Nothing says holiday spirit like punching Santa in the face. Sure, there are plenty of carols about sad orphans demanding figgy pudding, snowmen going over hills of snow, and other tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago. But that’s not in the true spirit of superhero comics. Comics are about our favorite fictional characters senselessly fighting one another until someone loses an eye or yells Martha. So why ruin a good thing on account of the holidays? After all, what better way to bring in the good cheer than by watching a brawl with Kris Kringle and his eight tiny reindeer?
With the speed of Flash, the telepathy of Professor X, the magic of Doctor Strange and the furry zoolingualism of Squirrel Girl, jolly ole St. Nick is a force to be reckoned with. Sometimes he has it coming. Other times, he just finds himself in the wrong chimney. No matter what the reason or occasion, be it the fat man himself or someone wearing his suit, come Christmas time, there will always be a festive fist waiting. So without further ado, we’ve made our list, checked it twice and found out who’s been clobberin’ Papa Noel real nice.
Here are 15 Superheroes Who’ve Beaten up Santa.
15. The Incredible Hulk Smashes Rhino Santa
Not every superhero has the good fortune to fight the real Kris Kringle, but smashing a depressed mall Santa in front of a bunch of doe-eyed kids will do just as nicely. Fortunately, Rhino is having a particularly tough holidays during Incredible Hulk #378. Drunk, sad and living behind a dumpster, he eventually finds acceptance working as Santa Claus. It doesn’t take long before he cracks from all the kicking and screaming, and starts abusing the kids. This gives a nearby Hulk conveniently shopping for gifts the perfect opportunity to herald in a holiday beatdown.
Not surprisingly, this touching tale is one of the Hulk’s biggest WTF moments. From hurling bowling bowls at one another to cracking jokes about Woody Allen, throwing children carelessly around and the Hulk somehow ending up in a Santa hat and beard, the two know how to put on a good show. Rhino even finds the time to lament over not getting enough sex and his extreme hatred of macadamia nuts. Before things get really out of hand, a tiny Cindy Lou-esque girl intervenes. Unable to crush her belief in the sanctity of Santa, the two stop fighting and Rhino resumes his shift with Hulk by his side as Santa’s biggest helper. We guess there are some traditions more important than smashing things.
14. The Illuminati Take on Super Santa with Snowballs
What do you get when you combine one of the most powerful artifacts in the Marvel Universe with it’s most powerful mutant? A temporarily insane Santa Claus with the ability to destroy the very fabric of existence and totally ruin everyone’s Christmas.
In hindsight, it was a horrible idea for the Illuminati to lend Santa the Infinity Gauntlet. But he did just learn that his reindeer were evil aliens. Obviously unable to use their services, how else was St. Nick supposed to deliver toys to all those anxiously awaiting girls and boys?
Predictably, Santa immediately got drunk with power and tried to kill everyone. Luckily, Namor threw a snowball really hard at Santa’s face in the nick of time, and by Blitzen’s nether regions, he dropped the Gauntlet. Santa felt awful about the whole thing afterwards, so to lift his spirits, Iron Man offered to loan him his fleet of robotic reindeer. Why Stark didn’t think to do this in the first place before giving the oversized elf a universe-ending Power Glove is a mystery. Point is, the Illuminati earned a spot on Santa’s nice list that day. Except Namor, he’s still a douche.
13. Batman Teaches Santa the Real Meaning of Christmas
It was only a matter of time before Batman’s deadly fists swung their way onto this list. After all, the Dark Knight has had a special relationship with Christmas over the years. Like the time he fought a bear in a Christmas tree. Or when he took a night off from crime fighting to go caroling with the police. During The Brave and the Bold #184 we get another classic Caped Crusader Christmas caper and finally get an answer to the age old question of who would win a fight between Batman and Santa Claus.
When local mob boss “Spurs” Sanders is on the lam disguised as St. Nick, the not-so-easily fooled World’s Greatest Detective wastes no time backhanding the grinch right out of him. Ok, so maybe this isn’t the actual father of Christmas. But beating up someone pretending to be him is just what the Dark Knight needs to get his holidays back on track. And after some toys get dropped off at a Gotham orphanage and Commissioner Gordon finds a wrapped surprise at his door, we learn the real identity of Gotham’s true Santa Claus. (Hint: it’s Batman.)
