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Golden Age Christmas – Superman Meets Santa Claus for the First Time!

Welcome to the first edition of Golden Age Christmas, where we will feature a different Golden Age Christmas comic book story every day from now until Christmas Eve!

Our first tale is 1940’s Superman’s Christmas Adventure #1 from Jerry Siegel and Jack Burnley.

Our story opens with Clark Kent and Lois Lane killing some time near the holidays…

The kid didn’t actually say his name, Clark. Weird. I love how Santa Claus reads the Daily Planet.

Anyhow, Superman now does his best “Ghost of Christmas Present” on the spoiled rich kid…

What the hell is this space craft thing?

I would say that their parents weren’t helping Dr. Grouch and Mr. Meaney from the get go, but comedian Kevin Meaney is quite pleasant, so Mr. Meaney has no excuse! Well, besides the fact that apparently he was unloved his whole life, of course.

You have to love the subtle advertisement for all the tons of Superman toys that were available in 1940. This comic was a giveaway for department stores, so that is likely not an accident.

So after their offer is rebuffed, their plan is to just ruin Christmas…

Duded just flat out tried to murder Lois Lane! Dang! She escapes with Superman’s help only to be captured by them AGAIN as they come up with other ways to ruin Santa’s operation, including using knockout gas on Santa’s reindeer.

This leads to Superman having to pull his best Rudolph and both guide AND carry Santa’s sleigh that night…

Forgiveness is one thing, Santa, but they flat out tried to MURDER Lois! But ah well, it is Christmas, after all!

Nice sentiment, Superman.

Very fun issue by Siegel (He smartly kept the plot extremely straightforward for the extra young audience that this comic was geared towards) and Burnley, who was one of DC Comics’ very best artists at the time.


Grouchy and Meaney — aren’t those the hecklers from the Muppet Show?

nice love how in the end groucho and meaney and even james got the xmas spirit. plus loved santa saying during the holiday season one should be willing to forgive ones enemies .

I love how they casually slipped the reference to ‘Krypto-rayguns’ (a real Superman toy of the time) into the story.

Definitely Eric. Again, this was meant to be given away at department stores, so they knew which side their bread was buttered on. ;)

Linkara featured this comic on an episode of Atop the Fourth Wall.

He says it sucked. After looking at this, I’m inclined to agree. I mean, who gives bad guys names like Mr. Meaney and Dr. Grouch?

The Fantastic Four’s main villain is Doctor Doom.

What a fun story, I love Superman tossing that nasty fella down a chimney, and attack elves, and Santa’s workshop being invaded. And oh, that Jack Burnley artwork – sumptuous.

Haven’t seen Linkara’s stuff in a long time. Linkara can get a lump of coal. This story was in a tpb from DC years ago, and I liked it. I liked how Dr, Grouch and Mr. Meaney were hellbent on wrecking Christmas. I liked how Lois got de-kidnapped, then got re-kidnapped two panels later. I loved the orgasmic glee the Scrooges got wrecking the toys (in a panel not shown him, one of yelled, “THIS IS GREAT!” or something like that). And how can you not love “Give ‘em the rush act, boys!”? Santa Claus does not shiv, boys and girls

Brian, will you be covering the other Golden Age story in that TPB? The one with Wonder Woman and the narrating fir tree?

Yeah, I really can’t fathom seriously making fun of this comic. It seems like such a messed up concept. “Oh man, this kid’s comic sucks! It reads like it was written for children or something!”

As for other stories, there is a good chance, Jason!

Whenever I see the bad guy say “This is the first Christmas present I’ve ever received!” I can’t help but wonder… why didn’t Santa give them anything before?

The script was pretty horrible (I love how Clark repeats back everything the boy supposedly said, even though it makes no sense for the boy to have said it, and he could easily have been shown saying it himself instead!) but the artwork is wonderful. Look at Lois being attacked or little James seeing Superman for the first time! And Santa Claus looks almost as detailed and real as the famous Coca-Cola illustrations. Plus that’s one of the best Golden Age portraits of Superman in the last panel.

I didn’t even know Jack Burnley’s name before this. Why do Shuster and Wayne Boring get all the credit for creating the look of GA Superman? According to Wikipedia, Burnley was the first artist after Shuster to draw Superman, and it looks to me like Boring’s Superman was just a poor imitation of the first two. On the other hand, I’d say Curt Swan must have gotten his inspiration from Burnley, and Swan’s is seen as the most iconic and influential Superman ever. Burnley deserves to be better known than he is!

Pretty good story — although I can see from the comments section that, once again, this story only makes sense to people with a decent enough sense of social history to know what life was like for the original readers of the time and to know what social issues and presumptions held currency at the time.

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