The JLA and the True Meaning of Christmas!
Hmmm, it would appear that 1973 was not a banner year for Santa Claus. And murder? Who would want to murder jolly old St. Nick? Rival toy companies maybe? Then again, was Santa really killed off in 1973? He still seems to be doing quite well in 2007, appearing in constant TV specials, commercials and so on, all before his highly anticipated Christmas Eve dash. Maybe Tim Allen’s movie was right, and Santa just constantly gets replaced whenever he’s bumped off. It seems odd that the person pegged for replacing Santa is the same guy who bumps him off, but hey, who am I to judge (that was the premise of The Santa Clause movie right)? The system seems to have been working so far, so why fix what ain’t broke?
But I digress. The morbid aspect aside, the above image points a common trend in comic books. Essentially, comics and the holiday season have always seemed to go hand in hand. To this day festive comics are still being published, events happen around the holiday season, and goofy stories abound. I’ll never forget an X-men story I read long ago where the Evil Mutants and the X-men are racing to meet and greet a super-powerful mutant that the professor’s computer Cerebro detected. After dispensing the evil mutants, this super-powerful mutant stands revealed to be… Santa Claus! Goofy indeed…
…which brings us to the above tantalizing cover which first adorned the cover of Justice League of America #110, one of those classic 100 Page comics DC was famous for at the time. Ah yes, nothing ever grasps hold of the holiday season quite as well as comic books. Of course, if you look closely, you may realize that the jolly fat man pictured above looks decidedly undernourished. Perhaps Santa’s new look prompted his demise – or the rumors are true and Adkins diets are really detrimental to your health. Well no, actually, it’s none of the above. If you open the book, you’ll find that the image above isn’t really part of the story (comic books are also great continuity vacuums it seems). See, Santa’s lesser known double, Santa Simpson was caught in a bomb explosion, prompting Batman and Superman to exclaim…
It’s shocking – absolutely shocking that a man posing as Santa would be murdered simply as bait for the Justice League! What’s next, knocking off the Easter Bunny? Baby New Year? The Sandman – oh, wait, that one’s been done already. Sorry.
Poor Santa Simpson, the guy just wanted to play Santa for a bunch of kids and now he’s gone! I bet the JLA is seething at this outrage! I bet once this story is over they will eulogize Santa (Homer) Simpson for his good deeds and expound the true meaning of the holidays – but first they must stop the dastardly mastermind… d’oh!
The man with the funky headdress is the Key. During the course of the story he baited the JLA to a slum house where they seemingly perished one by one. The Key claimed he wanted to knock off the JLA before he died of his own terminal illness, but my theory is he just wanted to take Santa’s place and obtain immortality, just like Tim Allen. Of course he fails, thanks to a timely intervention by the Phantom Stranger, but will the JLA be able to stop his diabolical plan of obliterating a large chunk of the city?
Well, of course they stop the bombings. This was before the era of the superhero seeing the entire world basically wrecked before he or she stops the villain. Nowadays it’s touch and go to even see the hero save SOME people. Heck, it’s touch and go to see the hero even survive, they seem to be dropping like flies (much like Santa at the start of this story). And hey, what a class act the 1970s JLA are, building new homes for the poor kids, saving lives and sending a great message of what it means to be a hero. What a great way to end a Christmas yarn (although they never again refer to poor Santa (Homer) Simpson, d’oh!). Wait, maybe I spoke too soon, there’s one more page to go…
So the true nature of Christmas is the act of giving. Red Tornado gets a new costume, Green Arrow gets a kiss, poor kids get new homes, we get Season’s Greetings and Santa (Homer) Simpson gets the shaft. Okay, something doesn’t seem quite right here, but hey, what do I know? Things could always be worse…
And with that, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you!