12. Blade Blows Santa’s Head to the North Pole
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Manhattan, not a creature was stirring because Blade had stabbed them all. Or so he thought, until he stumbled across a department store Santa putting out some level 9 demonic vibes while shopping for Christmas gifts. It turns out that one of this vampire hunter’s niftier tricks is the ability to sense evil in Santa. Well actually it’s the power to perceive supernatural isturbances in everyday life, but the skill came in particularly handy one holiday season when everyone’s favorite guy in a big red suit got possessed.
When Blade confronted this not-so-jolly St. Nick, the impostor used his satanic powers to transfer from one host to the next, forcing everyone in the store to brutally kill themselves. Amidst the turmoil Blade managed to get his hands on a gun and blow Santa’s head off. Quickly realizing that being the only one left standing amidst a pile of dead bodies (including a headless Santa Claus) might not look good when the police arrive, Blade wisely makes a run for it. But on the plus side, he didn’t have to pay for gifts that year.
11. The Avengers and Fantastic Four Battle Santa Doom
Maybe his iron mask is too tight. Maybe his cape isn’t screwed on right. Whatever the reason, Victor Von Doom is the grinchiest character in comics. The scrooge of Latveria spends year after year alone on Christmas brooding over the best ways to crush everyone’s good cheer. Despite this, Santa amazingly decides Dr. Doom deserves a present, but when he visits the evil Baron’s sanctum, he’s greeted by one of its many Home Alone-style castle traps. Unable to continue on his way, Doom has a change of heart, puts on the red and white suit, and takes over for the night as the monarch of Christmas.
After merrily delivering gifts to the Avengers and Fantastic Four, the superheroes naturally assume Santa Doom is up to no good and team up to beat the crap out of him. It’s only after a bluer than blue eyed little girl asks why Mr. Fantastic has his foot up Santa’s ass that they put aside their differences to pass out presents to the group of sickly homeless children who’ve suddenly appeared out of nowhere. In the end, the little girl gives Dr. Doom her teddy bear and everyone goes home happy.
10. Deadpool Gives Santa an Eyeful of Deadly Cheer
If you can count on one superhero to take out Santa Claus in the most creative of ways, its Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth is hired on a routine assignment to kill someone so the Kingpin can send a message to his family. The only problem is that the target is wearing a Santa costume. On his first attempt, the big furry red suit (or maybe its the Taco Bell he just ate) gets to Deadpool and he uncharacteristically hesitates while strangling the guy with barbed wire. He pays the price with a stomach full of lead and learns a valuable lesson — never flinch when trying to kill Santa Claus.
Not one to make the same mistake twice, Deadpool finishes the job when he catches up to his assignment working at a mall. Surrounded by kids, the Santa thinks he has the upper hand. That is until Deadpool flicks a nickel straight through his eye from across the room. Before the little boy on dead Santa’s knee has a chance to realize what’s happened, the Regeneratin’ Degenerate swoops him up and kindly sends all the kids on their way to beg their parents for expensive toys. Who says Deadpool isn’t a nice guy?
9. Hitman Introduces His Gun to Santa’s Face
More of an anti-hero than superhero, Tommy Monaghan aka Hitman operates in the sections of Gotham City that even Batman doesn’t like to venture into. Using X-ray vision and telepathy, this gun-for-hire makes a living killing metahumans with a price on their head. So when a grinchy nuclear power plant janitor whose soul is filled with yellow snow falls into a vat of radioactive waste and comes out as an over-powered supervillain bent on ruining Christmas, there’s only one man to call.
Most of Hitman #22 involves Tommy and his pal, Gulf War-vet Natt the Hat, running down Gotham’s rando Santas and making their sugar plums drop in fear. When they finally come upon their prey in a mall melting the faces off Christmas shoppers, they waste no time delivering jolly justice as Tommy drives straight into the irradiated St. Nick, slamming him hood first into a brick wall. The remorseful Santa begs for a show of mercy and Tommy and Natt oblige by unloading their guns Pulp Fiction-style into his head. Between Batman’s fists and Hitman’s guns, Gotham is the absolute worst place to hate on Christmas.
