James Stimpson talks about THE LIST
The List #1 – Not your normal Christmas tale… Some children want more than gifts for Christmas, they want safety & freedom; this Santa will do whatever it takes to make it a reality. With a tagline like that, I had some questions. James Stimpson was nice enough to stop by First Comics News and let our readers know what The List is all about.
First Comics News: Who is Sal?
James Stimpson: Sal is a Santa. He’s not a regular present giving Santa though, he’s the Children’s Saviour Santa. It’s his job to fly around the world every Christmas and save the children put on The List. He’s not what you would call your stereotypical Santa either; he’s not that fat and he’s not very jolly, in fact, he’s more likely to punch you in the face than give you a present. Like most Santas, he does love his whiskey, and beer, and any other kind of alcohol he can get his hands on. He struggles to come to terms with the fact that he’s only able to help children once a year and drinks away the rest of it to forget what he saw the year before.
James: He’s the real deal.
1st: What is the Santa Squad?
James: Santa Squad is an elite group of Santas who take care of Christmas every year (with help from the elves). There are the more traditional Santas who deliver presents and then there are those like Sal who take care of bigger things.
1st: Why does he dress in the red suit?
James: Tradition is part of the reason. The other is that seeing the red suit immediately puts the children he’s saving at ease and they know they can trust him, as much as children can when they’re in a horrible situation.
1st: Why can he only help children once a year?
James: Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birthday and as the leader of Santa Squad he deems that on his birthday they will go out and do good deeds. He takes a very godly approach to it all “Help them too much and they come to rely upon you.” which is something Sal disagrees with. Working within Santa Squad allows Sal to help much more than he could as a regular civilian, so he has to suck it up.
1st: What does he do the rest of the time?
James: Drinks mostly.
James: He’s very much the Jesus you would imagine, he’s level headed and very wise. He’s a father figure to Sal and offers guidance to him whether he wants it or not.
1st: Why does Jesus need an army of Santas?
James: Jesus has assembled a small number of Santas, twelve to be precise, to help him celebrate his birthday and make the world a better place. He very much believes that humans need to learn how to help themselves, but sometimes he gives them a little push.
1st: Does Jesus approve of Sal and his methods?
James: He doesn’t approve per se but he accepts it. He wants children to be safe because they’re innocent and have been put in a situation they cannot do anything about; if that means some blood needs to be spilled then so be it.
1st: What happened to turning the other cheek?
James: Jesus won’t simply turn the other cheek on children who need help, that wouldn’t be taking the moral high ground that would be burying his head in the sand and ignoring a very horrible problem. While he doesn’t believe in the motto “eye for an eye”, he does believe that good should triumph over evil and sometimes evil needs its ass kicked. Plus we don’t know what Jesus gets up to when he’s not at Santa HQ…
James: Each rescue mission requires a different set of weapons. Sometimes a silenced weapon and a knife are all that’s needed for a quick in an out. Sometimes fists are all he needs. Sometimes he needs a massive arsenal of automatic weapons when he’s got to take on a whole base of child traffickers.
1st: What about Rudolph?
James: Rudolph’s been retired, technology has progressed way past reindeer power.
1st: Who are Keith and Maggie?
James: They are part of Sal’s support team of elves. They look after him and help him get ready for Christmas every year, they have to put up with quite a lot.
James: Derek is Sal’s Chief Elf and also his best friend. Derek doesn’t put up with the nonsense Sal sends his way, which is one of the reasons Sal likes him so much.
1st: Who is Cedrick the Santa?
James: Cedrick is a Present Santa. His life is all sunshine and rainbows, he gets to deal with the happy side of Christmas. He really doesn’t like Sal and Sal doesn’t like him. Sal gets frustrated that Cedrick doesn’t understand there’s another side to Christmas and the world. Cedrick thinks Sal is a liability and his drinking gets in the way of him being the best Santa he can be.
James: You’ll have to wait and find out!
1st: What is the list that Sal makes?
James: Sal doesn’t make The List, he’s just given it to follow. In the run up to Christmas Sal and his team of elves research the different children on it and the situation they are in. Based on that they develop a plan of action and a list of equipment required in order to save the child(ren) when the time comes.
1st: What does he do with the list?
James: He goes through The List one by one saving the children as fast as he can. It’s ordered by time zone so he can save as many children in as fast a time as possible.
James: That’s right! We also ship anywhere in the world. We have Stretch Goals in place to try and help fund the second issue too.
1st: What is the minimum pledge for a digital copy?
James: £5 which is roughly $6.70 at the current exchange rate.
1st: What is the minimum pledge for a print copy?
James: £10 plus shipping.
James: We will ask those backers to send us a photo of themselves which they want to use as a likeness for the character. After that, I think it should be a surprise. We will tell them what kind of character they will be though, e.g. an elf.
1st: What other rewards are you offering?
James: We are also offer signed copies and merchandise options (button, sticker, bookmark, postcards and if we get 25 backers for the merchandise rewards we’ll be adding in a coaster too). We still have a couple of options to be Maggie, Cedrick or Derek. These are a higher tier as they’ll appear in every issue we do of The List and are main characters.
1st: You’re UK based is there any extra fee for international readers?
James: The only extra fee is the postage to get it to them.
1st: What makes The List so cool no true comic fan should miss it?
James: Santa kicks major bad guy ass!