DC Comics Presents #67 (March, 1984)
“Twas the Fright Before Christmas!”
Co-Plot/Script – Len Wein
Co-Plot – E. Nelson Bridwell
Pencils – Curt Swan
Inks – Murphy Anderson
Letters – Ben Oda
Colors – Gene D’Angelo
Editor – Julius Schwartz
Cover Price: $0.75
Well, friends… we’ve survived another one! Three Annual Twelve Days of Christmas on Infinite Earths’s’s’s’s are in the books!
Merriest Christmas, and Happiest of Holidays to you and yours, Dear Reader!
To wrap up the event, we’ll be revisiting one of the chapters from Christmas With the Super-Heroes #1 (1988) which we originally discussed way back on December 21, 2016 (as part of Super-Blog Team-Up, no less!).
Right now I’m probably about ten pounds heavier than I was when we started this event… so, let’s get through the issue… so, I can jam a few more handfuls of cookies in my mouth while I still have the “it’s Christmas!” excuse!
It’s Christmas Eve in Metropolis… and Superman lands next to a bell-ringer Santa Claus and a young boy with a toy dart gun. He fires a little plunger dart that attaches itself to Santa’s nose… and then appears to fall into a trance. He calmly demands that Santa hand over all of his money. Superman nabs the pop-gun and gives it the ol’ x-ray once-over. Somehow it has a secret mechanism that hypnotizes the trigger-puller. Superman then wraps the boy in his cape, and heads off to the Fortress of Solitude for more testing.
He gives the kid a full eye-exam, and snaps him back to reality. The boy’s name is Timmy Dickens, and he recounts the last thing he remembers. He was snooping around the house looking for his Christmas gifts. He found a dart gun and a starship… when he fired the gun for the first time, he fell under a trance.
Superman then puts him under yet another trance… which facilitates Timmy telling Superman what his post-hypnotic suggestion was… hey, whattayaknow… it’s the Toyman. Blech.
Superman takes the tot and begins the flight back to Metropolis… somehow the kid is still holding onto the starship toy… which blasts Superman in the face with a green ray. This causes the Man of Steel to drop into the snow like a rock… knocking himself out, as though he were Hal Jordan in the vicinity of a bar of soap.
Some elves… yeah, we all know where this is going… show up and carry Superman off. We shift scenes to the Toyman watching his monitor… which somehow captured Superman falling into the snow. That’s some bad-ass camerawork, no?
We rejoin a groggy Superman as he stirs back to life… before him stand several elves… and, yup… the big man himself!
Santa Claus gives Superman the grand tour of his top secret toy workshop. A particularly funny scene follows in which Superman sees the new 20th Century Santa Claus monitoring system. It’s elves putting together the naughty and nice lists by watching the kids (and a certain Toyman) on computer screens. That’s pretty funny!
Superman watches as the elves craft toys as he and Santa lament the loss of the simpler toys of Clark’s own youth… which segues into a mention of a super-simple Kryptonian toy that took brain waves and made them into a hologram. Simple toys… just like that! Anyhoo, Superman mentions that he lost that toy when Krypton exploded… because, pre-Crisis.
Superman still can’t quite fly yet, so Santa offers to give him a lift on his sleigh. Superman tries to fly… but, flops into the back of the sleigh anyway. They head to Toyman’s toy shoppe, the Big Shott Toy Store, and Superman decides to crash on in.
What follows is… well, way too many pages of Superman fighting toys. I mean, this goes on for like five pages and is horribly dull until Santa finally trips the Toyman up with some marbles, like he was that kid in Home Alone. He did that, right? Seems like something he would do…
Anyhoo, Superman and Santa Claus win the day… and all that’s left is to replace the hypnotic gifts with the genuine Santa-crafted articles.
Superman and Santa share a few more words before Timmy “accidentally” blasts Superman with the toy starship again. Oof. Superman wakes up to find Timmy sitting over him, wrapped in his cape… was the whole thing a dream?
Superman deposits the tot and head home to his Clinton Street apartment. Surely the whole thing was a dream, right? Well… upon taking off his cape, Superman notices that there’s something stashed there… it’s the hologram toy from Krypton! He flips the switch, and it’s… Santa, wishing Superman a Merry Christmas!
Yeah… it’s not the greatest of issues, but I can’t help but to love it anyway! The Toyman, while incredibly lame, is really the perfect villain for this outing. I mean, who else could it be?
I mentioned this briefly during our look at this as a chapter of Christmas With the Super-Heroes #1, but I’m always going to be down with an issue that includes Santa, and doesn’t flat-out dismiss him. Last year we took a look at the Larfleeze Christmas Special, which handled things a different way… and I hated that. I mean, the issue itself was fun, but I definitely did not appreciate the Santa-sitch.
Superman getting that toy he’d lost on Krypton was a nice touch. Really speaks to the magic of the Holiday. If you dismiss all of the silliness (and Toymaniness) this could be a top issue… it would also only be about three pages long… but, whattayagonnado?
Overall… I’m gonna say, if you come across this one in the wild, snap it up. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have the novelty of Superman teaming up with Santa Claus (in continuity!) as part of their comics library? This issue is available digitally.
O’ Christmas Tree 2018: