“He would turn over in his grave if he knew I’m about to read this,” says Stan Lee, Marvel Comics' grand poo-bah, before launching into Clement Clarke Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas.” Moore’s 1823 poem helped solidify various ideas about Santa Claus and Christmas, especially in America, much like Lee and his co-creators forged the mutli-character Marvel Universe that now dominates 21st century mythology.
So who better to read the origin story of this costumed superhero than Stan the Man? Because we're talking about Good St. Nick, a beloved non-human who is able to traverse the earth in the span of one night, squeeze down chimneys without getting stuck, burned, or even dirtying his clothes, gives presents freely, and whose sled is powered purely by magical reindeer, all with their own names. Plus he lives in a fortress of toymaking quasi-solitude at the North Pole.
Lee really gets into the carnival barker style in his reading from 2009, much like his own overheated prose in the pages of his comics. You can still hear the busy pulse of his native Manhattan in that gravelly voice. And if you’re wondering if Lee puts his own spin on things, wait till the end.
And for those looking for more Stan Lee Reading the Classics, here he is reading Poe's "The Raven."
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Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.