In Holland, no Christmas celebration is complete without the inclusion of Zwarte Piet. The character was introduced as a Santa Claus companion in 1850, and he's basically a Moorish slave from Spain that Santa freed from bondage. Piet helps Santa by distributing gifts, and punishing naughty children by sneaking into their houses, beating the shit out of them, and taking them back to Spain.
Dutch people dress up like Piet around Christmastime, blackface and afro wig and all, which seems mind-bogglingly racist until you take a look at some of our football and baseball team names. In modern retellings, he's a Spanish or Italian chimney sweep who's been covered in a permanent layer of soot, which is somewhat better. This is, somehow, real. You can listen to a David Sedaris segment about it here.
Late Show with Stephen Colbert staff writer Daniel Kibblesmith wants to tell a reversed story that promotes an actual positive message that doesn't involve barely veiled racism playing on 1850s fears of home invasions. It all started with a tweet. This tweet, to be exact.
Like all good ideas, similar to how Ezra Koenig came up with the chorus to Beyoncé's "Hold Up" in an unrelated tweet several years before writing it, this one took some time to gestate.
Then, it resulted in a book deal. Here are the details.
And here's the amazing illustration. Are we ready for this? You're damn right we're ready for this. We were born for this moment.
They look so in love!