Real Name: Unrevealed, possibly Nicholas of Myra or an aspect of Odin
Identity/Class: Magic user
Occupation: Gift bringer, possibly former bishop
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Employer of various Elves
(such as Sunquist
and Sydney), and reindeer (including Vixen, Rudolph and Blitzen);
Dr. Doom (or one of his Doombots), GLX (Big Bertha, Doorman, Flatman, Mr. Immortal, Squirrel Girl), Howard the Duck, Carol Starkowitz, She-Hulk, Generation X, various Inuits such as Ollakook, Santa's many helpers all over the world
possibly an aspect of Odin
Enemies: Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Blob, Mastermind,
the Untouchable), Dr. Octopus (Otto Octavius), Greedy
Killerwatt and his mutated
animals and trolls,
Commando Corps of HYDRA Accountants,
Adolf Hitler, Nanny, Orphan Maker, Pinball Lizard
Known Relatives: Mrs. Claus
Aliases: Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, Nick St. Christopher, Sinter Klaas; allegedly Father Christmas, Klaus, Mikulas, Nicholas of Myra, Nicholas of Bari, Baba Chaghaloo, Baba Noel, Babadimri, Babbo Natale, Daidaín na Nollaig, Daidí na Nollaig, Deda Mraz, Dyado Koleda, Gaghant Baba, Julemanden, Julenissen, Jultomten, Kaledu Senelis, Mos Craciun, Nicolaas, Nicholas, Niklas, Nikolaus, Noel Baba, Pai Natal, Papá Noel, Papai Noel, le Père Noël, San Niklaw, Vader Kersfees, Viejo Pascuero, der Weihnachtsmann
Base of Operations: His workshop
First Appearance (Historical):
("Marvel Comics"): Strange Tales I#34 (February, 1955)
(Modern): (behind-the-scenes) Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D I#10 (March, 1969);
(full, Marvel UK) Frantic Winter Special 1979 (October, 1979);
(full, Marvel US) Howard the Duck II#3 (February, 1980)
Powers/Abilities: Santa Claus has a number of magical abilities, including longevity, the ability to fit himself and others through any chimney (avoiding fiery injury in the process), levitation up a chimney (usually by touching his nose and nodding), altering the appearance of himself or other objects or beings (including physically transforming a person into an inanimate object), changing the size of other objects, teleporting himself and others across the world, generating snow and determining who has been naughty or nice. Lapland's Korvatunturi is said to resemble a hare's ears, which were rumored to be Santa's ears, the means with which he listened to determine who was behaving. His normal strength is augmented on Christmas Eve to lift (press) 2 tons.
Santa's full powers are unrevealed, though he prefers not to use them in combat or other struggles. While he appears to be a senior, Santa has not physically aged in centuries. Santa Claus has access to a wide range of supernatural artifacts, which he uses to accomplish various feats of magic. Though often depicted as Caucasian in appearance, Santa actually appears to most people in their own racial features, though he usually retains his white hair and beard. He radiates a subtle charismatic charming effect on people, able to soften hardened hearts, and convert criminals.
He commands a sleigh pulled by a number of magic flying reindeer - including Blitzen (a.k.a. Blixem & Blixen), Comet, Cupid, Dasher, Dancer, Donner (a.k.a. Dunder & Donder), Prancer, Rudolph and Vixen - who magically enable him to travel across the planet, stopping at most houses along the way, in a single night. His magical sack - actually a tesseract serving as a portal to a sort of storage dimension - holds enough presents to supply the entire world in one trip. At each home, he travels down the chimney (or the closest alternative where chimneys are lacking) and deposits presents for good boys and girls, but leaves only a lump of coal for the naughty. He frequently will consume cookies and milk left for him before departing on to the next house.
Height: 6' (variable)
Weight: 250 lbs. (variable)
Eyes: Blue (variable)
Hair: White (balding; variable)
Saint Nicholas was born in 4th century Lycia, near the coast of Asia Minor (what is now Turkey) and eventually becoming the bishop of Myra. His love of children, his kindness, his charity and the miracles attributed to him are legendary. He was supposedly present at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, where he was imprisoned for his faith by Emperor Diocletian. He once saved three wrongly accused soldiers from execution by appearing to Emperor Constantine in a dream. He also rescued three sailors from a storm off the Turkish coast, and restored three children to life, one after another, after their heads had been severed. His most famous story tells how he helped three unfortunate young sisters who could not marry because their father, a poor nobleman, had no money to pay their dowry. A shy man, the bishop Nicholas attempted to give the money anonymously, tossing a bag of gold into the nobleman's house on each of three nights. On the third night, the nobleman kept watch and saw Nicholas drop the bag of gold into the house. It has been said that Nicholas climbed on the roof and dropped the third bag of gold down the chimney, where it landed in a stocking hung to dry. Nicholas begged the nobleman to keep his secret, but the news got out. From then on, when anyone received an unexpected gift, they thanked Nicholas. When Nicholas' relics were taken by a sailor and moved to Bari, Italy in 1087, following the Muslim invasion of Myra, a church was built upon them, inaugurated by Pope Urban II.
