Santa Claus’ DC Comics debut shows him saving Christmas with Superman and touching the hearts of the most unexpected characters.
Superman and Santa Claus have a number of things in common. From their inspiring nature to their desire to keep hope alive, each serves as a symbol of good in their own right. As such, it is no surprise that the two have crossed paths before. When two individuals sought to ruin the holiday for all, Superman and Santa Claus worked together to keep Christmas alive.
Making his debut in 1940's Superman's Christmas Adventure (by Jerry Siegel and Jack Burnley), Santa Claus is one of the most iconic folklore characters of all time. He has since become a recurring character in the DC universe, coming face to face with many heroes and villains while delivering presents and spreading joy.
The holiday special arrived only two years after Superman's debut in Action Comics. When Lois and Clark are assigned to write a Christmas story for the Daily Planet, they come across a young boy whose family could not afford any toys. In contrast, they also see a rich boy named James Daniels, who throws a tantrum after not receiving the gifts he wanted. To show the child how fortunate he was, Superman takes him on a flight across the city, showing him the persistent poverty that exists around them.
Meanwhile, at the North Pole, two villains. Dr. Grouch and Mr. Meaney seek to put an end to Christmas, proposing that Santa join their venture of commercializing the holiday, The two are kicked out by the elves and decide to ruin Christmas elsewhere. They travel to the Daily Planet, where a toy drive was taking place, setting fire to the gifts. Following this, they return to Santa's Workshop, only to discover that they had been followed by Lois, whom they kidnap and tie to a rocket, Superman rescues Lois, while the villains kidnap Santa's reindeer.
Santa sends a distress signal to Superman, asking him to rescue his companions. The hero successfully saves them, however, Mr. Meaney gasses the reindeer, preventing Santa from delivering gifts. Not willing to disappoint millions of children, Superman carries the sleigh around the world. Despite their transgressions, when the pair arrive at Dr. Grouch's house, Santa leaves presents for the villains. Seeing his act of kindness, the two have a change of heart, deciding that they love Christmas. As he returns home, Superman sees James delivering gifts to the less fortunate, showing that he learned his lesson.
Since this story, Santa has appeared several times. It has even been stated that he travels to Apokolips each year to deliver coal to Darkseid. He also appeared in the Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special (by Keith Giffen, Alan Grant, Simon Bisley, Lovern Kindzierski, and Gaspar Saladino), where he was depicted as a ruthless man known as Kris Crusher Kringle. When the Easter Bunny hired Lobo to assassinate Santa, the two engaged in a ruthless battle. Lobo came out the victor, though the accounts of the story may be questionable.
Overall, Superman's Christmas Adventure explored a side of the DC universe that has long been forgotten. This story discusses a number of themes, particularly the idea of giving back, which is something Superman strives for every day. Ultimately, Santa and Superman's partnership was a reminder that anyone can make the world a better place.