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‘Christmapus’ launching with author signing event in Vegas on Dec. 10

Paul Mattingly, F Andrew Taylor

Paul Mattingly, F Andrew Taylor

Writer Paul Mattingly and illustrator F. Andrew Taylor will celebrate the release of the new paperback, color edition of their twisted yuletide tale, Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus, with a special event on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. inside Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 567 N. Stephanie St. in Henderson, Nev., featuring a reading of the book by RJ Owens, who plays Bebe François in Mystère by Cirque du Soleil.

Christmapus, which has been called “a fun gift for the person in your life who enjoys a bit of sideways humor,” tells the story of Chris the octopus, who finds himself transformed into Christmapus when Santa’s lost hat lands on Chris’ head. It’s a rhyming tale that’s as funny as it is touching. The book is now available in print for $7.99 or for your Kindle device for only $2.99.

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‘Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus’ wraps its tentacles around readers this holiday season

christmapus cover

christmapus coverChris 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.

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Pop! Goes the Icon’s fall and winter lineup offers illustrated fun for everyone


When it launched in early 2010, Omega Comics Presents had only one mission: To provide a platform for underexposed comic book creators. Behind the quirky stories of mobster ghosts, stranded astronauts and wartime vampires were a number of creators who would go on to find success both with independent endeavors and mainstream projects, including Jason Copland (Kill All Monsters, POP), Ed Brisson (Murder Book, Sheltered) and John Bivens (Dark Engine, Old Wounds).

After a brief hiatus, Omega Comics Presents is back, beginning with the all-ages standalone tale, “Stranger,” written by Russell Lissau (Old Wounds) with art, colors and letters by Dirk I. Tiede (Paradigm Shift). Debuting Oct. 13 on ComiXology and other digital comics platforms—with a limited-release print edition following Oct. 21—Omega Comics Presents: Stranger leads off an entire season of new comics and books from Pop! Goes the Icon.

On Nov. 18, the trade paperback collection of Russell Lissau and John Bivens’ acclaimed murder-mystery series, Old Wounds, will hit comic and book shops, offering an additional 20 pages of new and rare content, including behind-the-scenes sketches, essays, and a reprinting of Lissau and Bivens’ previous collaboration, “One of Us,” from the first volume of Omega Comics Presents.

Then, just in time for the holiday season, Paul Mattingly and F. Andrew Taylor’s illustrated story, Christmapus: The Christmas Octopus, comes to bookstores on Dec. 1. This rhyming tale of what happens when Santa’s famous hat lands on an unwitting octopus’ head puts a twisted spin on traditional children’s holiday books, offering humorous fun for adults and less-impressionable children alike.

Omega Comics Presents then returns on Jan. 13, 2016, as Albert the Alien co-creator Trevor Mueller teams with artist Francesco Iaquinta for “Los Ojos,” the story of a hitman whose senses allow him to see the true nature of his targets. The digital-first release of Omega Comics Presents: Los Ojos will be followed by a print edition on Jan. 20.

Find out where you can purchase any of these books and comics!