Six hundred years after Myra's death, the Russian Emperor Vladimir visited Constantinople and heard all the wonderful stories about Bishop Nicholas and decided to make him the patron saint of Russia. The stories spread to the Laplands, to the people of the reindeer sleds. In the Netherlands, the name Sint Nicholaas was contracted into Sinterklaas, which inspired the name Santa Claus. The anniversary of Nicholas' death, December 6th, became a time of giving, which over time became linked to Christmas, the December 25th Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. In England, St. Nicholas (or rather, his popularity) went underground during the Cromwellian period (1653-1658) but resurfaced following the Restoration of 1660.
(Marvel Holiday Special#1/4) - At a time when the Germanic whites still worshiped Odin, a fisherman named Sigurd was caught in a fierce storm while returning for the Midwinter’s Feast. The ship also carried provisions for the home village. However, the storm blotted out the stars, which the fishermen used to find their way home. Sigurd’s wife Sia, prayed to Odin to help her husband.
At the same time, the troll Grylak the Greater confronted Odin in Asgard over a giant asteroid whose course he had directed towards Asgard. Demanding that Odin turn his kingdom over to him, Grylak disappeared. Though Thor warned his father about the approaching asteroid, Odin, presumably hearing Sia’s prayers, told Thor to gather a quantity of Asgard’s finest foods, wines, and linens.
Grylak, thinking that Odin had refused to give in to his demands due to foolish honor, was confronted by Thor. Thor stated that, for unknown reasons, Odin had directed him to wait before using his hammer to destroy the asteroid. Thor destroyed the asteroid, and the light from the destruction of the asteroid was so bright that Sigurd and his sailors could see it after the storm they had been in had passed, and they used the light to find their way home. Meanwhile, Sia heard an odd sound at home, and going to the hearth, saw a man in furs holding a massive bundle. The man vanished in a flash of light, leaving behind meat and fine gifts. Sigurd returned to their home a moment after they discovered the gifts.
Embracing, Sia and Sigurd saw Odin in furs riding in a sleigh driven by two rams flying in the sky. Odin cried: "A good midwinter to all! And to all a good life!".
(Marvel Holiday Special 2007 (fb) - BTS) - Other sources detail that before Christianity came to British shores, it was customary for a community elder to dress in furs and visit each dwelling. At each house, in the guise of "Old Winter" he would receive food and drink. It was thought he carried the spirit of the winter with him, and that the winter would be kind to anyone hospitable to Old Winter. The custom was maintained in Medieval England, and after a decline during the Commonwealth, became widespread again during the Restoration period. With the arrival of Christianity, Old Winter eventually became known as "Old Christmas," "Old Father Christmas," and "Father Christmas." The Russian Ded Moroz ("Grandfather Frost") and German Väterchen Frost share some characteristics with the British Old Winter.
In many Eastern Othodox traditions, Santa Claus is identified with Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (contemporary Turkey), whose memory is celebrated on that day. According to the Greek tradition, he is supposed to visit children and give presents every January 1. The name Kris Kringle is believed to be derived from the word Kriskindl ("Christ Child") who brings the gifts in Germany. This word is associated with the angel placed atop a Christmas tree; ironically, the tree and many other Christmas traditions originate from pagan traditions, specifically those performed by worshipers of the Asgardian gods.
Yet another source relates Santa as being a kindly woodcarver in Europe during the Middle Ages who went from town to town, giving gifts he made himself. One Christmas, he and his wife were caught in a blizzard, but were saved by elves. The elves told Claus he was their predicted leader, and made him immortal.
The precise origins of Santa Claus are unrevealed, but Santa Claus is actually a magical being composed of elements of the various beings described above. Humanity's collective beliefs in these legendary figures merged with spiritual energy, and aspects of the beings themselves gave him form as a manifestation of the spirit of giving associated with Christmas and other such holidays. Some say Santa Claus' existence is predicated on children's faith in him being real. Originally based in Korvatunturi, Lapland (on Finland's Eastern frontier), Santa Claus rode a horse to deliver his gifts. At some point he took a wife and established a workshop in the North Pole. Described by some as a "jolly old elf," Santa assembled a team of dedicated true elves - most of whom were descended from the Light Elves of Alfheim, a realm associated with Asgard - who constructed toys all year round. On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus magically fills a dimensionally limitless sack with toys and travels the planet via his sleigh, driven by eight flying reindeer, delivering the toys to good boys and girls, bending the laws of space and time to accomplish the feat over the course of one night. Santa Claus magically slips down the chimneys or uses magic passkeys to enter apartments, and delivers the toys, around a tree or in stockings put by the fireplace, often taking the time to enjoy cookies and milk left for him by the children and/or their parents. In a variety of different forms and known by numerous names, Santa Claus performs similar deeds across Earth. In some cultures, he is sometimes accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, or Black Peter, who punishes bad children. Frenchwomen sometimes prayed to him for husbands. He supposedly "inherited" some of his magic from Melchior, one of the "Three Kings of Bethlehem. His horse, reindeer and elves are all allegedly gifts from Odin; Odin's goats, Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder (later gifted to Thor), and his eight-legged horse, Sleipnur, are the likely inspiration for these. By some accounts, Santa Claus and Father Christmas are separate beings, though they may share similar magical origins. (See Comments)
On one particular Christmas Eve, a thick fog settled over the North Pole, seriously hampering visibility. Santa found a resolution in Rudolph, the adolescent fawn of one of his flying reindeer, Donner. Rudolph had previously been ostracized by the other reindeer for his nose, which glowed a bright red, but this very feature made Rudolph a perfect candidate to guide Santa's sleigh through the fog. Saving Christmas that year, Rudolph became a popular and legendary figure to the other reindeer.
