Santa Claus can crisscross the globe in a matter of hours, squeeze down tiny chimneys and, to the dismay of children the world over, determine who’s been bad and good. It’s a power set that places Ol’ St. Nick on par with the mightiest superheroes, one expert claims.
In fact, says Michael Dennin, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, Santa is a superhero. However, he may be in a league of his own.
“Santa is a superhero, in that he’s fighting against some of the negativity and bad things just in general that we focus on,” says Dennin, who teaches the science of superheroes, “and he’s bringing kind of a joy and a goodness, and he celebrates that idea of giving. He doesn’t have an arch-enemy, so he’s not in that classic superhero mode, but he is saving us in some ways, which makes him, I think, a superhero.”
OK, enough of those visions of sugarplums. How do Santa’s powers stack up against top-tier superheroes? By and large, they’re no match for that jolly old elf.
Dennin suggests that Santa is faster than Superman or The Flash, who can defy the laws of physics by warping space and time. He can also shape-shift, allowing him to creep into homes undetected. And when it comes to psychic abilities, Professor X isn’t fit to carry Santa’s hat.
He also outclasses Iron Man and Batman when it comes to gadgets, as the Dennin theorizes that Kris Kringle’s bottomless bag of toys is actually “an interdimensional portal.” “It looks two-dimensional,” he says, “but it may be an opening to a fourth dimension.”
The only category in which a traditional superhero might come out on top? Brute strength. However, the Incredible Hulk probably wouldn’t want to face off against Father Christmas. That’s the fastest way to land on the Naughty List.
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