Ask Chris #85: Which Superhero Could Replace Santa Claus?
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Q: What superhero has the loveable jolliness/elf-oppressing fist of iron necessary to take over for Santa? -- @FrankMcCormick
A: A replacement for Santa Claus, eh, Frank? Well, that shouldn't be too hard to figure out. It really just comes down to -- wait. A replacement for Santa Claus?! Why do we need a replacement?! Did something happen to Santa?!
Oh God. Oh God. Okay. Don't freak out. We've still got two weeks. There's time to fix this before Christmas Eve. C'mon, Frank. We've got work to do.
As much as I hate to say it, I don't think any of my usual favorites are going to be a whole lot of help this time. I mean, my first choice in virtually any other situation would be Batman, but I'm not sure the Caped Crusader is up for the task. At first glance, he seems like a pretty good fit. He's got almost limitless resources -- I'm pretty sure that he owns at least one toy factory, if only because an abandoned toy factory in Gotham City is just asking for trouble -- he owns a rocket, and he's already used to operating unseen at night. He even has experience dealing with a network of operatives in red and green clothes with funny boots.
But while he might do well in a pinch, I can't really see Batman taking over the Kringle job full-time. I mean, he's great at gathering information on who's been naughty, but it's a little less "he sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake" and a little more "he dangles you off of a building and threatens to break your legs." Plus, while he's pretty well-known for giving gifts to children, they tend to be along the lines of karate lessons and a promise to hang up your uniform if and when you're beaten to death by a murderous clown. All things considered, I think most kids would be happier with coal. For a large-scale operation like that, Batman's definitely out of the running.
As for my other favorite character, well...
The Punisher brings a whole different set of problems to the table. You put that dude in a room with a list of who's been bad, and he's going to be putting something slightly more explosive than lumps of coal into their stockings on Christmas morning. He'd have the workshop converted into a full-on arms manufacturing plant within a week, and I don't think the elves would be all that keen on rigging up a "Battle Sleigh."
And those eight tiny reindeer?
It's just not going to work out. On the other hand, I can pretty much guarantee that if the Punisher was the new Santa Claus, parents across the world would be seeing a pretty sharp drop in pouting and crying.
Beyond those, the obvious choice for New Santa would be Superman:
Again, he seems like a solid choice: He's kind and generous, he's got the speed to fly around the world even without a sleigh or reindeer, and he's got telescopic x-ray vision and super-hearing to make keeping track of the good children pretty easy. Heck, Superman already has a house at the North Pole!
Santa Claus himself even turns to him in times of trouble, which is a pretty great endorsement:
But if we're looking for someone to take over full time, Superman's just as problematic as anyone else. Well, maybe not as problematic as the Punisher, but still: Superman gains his powers from Earth's yellow sun, and at Christmas, the North Pole is in the middle of six months of darkness. He'd be at his weakest on the one day when he'd need his powers the most, and while that might not seem like all that big a deal, you try explaining it to your kid if he's the one who doesn't get a present this year that Santa was too weak from flying around in the dark to survive a dose of Lex Luthor's deadly Green Kryptonog. The next thing you know, kids all over start losing their faith in Santa Claus, people stop shopping at Gimbels, and you know what we're left with? Complete economic collapse!
You might think that it'd be a simple matter of just moving the operation to the South Pole, but that is, of course, the dread domain of Santa Claus's evil half-brother, Atnas the Anti-Santa, who steals presents from children and destroys them in a workshop staffed by surly giants. Seriously, it's a whole thing with those two, and Atnas is never going to move out just so the new guy can get a tan in December.
If Superman can't do it, I guess the next logical suggestion would be the Martian Manhunter, who has all of Suerman's powers plus the extremely Santa-friendly ability of walking through walls, turning invisible and reading your mind -- eliminating the need for both shopping mall lap-sitting and chimney-shimmying -- plus he's pretty well-known for his love of milk and cookies. But come on, let's be honest here: We both know that there's no way the Martian Manhunter can support a solo holiday. They'd cancel Christmas in six issues, tops, and we're right back where we started.
But with all of those guys out of the running, I can't think of anyone else who could do the job. I'm sorry, Frank, but.... I guess we just won't be having a Christmas this year.
That's all we have for this week, but if you've got a question you'd like to see Chris tackle in a future column, just send it to @theisb on Twitter with the hashtag #AskChris, or send an email to
WAIT A SECOND! There might just be one person who could do the job! I know you wanted a super-hero to be the new Santa, but -- lights please -- Christmas isn't just about what you've done in the past, Frank. It's also about forgiveness. And mostly about who can do the best job of delivering presents.
And that's why my pick for the new Santa Claus would be Dr. Victor Von Doom.
Okay, look: I know there might be a few slight problems with Doctor Doom becoming the new Santa, mainly that there is a non-zero chance that a few kids are going to end up getting their houses rocketed into space. Also, I'm not gonna lie, you guys: He's gonna try to kill Reed Richards every single Christmas from here on out.
But think about it: He's already been in charge of a country, so he knows how to keep the elves in line -- if nothing else, Doombots can be easily reprogrammed to make toys. He wants to be adored by the population, and is smart enough to understand that cultivating loyal minions from a young age is a pretty good way to go about that. He filled in for Santa once before in a Scott Lobdell / John Byrne story that's definitely among the best of their careers and did a bang-up job. He even already has magical sorcery powers.
But there are two things in particular that make him a great choice:
First, Doctor Doom built a time machine. Admittedly, he originally did it so that he could steal pirate treasure, but being able to travel through time makes getting presents to all the good boys and girls a pretty simple matter.
Second, Doctor Doom built a time machine. You know how you always see those pictures of Santa's workshop and all the elves are always making wooden toy trains, even though we have video games now? That's because Santa Claus was always too kind to tell them that no one has liked actually liked wooden toy trains in at least fifty years. With Doom, that will not be a problem. He'll be passing on the sort of knowledge you need to build a time machine by yourself to the toymakers, and the result will be the most awesome Christmas presents of all time.
So with Dr. Doom recruited, the holiday has once again been rescued. It's a Christmas Miracle!
That's all we have for this week, but if you've got a question you'd like to see Chris tackle in a future column, just send it to @theisb on Twitter with the hashtag #AskChris, or send an email to email@example.com with [Ask Chris] in the subject line!