Stuart Douglas Señor 105 and the Secret Santa (2012)
I know it's probably a bit late to be reviewing such a season specific eNovella, but then I'm sure I've seen Simpsons Christmas specials broadcast in June, and I need a bit of a break - something short, light and a bit sugary after a sleepless night interrupted by, amongst other things, Junior requiring a glass of water at 4AM having apparently failed to realise that being nine years old he is now expected to be able to operate a fucking electric light switch and turn a tap under his own steam.
Cody Quijano-Schell's Señor 105, in the event of anyone not being aware of the character, is a masked Mexican wrestler who engages in peculiar adventures drawing elemental power from his various masks and alchemical tattoos, assisted by a small boy and a talking balloon; and this one's about a fight between Father Christmas and the Devil, kind of...
In the improbable event of this description not being in itself sufficient to inspire your interest, Señor 105 and the Secret Santa is the fourth in an ongoing series of hypothetically bi-monthly eNovellas working roughly like a regular comic but without pictures. Stuart Douglas takes the series in the direction of what feels almost like magic realism - or what I imagine I might have found had I ever knowingly read any magic realism - with a touch of Morcambe and Wise Christmas Special for no reason I can quite identify. I have to say it felt a little rushed in places, but there's always something quite solid and satisfying about Stuart Douglas's writing - even if there's an odd word that jars, it always feels as though it's built up from a well-laid foundation, and this eNovella is no exception. I found the events around the middle of the tale a little muddled in places, and my inner-anthropologist spent some time mumbling about Mexican villages which appeared to be situated in the Andes - but it all comes together beautifully at the end. Short, satisfying, and the kind of story which wouldn't really work so well with any other character in the driving seat, excepting possibly Bill Griffiths' Zippy the Pinhead.
And you can download it here for free.