Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Days of Christmas with Todd Martin

12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza is being brought to you by Peggy at Pawing Through Books, Jennifer at Books and Barks, and myself. 
Each day for the next 12 days each of our blogs will feature a different author. There will be guest posts, interviews and giveaways! So be sure to stop at each blog to join in the fun!

A special thank you to all the authors who are participating and those who have donated prizes!


Today's guest is:
 Todd Martin 
 While Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday (that honor belongs to Halloween, surprise, surprise) I still enjoy it. Christmas means a lot of things to me, one of them being that it is a time to get together with family and friends to celebrate (and getting gifts). While it may be cliché as hell to say it, Christmas is a time for creating memories that last an entire lifetime (and getting gifts). I have an extraordinary memory and can remember each and every Christmas that I have had since around the age of four or so down to the smallest detail. I have a ton of Christmas memories, both good ones (such as countless times making Christmas cookies with my mother, my first Christmas with Trish, etc) and bad ones (visiting my grandfather in the hospital on Christmas Eve when I was in the 10 grade or the following Christmas which was the first one after his death).  I could go on and on about all the memoires that I have stored in my head that are related to Christmas, but instead I think I will just pick one that really stands out for me.  Come back in time with me if you would, to Christmas of 1984, the year that I got the greatest Christmas gift ever.
                I was ten-years-old and didn’t believe in Santa Claus anymore, so instead of making lists my older sister and I would just tell our parents what we wanted for Christmas. In most cases we would go to K-Mart and whichever other store my parents were shopping at and pick out what we wanted. My mom (who usually did the shopping) would buy what we wanted, wrap it in X-mas paper and stick it under the tree for us to open on Christmas morning. Basically we knew every single thing that we were getting each year (with the exception of one or two things that my mom picked up when we weren’t with her) and there was something very special that I wanted that year.
                Like with horror films, I have been a comic book/super hero geek pretty much from day one. I used to rush home every day from fifth grade to watch the DC Super Friends cartoon on WGN (and would always be incredibly pissed off when it was preempted by Cubs baseball, which happened quite regularly to my dismay during baseball season). I loved the cartoon and it was pretty much the highlight of my day at the time. Aquaman was my favorite (hey, stop laughing! I thought he was cool! I was just ten and didn’t know any better!) but I thought that Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Superman were awesome too (see, I was smart enough to know that Robin sucked at  an early age which makes up for being an Aquaman fan).  When I wasn’t watching the cartoon my best friend Dusty and I were pretending that we were Aquaman and Superman and we were saving the day from the likes of the Joker, Lex Luthor, and Brainiac. I was totally and completely into these characters so you can imagine how happy and excited I was when I was watching the show one chilly October day and they showed a commercial for the action figure line based on my favorite super heroes (believe it or not I wasn’t into Spider-Man until years later. I know that is hard for some of the people who know me to believe since I am so fanatical about Spidey now, but I swear it is the truth).
                Did I say I was excited? That is an understatement as I think I came close to having a heart attack and wetting myself simultaneously. After I got over my initial excitement and caught my breath I ran into the kitchen to tell my mother about what I’d just seen.  Speaking at around 200 words per minute I told my poor confused mom that I wanted all of the action figures for Christmas (yes, even Robin. I mean if I didn’t have him who was Batman going to save all the time?).  The main thing that I’d seen in the commercial that I wanted though was the Hall of Justice.
                For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Super Friends, the Hall of Justice was the home base for Superman and the others (it wasn’t a court house where a judge heard cases concerning issues such as child support and gave a ruling in case you were wondering as that would make for a pretty lame toy). Supes, Bats, and the others lived there, devised plans to thwart countless evil plots, and presumably ate, slept, and used the bathroom there. The plays set version had a working elevator, a jail cell with a trap door (so the Penguin would have a place to hang out after Batman kicked the crap out of him yet again), a landing pad for Superman’s Supermobile (why did Superman need a craft for fly around in when he could fly? I don’t know.), and a computer desk that had four little chairs in front of it. Without a doubt it was the most awesome toy I had ever seen up until that point, and I had to have it.
                Mom agreed to get it for me and told me that when the Sears Christmas catalog came that we would order the Hall of Justice) and I could have it for X-mas. I checked the mail every single day for what seemed like an eternity until if finally arrived one Saturday morning. As soon as I got it I opened it up and found my beloved Hall of Justice and made my mom order it right then and there (there was a number in the catalog that you could call and place an order with until noon on Saturdays and I am sure my mother was thanking God for this because it didn’t mean that she had to hear me talk about it all weekend). Because I was a spoiled rotten little brat my mom went ahead and ordered the Aquaman and Green Lantern action figures for me as well.
