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Like Beyoncé, I’ve been busy these last few weeks putting together an album in secret that I planned on releasing with absolutely no warning. Unlike Beyoncé, very few people are going to care about this one. Ah, well. My fault for not being astonishingly talented and famous and good-looking. Something to think about for the next one, I suppose.

Anyway.

Yes! A Christmas mixtape! I made one of those! For you! Yes! You! Why? Because I like you, silly! You’re so kind and funny and your hair always looks fantastic and I just wanted to do something nice to show you how much I appreciate you and the friendship we share. It’s kind of the season for that, y’know?

What Christmas Means To Me is made up of several of my favorite Christmas songs. Some of them are super fun and just kind of make you want to dance and sing along. Some are all laid back and nonchalant and perfect for sipping on some egg nog by the fire.

01. Darlene Love: Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) // 02. Stevie Wonder: What Christmas Means To Me // 03. The Drifters: White Christmas // 04. Ella Fitzgerald: Have yourself a merry little Christmas  // 05. Eartha Kitt: Santa, Baby // 06. Louis Armstrong: ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? // 07. The Ronettes: Sleigh Ride // 08. Ray Charles: Winter Wonderland // 09. Otis Redding: Merry Christmas Baby // 10. Bobby Womack: The Christmas Song // 11. James Brown: Let’s Unite The Whole World At Christmas //12. Vince Guaraldi Trio: Christmas Time Is Here // 13. Silent Track // 14. Jackson 5: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

You can download the What Christmas Means To Me here. I really do hope you enjoy it.

Happy holidays, you guys. Be good to each other.

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Hey kids,

While I’m posting art, thought I’d share with you the reference sketches I did a couple of weeks ago for the animated Christmas comic I put up last weekend. While the drawing style for the comic was a lot simpler and more cartoony, my initial sketches fairly realistic.


Both Jabba and Bib Fortuna were drawn with a black 01 Micron pen and touched up with my trusty Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. No pencils were involved in any stage of these drawings; only ink and paper.

(I also did a Salacious Crumb sketch, but was nowhere near as satisfied with it as I was with these two.)

Hope ya like.

-F

Dear Santa,

Sorry to be writing to you at the last minute like this. According to NORAD, you’re already halfway across Asia. Thank God for modern technology otherwise you might not be reading this at all.

(Speaking of modern tech, thanks for all of the nice comments you’ve made on my blog. I appreciate your readership, yo.)

So I know every year I write you a nice long letter with a laundry list of things that I want – if not for me, then for the world – for Christmas. But this year is kind of different. This year has been kind of a rough one, y’know?

Three people very close to me died pretty suddenly and unexpectedly, one right after another. I had pretty horrid nearly-yearlong relationship with a really nice girl, who just had one too many problems for me to handle and needed more help than I could give. I tried, though. You know I did. All the while I threw myself into my work and tried so hard to get our book published, only to fail miserably. And, then, I left behind everything and everyone I loved, in one city, to move back to my hometown, where the only people I really know anymore are the ones I’m directly related to.

Factor in my bipolar disorder and all of the depression that comes with mourning – three – lost loved ones and, no, I may not have handled the past year as well as I could have. You know me; I bottle shit up. I know you’re not supposed to, but that’s just how I deal. And sometimes that bottle gets a little too full, y’know? There were times when I blew up at some friends and completely lost touch with others. I would hope that they would understand the immense pressure and pain this past year has placed upon me, but I’m not sure they all do. That’s one of the pitfalls of always bottling shit up. Nobody really knows what’s in the bottle until it’s poured out.

But I’m going off of point. Point is, there were times when I may have been naughty, but I always tried my hardest to be nice, even when it was slowly killing me inside.

As for Christmas, there’s really nothing that I want from you this year, Santa. It doesn’t really feel like Christmas. Or maybe I just feel like I don’t deserve or have anything to be celebrating about this year. So feel free to skip my house. Because there’s only one thing I want for Christmas and it’s nothing that can fit in a stocking hung by the chimney with care.

If you still feel the need to give me something for Christmas, maybe you can talk to your friend Jesus for me. This is more of a “His area of expertise” kind of thing. Tell Him that I’m sorry I’m asking Him work on His birthday – God only knows how much I hate having to do that – but all I want for Christmas is to just be able to spend one more day with my Pop Pop.

He died so suddenly this year. I just one one more day to sit down and talk with him, ask him all of the questions about his life that I never got to ask, listen to all of his stories and advice that I never got to hear, eat one last Christmas meal together, to laugh and love and say a proper goodbye. I miss him so much. I just want to hug my Pop Pop one more time.

And I know my mom would appreciate it, too.

So there you go. All I want for Christmas is one more day with my Pop Pop.

If there’s anything you and your friend, Jesus, can do about that, a thousand thank yous. And, if not, I completely understand.

