In September 1897, Virginia O’Hanlon wrote the following letter:
I am 8 years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see in the Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
In 1975, the letter found it’s way to Stan Lee, the editor of Marvel Comics.
Simile Smilin’ Stan here, laying down some serious assonance. It’s almost that big time of year in the Big Apple, silver bells and snow, Christmas. Every once in awhile, I receive a letter that touches my ever-loving heart, and this year, Virginia, a soon-to-be true believer asks me if there really is a Santa Claus.
As sure as Otto Octavius, or Doc Ock, to those who are familiar, has a preferred tentacle he pleasures himself with, there is without doubt a Santa Claus! Mechanical appendages aside, faith is what dreams are made of. Without faith, Dr. Doom would have destroyed the Fantastic Four three times over. It’s true! Faith is the foundation of heroes all over the world from the star-spangled Captain America to the local fireman to the accountant before a tax deadline. And without dreams? Don’t even get me started, pilgrim.
As sure as there is an almighty Asgard and a friendly neighborhood, Spider-Man, you can bet your sweet ever-loving petunia, there is a good old Saint Nick. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Even for a reasonably devout Jew like me, Stanley Martin Lieber, I must confess… But before I do, I need all of you to face front. Good. Now I can tell you, Santa Claus is as real as Luke Cage: Hero For Hire’s repressed anger! If you don’t believe me, check out Luke Cage: Power Man #28 on the newsstands now. That’s what we call a shameless plug, so check it out.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. Don’t forget to ask him for subscriptions to all of your favorite Marvel titles. Remember, it is not greedy to ask for all of them. Tell them Slappin’ Stan sent ya. Let’s make Willie Lumpkin earn his wages. All humble hyperbole aside, Make Mine Marvel!