to exclude some of my all-time favorites, like Nick Cardy’s Teen Titans #13 cover or The Amazing Spider-Man #166 featuring the Lizard and Stegron, there are still plenty more worth featuring. And there will be next year, and in 2025, and on and on. In fact, DC Comics is offering an entire Christmas-themed cover month to end the year and while I tend to stick to older covers when I fill out my spinner racks, there are some good new covers that’ll be making the cut in the future.

This is something I’ve been training for for years now, really – I buy every Christmas-themed cover I can find (even more so if the cover is something from within a series’ ongoing run rather than a specific Christmas-themed one-shot, which feels a bit like cheating to me, unless the cover is too good to deny, like, say, DC’s Christmas with the Super-Heroes #1 by John Byrne from 1988. But since that one has been featured in a past column at this site, it won’t make the cut today.

Before I jump into 13 specifics, for some reason, I felt compelled to lay out all of my Christmas-themed covers last year and take a pic. The list of titles in this group has grown by maybe another dozen covers since then, so it’s nice to have the added flexibility of additional covers I can swap in as the month goes along.

For those who’re maybe a little less manic about such things, though, here are 13 More Christmas Covers for 2023! Hope you’ve all had a great holiday season and carry that into 2024!

Archie’s Christmas Stocking #2 by Harry Lucey (1955). I know that one of Paul K’s columns featured a similar image, but the cover to Archie’s Christmas Stocking #137 wasn’t a reprint, it was an homage, featuring then-more-modern versions of all the characters in the same basic layout.

Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer #1 by Keith Giffen and Bob Oskner (1988). A favorite issue of mine among all the fun Ambush Bug comics that Giffen and Oskner illustrated.

Bizarre Adventures #35 by Joe Jusko (1982). One of the Christmas issues I re-read every year. It’s dark, it’s twisted, and it features a retelling of It’s a Wonderful Life featuring Howard the Duck as drawn by Paul Smith, and other other blackly comedic stories, and I love it.

Batman #33 by Dick Sprang (1946). I love that the Dynamic Duo even decorated their Christmas tree in full costumes. It’s also notable because the series also featured a Christmas cover only six issues prior, too.

Comico Christmas Special #1 by Dave Stevens (1988). Any excuse to run any Dave Stevens cover. I love the sweetness and humanity in this image featuring a family of non-humans.

Daredevil #229 by David Mazzucchelli (1986). Not all Christmas-themed covers have to be schmaltzy, and this one, coming at a particularly bleak “darkest before dawn” moment in my all-time favorite Marvel story, is definitely not that. But it’s beautiful just the same.

Elvira’s House of Mystery Presents: Elvira’s Haunted Holidays #1 by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (1987). Along with my “any excuse to run a Dave Stevens cover” rationale is a similar “any excuse to showcase JLGL’s art” rule, too.

Hot Wheels #6 by Neal Adams (1970). I love an image of a lethal Santa operating his sleigh like he’s behind the wheel of Christine. Especially when it’s illustrated by Neal Adams.

Mad #172 by Norman Mingo (1975). This cover seems less ridiculous in an era where pre-fab trees are so prevalent now (I’ve been using one myself the past few years).

Marvel Age #49 by Sergio Aragones (1987). Sergio provided a number of Groo Christmas-themed covers for Marvel Age (see also: Issue #s 61, 73, 85, 96, and 109) and any of them could’ve made the cut here, but the cut Groo is looking to make on this image earned my vote this time around.

Kiss Kids #4 by Jose Holder (2013). Self-serving, yes, but I had to include my one entry into the Christmas-cover pantheon with my 2013 all-ages Kiss series, perfectly executed by artist Holder.

The Witching Hour #28 by Nick Cardy (1973). Hmm, looking at many of my pics, I’m starting to think I have a thing for the dark Christmas images… but when they look as nice as this Cardy image, who can blame me?

Uncanny X-Men #143 by Terry Austin (1980). I was surprised that this one wasn’t featured before but I’m happy to end this year’s piece with it the same way it ended the Byrne/Austin Uncanny X-Men. It’s a perennial favorite of mine and it also happens to feature my favorite cover background color, purple, which gets it an extra mention on my Nice List.


— A Loving Tribute to THE SILENT NIGHT OF THE BATMAN — and NEAL ADAMS. Click here.

— A DAREDEVIL CHRISTMAS, by Ann Nocenti. Click here.

Chris Ryall is the co-owner/publisher of Image Comics imprint Syzygy Publishing. His latest series is Tales of Syzpense, out now. Subscribe to his Substack of the same name!

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Wow! Thanks! 1988 was pretty busy for me so I’m not sure I saw the “Christmas With The Super Heroes” issue, but I love the cover! Especially Supes trying to x-ray the lead package! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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  2. I never saw the ‘88 DC Xmas Special until this year in another article. Picked up a copy recently too….just need time to read it now. I’m going to have to find that Howard the Duck one next. And while not a fan of dark stories, it sure is a wonderful surprise to see such a great Cardy cover for the first time. Merry Christmas, everyone!

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