Depending on the department store that was in your hometown, you may have some fond memories of pre-Christmas visits, agog at the various toy displays that were set up and trying to figure out just how much of those Santa was going to bring you.
Or – if you were one of the unlucky ones who didn’t have something like a Hills or Sears department store, you had to make do with the Sears Catalog. No, not like THAT! And some of the best displays these stores set up were always for Star Wars and GI Joe, both of which I loved as a kid – including Larry Hama’s long-running GI Joe comic.
So gather ‘round, kids, and let’s travel back to those days when GI Joe and Cobra battled it out on afternoon TV as Uncle Leland tells you about… The Night Before Cobra Christmas (with a hefty dose of apologies to Clement C. Moore for absolutely destroying his classic poem)!
‘Twas the night before Christmas and down at the store
I bought two Image trades, and then stole a few more.
The racks were all empty; the counters were bare,
In hopes that new comic books soon would be there.
The fanboys who waited, they mostly were males.
Because it’s a small week, the owner ran sales.
The guy at the register, and me at the rack
Were debating the merits of DC’s rollback.
When from out in the lot there arose a strange clang,
Followed quickly by gunfire and then a loud bang.
Away to the window I ran like the Flash,
Threw open the front door, and slipped on some trash.
The moon on the cars and no new-fallen snow
Made me wish it weren’t 40, but 20 below.
And there – right beside us – in front of the bank
Sat Cobra Commander in a shiny HISS tank.
With a hand on his gun and the way that he hissed,
I knew without doubt: the Commander was pissed.
More rapid than bullets his minions they came,
His fist shook, and he screamed, and he called them by name:
“Now, Destro! Now Major! Let’s start up the attacks!
Fire, Zartan! Fire, Ripper! Fire, Xatom and Tomax!
In the bank – steal the money! Grab the Toys For Tots!
Sell them on eBay; screw those whiny young snots!”
I first felt a strange breeze then heard noise from the sky.
While inside the bank, Cobra minions they ran,
Grabbing money and toys in an empty trash can,
From the clouds flew a copter carrying a nuke,
A team of eight Joes, and their leader was Duke!
As I drew a deep breath and was turning around,
Down a rope ladder Snake Eyes came with a bound.
“Quite frankly,” I orated, “you look like a nut!”
A bag of new toys he had roped to his back,
In his pants were two swords that were wedged in his crack.
Snake Eyes – how he darted! His two swords, how they sped.
The Commander’s employees just lay there and bled.
Then Scarlett joined in with her tiny crossbow.
And yes, Deep Six was there, although why I don’t know.
The butt of his gun, Duke clutched tight on his hip;
Seems to me his hand suffered from tight kung-fu grip.
The Commander, he screamed and quivered like jelly:
“I should have stayed home! Watched some porn on the telly!”
He fired up his tank, but before rolling away
He screamed at the Joes, “I’ll be back and you’ll pay!”
A wink from Duke’s eye, a salute from his right
Let me know all was fine on this winter’s night.
They spoke not a word, but went straight to the toys,
And refilled the stockings for good girls and boys.
Then grabbing the rope that hung down from the skids
He gave a brief nod, “You don’t eff with the kids!”
He rose through the air, to his team yelled out “Yo, Joe!”
And away they all flew as it started to snow.
And I heard the Joes call, as they had to get going -
“Merry Christmas to all, half the battle is knowing!”
To each of my readers, however you celebrate Christmas…
Whether it’s about the birth of the Christ child in a manger…
Or whether it’s time with family…
Or whether it’s time with your friends….
Or whether it’s just time to relax from your ordinary routine…
Been so busy eating fruitcake that you missed one of my three previous Christmas posts and need to get in the spirit of the holiday? Well these probably aren’t the best way to do it, but you can catch up below.
The 12 Comic Days of Christmas – Counting down the 12 Days with 78 comic covers. (And a healthy round of egg nog after attempting that one!)
Covering Christmas – I look for the spirit of Christmas with a lot of help from covers of classic Christmas comics.
Yes, Virginia – There’s Still A Santa Claus – As is the case with any good comic, we reboot the classic newspaper editorial.