Who's the Santa Claus of Earth-2?

Who's This? A couple Christmases ago, I ran a "Who's This?" feature on Santa Claus as he appeared in the Bronze Age, teaming up with Superman. It wasn't the first time he did so. In fact their partnership goes all the way back to the Golden Age. It's a nice way to kick off SISKOID'S HOLIDAYS WEEK, moving us from Christmas to New Year's, don't you think?
The facts: Santa Claus was a big cover star in the Golden Age of comics that make up the Earth-2 canon, but he usually didn't feature in the stories. His first DC appearance was Superman's Christmas Adventure #1 (1940), which would be reprinted a couple of times - 1976's Limited Collectors' Edition #C-43 and in 2000's A DC Universe Christmas trade paperback.
How you could have heard of him: Vintage Coca-Cola ads?
Example story: Superman's Christmas Adventure (1940) by Jerry Siegel and Jack Burnley
It starts with Lois and Clark talking to a poor boy in a department store and deciding to use the Daily Planet (was this the Star before the story was reprinted?) to run advertise a toy drive for the less fortunate. Santa Claus is revealed as a reader, and he gives them his seal of approval.
Clark is obviously going to use his powers to find the spoiled brats who have too many gifts and inspire them, as Superman, to give their extra toys away (which happens by the end of the story). Meanwhile, a spaceship approaches the Fortress of Solitude--sorry, I mean Santa's Workshop. Things are about to get weird.
This is the vessel of one Dr. Grouch who, accompanied by his partner Mr. Meaney, have always hated Christmas and want to convince Santa Claus to use his factory for profit.
Seems like the Earth-2 Santa doesn't keep a naughty or nice list, or even get a character's alignment from context. Grouch and Meaney? I guess you don't choose your family name. They're chased away by the elves, which means that no, this comic ISN'T bent on shilling Superman toys, at least in principle ;-).

The villains then turn their attentions to the Planet's toy drive and try to burn the stash down, Clark and Lois with it, but they fail. So they go back to the North Pole, gas the elves, and trash the workshop.
Santa really could be a goodie version of Toy-Man, couldn't he? Grouch runs away, and there's a bit where Superman has to rescue Lois because they've sent her into orbit on the back of a giant fireworks rocket, and then they kidnap her again... But to get back to our hero - he's got to deal with another Meaney act of sabotage:
It's time to call in the cavalry. Grouch will rue the day he chose to use a truck because he didn't want reindeer poo up inside his spaceship! But when Superman frees the magical animals...
Oh crap! Who's going to pull the sleigh now? There's only one solution, and a missed opportunity for Superman to actually do so. That's not as strong a visual, is it?
Christmas spirit time! Santa nevertheless forgives and forgets, and leaves gifts for the two crabby old men. He's sure there's some good in them. And in fact, there is. They overhear the whole thing and turn on a dime!
Even Lois decides not to press charges on account of it being Christmas. And it's back to the toy drive and a friendly reminder to be generous with those less fortunate than ourselves. Earth-2 is well covered during the holiday season.

1 comments:

Toby'c said...

I remember this one from Atop the Fourth Wall a few years ago. Even by Golden Age standards, this comic sucked.

 

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