After spending most of the year in solitude, this garishly dressed supernatural figure speeds around the world at an impossible pace, ignoring the mere laws of human while doling out his particular brand of justice out with the help of his superpowered animals and cutting edge vehicle. While that sounds like something straight out of a comic book, we’re of course talking about Santa Claus, the mystical Yuletide spirit who visits the houses of millions of children on Christmas night. While Santa’s origins predate comics by a few centuries, that hasn’t stopped the jolly elf/Catholic saint/Yuletide spirit from making periodic appearances in various comics over the years. To celebrate the Christmas season, here’s five of our versions of Santa from the comic books:
Santa Claus (Marvel)
While the mythical Santa Claus’s origins might have ties to the Norse god’s Odin (after all, they both have the same general build and beard and ride around in a sleigh/chariot driven by flying mammals), Marvel’s modern Santa Claus appears to be an Omega Level mutant with reality-altering powers that even exceed those of Proteus or Franklin Richards. After Cerebro detected the powerful mutant in Rockefeller Square one Christmas, the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants even battled over Santa Claus, although Santa ended the fight by teleporting both teams away and erasing their memories of the fight.
Marvel’s Santa Claus also has a major beef with Adolf Hitler, stemming from when the German dictator captured him during World War II. After Captain America, Bucky and Nick Fury rescued him from the Nazis, Santa returned the favor by stopping the Hate-Monger (a clone of Hitler) from nuking New York City many years later.
Santa Claus (DC)
While Marvel’s Santa Claus might be a nice guy, DC’s version of Santa Claus may be a nastier sort of Christmas spirit. Lobo claimed to have fought Santa at his base in the North Pole after the Easter Bunny hired the Main Man to assassinate Santa for constantly one-upping other Holiday representatives. After mercilessly cutting down dozens of elves during his initial attack on Santa’s workshop, Lobo encountered the real Santa Claus, a nasty, shiv-wielding taskmaster. Lobo decapitated Santa with one of his own knives and then killed Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for fun. Of course, both Superman and other superheroes have since encountered Santa Claus, so it’s likely Lobo’s just full of BS.
That’s not the only weird story involving a DC character and Santa Claus. John Constantine used the skeleton of St. Nicholas (the historical person around which part of the Santa Claus myth is based) during an occult ritual. After grinding the saint’s bones into a powder and completing the ritual, Constantine snorted the rest of the saint’s remains like it was a drug.
Santa Claus (Fables)
In the Fables universe, Santa Claus is (unsurprisingly) a Fable who fled to the “mundane” world along with the rest of the Fables when the Adversary started his attack on the Fable kingdoms. Santa Claus is one of the most powerful Fables in existence due to the persistent legends that surround him and is one of the few Fables who live outside of Fabletown or the Farm. Instead of traveling across the world over the course of one night, the Fable version of Santa uses his abilities to appear in every household at once on Christmas Eve.
Earlier this year, Boom Studios released Klaus, a miniseries by Grant Morrison (of Multiversity and Batman RIP fame) and Dan Mora, about the origins of Santa Claus. Billed as a “Santa Claus: Year One”, Morrison’s Klaus is a younger, sexier version of the famous yuletide spirit, long before he took up the velvet red suit and put on a few pounds. A solitary hunter of reindeer, Klaus rebels against a town’s cruel ruler, who has cancelled the local Yule festival in order to force the townspeople to work harder in the mines. In the most recent issue, Klaus delivers toys made by a group of mysterious wood spirits to the town’s children, hoping to bring the spirit of Yule back as an act of rebellion. Boom’s Klaus is currently on its second issue, so it’s not too late to see what other trippy magic Morrison and Mora have left to weave.
In one of the more bizarre Santa stories out there, Doctor Doom spent one Christmas impersonating Santa Claus after the Christmas spirit injured himself on one of the many booby traps inside of Doom’s Latverian castle. Doom reluctantly agreed to take over for Santa Claus while Santa recovered from his injuries and took off in Santa’s sleigh. After spotting Doom over New York, both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers prepared to fight “Santa Doom”, but the heroes agreed to a ceasefire after seeing a small girl mistake Doom for Santa Claus. Soon, the Fantastic Four and Avengers were assisting Doom in delivering presents and helped him get all the toys delivered on time. When Santa Claus recovered from his enemies, he offered Doom one present of his choice, but Doom declined, having already been given a teddy bear by the girl who stopped the superheroes earlier that night. See, the Christmas spirit can touch even the most evil of supervillains!