Chris the octopus was content as could be under the sea. He knew nothing of Christmas or holiday cheer. That was until, one day, Santa Claus lost his famous hat–and it found a new home on Chris’ head! In Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus, writer Paul Mattingly and illustrator F. Andrew Taylor tell the hilarious story of what happened next to Chris in this rhyming tale set to the meter of “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”
“Christmapus was conceived on a cruise ship,” said Mattingly. “During Thanksgiving dinner, my friends and I were talking of traditions and we thought of the thing kids do where they trace their hand and make that into a turkey. I thought it would be fun to use both hands to create an octopus. Soon, we were joking about a Christmas octopus who gave meat to kids on the holiday. I was inspired and wrote the story-slash-poem in one marathon session that night.”
“When he got back on dry land, Paul performed Christmapus at a sketch show, where I was in the audience,” Taylor said. “After the show, I told him I was interested in illustrating it and he told me he had planned on asking me to illustrate it. Really, it’s mostly Paul’s madness. I added a few elements when I drew it, but it was mostly there in Paul’s text already.”
Mattingly and Taylor self-published the 34-page story in 2013 as a coloring book, which quickly delighted readers of all ages with its twisted humor and cartoonish illustrations. Pop! Goes the Icon helped distribute the original edition through our website and at trade shows, and based on positive reaction to the tentacled yuletide tale, we decided to publish the book in a mass-market edition, just in time for the 2015 holiday season.
“At comic conventions, we’d sell out copies of the black-and-white edition no matter what time of year,” said Pop! Goes the Icon publisher Pj Perez. “This was too charming of a book to stay hidden for very long. We knew Christmapus needed to stretch its tentacles!”
This new paperback edition has been entirely remastered from the inside out. In addition to producing an entirely new, full-color cover, Taylor colored all of the interior illustrations using a limited palette of muted tones, intended to replicate the look of mid-20th-century children’s books.
“The story of Christmapus is ultimately a hopeful one and a call for everyone to expand their spirit of giving all year long, not just during the holidays,” Mattingly said. “The story is unique and quirky and if I’ve done my job, perhaps reading Christmapus can become a favorite holiday tradition for your family.”
Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus (ISBN 9780990568827; $7.99 US) is now available for pre-order, shipping Dec. 1.