Accounts of Santa Claus' interactions with humanity are often discounted as folklore and/or imagination, but a number of such exploits have made public record. Early reports of Santa, in his modern incarnation, were made by author Washington Irving (under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker) in his 1809 "History of New York," and by writer Clement Clarke Moore in 1823's "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" (more popularly known as "Twas the Night Before Christmas").
(Marvel Age#109 (fb)) - In order to destroy the morale of the US, Hitler had Santa Claus captured in December 1943. Roosevelt described this situation to Captain America. Bucky, Captain America, and Nick Fury managed to locate Santa, with a Mauser held to his head by Hitler.
(Strange Tales I#34) - On Christmas Day in Smith City, garage attendant Sammy Glenn, an intelligent man who had never made good on his abilities, was told by a wealthy man to watch his car and luggage for six hours; on impulse, Glenn "borrowed" the car and a suit to parade false success in his nearby hometown of Fernville, only to learn that no one else in town had become successful either. Returning to Smith City, Glenn entered an executive club, where he met an attractive woman and received a job offer. Stunned by his good fortune, Glenn returned the car to its owner, not realizing that the man was Santa Claus.
(Journey Into Unknown Worlds#34) - Santa had a run-in with a burglar.
(Strange Tales of the Unusual#2) - Wealthy miser Oliver Gombul was chastised by a bearded stranger for his selfish ways. Later, on Christmas Day, Gombul was touched by a gift he received from young Ned Evans, the son of one of his employees; since it was the first gift he had ever received, Gombol vowed to become a better man. The stranger, Santa Claus, was pleased by the change in Gombol.
(Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. I#10 - BTS) - Nick Fury, relaxing at home on December 24, received a call from Jasper Stilwell that the Hate-Monger had sent a threat to destroy New York City with a nuclear device in a space vehicle. Fury tried to infiltrate the Hate-Monger’s orbital headquarters, but was captured and put into the space ship’s capsule, to be launched to his death. After the launch, the nuclear bomb was destroyed by one of the Hate-Monger’s own aircraft when its pilot was distracted by an unidentified object flying through the sky at unprecedented speed. Fury wondered if the object might have been Santa Claus in his sleigh.
(Marvel Holiday Special#1/1) - Years later, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Banshee of the X-Men received a call from Cerebro on December 24th. It had detected the most powerful mutant ever registered. The mutant seemed to be at the Rockefeller Center, where the X-Men had arranged a rendezvous with Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and other friends.
However, Unus the Untouchable, the Blob, the Toad, and Mastermind, having formed a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, were also present at Rockefeller Center. They had likewise detected the presence of the world’s most powerful mutant. A skirmish occurred between the Brotherhood and the X-Men, which ended when the Brotherhood disappeared, replaced by toys in the shape of the Brotherhood members. A man in a Santa Claus suit, who identified himself as "Kris Kringle," then apparently teleported the X-Men away with no memory of the incident to several blocks away, where they made their rendezvous. The X-Men were astounded that, despite weather predictions, it started to snow-- the first white Christmas in New York in years.
(Frantic Winter Special 1979) - Santa's workshop was modernized, adding toy conveyer belts, but the management / staff relationship deteriorated, as Santa brought in brutal overseers armed with whips, who disposed of disobedient staff down a huge pit. Preparing for his annual flight, Santa checked on the reindeer, and was enraged to find a heavily inebriated Rudolph drunk in his stall. He hitched the reindeer (possibly without Rudolph) to his sleigh two abreast, but as they took off, Santa realized to his terror that the reindeer pairs were flying on either side of the striped post that marked the North Pole, putting his sleigh on a direct collision course with it. As he proceeded with his deliveries, the night only worsened. At a high altitude, Santa collided with an alien saucer spaceship, stunning one of the reindeer. Santa and the alien argued over whose fault the accident was, causing a commotion as they blocked the passage of other spaceships (including the Millennium Falcon and the starship Enterprise), and drawing the interest of a flying police car, an angel, the Silver Surfer and the Black Knight (Dane Whitman) and Aragorn. Later, when Santa reached Transylvania, vampires, apparently led by Morbius, briefly captured him. After this, both Santa and a pair of the reindeer donned fishbowl diving helmets to deliver presents to the Loch Ness Monster deep beneath the waters of the Scottish lake, finding Nessie had hung out a giant sock outside the entrance to its cave for them to fill. On a disco dance floor, a starstruck Santa briefly interrupted John Travolta's dancing to give the acting star some new dance shoes. In a house where two young Hulk fans resided, Santa fell prey to the sadistic children's booby-trapped cookies, and back in high orbit, Santa gave directions to his lost Martian counterpart. Almost finished for the night, Santa and the reindeer put on gas masks to traverse the airspace of a polluting factory, before finally returning to the North Pole. As Santa departed his sleigh, he noticed he had trodden in something unpleasant, to his disgust and the guilty reindeer's secret amusement.
