By Raymond Briggs (Picture Puffin)
ISBN 10: 0-14050-187-8 ISBN 13: 978-0-14050-187-2
Our industry seems to wilfully neglect this creator whose graphic narratives have reached more hearts and minds than X-Men or Judge Dredd ever will, but his works remain among the most powerful and important in the entire field.
In Father Christmas (ISBN 13: 978-0-14050-125-4) Briggs presented a marvellously crusty, utterly British character getting the job done, and he returned to the old fellow two years later in a much more whimsical mood.
In this 32 page sequel we find the old codger in a bit of a quandary. It’s time for his summer holidays and he doesn’t know where to go. It has to be hot. There should be good food, but nothing too fancy. No poncey, expensive hotels either, but not camping. And he doesn’t want to be recognised… And then it hits him. A touring holiday! By converting the sled into a camper van he can fly wherever he wants!
He starts off with France, which is beautiful but the food’s a little too posh – and costly, and that combined with campsite toilets… Well! It’s the last straw, though, when the kids find his reindeer and get suspicious, so it’s all aboard and off to Bonny Scotland!
This is much better, but there are still kids who recognise him, and it’s not exactly warm, so it’s away again to hot and sassy Las Vegas for some pampering before heading home, broke but refreshed, and ready again for that big night in December…
Despite being quite different in tone, the character of Father Christmas is still a warmly evocative reminder of times and persons sadly and slowly fading into history, but the real star of this book is Briggs amazingly versatile art; shifting from jolly cartoons to brilliantly powerful watercolour landscapes to sublime narrative sequences with dazzling ease. How many artists today (and tomorrow) got that first push of creative aspiration and desire from a gem like this?
This book is also available in a combined edition with its predecessor, Father Christmas.
© 1973 Raymond Briggs. All Rights Reserved.