Real Name: Unrevealed (see comments)

Identity/Class: Supernatural entity, possibly extradimensional/alternate reality (see comments)

Occupation: Embodiment of Christmas

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Melt the Snowman, Penelope Moonbeam, Tich the Polar Bear, Toby

Enemies: Demon King, Hiss, Red Goblins

Known Relatives: Sean Claus (son)

Aliases: presumably Santa Claus (see comments)

Base of Operations: North Pole

First Appearance: The Unbelievable Exploits of Father Christmas (unpublished, intended for Christmas 1993)

Powers/Abilities: Father Christmas possessed superhuman strength (strong enough to wrestle polar bears). His very appearance was so impressive it left people breathless. He presumably possessed most of the other powers often associated with the Christmas gift bringer, including the ability to travel the world visiting every home in a single night, enter buildings via chimneys, etc. 

Height: Unrevealed (but giant, big enough to wrestle polar bears)
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: White

The Unbelievable Exploits of Father Christmas (fb) - BTS) - Father Christmas was the embodiment of the Christmas holidays, a godlike individual residing at the North Pole who frequently clashed with his nemesis the Demon King, until the latter was finally exiled from Earth, presumably by some action initiated by Father Christmas.

   In his downtime, Father Christmas enjoyed wrestling polar bears. He had a son, Sean Claus, and his friends included an everso twee fairy Penelope Moonbeam, the polar bear Tich, and sentient snowman Melt.

(The Unbelievable Exploits of Father Christmas) - One hundred years after being exiled, the Demon King returned to Earth, accompanied by his henchthing, the slobbering Hiss. Mistaking a drunken department store Santa for Father Christmas, the Demon King disintegrated the unfortunate man with a flash of electricity, unaware this slaughter had been witnessed by nine-year old dreamer Toby, the only boy in his class who still believed in Father Christmas. As the Demon King and Hiss set off to the North Pole, mistakenly thinking their old foe vanquished, Toby covertly followed them, and was thus able to warn Father Christmas and his friends. Toby then joined the North Pole's supernatural defenders battling the invaders, but as time ticked away towards the Christmas Eve deadline the Demon King diabolically flooded Father Christmas' toy storeroom with an army of Red Goblins, kidnapped Father Christmas, and sent Toby back in time to experience a Victorian Christmas trapped in a workhouse!

Comments: Created by Tim Quinn and Mario Capaldi.

   One of the lost projects of Marvel UK, The Unbelievable Exploits of Father Christmas was planned to for a Christmas 1993 release. As creator Tim Quinn informed me, "Scripts were complete for this and Mario Capaldi had already got into the swing with these character roughs" The target audience was to be boys and girls around 6-11 years old, and the comic would reveal "at last the man behind the beard and legend...Not a silly, fat old git but rather an awesome, Godlike figure whose very appearance leaves you breathless." Intended to be an annual title, the first issue had been commissioned and completely written when the Market Department "stuck an oar in."

   Is this Father Christmas the same as Santa Claus? Despite them having similar modus operandi and bases of operation, and despite them often being called by each other's names, possibly, maybe even probably, not (hence why I have written this as a separate Appendix entry). Santa Claus originated as a fictionalized version of the fourth century Saint Nicholas of Myra, but he's been conflated with other festive figures over the years, the individual details of each getting confused and intermingled with one another. Predominately celebrated in the Netherlands and portions of neighboring countries there's Sinterklaas, who still dresses as a Greek bishop, is accompanied by Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) and arrives riding a horse (rather than a sleigh pulled by reindeer) mid-November for several weeks of celebration culminating not on 25 December but on St. Nicholas' Eve, the 5th of December, with gifts given the next morning, St. Nicholas' Day. He carries a chimney sweep's broom to spank naughty children, and the really bad ones get put in Zwarte Piet's bag to be carried away forever. In French-speaking countries we have Pére Noël (Papa Christmas); in some places he uses a donkey, Gui (Mistletoe), though  in French Louisiana he travels in a boat pulled by alligators. In some regions he is accompanied by Pére Fouettard (Father Whipper), a former robber who killed and cannibalized children until either repenting or being forced (accounts differ) into Pére Noël's service; now he merely mercilessly beats bad children, and sometimes carries them off in a wicker backpack. In Finland there's Joulupukki (Yule Goat), sometimes depicted as a man turned into a goat-man on Christmas Eve, but who otherwise dresses and looks much like Santa Claus, and even uses a sled (rather than sleigh) pulled by reindeer, albeit not flying ones. The Norse God Odin is also often considered to have been one of the pagan characters whose attributes got mixed in with Santa over the centuries. And in the UK there was Father Christmas, who was a personification of Christmas from at least the 17th century, and was initially unconnected to Sinterklaas. He was a celebration of Christmas, but was concerned with adult feasting and merrymaking, not children nor delivering gifts. However, in the USA Sinterklaas was Anglicized into Santa Claus circa 1773, and the evolved American version made its way back over to the UK in the 1850s, where it didn't take long for Victorian society to start intermingling one Christmas figure with another. And the same has held true for all these characters, to the point where it's hard to be sure which characteristic now normally associated with Santa originated with which individual.

   So, what's the truth in the mainstream Marvel universe (Earth-616)? I can see a few options:

  1. Father Christmas and Santa are just different names for the same being. Easiest one to keep track off, though it does lead to some conflicting tales.
  2. Father Christmas, Santa Claus, and possibly those other personifications I mentioned are a bit like the Marvel Satan/Mephisto/Lucifer - which is to say they are distinct individuals who are nevertheless sufficiently similar in modus operandi to often be mistaken for one another, and who might even merge into a gestalt entity from time to time.
  3. Father Christmas, Santa Claus and the other personifications are like the Eternals of Olympia and the Olympian (Greek) gods - distinct individuals who get mistaken for one another from time to time and came to an arrangement to stand in for one another as and when it proved efficacious to do so. Heck, that might explain how Santa manages to cover the whole Earth in a single night - he doesn't! Instead he delegates regions of the world to his ringers Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, etc. 

   Even if Father Christmas and Santa in 616 are one and the same, this entry needed to remain distinct from the main Santa one. Asked on Facebook "would Father Christmas have been in regular Marvel continuity, or would it have been a self-contained universe?", Tim Quinn responded "If I remember correctly, my plan, such as it was, was to create a Regency/Victorian Pantomime world. The main villain was going to be the Demon King, star of many Victorian pantos. Harlequin was also a featured character." So it's entirely possible, if not actually outright confirmed, that this version was from an alternate reality. That said, even if that was the intention, that's not a guarantee that it would have stayed that way - after all, the Eternals weren't originally intended to be set in 616 either.

Profile by Loki.

Father Christmas has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Initial rough sketches by Mario Capaldi working out the character's appearance (all images)

The Unbelievable Exploits of Father Christmas (unpublished, intended for Christmas 1993) - Tim Quinn (writer), Mario Capaldi (pencils)

First Posted: 12/25/2022
Last updated:

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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