(Howard the Duck Magazine II#3) - Attempting to modernize, Santa took to wearing a smaller beard, using a more lavish fake beard on Christmas. Also, he began using gasoline for his sleigh and opened up a nuclear power plant and gas station at the North Pole (The ASPCA had demanded that Santa Claus rebuild the sleigh so that it ran on its own power, not from being pulled by the reindeer. Claus used steam until an oil company representative convinced him to switch over to high-octane fuel). However, the nuclear plant was actually controlled by Greedy Killerwatt, who had been a "jumper" (worker hired to enter "hot" areas of nuclear plants to do various tasks) that was mutated into a form resembling a light-bulb.
Santa took in a convict named Pinball Lizard, after conferring with his parole officer, as director of his Fun N’ Games department. However, Pinball Lizard fell in with Greedy Killerwatt, who used his powers to change Pinball into a lizard-like being, as well as mutating elves into trolls.
Attempting to destroy Santa Claus by putting an insufficient amount of gas in his sleigh so as to cause him to crash, Pinball took over the workshop and forced elves who did not become trolls to manufacture mass-produced, shoddy toys while Santa went on his rounds. Killerwatt intended to take over Christmas in revenge against society for his becoming a mutate.
Santa crashed in Cleveland, where he encountered Howard the Duck. Discovering that he was out of fuel, Santa noted that since gas rationing was in effect, he could not get enough fuel to return to the Arctic. However, Howard, who worked at the To Hack and Back taxi company at the time, offered to let Claus use their pumps. Howard filled the sleigh's tank, and he and a girl named Carol went to the North Pole with Claus. Discovering Pinball Lizard’s rebellion from Mrs. Claus, Santa Claus, Howard the Duck, Carol, the loyal elves, toys animated by elf magic, and a gun-totting elf named Sunquist (who came from Florida and used to call himself a fairy until "some blamed woman made the term unpopular") confronted Pinball Lizard and his trolls. Claus told them how his nuclear power plant, if tampered with, would cause its fuel to "melt-down" through the center of the earth until it reached Antarctica, thus destroying the world, and an urgent race against time began.
Chief Ollakook of an Inuit tribe arrived to aid Santa Claus and his allies. Pinball Lizard, who had escaped to the power plant in a dirigible, rendezvoused with Greedy Killerwatt, who chastised him for his failures, throwing him to the floor. Killerwatt dispatched mutated seals, polar bears, penguins, and whales against Howard the Duck and his compatriots. Howard and Carol sidestepped the mutated animals to find Pinball Lizard, whom Howard speared in the tail. They confronted Killerwatt, whose hand Howard bit, only to be hurled across the room. However, Sunquist shot Killerwatt in the head. The injury of Killerwatt undid his mutations, so that Pinball Lizard and the others returned to normal.
Santa promised to shut down the nuclear power plant, swearing to convert the toyshop to solar power, and to power his sleigh with organic fuels. Since Santa's sleigh was damaged during the clash with the villains, Sunquist used his elfin magic to transform a dog-sled into a gift-laden sleigh, and gave the team of huskies the ability to fly -- Santa used this to transport Howard and Carol back home to Cleveland.
(Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man I#112) - A criminal working as a mall Santa hit on a clever scheme: talking to children, discovering where they lived, then, dressed as Santa, he'd knock on the windows of young children’s rooms. (Shades of Tales From The Crypt! -Prime Ed-ternal) The children, believing him to be Santa Claus, let him in, and the thief ransacked the house. Spider-Man encountered the thief, who tried to escape to the roof, where Santa Claus, enraged at this misuse of his identity, scared the thief into giving up crime before Spider-Man arrived.
(Sensational She-Hulk#7-8) - Santa Claus used his knowledge of who was naughty or nice to create the identity of "Nick St. Christopher," the world’s greatest detective; he aided the She-Hulk in locating evidence for a murder investigation. He was quite taken with She-Hulk, and after solving the case, he made a pass at her, which got him in trouble with his wife; Mrs. Claus punished She-Hulk by filling her office with reindeer droppings. Before leaving, Santa gave She-Hulk a present, which she would not open until years later (see comments).
(What the?!#10) - Injured while visiting Latveria, Santa was replaced by Dr. Doom one year.
(What the?!#16) - Doctor Octopus took over Santa’s workshop, imprisoned Claus, and forced the elves to create deadly toys that would be sent out to injure children.
