Lots of people own Jeeps, but I’m willing to bet that more than a few of them have no idea what they’re driving (aside from a vague notion that it used to be a military vehicle). The jeep was introduced in World War II as a fast, light, four wheel drive reconnaissance vehicle. It ultimately outgrew its original recon role to become a staff car, courier transportation, a vehicle for towing light artillery, you name it. The jeep was, at one time, the most famous and recognizable vehicle in the world.

When I was a little kid in the 1960’s jeeps were still considered very cool; they were thought of in much the same way as many children view humvees today. Owning a GI Joe jeep was a status symbol among kids, followed closely by the Tonka jeep (I owned the latter, loved it, and still miss it).

So we can only imagine how cool a jeep was to the average kid of the WWII era – at least cool enough to consider Santa’s driving one as an event. That’s why Dell Comics put Santa behind the wheel of a jeep on the cover of Santa Claus Funnies #1 at Christmastime 1942. Even better than the cover is the letter from Santa on the inside front cover – it’s hilarious. I read it for the first time a couple of days ago, and I’m still laughing at the line about “mumbling”.

Here’s the cover and the letter, courtesy of The Digital Comic Museum. Right-click ’em and open ’em in a new tab for easy reading. Go ahead – you won’t regret it.

Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

Have fun! — Steve

Copyright 2012, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.