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Santa Claus was a serial killer: Inside the harsh holiday crime thriller by James Tynion IV and Joshua Hixson

Tynion is creating a new horror for the holidays with artist Joshua Hixson starting this November

The Deviant
Image credit: Image Comics

He knows if you've been bad or good… and that's part of the problem. Creators James Tynion IV and Joshua Hixson are teaming up with letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou for a new holiday-themed horror series from Image Comics launching this November, titled The Deviant, with a killer hook (no pun intended) of a murderous Santa Claus.

Holiday horror is, of course, something that we're all very familiar with, but this new series promises something more than a killer snowman or two. As the holiday season approaches, a journalist interviews the Deviant Killer — a man convicted of being a serial killer in '70s Milwaukee who preyed on young men, while dressed as Ol' Saint Nick.

But, even as he proclaims his innocence, is the Deviant Killer preparing to strike again…? And is there more to the story than meets the eye? Surely he's not the real Santa, right? But then again, the rules are different during the holiday season, just as they're different during horror stories, so all bets are off.

“The Deviant is something a little different," Tynion IV explained in a statement from the publisher. "A dark, focused psychological crime thriller where I get to explore the intersection of my queer identity and a broader scope of cultural transgression and deviance. This is my response to Silence of the Lambs and Jeffrey Dahmer serving as my first real glimpses of my queer identity as a young closeted Midwestern boy. It’s one of the darkest and most personal stories I’ve ever written. It’s also a story about Christmas.”

The nine-issue series is “the kind of book i’ve been wanting to make for a long time,” added co-creator Hixson. “While I’ve been no stranger to the horror genre in my career of making comics, this story scratches a particular itch and is unlike anything I’ve been a part of. And to get to do it with James, Steve, and Hassan at Image Comics has been so creatively rewarding. I’m really excited for people to read it this holiday season.”

The first issue of the series will be released November 15, and feature two covers from Hixson, as well as covers from Martin Simmonds, Andrea Sorrentino, Sean Phillips, Christian Ward, and Lee Bermejo. Look below for the issue’s main cover, as well as interior art from Hixson. Just remember: Be good, for goodness' sake.

Look, it’s James Tynion IV, officially comics’ best writer, at least according to Eisner voters.

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