Ah Christmas, my favourite time of year. It is impossible to escape the feeling of the most wonderful time of the year. As such a huge part of the world's culture (Christmas has transcended its original purpose), it has became an important part of storytelling. Many television shows put on big events for their Christmas episodes, the annual Doctor Who Christmas episode is one of my personal favourites, but how have comics celebrated Christmas? Specifically, I'm going to look at how Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Hulk have all been involved in their own Christmas stories...
I'm going to start with 1977's Amazing Spider-Man #166 which sees Spidey battle both the Lizard and Stegron. Yep, I know what you're thinking, dinosaurs and Christmas, this has got to be good. Well, it isn't half bad. Just as Peter Parker is all set to be at Harry Osborn and Flash Thompson's Christmas party, Stegron attacks the city. He uses his retro-generation ray to reanimate skeletons and turn them into proper dinosaurs. Of course, Spidey's Parker luck prevents the Avengers from being available to help out, so he has to battle dinosaurs all by himself. Not only that, the Lizard shows up and starts fighting Stegron in a duel of reptiles. Spidey ends up winning by luring Stegron out into the cold which saps his energy and allows Spidey to lure him over the Central Park lake. Stegron's weight cracks the ice and he falls into the icy water below.
You are not hallucinating, that is indeed the Grey Hulk battling Santa Claus. Fear not though, old Saint Nick has not suddenly become a malevolent force in the world, it's actually the Rhino in his new job as a department store Santa. This issue features Rick Jones telling a group of kids a Christmas story like no other. The Rhino is lamenting his lack of friends and money at Christmas time and he notices that people give change to the department store Santa. He of course beats one up and steals his costume. Enter Bruce Banner who notices that this is no ordinary Santa and he Hulks out to battle him. From here everything gets a bit crazy when the Hulk and Rhino start tearing up the department store. Marvel Christmas stories are never straight forward are they?
Finally, we have Uncanny X-Men #143 wherein the X-Men battle the N'Garai demon. It first attacks a couple who are out buying a Christmas tree, killing them and feasting upon their body and soul (really Christmassy!). The demon eventually makes its way to X-Mansion and unintentionally alerts Kitty Pryde to its presence. Kitty then runs away from it by phasing through walls in the mansion and is able to lose it briefly and call the other X-Men. However, she didn't lose it for long and it attacked her. Even though she had used her powers to become incorporeal, she still felt the demon's attack. She escapes to the danger room and holds it off further. She heads for the Blackbird and burns the demon with the engines, convinced the demon is dead Kitty decides to return to the mansion, but then in one final act the demon slashes out at her. When the rest of the X-Men return they find the mansion in darkness with Kitty balled up on the couch. She is overjoyed by their return. Again, this is a very Christmassy story.
There's obviously many more Christmas stories featuring our favourite Marvel characters but I just wanted to point out 3 of them. Maybe you've got a personal favourite, comment and let me know what you think :)