Safe travels, my friend, and I’ll write you again next year.

Yours,
Frank Cvetkovic

…is almost halfway through his ambitious month-long project, called 31 Days of Santa, in which — every day — he posts a new original Santa illustration, drawn in the styles and techniques of various artists.

So far, he has paid homage to Ub Iwerks, Winsor McCay, Shel Silverstein, Mike Mignola, and — one of my favorites — Dr. Seuss:

An affordable print of each piece is available for sale, as well as most of the originals, and makes a great Christmas gift.  If interested in purchase, you can contact Dirk directly here.

Be sure to check out his blog for the rest of the Santas — and some great commentary on his process — then follow him on Twitter and tell him how awesome he is.  He loves that.

Santa Claus is coming to town.  Nineteen more times.

Frankie

Hey kids,

How were your holidays?  Did you have a decent a) Christmas, b) Kwanzaa, c) Hanukkah, d) day off of work?  Hope so.

Mine was pretty god-damned great.

Until today.  Today sucked like ten-dollar whore operating a Hoover in a black hole during a My Two Dads marathon.

Which is quite a bit, in the grand scheme of things.

I was going to write out a long and carefully thought out memoir chronicling the day’s potentially tragic and somber events — To sum up: I thought I lost my grandfather, but it turns out he was merely misplaced. — but this day has worn me out completely.  I expelled all of my tears and heartache over the course of the day and I don’t think I could relive it just yet.

Although, when I can — shit! — do I have story to tell… er, write.

Instead, I want to focus my energies tonight on joy and happiness, something to lift the spirits on an otherwise gloomy day.

That said, here is a picture of my puppy — Chloe Godzilla Cvetkovic — in a Santa hat:

Frankie

Dear Santa,  

It’s been a while since we’ve talked, dude.  What’s it been?  About a year?  (Wink!)  How’ve you been?  And the missus?  The two of you go anywhere this year?  Take a little vacation?  Get a little sumthan’-sumthan’ goin’ on?  Heh heh heh.  Of course, you did.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for everything you did for me last year.  I do appreciate it.  Hope you don’t mind that I didn’t leave you any milk and cookies, though.  I just thought that if it were me making that trip, I’d want a big ol’ juicy steak and baked potato will all the fixin’s waitin’ for me.  (I know Mrs. Claus wants you to cut down on the red meat and all, but I won’t tell her if you won’t.  Wink!)  Same menu this year?

I know this is your busy season and all – and I am writing too you at the last moment – so I’ll get to the point.

All I want for Christmas this year  is a year of peace and prosperity.  End the war in the Middle East. Fix the economy.  Take care of our people here in the U.S.  Make sure we’re all safe and fed and sheltered and healthy.

That’s all I want for Christmas. Honest.

However, if you are – by chance – feeling the teensiest bit more generous than that, I wouldn’t mind getting a lucrative book deal for Christmas.  We just sent our book proposal – for our original graphic novel, Punch-Up (I’ll save you a copy.) – out to a couple of comic book publishing houses and it would just be fuckin’ tits if we actually got published.

And maybe a movie based off of one of my stories from the lucrative book deal?  That’d be nice. 

And affordable health insurance for all.  Or just me.  Whatever.

Also, could you also talk Blackalicious or the Gorillaz into making a new album? 

And a free trip through Europe

Let’s see… what else?  Ooh!  A puppy—wait… I already got on of those.  Scratch that.  A mogwai!  I’ll feed him and walk him and love him and never expose him to bright lights or water and I’ll never feed him after midnight.  I promise! 

And, hey, since you’re making that trip around the world this week, would you mind stoppn’ at some book stores across Europe and South America and pickin’ me up some comics?  It’s so hard to come by good European and Brazilian comics here in the states.  Anything by Rafael Grampa, Gustavo Duarte, Danilo Beyruth, Eduardo Medeiros, Rafael Coutinho, and some old Monsieur Jean comics.

I’d also like the Jim Henson Company to make a Muppet in my likeness.  That’s been one of my biggest dreams since I was like five years old.  I always dreamed that I would be the sarcastic third edition to the balcony, besides Statler and Waldorf, although, looking back now, I’m pretty sure I’d end up being the bear no one thought was funny.

Oh, and the 2-disc widescreen super-mega- ultra-retarded special editions of Star Trek  and Pixar’s Up!

And some new socks.

Thanks, Santa. Talk you ya next year.

Your friend (and part-time lover),
Frank Cvetkovic

PS – I know you’re busy and all – what with the workshop and the deliveries and puttin’ Mrs. Claus on the ol’ “Naughty List” — so you probably don’t get out to see movies all that often, but Tim Allen’s been making some really shitty movies in your name. There’s like three of them now. You may want to send a few elves out to “take care” of that.