Christmas is the ultimate holiday of happiness and peace. Families come together, presents are exchanged, and if you live in the right area you might just get to revel in some picturesque snowfall. Santa Claus is the ubiquitous symbol of the festivities and his likeness is as inescapable as hot chocolate or personalized stockings. Thus, it's not entirely shocking that Father Christmas has edged his way into several bizarre comic book issues.
Comics are playgrounds for inventive narratives and mind-blowing crossovers, but few stories are as peculiar as the ones that incorporate the holidays. In light of this, here are ten of the weirdest Santa Claus appearances in comic books.
10 Superman's Christmas Adventure
Clark Kent and Lois Lane are assigned a Christmas story by the Daily Planet and what ensues is an adventure that ends with an unexpected change of heart. Doctor Grouch and Mister Meany — who really hate the holidays — attempt to put an end to Santa's philanthropic ways. They target the Daily Planet's Toy Drive, knocking employees out with gas and setting presents on fire.
The pair then attacks Santa's workshop, destroying toys, kidnapping Lois, and stealing some reindeer in the process. Naturally, Superman gets involved and saves the day. The real head-scratcher occurs when Santa forgives the evildoers and gives them presents anyway. In a very Disney-like fashion, Grouch and Meany decide that the jolly old man is actually respectable and they suddenly decide to love Christmas. How touching.
9 Marvel Holiday Special 2005
Marvel's 2005 Holiday Special features an odd story titled, "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santron". The premise revolves around a robotic Santa, created by Virgie Hanlon, that is set loose and immediately becomes the antagonist. Virgie's creation came about thanks to the utter disappointment she felt when she learned that Santa Claus wasn't real.
The robot's main order of business is to kill the Avengers, so he shows up to their holiday party and causes mayhem. As it turns out, this Santa is an Ultron unit in disguise and Spider-Man devises a plan to stop him. When all is said and done, Captain America comes around with a touching speech to emphasize that we all need something to believe in — even if that "something" is a fictional being residing in the North Pole.
8 Justice League of America #110
"The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus" is quite the title for a comic book story, but St. Nick played an abnormal role in this frustrating Justice League adventure. The main antagonist, Key, orchestrates the murder of Santa Claus, who was scheduled to appear at a Christmas party for orphans alongside Batman and Superman.
What follows is a series of death traps and sacrifices made by several of the League's members. They're ultimately saved by the Phantom Stranger, but Key escapes and pledges to destroy the team of superheroes. As anticipated, things don't quite work out in the villain's favor.
7 Incredible Hulk #378
In this story, infamous Marvel villain Rhino decides to steal a Santa Claus costume and interact with children at a mall. What could possibly go wrong? Well, one of the kids realizes that something is off about Santa and mentions it to his father. Bruce Banner overhears this claim and sneaks away to the bathroom to transform.
Rhino and the Hulk trade blows all over the shopping center until they encounter a sad little girl who is terrified by their fighting. The enemies then settle on a truce and proceed to work the Santa booth to make the girl's night a little more festive.
6 JLA #60
Pro tip: If a stubborn child refuses to adhere to their bedtime, try telling them an innovative story about Santa Claus joining the Justice League. This is the approach that Plastic Man committed to in "Merry Christmas Justice League -- Now Die!"
This version of Santa Claus has heat vision and super strength, which he uses to help the JLA defeat Neron. However, the aforementioned child isn't entirely convinced by Plastic Man's story and brings up a slew of questions regarding the fictional decisions that were made. Right when the superhero reaches his wits' end, "Santa" appears outside the window and greets the pair. As it turns out, this was just Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern playing a practical joke.
5 The Amazing Spider-Man #314
Peter Parker and Mary Jane are evicted from their condo and they are, for all intents and purposes, homeless. They stumble upon a purse-snatching incident near Central Park and Peter changes into his Spidey gear, chasing the mugger and returning the woman's valuables. At the same time, trouble is brewing at a private security firm in Flushing thanks to a man named Clark.
The story peaks when Clark and his men take a store Santa hostage so they can escape with an armored car full of money. Spider-Man leaps into action, rounding up most of the men until Clark threatens to shoot him. Santa sneaks up behind the criminal and whacks him on the head with a bag of money, effectively saving the day... and perhaps even Spidey's life.
4 JSA #55
Hawkman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Wildcat head to New Hampshire to complete a mission. On the way there, they come upon Santa Claus helping a family whose car had broken down. As a result, he was running late to his shift at a department store.
Santa eventually arrives at the mall where a group of thugs cause a disturbance and the superheroes eventually arrive to handle it. In the midst of the madness, it's revealed that "Santa" is actually the original Red Tornado (Ma Hunkel) and she invites the JSA members over for a jolly Christmas dinner.
3 Sensational She-Hulk
She-Hulk is in the middle of a perplexing case involving the prosecution of a serial killer. She has two days left to draw a definite conclusion and receives help in the form of a call from Nick St. Christopher, who asserts that he has a lead on the case. One look at his character design tells you that "Nick" is obviously supposed to be Santa Claus himself.
This incarnation of Father Christmas climbs down a chimney for information and later teleports to Australia with She-Hulk, as Santa is wont to do. After all, he's apparently "The World's Greatest Detective" in this bizarre comic book plot.
2 Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special
This particular Lobo narrative is quite a doozy. The Easter Bunny puts a contract hit out on Santa Claus out of what appears to be sheer jealousy and Lobo accepts the job. He reaches the North Pole and slaughters the elves in the workshop before making his way over to Santa's room.
A brawl ensues between the DC character and the Christmas icon (who isn't quite so jolly in this incarnation). Lobo wins via decapitation and then proceeds to load Santa's sleigh with nuclear weapons to drop around the world. Talk about a wild ride.
1 Marvel Holiday Spectacular 2009
The plot of this Marvel Holiday Spectacular involves Santa Claus, the Illuminati, and the Infinity Gauntlet. As odd as it may seem, no, we're not making this up. In what is perhaps the most ambitious holiday crossover in comic book history, St. Nick asks the Illuminati if he could borrow the Infinity Gauntlet to make his Christmas deliveries on time since his reindeer ended up being Skrulls.
Santa lets the overwhelming power go to his head almost immediately and he has to be defeated in order for his common sense to return. The story ends rather happily with Iron Man loaning Father Christmas some robotic reindeer to deliver the gifts. It really makes you wonder why the Avengers were so afraid of Thanos when their foe could've literally been Santa Claus with all the stones in an alternate timeline.