Throwback Comic Review: “Pete the P.O.’d Postal Worker: Pete’s Very Special Christmas” (Sharkbait Press)
Welcome back to Jolly Jinglings, The Splintering’s celebration celebration of all things that shake like a bowl full of jelly.
Today we’re going to take a look at Pete the P.O.’d Postal Worker: Pete’s Very Special Christmas, which was published in 1997 by Sharkbait Press.
Written by Marcus P. Meleton and illustrated by Pete Garcia, the book follows the titular Pete, who is the most dedicated post office employee there is. He follows the rules to a “T”. He doesn’t take bathroom breaks, and neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop him from getting the mail through – and woe betide anyone who gets in his way!
Every Christmas season, Pete takes it upon himself to hand deliver children’s letters to Santa Claus, which takes him through the treacherous Canadian high arctic tundra on Christmas Eve.
Unfortunately for Pete, this year’s journey is even more dangerous than usual. You see, the makers of “Eenie Babies” are having trouble keeping up with demand for the big toy of the year. They need more resources than their east Asian sweatshop can provide, so they decide to kidnap Santa and use his sleigh to assist with distribution and enslave Santa’s elves and force them to make nothing but Eenie Babies.
While en route to the North Pole, Pete finds himself caught by surprise and captured along Saint Nick. Pete’s a resourceful little scamp, and he manages to free himself and Santa, then makes his way to the elves’ workshop to liberate the pointy-eared toymakers.
In addition to the Eenie Babies, there are toys that serve as several humorous pop culture references, some of which are 1997-specific, such as Single Mom Barbie, Blarney the Dinosaur, and the Teledummies. It is funny to see how some of these are woven into the story, but younger audiences won’t appreciate them quite as much as readers who are at least 30 years old.
On the art side, the book’s interiors are 100 percent black and white. Pete Garcia’s illustrations are exaggerated and dynamic, but they don’t always make full use of black and white aesthetic. It often works well enough for separating foreground and background, but it doesn’t consistently provide the level of depth or dimension I’d prefer with a black and white book. It’s also a little bit difficult to follow the action at times, but the irreverent artwork is still a good match for the lighthearted tone of the story. It’s also worth noting that Pete’s Very Special Christmas is not gruesome or overly violent, and it can probably be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
Overall, Pete the P.O.’d Postal Worker: Pete’s Very Special Christmas is an enjoyable, straightforward story with a really funny premise. As a child of the 80s and 90s, all of the jokes and pop culture references landed with me, but readers of other ages might miss some of the gags. I’m still debating whether this is one that I will return to this one in the future, but if you want a fun holiday comic with a cheap buy-in price (it’s priced very affordably through second-hand sellers), then Pete’s Very Special Christmas is a solid choice.
Thanks for reading!
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