8. The Flash Gets a Christmas High Fighting Santa Drug Runners
Wally West loves Christmas. Probably more than any other superhero on this list (including the big guy himself). From trimming the tree to throwing Christmas Eve parties, he’s always the quickest to bring good tidings of comfort and joy to the season. So when both a heat and crime wave simultaneously hit Keystone City during December, everyone’s spirits melt away and the Flash’s usual holiday cheer is put to the test.
The straw that breaks the reindeer’s back comes when the Scarlet Speedster has a run in with a gang of cocaine smugglers dressed as Santa. Both nimble and quick, he floods their getaway boat and, in a kung-fu speed attack that would make Rudolph proud, charges them head on, blowing up the ship. The goons survive to watch their product go up in smoke, and the Flash’s spirits get sufficiently lifted as a snowstorm of coke floats down around him. After all, what’s Christmas without a little speed?
7. The Avengers Kill Santa Ultron with Cookies
A young woman traumatized by her classmates telling her there’s no Santa when she was younger is determined to keep others from ever experiencing a similar fate. So she builds a robotic Santa Claus using the discarded remains of Ultron. Not surprisingly, when her creation gains sentience, it immediately tries to murder the Avengers. Thus begins the timeless yuletide fable,“Yes Virginia, there is a Santron.”
Across town, the Avengers are holding their annual holiday party, with Iron Man using remote control mistletoe to trick Spider-Woman into making out with every guy there. The seasonal shenanigans come to a halting stop when cybernetic Father Christmas crashes down the chimney and blasts everyone using a neural disruptor. Luckily Wolverine jumps out of nowhere and stabs him in the face. (Mind you, at the time, everyone still thought this could be the real Santa.)
As the Avengers and Santron throw down, Spider-Man figures out the Kringledopper’s one weakness — Christmas cookies. After implanting the mistletoe inside one, Santron devours it and inexplicably blows up. Because science. The Avengers then track down the sad human who created this killing machine. Instead of throwing her in jail, they force her to endure a lecture from Captain America on why he and Santa Claus are one and the same.
6. The Ultimate Warrior Does Unspeakable Things to Santa
Remember the Ultimate Warrior? If you grew up in the ’80s, of course you do. He was a star of the World Wrestling Federation back when it was cool. Characterized by face paint, brightly colored arm tassels, incomprehensibility and high-frenetic athletics, the Ultimate Warrior was crack for young boys everywhere. He was so popular he got his own short-lived comic written by — you guessed it — the Ultimate Warrior. It depicts the adventures of a super-powered Warrior as he travels through the Terrain of Testament and seeks to master the philosophy of Destrucity. And rape Santa Claus.
The Warrior X-Mas special isn’t so much a comic as it is a series of disturbing pin-ups showing the Warrior having his way with Christmas over and over again. The rough plot involves him role-playing Fifty Shades of Grey with Santa, stealing his suit, killing elves, choking the Grinch, partying with some hobos and hearing what children want for Christmas. (Note to self: Don’t ever let your kid sit on the Ultimate Warrior’s lap). They certainly don’t make humans like this anymore.
5. Superman Gives Bat-Santa a Fistful of Christmas Spirit
“Yes Tyrone, there is a Santa Claus” is a modern classic about the time Batman and Superman ruined a small boy’s Christmas. The Daily Planet receives a letter from Tyrone asking if Santa Claus is real. Superman, being the standup guy he is, decides to dress up as St. Nick and save the day. Batman, being the dick he is, shows up and convinces Supes he’s making a dumb mockery of himself. Surprisingly persuaded, the Man of Steel sheds the costume and flies off to restore peace in the Middle East. At the last minute, he decides to give Tyrone’s family the presents he’s made for them. But when he walks through the door he finds the Caped Crusader in a Santa outfit, white beard and all, already merrily passing out gifts to the children. That’s when Superman punches Bat-Santa right in the face.
Chalk this up to one of the thousands of reasons why Superman should kill Batman. The guy’s a huge jerk. He chastises the Man of Tomorrow for being a pathetic excuse for a superhero and brings up his dead parents as a reason why Christmas sucks, all so he could reap the yuletide glory for himself. Well, the joke’s on him, because Superman’s fist probably just shattered his skull into a million pieces. That’ll teach Tyrone to write letters.