Scott Lang’s daughter received one of these toys. Destroying it, Lang, as Ant-Man, traveled to the North Pole to investigate. Discovering Doctor Octopus’ role in the affair, Lang shrank him down so they were the same size, and then battled him. During their struggle, Santa managed to free himself, and used his powers to restore both Ant-Man and Doctor Octopus to normal size. Doctor Octopus attempted to escape, but Rudolf stopped him. Octopus agreed to help Santa Claus load up his sleigh, and Santa Claus used his powers to shrink the load down.
(Howard the Duck Holiday Special#1) - Beverly Switzler, working as an elf at the local mega-mall, called upon her confidant Howard to replace a mall Santa who was mangled in an escalator accident. However, as Howard and Beverly were in costume, a real elf appeared, marshaling Santa’s helpers to travel to the North Pole to save the real Santa, who was being held hostage by HYDRA. Howard, Beverly, as well as an abandoned kid in a Wolverine costume, hopped onto an antlered, flying bus to join all the other Clauses of the world (including Klaus Janson and Bubba Claus) in the quest to save Santa, and confronted the Commando Corps of HYDRA Accountants.
(Generation X Holiday Special#1) - Santa Claus encountered Generation X, and they faced Nanny and the Orphan Maker when the team was snowed in one Christmas.
(GLX-MAS Special#1) - While Doorman was out doing his
Avatar of Oblivion
thing on Christmas Eve, he crossed paths with Santa Claus. Doorman
asked for a Christmas miracle for his dad: Some toy he'd always
longed for ever since he was a kid, something to teach him the true
meaning of Christmas and help forge a bond between father and son?
Santa replied, "Nope. Sorry Demarr. Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but it's the busiest time of year."
On Christmas day, Santa joined the GLX for their celebration.
Comments: Adapted by Alan Moore (as Curt Vile).
The connection between Odin and Santa Claus remains unclear. Whether possibly an aspect of Odin somehow branched off over the years after that story got retold constantly is an explanation I inferred. As to the connection between the Earth-616 Santa Claus and the Saint Nicholas who was bishop of Myra, that also remains unclear. Thor Annual#10 indicated that the gods of Earth’s forms were to some degree influenced by mankind’s collective subconscious impact on the residual energy of the Demiurge, so if that has continued over the years, then maybe Odin at some point split into himself and Santa Claus.
Regarding the relationship between Odin and Santa, Wikipedia has this to say on the subject "The modern Santa Claus is a composite character made up from the merging of two quite separate figures. The first of these is Saint Nicholas of Myra, a bishop of Byzantine Anatolia (now in modern-day Turkey) famous for his generous gifts to the poor. In Europe he is still portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes. The second character is Father Christmas, which remains the British name for Santa Claus. Father Christmas dates back at least as far as the 17th century in Britain, and pictures of him survive from that era, portraying him as a well-nourished bearded man dressed in a long, green, fur-lined robe. He typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, and was reflected in the 'Spirit of Christmas Present' in Charles Dickens' famous story, A Christmas Carol.
Some elements of this part of the tradition of Father Christmas could be traced back to the Germanic god Wodan (Odin). The appearance is similar to some portrayals of this god, who brought gifts in the winter season of Yule, and rides a flying horse through the sky." - Loki
Implicitly the destruction of
the asteroid was the Star of Bethlehem, but an earlier Thor story in
issue#293 had referenced the Star of Bethlehem; Thor, while
conversing with Odin’s
disembodied eye, was told that a previous
pantheon of Asgardians had existed, but had been destroyed in
the original Ragnarok. Thor asked when this Ragnarok took place, and
was presented a vision of a Star in the sky standing over a stable
where a child was born, with shepherds in attendance-- implicitly
the birth of Jesus Christ, Son of God.
--I can't remember any others off the top of my head, but it seems that there were other instances that claimed responsibility for the Star of Bethlehem--Snood.
By the way, the Marvel Holiday Special Thor story played on how much of Christmas was plagiarized from the white Pagan religions. Not a shred of detail in the Bible or the Koran indicates that Jesus was born in December. The date of Christmas was taken from white Pagan feasts devoted to the Winter Solstice. Many conventions of Christmas come from pagan stories. This caused a poet named D.B. Greewood to write a poem in which Santa Claus was Odin’s son and Thor’s brother. (For examples of this pilfering from the Asgardian stories, kissing under the mistletoe comes from the story of Balder being killed by Hoder with mistletoe, a story that was adapted in Marvel’s Thor comics. Also, in Austria, the Netherlands, etc. Saint Nicholas of Myra visits children on December 5th with a demon named Cert who punishes bad children. Cert’s background should be familiar to Thor fans -- his name is a corruption of Surtur!). In fact, listen to this Hebrew Bible verse to see what the Hebrew Bible thinks of decorating trees:
Per Degaton provided the info for the Marvel Age#109
appearance. (Wow, even Santa wasn't safe from Adolf)
He also had the following to say about Santa's appearance in Spectacular Spider-Man: "When Santa approached the thief, he said "First slasher films, now this". The reference could have been to the original 1972 Tales from the Crypt movie segment that adapted Vault of Horror#35, or the Silent Night, Deadly Night films.
She-Hulk opened her gift from Santa in Sensational She-Hulk I#36, which magically allowed her to become normal Jennifer Walters for one Christmas evening with her father.
