Who's Santa Claus?

Who's This? No, not the Coca-Cola mascot distilled from legends both Pagan and Biblical (or stolen from White Rock Beverages' 1915 publicity campaign, whatever). I mean the character that's been traipsing around the DC Universe for decades, but who nevertheless didn't get an entry in Who's Who. 'Tis the season to boo!
The facts: Santa Claus first appeared in a DC comic in Superman's Christmas Adventure #1 (1940) in which the Man of Steel - his most frequent co-star - rescues his reindeer from Misters Grouch and Meaney, two men intent on Santa giving up his philanthropic ways. Since then, he's appeared on many covers, come the Holidays, but also in a number of stories. He's been rescued by the Bronze Age Sandman (which ties him to the Dreaming) in a story relegated to Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 (1978), fought the Toy-Man with Superman in DC Comics Presents #67 (1984), defended the North Pole from Lobo in the Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special (1991), gave Darkseid a lump of coal (in the DCU Holiday Bash 1998), and went to Shadowpact for help against anti-Christmas terrorists in the Infinite Holiday Special (2006), just to name some of the most famous. He never carried his own DC title, but did appear alongside Rudolph whenever the Red-Nosed Reindeer did. There is no reason to think these would be out of continuity.
How you could have heard of them: You've been alive at some point after the 1930s, right? So you recognize the red suit?
Example story: DC Comics Presents #67 (1984) "Twas the Fright Before Christmas!" by Len Wein, E. Nelson Bridwell, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson
So it's Christmas Eve, 30 years ago, and this kid called Timmy Dickens (how festive) tries to hold up a sidewalk Santa with a toy gun. Superman intervenes, just in case, and detects an odd radiation coming from the pistol. It's keeping the boy hypnotized somehow, so Superman brings the kid to his Arctic home away from home, the Fortress of Solitude, to get him checked out. There, he breaks the spell and discovers Timmy opened his presents early - the pistol and a toy starship - the latter flashing the hypnotic suggestion that he should steal money from that poser, Santa, drop the loot at the local Big Schott Toy Store, and forget it ever happened. As Superman starts to fly Timmy back home so he can go arrest Winslow Schott the Toy-Man, the toy ship fires a blast of dwarf star gravity at him and makes him crash in the ice. When he wakes up, he meets a neighbor he didn't know he had...
Not possible? But you've met him before, Superman! Hm, maybe that was on Earth-2. But if Santa magically keeps his home and factory hidden from prying eyes, he can probably make you forget you ever saw him. Probably why adults stop believing in him eventually. It's not all magic though; today's Santa Claus is a product of his era.
He misses the old wooden toys (though he's strangely obsessed with giving kids popguns and toy soldiers - from his cold dead hand and all that; he's definitely the same guy we see in the Lobo special), but he and the elves have moved on. And he knows all about the Toy-Man because he keeps tabs on EVERYONE (oh yeah, Santa is definitely a Republican). Superman plans to steal and destroy all of Toy-Man's poisoned "gifts" and replace them with the real thing. But even if Superman wasn't still weakened by the grav-beam, seems to me he wants to do a job Santa is way better equipped to do.
Superman and Timmy need a ride anyway. First stop - and we don't care if a child is put into harm's way, do we? - is Schott's Toy Store. They can't just go in through the doors though, not on Christmas Eve. Thankfully, our heroes have another means of access:
Superman fights Toy-Man's killer toys, but he has help from Santa's own bottomless arsenal.
The things this guy could do if he fought crime year-round... Schott is finally downed by some well placed marbles. Feeling his powers returning, Superman flies around the area with the Toy-Man's customer list in hand and saves Christmas.
And when it's all over, Santa asks Superman to bring Timmy home, but that stupid toy starship shoots him again (take it AWAY FROM HIM, MAN!), and when he wakes up...
Say what?! So it never happened? Or did Santa Claus use his mind fog juju on him and Timmy to keep his secret safe? Because Superman finds a Kryptonian holo-toy in his cape, the very toy that was his favorite and that was lost when the planet blew up.
So is that Superman's imagination creating that image, or is it a prerecorded holo of the man who left the thing in his pocket? You decide!

So IS the idea of Santa Claus any more absurd than a Superman from another world? The DC Universe has magic, and super-science, and the gods of many pantheons, and powers that can't really be explained, so why NOT Santa Claus? Think about it. It's also got Uncle Sam made flesh. If the spirit of America can be a superhero, the spirit of Christmas damn well could too. In other words: WHERE'S HIS WHO'S WHO ENTRY?!??? He's got his own logo and everything, DC!

Who's next? A less believable character, I promise.

3 comments:

Toby'c said...

That first picture brings to mind the star of this week's Atop the Fourth Wall episode, Santa the Barbarian. And it was from the 90s.

Siskoid said...

He's been making kids happy since the Hyborean Age!

OTL said...

While I'm sure that next issue blurb is referring to the Justice League character, it's pretty amusing at the end of a Santa Claus story. Makes it sound like one of the reindeer (that isn't Rudolph) is going to try for a solo adventure...

 

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