4. The Tick Noogies Multiple Santas to Death
As with most of the Tick’s adventures, this one starts out normally enough. A robber dressed as Santa flees a crime scene and ends up running into a neon sign where he gains the power to make electrical clones of himself who are also dressed as Santa. Putting his newfound abilities to diabolical use, Multiple Santa promptly starts looting the entire City. Usually around this time, the Tick would spoon his way into action. Only problem is that he can’t bring himself to hit Santa.
The duplicitous villain takes advantage of the Tick’s reluctance and continues his merry reign of terror. Thanks to a visit from the real Santa and his rogue team of clandestine elves, Tick is empowered to overcome his fears. When later confronted with the army of jolly looking St. Nick clones, the Arachnid of Justice figures out static electricity is their weakness — and promptly noogies them all to death.
3. Lobo Decapitates Santa in a Knife Fight
The Santa that exists in the pages of The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special #1 isn’t someone you want coming down your chimney anytime soon. Going by the name of Kris ‘Crusher’ Kringle, he runs a militant toy-making slave operation and has replaced Mrs. Claus with a gorilla. Fed up with this tyrant’s Christmas overshadowing the other holidays, a drunk Easter Bunny hires Lobo to kill him. Doing nothing else at the time, the Last Czarnian accepts and heads for the North Pole to ring in the most wonderful time of the year in the bloodiest way possible.
What ensues is a side of Christmas the carols have yet to adequately capture. Lobo begins by slaughtering every elf in sight. He then challenges Santa to a knife fight while a group of penguins watch from the sidelines. At one point, Lobo punches his eye out, which dangles for a few panels more until he finally cuts off Pere Nöel’s head. Not done there, Lobo then raids Santa’s workshop, finds his Naughty and Nice list and decides to take over the Christmas duties by building a ton of nuclear bombs and dropping them on everyone’s houses. Oh yeah, he also shoots Rudolph in the head. For anyone who’s wondering what this touching tale would look like in an awesome low-budget amateur film, you’re in luck. Merry Christmas!
2. Santa Teaches Himself a Lesson in Respect
Spectacular Spider-Man #197 is notable in that most of the issue deals with barely dressed women trying to hook up with Peter Parker on Christmas Eve, only for him to end up in bed sleeping alone with a teddy bear. This turns out to be a good thing when his neighbor gets robbed by a mall Santa who’s been scamming kids into telling him where they live. Spidey leaps into action, but fails to stop the burglar when he escapes up some stairs to the roof. All and all, twas a pretty poor showing by Spider-Man this Christmas.
Luckily, there’s a far more powerful superhero waiting on the rooftop. The impostor Santa stops dead in his tracks when he sees the real mack daddy himself standing before him, none too pleased what this dirtbag’s been doing in his good name. We don’t actually get the pleasure of seeing Santa beat the frosty out of this scam artist, but when Spider-Man finally gets his act together and arrives on the scene, there’s no sight of either. Presumably, Santa took the villain on a sleigh ride through hell, because the following day he’s found locked in a closest scared straight.
1. Superman Merrily Beats the Fat Out of Santa
Sometimes, punching Santa can be a good thing. Especially when it comes via the helpful hands of Superman. During the Silver Age, plots revolving around Supes saving people from morbid obesity were a regular occurrence. So it only makes sense that in 1946’s Action Comics #105, he saves Christmas by forcing Santa to lose weight.
It all begins innocently enough when a scroogey tycoon flies his helicopter to the North Pole in order to murder Christmas. He plans to achieve this by poisoning Santa with roofied chocolates, only instead of killing the jolly elf, the tasty morsels make him super fat. Which is a problem, considering he can no longer fit down chimneys and deliver presents. Or it would be, if Superman wasn’t a certified aerobics instructor.
Big Blue starts by doing what any of us would do — repeatedly hitting Santa in the stomach in hopes of karate chopping the fat right out of him. When this oddly doesn’t work, the Man of Steel tries scaring the weight off Santa by threatening to drop him in a volcano and carrying him into outer space towards an oncoming meteor. This does the trick (probably because Santa just pooped the weight out in sheer terror). To finish the job Superman has Santa dance with a bunch of random women dressed as clowns. With Christmas saved and Santa slimmer then ever, Superman offers his services to help deliver toys, which seems like a strange resolution, considering he could’ve just done this in the first place and saved Santa from nearly dying of a heart attack. But where’s the fun in that?
Know of any other classic Santa beatdowns? Tell us all about them in the comments.