There are as many stories about Santa Claus in the Marvel Universe as there are in our own. Indeed, there are three distinct figures who inspired tales of a generous old man giving gifts at winter. In time these legends merged, and the collective belief of humanity gave birth to a new being dubbed Santa Claus. This odd history was outlined in a special Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe profile in 2006’s Marvel Holiday Special.

The First Three Santas

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One of the original Santas was Saint Nicholas, who was the Bishop of Myra in what is today Turkey. Nicholas was renowned for his kindness, with one story telling of his gifting gold to three poor women so they would have dowries to marry. Today, he is the patron saint of children (particularly poor ones) and travelers. He is also described as “friend and protector of anyone in trouble.”

Another of the Santas was Old Winter, a figure from pre-Medieval Britain. Custom dictated that one villager (usually a trusted elder) would dress in furs at the Solstice, and offer food and drink to those who showed their hospitality. This figure later came to be known as Old Father Christmas, then just Father Christmas.

The final source of the Santa Claus myths was Odin of Asgard. In 1991’s Marvel Holiday Special, the father of Thor took a hand in saving one Norse village’s Midwinter festival. Beyond offering up some of Asgard’s finest wines, linens and foods to the faithful, Odin arranged a signal to guide some wayward sailors home in time for the feast. These legends gave birth to the being known as Santa Claus.

The Powers of Marvel Comics’ Santa Claus

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Marvel Comics’ Santa Claus is undoubtedly a figure of power. However, this is some debate as to just what the source of that power is. As a being fueled by belief, Santa would seem to be a deity on par with the Asgardian and Greek Gods. His powers have also been described as magical, which would make sense given his connection to Odin.

However, Santa Claus has also been determined to be a Mutant. His presence was detected by Cerebro in a story in 1991’s Marvel Holiday Special. The X-Men determined that he was the  “most powerful mutant ever registered.” Of course there is nothing to prevent a Mutant from using magic, as Magik and the Goblin Queen haven shown. However, this does muddy the waters as to just what abilities are intrinsic to Santa and what are the result of his magic.

Santa is functionally immortal, and can dead lift two tons. He told Spider-Boy in one 2023 story that he had super speed, yet he still depends on his sleigh and reindeer for transport. His magic sack has near infinite capacity, containing gifts for every good person on Earth. Santa has also been implied to be a telepath, knowing if a person has been bad or good at a glance. He also seems to have passive mind control or charisma powers, which can soften the hardest of hearts.

Santa Claus’ Dealings With Marvel Comics’ Characters

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In Marvel Age #109, Santa Claus was kidnapped by Adolph Hitler. This led to a rescue mission led by Captain America, Bucky, and Nick Fury. Years later, in Nick Fury, Agent of Shield #10, Santa helped stop a Hate-Monger plot to bomb New York City on Christmas Eve. The sight of Santa piloting his sleigh distracted one of Hate-Monger’s men, who crashed his plane into the bomb and set it off early.

Santa Claus had two separate adventures with Howard the Duck. He briefly worked with She-Hulk, under the alias Nick St. Christopher, using his knowledge of people’s crimes as a private investigator. Once, Santa joined forces with Luke Cage and Iron Fist to banish the demon Krampus. He also came into conflict with Deadpool, after the Merc With a Mouth got hired to kill him. (To Wade Wilson’s credit, he did not go through with the hit.)

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Santa Claus’ strangest encounter with Marvel Comics’ heroes came in 1990’s What The–?! #10. The story “I’ll Be Doom For Christmas” detailed how Santa was injured by the security measures of Doctor Doom. This left the Latverian monarch honor-bound to complete Santa’s rounds. It also led to his being gifted a stuffed bear; a gift from the girl who saved him from a beating at the hands of multiple superheroes, who presumed Doom was up to no good.

 The history of Santa Claus at Marvel Comics is wildly contradictory, with Kris Kringle being a powerful magician and an Omega-Level Mutant.  Read More