Elves have actually shown up many times besides Santa Claus stories in the Marvel Universe. In Thor#277, Alfheim, home of the Light Elves, made its first appearance. Marvel Super-Action#1 featured the first Weirdworld story, narrated by Tyndall the Elf. Weirdworld has, except possibly for a glimpse in Thor#292, only been seen in Tyndall’s stories. As such, it has appeared in Marvel Premiere#38, Marvel Super Special#11-13, and Marvel Fanfare#24-27.
The Dark Elves have also appeared in quite a few stories. Svartalfheim serves as their home. The most prominent Dark Elf remains Malekith, who first appeared in Thor I#344. Malekith’s former henchmen Algrim became the fearsome, armored Kurse.
New Mutant Magma got briefly turned into an elf from New Mutants Special Edition#1 to X-Men Annual#9.
It has also been noted that the Dark Elves are related to Morgan Le Fay’s fairies, and share with them a vulnerability to "cold iron" or steel.
Otherworld also has many elves, the most prominent of whom was Jackdaw, until he was killed by the Fury.
Oh, and Kris Kringle serves as a corruption of Kristkindel, a female angel of the child Jesus (or "Christ Child") that Martin Luther created to replace Saint Nicholas as a gift bringer. Over here, Kristkindel became slurred, and ended up as just another name for Santa Claus.
There occur a few other tales worthy of mention for Santa Claus, but their Earth-616 continuity status remains unclear. In Bizarre Adventures#34, one finds many amusing Santa Claus stories, but as they are all creator-owned, their being referenced for Earth-616 remains somewhat unlikely. These stories also do not really tie together with each other. Still, they are all worthy of summary here (And anyway, I loved that cover.).
(Bizarre Adventures#34/1 (fb)) - Eighteen and a half years earlier, Santa Claus and his spouse Maria had a little boy. Maria died six months later. Not feeling he could raise his son by himself, Santa had the elf Agonistes give the boy, Nick, to the Norris family. However, the Norris adults were poor parents (the stepfather beat Nick), so fourteen and a half years later, Nick ran away. Agonistes, however, using Santa's devices, kept him under surveillance.
(Bizarre Adventures#34/1 (fb, bts)) - The Anti-Claus, "the embodiment of taking", who drove a sleigh pulled by warthogs with a back carved into the image of a skull, managed to take Santa Claus by surprise. In a sneak attack on the North Pole base, he devastated Santa's headquarters and killed Santa Claus. Agonistes fled to find Nick Norris.
(Bizarre Adventures#34/1) - Agonistes located Norris in New York. With a contrived story about being a talent scout for some Sonny Chiba-style martial artist adventure films, he persuaded Nick, hungry and cold anyway, to accompany him on a plane trip to Japan. Nick did, but while on the plane, Agonistes produced a gun and demanded that the crew of the plane allow him and Nick to bail out over the North Pole.
Nick and Agonistes arrived at the North Pole, and found Santa's corpse. Nick learned his origins. The Anti-Claus then arrived and in a subsequent winding battle, Nick stabbed the Anti-Claus in the heart with a screwdriver, as well as throwing a hammer at him that suspiciously resembled Mjolnir, Thor's weapon. Though Nick also later managed to sever the Anti-Claus' arm, it did not stop him.
Coming to a storage area, Nick located one of Santa's sacks. Discovering that the sack was a tesseract and served as a portal to a sort of storage dimension, Nick enveloped the Anti-Claus in the bag after taking him by surprise. With Agonistes, Dunder and Blixem (aka Donner and Blitzen), Nick decided to become a new Santa Claus, based in the Bahamas.
The next two stories in Bizarre Adventures#34 did not feature Santa Claus.
(Bizarre Adventures#34/4 (fb)) - Four years earlier, Santa Claus slipped off a roof. As he fell, he landed on the father of a boy named Ray. The father was crushed to death. Ray saw it all, and swore revenge.
(Bizarre Adventures#34/4) - Ray went around killing street and mall Santa Clauses, hoping to get the real one. Finally, the actual Santa Claus came one Christmas. Ray opened fire, but Santa ducked for cover. A conflict ensued, and Santa Claus managed to get the upper hand. Realizing that he could be convicted of manslaughter if Ray told the public what had happened, Santa resolved to kill Ray. However, Ray's mother, who heard the sounds of the battle, arrived suddenly and startled Santa Claus. Ray took the opportunity to smash Santa in the face with bolas and impale him with a poker.
The police arrived. Although they found the reindeer, they believed Ray had slain a burglar, not the real Santa Claus. Ray was placed in an institution. Ten years later on Easter, he was released....to see his mother killed by a giant Easter egg. He swore revenge on the Easter Hare.......
The last page noted that a sequel to this story would appear should an Easter issue of Bizarre Adventures come out. Sadly, this was the last issue of Bizarre Adventures. The Easter Hare, of course, is the other prominent character associated with a holiday (although someone once stated that they would try to make the Crypt-Keeper Halloween's Santa Claus, and Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster are also associated with Halloween).