                After what seemed like several years the Hall of Justice play set finally arrived. I begged my mom to let me open the box and look at it and after getting tired of hearing me whine about it she gave in and let me do so. I wasn’t satisfied with just opening the box (of course) so I asked if I could put the play set together and Mom said that it was fine (I assume she was too tired to argue with me about it). My sister helped me put it together and I actually played with it for an hour or so before I bid a sad farewell to it and put it back in the box, knowing that I wouldn’t see it again until Christmas morning (which was over a month away).
                After spending many school days that consisted of sitting in class imagining what I was going to do with the Hall of Justice and all the action figures Christmas Eve finally arrived. We went to my grandparents that night like we always did and while I had a great time and got some awesome gifts I was still eager for Christmas morning to get there so I could open up the Hall of Justice and give it a whirl. 
                When we got back home that night and went to bed I had a lot of trouble sleeping. I was excited that I was going to get the Hall of Justice and a ton of other gifts in the morning, but I was also a little scared too. My uncle had shared some very creepy ghost stories with me and my mom and as I lay in bed that night I just couldn’t stop thinking about them. In addition, I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie “Silent Night, Deadly Night” which had just been released (and quickly pulled from theaters due to the angry mobs protesting its content) and while I hadn’t seen it yet I was still pretty freaked out by the idea of being visited by an ax-welding Santa.
                I lay there for several hours with my thoughts alternating between the adventures I was going to have with the Super Friends and being decapitated by a homicidal Santa. I tossed. I turned. I actually got up at one point and drew on a Magic Slate that was decorated with pictures of Gizmo, Stripe, and the other Gremlins on the sides of it at one point, but nothing seemed to help me sleep. It was around one in the morning that I thought I heard footsteps on the roof and pictured Santa crashing through my bedroom window at any minute to stab me to death with an icicle that I got up and ran to my parents’ room.
                Long story short, I made them (and my sister) get up so we could go ahead and open Christmas gifts. We always did it on Christmas morning (which it was, technically, as I kept reminding my parents) but once my family realized that there was no way I was going back to sleep (which meant that none of them would be able to do so either) they gave in and reluctantly agreed that it would just be best to open the gifts then.
                I almost cried when I opened my beloved Hall of Justice. I had gotten most of the action figures to go with it (except for Wonder Woman, who was impossible to find anywhere) and spent hours upon hours playing with them all together.  My parents and sister went back to bed at one point after opening all of their gifts, but I didn’t. I stayed up all night playing with my new toys and having a blast. My mom had a basket of little Andes mints that had green wrappers on them and I remember pretending that they were bars of Kryptonite that Lex and Brainiac were using to weaken Superman until the Flash ran in and saved him (by quickly taking off with the Kryptonite and allowing Supes to get his powers back).
                Over the years I had many wonderful times with the Hall of Justice and the action figures that went with it. I still have it, and while it is missing a few parts (like the landing pad, which I never really used anyway) it is still in pretty good shape. I still have most of the action figures too (Flash was involved in a unfortunate BB gun assassination that blew his head off and Robin disappeared somewhere-no one really cared except for Batman though) and there are still times that I actually take them all out of the closet at my parent’s house and look at all of them with a smile on my face when I think back to how happy they made me.
                There you have it. That is what Christmas means to me. I know it may sound selfish that I didn’t say that it meant peace, love, and things of that nature, but I had to be honest.  I have to disagree with those of you who argue that Christmas is too materialistic (these are usually the people who complain the loudest when they don’t get what they wanted for Christmas in my experience) or with those who think that kids are greedy and selfish just because they ask for a certain Christmas gift. I think that if these people got to experience the happiness I did when I got my Hall of Justice (or the warm, fuzzy feeling that I get now when I think about it) they would change their tune very fast. I am all for good will toward man, peace on earth and all that, but to me Christmas is also about gifts.  

Here are Todd's Links:
Thadd Presley Presents Horror Link (I have 3 stories published in it): http://www.amazon.com/Thadd-Presley-Presents-Nate-Burleigh/dp/1617061522
Horrornews.net Link (I do book and movie reviews here): http://horrornews.net/
Short N Scary Site (I have several stories published here) http://www.shortnscarystories.com/author/toddm316/
My IMDB page (which only has a couple of things on it): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1378524/

When you finished here please stop by and see Jenn at http://www.booksandbarks.com/and Peggy at http://www.pawingthroughbooks.com

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