(Bizarre Adventures#34/5) - Santa Claus arrived in New York to give gifts. Due to the lack of chimneys, he decided to give them out on the street. When he tried to give a gift to a child on the street, the child's mother, seeing nearby Hare Krishnas, thought him to be one of them in disguise, and hit him with her purse. Santa Claus then tried to deliver presents to an empty apartment, but was attacked by a dog.
Falling, Santa Claus grabbed onto a window ledge. Unfortunately, it was for a window to an apartment of a woman in the act of adultery. In fact, her lover was hiding on the ledge of the building a few inches away from Santa Claus. The jealous husband arrived, saw Santa Claus on the ledge, mistook him for the lover, and shot him. Santa fell to the ground. He survived, but was arrested by a suspicious police officer. In the holding tank, a criminal named Lefty threatened to stuff Santa Claus up an air shaft. Santa used his powers to escape through the air shaft.
Returning to his sleigh, he found it had been burgled, stripped, and his reindeer were gone. He also had a parking ticket. The next Christmas, Santa found a new way to serve as a gift-bringer; aided by the elf Kochmayer, Santa decided to disseminate gifts by opening a discount store, Santa's Super Save Shoppe. Although he admitted that the people shopping there probably thought that they were taking advantage of him due to the low prices he charged, he was relieved that none of them had shot him.
For those of you who want to fit any of the above stories into Earth-616, one could of course say that, as Bizarre Adventures#34 was published real time in 1982, and since due to the sliding timescale that year is now part of the pre-modern era, that would explain why in the first story Santa Claus was shown getting killed and replaced.
Besides these tales, another odd reference to Santa Claus occurs in Marvel Holiday Special 1993. In one tale, Doc Samson (the Jewish metahuman) has to entertain some children at a party towards the end of the year. He tells them various tales to pass the time, in one of which he mentions that Antiochus Epiphanes attacked Santa Claus. We saw Santa Claus, then an anvil falls on him. Antiochus Epiphanes, of course, was the enemy of the Jews from the first Hannukah. Antiochus was an Olympian polytheist Greek-speaking ruler who tried to open up a gymnasium for the Jews, as well as encourage their adoption of various other elements of Greek culture. The Jews rebelled against Antiochus. (The story of Antiochus Epiphanes' war with the Jews received a telling in the First and Second Book of Maccabees, books which, due to the fact that they were not written in Hebrew, do not appear in modern Bibles, or the Protestant Old Testament, but which do appear in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and other versions of the Bible.) Antiochus Epiphanes was active in the years after the death of Alexander the Great.
Admittedly, Doc Samson could have just been making a story up, but, hey, we've tried to blow up a reference in Bloodstone to Abbot and Costello into an actual adventure under Dracula's entry, so one can play around with this and say that Doc Samson was telling them of a previously untold adventure. It would be interesting to see what Doc Samson would say to Hercules, as since Antiochus Epiphanes was an Olympian polytheist, he worshiped Hercules.
Some other odd Santa Claus appearances have to do with licensed properties. Santa Claus appeared in Heathclif f#6 (not based on Charlotte Bronte's Wuthering Heights). Marvel Super Special#39 features an adaptation of the David Huddleston film Santa Claus: The Movie, written by Sid Jacobson, drawn by Frank Springer. The box office failure this issue was based on also featured that famous expert on dealing with women, Dudley Moore, as the elf Patch. The film had the origin of Santa Claus as a kindly woodcarver in the European middle ages who went from town to town, giving gifts he made himself. One Christmas, he and his wife were caught in a blizzard, but were saved by elves. The elves told Claus he was their predicted leader, and made him immortal. The present portion of the film dealt with Patch's misadventures with a tycoon named B.Z. Again, if you want, you could say that, since Marvel Super Special #39 came out real time in 1986, it now lies in the pre-modern era due to the sliding timescale, explaining why no familiar faces were around.
The robot Ultron-6 once used his encephalo-beam to force Virginia Hanlon to rebuild him, but as she did so, she re-programmed it to behave like Santa Claus. Now "Santron," it attacked the Avengers and other heroes at Dr. Strange's Christmas party, but it was ultimately destroyed when it was forced to follow its programming and consume a cookie, which was a weapon that disrupted its internal systems. HYDRA recently used a giant robot Santa to attack New York City in an effort to ruin Christmas, but it was destroyed by the dragon Fin Fang Foom.
Numerous heroes and villains have posed as Santa Claus over the years, often simply as part of holiday cheer, or to replace an injured Santa's Helper, though other motives have existed; these include, among many others, Captain America (Steve Rogers), the Hulk (Bruce Banner), Punisher (Frank Castle), Rhino (Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich), Spider-Man (Peter Parker), Thing (Ben Grimm) and Wolverine (Logan/James Howlett)
The poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" aka. "The
Night Before Christmas", though long thought to be written by
Clement C. Moore, now appears appears to have been written by
Henry Livingston (the poem first appeared anonymously). However,
the words "Santa Claus" are never used in the poem.
The British magazine Frantic was created by then
Marvel UK editor-in-chief Dez Skinn. Wanting some UK-originated new
material to appear alongside reprints of the American Not Brand
Echh! and Crazy, Skinn, commissioned the then-largely unknown Alan
Moore to produce something for the Frantic Winter Special 1979.
Under his pen name Curt Vile, Moore both wrote and drew the two-page
Santa strip Scant Applause, his first work for a major comics
publisher (though not quite his first professional work, as he had
begun producing Roscoe Moscow: Who Killed Rock n' Roll? for
the music magazine Sounds in March that year and Maxwell The
Magic Cat for his local newspaper, The Northants Post, in
August 1979, a parody strip, you might argue that it isn't part of
the regular Marvel Universe's Santa's history, but it is no more
incongruous than Santa's appearance in Howard the Duck Magazine, and
the presence of the Black Knight, Silver Surfer and Morbius (the
latter admittedly a touch out of character, hanging out with what
appear to be regular vampires), would seem to support its inclusion
Maybe Santa had some
connection to Canadian hero Saint
Elmo. -- Ron Fredricks
Profile by John McDonagh Sub-profiles by Ron Fredricks.
Santa Claus has no known connections to:
The home of Santa Claus and his wife at the North Pole, it
was a storybook castle where Santa's elves built toys for Christmas.
The wife of Santa, she (first
name unrevealed) lived with him in their home at the North Pole.
images: (without ads)
Marvel Holiday Special#1, back-cover (Main Image - Santa Claus; unidentified reindeer (background))
Marvel Holiday Special#1/1, p7, pan6 (Headshot - Santa Claus)
Marvel Holiday Special#1/4, p8, pan5 (Odin)
Frantic Winter Special 1979
Howard the Duck Magazine II#3, p38, pan1 (Santa Claus battling mutated animals; Chief Ollakook (background))
Howard the Duck Magazine II#3, p50, pan1 (Santa Claus riding in transformed dog-sled, pulled by flying huskies; Sunquist riding lead dog)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#112, cover (criminal as Santa Claus)
Sensational She-Hulk I#8, p10, pan2 (Santa Claus as Nick St. Christopher)
Bizarre Adventures#34, cover (Santa Claus skeleton)
Howard the Duck Magazine II#3, p19, pan1 (Santa Claus and Howard the Duck in sleigh, flying over Santa's workshop at North Pole; nuclear power plant (background))
Howard the Duck Magazine II#3, p20, pan1 (Mrs. Claus)
Sensational She-Hulk I#8, p20, pan4 (jealous Mrs. Claus catches Santa (as Nick St. Christopher) flirting with She-Hulk)
Sensational She-Hulk I#8, p21, pan1 (jealous Mrs. Claus drags away Santa (as Nick St. Christopher) by his ear)
Strange Tales I#34 (February, 1955) - Stan Lee (editor)
Journey Into Unknown Worlds#34 (April, 1955)
Strange Tales of the Unusual#2 (February, 1956)
Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. I#10 (March, 1969) - Gary Friedrich (writer), Frank Springer (pencils), Johnny Craig (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Frantic Winter Special 1979 (October, 1979) - "Curt Vile" (Alan Moore, writer, artist), Dez Skinn (editor)
Howard the Duck II#3 (February, 1980) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), Dave Simons (inks), Lynn Graeme (editor)
Bizarre Adventures#34 (February, 1983) - Story 1: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Alan Kupperberg (artist); Story 4: Mike Carlin (writer/artist); Story 5: Al Milgrom (writer/artist), Denny O'Neil (editor)
Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man I#112 (March, 1986) - Peter David (writer), Mark Beachum (pencils), Pat Redding (inks), Jim Owsley (editor)
Sensational She-Hulk I#7-8 (November-December, 1989) - John Byrne (writer/pencils), Bob Wiacek (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
What the?!#10 (January, 1990) - Scott Lobdell (writer), John Byrne (artist), Craig Anderson & Renee Witterstaetter (editors)
Marvel Holiday Special#1 (December, 1991) - Scott Lobdell (#1/1) & Tom DeFalco (#1/4) (writer), Dave Cockrum (#1/1) & Sal Buscema (#1/4) (pencils), Joe Rubinstein (#1/1) & Sal Buscema (#1/4)
What the?!#16 (January, 1992) - Scott Lobdell (writer), Marie Severin (artist), Renee Witterstaetter (editor)
Marvel Age#109 (February, 1992)
Howard the Duck Holiday Special#1 (February, 1997) - Larry Hama (writer), Pascual Ferry (pencils), Jaime Mendoza (inks), Bob Harras (editor)
Generation X Holiday Special#1 (1998) - Joseph Harris (writer), Adam Pollina (pencils), Rich Faber, Rob Leigh, Mark Morales, Bob Wiacek & Walden Wong (inks)
GLX-MAS Special#1 (February, 2006) - Dan Slott (writer), Paul Grist (Story 4) & Ty Templeton (Story 6) (artists), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvel Holiday Special 2006 (February, 2007) - Jeff Christiansen (writer)
First Posted: 12/24/2002
Last updated: 01/28/2022
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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